Season Preview: Defensive Backs

2010 in Review: The Horns had many struggles last season, but one of the biggest faults of the defense was the lack of forced turnovers. This was evident with the defensive backs’ lack of interceptions (UT ranked first nationally in interceptions in 2009 with 25). Texas had three cornerbacks go in the first five rounds of the NFL Draft this year (Aaron Williams in 2nd round, Curtis Brown in 3rd round and Chykie Brown in 5th round) and those three players accounted for one interception … TOTAL! Texas as a team only pulled down eight interceptions in 2010. All starting safeties return from a year ago, including senior Blake Gideon. Gideon is the model of consistency, posting more than 60 tackles in each of his three years as starter for the Horns.

Key Returner: Everyone knows what to expect from Gideon, but Kenny Vaccaro is the true wild card. The hard-hitting safety will be a key player when it comes to forcing more turnovers and laying the wood for the defense. He has one interception and two forced fumbles for his career, so he will have to improve on those numbers if the Horns are to be successful this year.

Player to Watch: Of the young crop of corners, the most interesting is true freshman Quandre Diggs. The brother of lifetime Longhorn Quentin Jammer, a three-year starter and All-America for Texas, is a big-time athlete and is guaranteed to see lots of playing time in his first season. He may start the year as the nickel corner, but expect to see a lot of No. 28 flying around the field. Fellow baby Horns Carrington Byndom and Adrian Phillips, both sophomores, will be the first to get a crack at the starting corner spots.

The Defensive Backs to be successful, they need to … not look like freshmen. Technically none of the starters will be actual freshmen, but no one who starts at corner for the Horns will have a start under his belt. Until senior Christian Scott returns from his three-game suspension, after pleading no contest to misdemeanor assault, junior Nolan Brewster will be the only backup defensive back with any collegiate experience.

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