Thursday, October 18, 2012
More on the Texas missed tackles epidemic
By David Ubben
Missed tackles have been the biggest problem for Texas' disappointing defense thus far this season.
How bad is it? Really bad, according to the data compiled by ESPN Stats and Info.
Texas missed a season-high 16 tackles against Oklahoma, raising its total to 69 on the season, 16 more than the second-worst tackling team in the Big 12. Kansas has missed 53 tackles this season through six games.
"The defensive line played pretty good," Texas coach Mack Brown told reporters this week. "We're still giving up way too much space and room, and linebackers and the deep safeties are not tackling like they need to when we get the ball out in the field."
Cornerback Carrington Byndom has missed nine tackles this season, tied with Kansas State safety Ty Zimmerman for the most in the Big 12.
Oklahoma State linebacker Shaun Lewis has missed eight tackles, the third-most in the Big 12 and eight other players in the league are tied with six missed tackles.
As the season has progressed, Texas' tackling problems seem to have only gotten worse. Here's how the missed tackle totals looked in each game, according to ESPN Stats and Info:
- Wyoming: 5
- New Mexico: 12
- Ole Miss: 13
- Oklahoma State: 10
- West Virginia: 13
- Oklahoma: 16
One of those missed tackles allowed Wyoming to connect on an 82-yard touchdown catch and run that put the Cowboys up 9-7 early in the Longhorns' 37-17 win.
It won't get any easier for Texas this weekend when it hosts Baylor, the nation's No. 2 offense.
"There have been times where I've been on teams where they've had an issue with turning the ball over, and it becomes such a battle cry that it can almost become the guys almost start holding the ball too hard and causing more turnovers until it becomes a psyche," defensive coordinator Manny Diaz told reporters this week. "I've seen the same thing happen with tackling before, where when tackling becomes such a major issue and we have worked obviously to the nth degree in practice, that the players can become so robotic in the tackling that what starts to happen is still the No. 1 thing in tackling is running your feet through contact and wrapping the guy up - is that you almost start to say, 'Okay, here I am.' And you start to slow down to do everything fundamentally absolutely right, where in a game like that you can't do that."
How does the rest of the Big 12 stack up when it comes to missed tackles? Let's take a look:
1. Oklahoma - 29 missed tackles
2. Baylor - 37
3. Oklahoma State - 40
4. Kansas State - 43
4. Texas Tech - 43
6. TCU - 44
7. Iowa State - 45
8. West Virginia - 52
9. Kansas - 53
10. Texas - 69