Notre Dame Opponent Preview: Texas Longhorns Defense


Notre Dame will face exotic fronts with the Texas Longhorns Defense

Notre Dame opens up their 127th season Saturday against the Texas Longhorns. Its been nearly 20 years since the Irish played the storied program and has been a game highly anticipated since the match up was announced some years ago. The last time these two teams met was in 1996 at Austin, Texas in which the Irish defeated the Longhorns 27-24. The year before the Irish prevailed at home 55-27. Notre Dame comes into this match up with an 8-2 record against Texas and has won the last 4 affairs, dating back to 1971. The days of legendary coach, Mack Brown are over and Charlie Strong’s first year at Texas was a learning experience as the Longhorns finished the 2014 season at 6-7. Under Strong, Texas is still looking for a true identity as their offense struggled mightily to produce. Yet, their defense remained above average and ranked 25th in total defense and gave up only 348.5 yards per game last season. Texas uses a hybrid defense and will show both 3-4 and 4-3 sets throughout the game.

Longhorn Secondary

Texas welcomes back 5 starters from last years team including senior star cornerback Duke Thomas who started all 13 games for the Longhorns last season. Thomas is a very gifted athlete, he tallied 3 interceptions and had a career high 53 tackles a year ago. He will more than likely be lined up against Irish receiver Chris Brown, who’s speed will challenge Thomas throughout most of the game. Texas also welcomes back another talented athlete senior Dylan Haines. Dylan is a former walk-on who was placed on scholarship prior to the 2014 season. The Lago Vista product was an All Big 12 selection last year. He was first on the team last year with 4 interceptions and also racked up 86 tackles. Haines is a very intelligent player and gives the Longhorns a big edge with him prowling the secondary. Its tough to give an edge against the Notre Dame star receivers, even though Texas is loaded with talent in their secondary, even after losing star defensive backs Quandre Diggs and Mykkele Thompson to the NFL.

Longhorns Linebackers

Texas will have a big gap to fill with the loss of linebackers Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond, who were the leading tacklers for the horns last season. This is a position that they are noticeably thin at and will have to have some players with less experience step up in a big way if they want to compete week in and week out. Seniors Dalton Santos and Peter Jinkens will most likely get the starting nods and junior Timothy Cole could also see some playing time. Texas coach Charlie Strong has mentioned that many true freshman will see action this season so expect highly regarded linebacker Malik Jefferson to see significant playing time as he has shined in spring practice. Look for Notre Dame running backs Tarean Folston and C.J. Prosise to take advantage of the Longhorn linebackers.

Longhorns Defensive Line

Texas is more than likely the strongest at the defensive lineposition and will give Notre Dame offensive line all they can handle this Saturday night. Thankfully, for the Irish, all American defensive tackle Malcolm Brown is gone to the NFL and was a first round draft pick of Super Bowl champions, New England Patriots. Though the loss of brown is big, Texas can attempt to fill his place with fifth year senior Desmond Jackson, who missed nearlyall of the 2014 campaign with a foot injury. Hassan Brown, who Charlie Strong calls, “The mainstay in the middle,” also returns to help anchor the defensive line. There are a few freshman that could step in and get some playing time such as, Chris Nelson and JakeMcMillon. Notre Dame should win the edge in this battle due to experience, but look for junior PaulBoyette Jr. and Alex Norman from the defensive tackleposition and give the Irish some trouble.

Overall with the raw talent Texas presents to the Irish may give the offense some trouble early on, but since Texas is still trying to find its identity and this being the first game of the season, look for Notre Dame to wear down an inexperienced and young Texas defense and come away with the victory Saturday night.

All statistics were gathered from


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