As I’ve sat back and tried tried to make sense of this valley of frustration that Texas has found itself in again, I haven’t been able to ignore the fact that there are a few factors in play that have all worked together to lead Texas to this point.
The reality, though, is not all of these factors hold the same weight. At the end of the day, this is a coaching issue, and ultimately Charlie Strong’s issue.
We can’t just say “youth” is the problem
Look, I get it. We absolutely can’t ignore the fact that youth is still effecting this team.
If we just take a look at the starters on defense, I could argue that the best players at at least seven of the 11 positions on defense are sophomores, with freshman Malcolm Roach making a case to be in that discussion.
If I include freshman Brandon Jones at one of the safety positions, who’s a former five-star recruit that’s been making the most of his small amount of playing time on special teams, we could increase that number to at least eight players.
And hey, I’m the guy that’s continued to say one thing that could help this defense the most is another offseason. So I get this team, and defense, is still young.
But we can’t just turn our palms up, shrug our shoulders, and chalk this up to youth. These players may be young, but they’re still talented.
Their talent is a reason a handful of these players were on pre-season award and watch-lists. And their talent is a reason many were highly-touted recruits out of high school.
The blame shouldn’t end with them, or even really rest on them for too long. They may have been the ones on the field making the mistakes, but the talent is there enough for improvements to have been made over the offseason.
The improvements weren’t made, though, and that’s why this is mainly a coaching issue. This is a Vance Bedford and Charlie Strong issue.
The criticism of Vance Bedford is fair
While watching the ‘Horns loss against Cal play-out in front of me late Saturday evening, I was surrounded by a group of friends..
Over the course of that four hours or so, I must have heard “Vance”, “Bedford”, or the combo of that full name yelled out a handful of times. And the statements being blurted out weren’t compliments either.
At the time, I tried to hold myself back from letting my emotions lead me to a knee-jerk conclusion or response. I wanted to see the entire game before coming to a conclusion.
But sometimes, the knee-jerk and emotional responses are right… A lot of this does fall on Vance Bedford, and there’s no denying that.
Entering his third season as the defensive coordinator for the Longhorns, Bedford had another entire offseason to get the defense pointed in the right direction, but he couldn’t get it done.