Texas' Defensive Woes and the State's Recruits

John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports

Good Afternoon to you all,

To borrow a bit of the Bama Finebaum caller joke, I'm a "longtime reader first time poster" as of today, having been inspired to contemplate and perhaps commiserate after the rather spectacular disappointment of yesterday's game.

Anyway, to the point of my post: in thinking about our attempts at defense yesterday, it occurred to me that no major Texas university football program seems to have fielded an elite defense for a good number of years now, a la 2009 Texas, 2010 TCU, etc. It has to be acknowledged that the offensive sophistication of modern college football is a significant part of this, but there is some evidence from other parts of the country that it is still possible to field a solid to great defense against such offenses, to say nothing regarding Maryland's run option spread that inspired memories of Yakety Sax and BYU from 2013 yesterday. This thought reminded me of the article relating the installation of aggressive, up-tempo offenses and statistically significant defensive regression (which I can't quite find right now), which led me to think about what has happened at the high school level in the state.

As I understand it, just about everyone and their twice removed cousin in Texas high school football runs a variant of an uptempo spread offense these days, with simple reads, packaged plays, etc. If the pattern observed at the college level of uptempo offenses and defensive regression holds true at the high school level, it would seem to follow that high school defenders are generally getting fairly poor and limited coaching on defense, and serving as a glorified practice squad for their team's offense, especially given some of the funneling of athletic talent to the offensive side of the ball. Moreover, however elegant, given the simplistic nature of many of the spread offenses ran across the state, it leads one to suspicion about how much defensive skill is being developed in Texas high school players, as if all you ever face is a one-two read offense, you may be a bit confused when you suddenly have to face something a bit more developed. Naturally, this leads to my questions: generally speaking, are the state's defensive recruits just much more raw and in need of coaching than they used to be? Is the nature of high school football in the state making talent and skill evaluations more difficult?

I look forward to discussing this further.

P.S. - While searching for the regression article, I found this one on an interesting exception to the rule in Texas.

Be excellent to each other.

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