Longhorns looking for consistency on both sides of the ball

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Tony Pierson (3) breaks free from an arm tackle by Quandre Diggs (6) during last wek's game with Lawrence, Kan. Tackling has been an issue for the Longhorns all season, but after the offense failed to make strides against the Jayhawks, the focus has begun to shift to the opposite side of the ball.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

Though the Longhorns are nearing the end of the season with only four games left, they are still looking to find consistency on both sides of the ball.

Other than during Texas’ blowout loss to Oklahoma and its narrow win over Kansas, the offense was the only unfailing aspect of the Longhorns.

Texas scored on its first drive against Kansas and then couldn’t find the end zone until there was less than 10 minutes left in the game. This inability to create opportunities led to a quarterback change and required a last-minute touchdown to clinch the win over a team that has not defeated an FBS team this season.

Offensive guard Trey Hopkins attributes that slow start and inconsistency to overconfidence due to scoring on the first drive. He said that kind of mentality is fixable. Fellow lineman Mason Walters chimed in with a similar thought.

“I really just think that creating a level of consistency within our scheme is what we need to do,” Walters said. “We, as players, need to take that personally and that’s really on us to play to the same level week in and week out. We need to find that level that you can go for twelve weeks and play on it.”

The offense accumulated three penalties during the game and David Ash threw two interceptions. Co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said those mistakes shot the offense in the foot and contributed to its lack of scoring.

Texas only scored 21 points against Kansas and Oklahoma even though it has been averaging 41.50 points per game, the eighth highest average in the country.

Oklahoma boasts the 17th-best defense in the country, but the Jayhawks’ defense should not have been able to hold Texas to just 342 total yards.

While the offense was inconsistent against Kansas, the defense has been consistently struggling this season. Though it had its best game of the season last Saturday, breakdowns in the second quarter helped the Jayhawks to consecutive touchdowns on two drives.

“You can’t just play great one quarter and come back and stink it up in the second quarter because that’s how you get beat,” sophomore cornerback Quandre Diggs said. “You have to go out and play all four quarters and I feel like it will click. I feel like we improved a lot as a defense this weekend and that gave us more confidence going into this weekend.”

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz called Texas’ second half against Kansas the best defense they’ve played all season. But the two drives in the second quarter where Kansas scored touchdowns put the Longhorns in a hole that was difficult to climb out of.

During the two drives, the defense gave up 64-yard and 20-yard rushes to James Sims. All season Diaz has emphasized the need to prevent big plays. Because the offense couldn’t produce, these two explosive runs could almost cost Texas the game.

“Studying your opponent will make you so much more confident,” Diggs said. “You will be consistent if you know what you’re doing.”

Texas is still trying to find its rhythm even though they are three quarters of the way through the season. It will need to find it, and fast, to have a chance against Texas Tech.