Stevens: Reckless Texas Defense Wants Lobos' Pistol To Shoot Blanks
New Mexico Lobos at Texas Longhorns - Austin, Texas
When/Where: 6 p.m. (MT) - Texas Memorial Stadium
Radio: 770 KKOB-AM, Lobo Radio Network; pregame at 3 p.m (MT)
GoLobos.com: GameTracker, Game Story, Stats
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
You can't blame Bob DeBesse, New Mexico's offensive coordinator, if he rubbed his eyes or cleaned his glasses while studying the game tape on the Texas Longhorns' 37-17 win over Wyoming.
`Cause things were blurry.
"The Wyoming game was just an orange blur across the screen," said DeBesse. "They are unbelievably athletic. From their defensive tackles to their corners, they all run like the wind.
"When they hit a gap, they take it to a new level."
The Longhorns' defense definitely plans to take it to a new level at 6 p.m. (MT) when the undefeated New Mexico Lobos battle the `Horns in Texas Memorial Stadium.
The orange blur was not happy with their performance against the Cowboys - too many passing yards, too many points allowed. They have some frustrations to take out and the Lobos are the Longhorns next chance to feel better about themselves.
To do that, the Longhorns might have to worry more about the run game and less about the passing game. At least, that's what Manny Diaz, Texas' defensive coordinator, is thinking. Wyoming came out with four and five wide receivers. Diaz says he expects to see UNM use three running backs about 75 percent of the time.
"We are going from one side of the galaxy to the other side of the galaxy," Diaz said on a story posted on HornsNation.
If you believe DeBesse, that might not be much of a problem for the Longhorns because they have athletes who are out of this world.
In one way, Diaz and DeBesse have similar philosophies. They will give you a lot of different looks and see if you can figure out what they are going to do on a given snap. The Lobos ran a lot in their 66-21 roll of Southern University - mainly because the Jaguars couldn't stop the Lobos from running.
"I don't care what color is on the other side of the ball. It can be orange, blue, green; it doesn't matter. If they aren't red and it doesn't say `Lobos' on their shirt, I don't like `em."
Lobo Paytron Hightower
Diaz says he expects UNM to throw out the option because of the advantage that scheme gives an offense in blocking assignments. UNM ran for 347 yards vs. Southern, passing for only 70 yards.
The Lobos' option demands that a defense be sound on assignments, but DeBesse doesn't think the Longhorns are going to make any philosophical adjustments for the Lobos.
"They will have to be sound on their option responsibilities," said DeBesse. "But they have the ability to do that within their package. I don't think we have shown them anything that will discourage them from running their package.
"They are not going to all of a sudden change things and play conservative. That's not their personality. They are kind of reckless and I'm sure that's how they'll be for us."
The battle between DeBesse's offense and Daiz's defense will be kind of a chess match. DeBesse's offense runs best when the option is clicking, but he has other tools. Diaz will try to shut down that option and make DeBesse go to those other tools.
If the option isn't working, DeBesse will have to adjust. If the UNM option is working, Diaz might have to adjust.
"What you have to be able to do is make adjustments within the package you bring to the game," said DeBesse. "There is a feeling out process with this offense. It's not just what they (defense) are doing, but what we are doing that we might be able to hang our hat on.
"We'll have to go in there and make in-game adjustments. I have no doubt about that."
The return to Texas soil is a return to their roots for 19 Lobos, who hail from Texas soil. But just because they grew up under the eyes of Texas, that doesn't mean these Lobos grew up idolizing Longhorns.
"I didn't like the Longhorns much when I was growing up," said freshman Paytron Hightower of Dallas. "But you can't take anything away from them. They do what they do well.
"But I don't care what color is on the other side of the ball. It can be orange, blue, green; it doesn't matter. If they aren't red and it doesn't say `Lobos' on their shirt, I don't like `em."
Said Cranston Jones, a D-back from Mesquite, Texas: "I'm a big Texas fan. I'm not going to lie. But I'm going in there with a New Mexico Lobo attitude. It's a great place to play and it's going to be loud and crazy. We'll be all right."