It's that time of the week to speak with lifetime Longhorn Ahmad Brooks. Brooks is currently working for the Longhorn Network as an analyst on the Longhorns and for the channel's pre- and post-game show. He took a few minutes out of his busy schedule for his weekly Q&A with Hookem.com earlier today.
Brooks expects a heavy helping of Daje Johnson against Kansas on Saturday.
Bobby Burton: Ok, Ahmad, let's start with the positives in the Baylor win. What are your thoughts?
Ahmad Brooks: The offense. I don't care who you're playing, 56 points is 56 points. That's a good night's work. I felt like they didn't squander many drives. They got the ball in the hands of their playmakers. What does it say about Daje Johnson that they put him in there as the starter? That means they like him a lot. David Ash didn't have a great game but he protected the ball and he executed. I think Trey Hopkins really flashed on a couple of pulls. Bergeron has that nose for the end zone. You can't underestimate that, that's something running backs have or they don't and he has it.
BB: Ok, I notice you didn't mention anything about the defense.
AB: I think they did some things better. I think Baylor has a more explosive offense than anybody else in the Big 12. I've played corner before and I'll tell you that Terrance Williams is a very tough cover. That speed and those hands. He's got something extra to him. He really does. I liked J.T. (Josh Turner). What he did was really important. He had the one-on-one tackle against (Nick) Florence in the open field where he really shot up the field to make the play then the very next play he made the interception. Then he not only took the Baylor receiver out of the end zone but he even knocked Carrington (Byndom) out, too. Those are points he kept off the board on a 3rd-and-18 that was a great throw. That's a big deal. He made those plays and those are plays they haven't been making in the secondary.
BB: Baylor was still able to run against the Horns.
AB: Yeah, there are some issues there. I just think, you look at it, and the linebackers aren't playing particularly well and the defensive tackles are just too one-dimensional. You've got Dez Jackson who hasn't learned to play with his eyes, he's just all about strength and quickness. Brandon Moore is finding out that this isn't JUCO ball anymore. Heck, Chris Whaley is only a year into playing the position. Malcom Brown is getting better. Sometimes he dominates and then sometimes you see him being lazy like he was playing high school ball. Then you have two sophomores at deep safety. It's just a combination of a bunch of youth and guys who haven't been playing these positions forever along with a pretty complex scheme.
BB: What do you think Texas should do on defense?
AB: I'm not a coach, but I think they just have to simplify things. They have to be basically and fundamentally sound - I'm talking about tackling, coverage, taking proper angles, gap control - before they can do all these unorthodox stunts, zone blitzes, all this stuff.
BB: What do you make of the more physical practices we've heard about?
AB: I think that's kind of overblown. Here's the deal. When we had the No. 1 defense in the country, we didn't tackle ever during the season. But what we did do is we had a better speed tempo where you have to get after it like it's a real game, where you have to act like you're taking these guys (ball carriers) on in a game. That's on both the offense and defense to do that. It's called going 99% instead of 75% on both sides of the ball. No, you don't tackle to the ground, but you do everything else like it was real.
BB: Ok, let's talk about Kansas. Did you watch the Jayhawks against OU last week?
AB: Yep, I sure did. With this new quarterback, you're basically looking at a runner. The toughest QBs to play against are the ones who are three-dimensional - they can beat you with their arm, their legs and their mind. Right now, I think he can beat you with his legs only. He's just young. I think some of what Texas might do on defense could confuse him. But I don't even know that. OU just suffocated him. He never had a chance.
BB: What about the Kansas defense?
AB: I know Dave Campo (the Kansas defensive coordinator). He was with Cleveland when I was at Buffalo and we scrimmaged them several times. He runs a disciplined defense. I like their defense. He coaches the players to play with a lot of passion, a lot of energy. They haven't given up a ton of points and they seem to have a knack for turnovers.
BB: Ok, let's hear your score prediction.
AB: I don't think it's going to be as high scoring as some other people might think because I think Texas and Kansas are both going to try to shorten the game, using a lot of two-back sets and control the clock.. I think it comes down to how many times David Ash can connect and keep drives going. I feel like this may be another big game for Daje Johnson, too. The defense should be better because the offense they're facing will be more straight-forward. more conventional.Texas 35-17.