Cedric Reed had little reason to return to Texas in 2014. Longhorn fans are happy he did.
When Reed announced he would return for his senior season, fans across the country let out a collective sigh of relief. At the time, very little had gone right for Texas. A blowout loss to the Oregon Ducks in the Valero Alamo Bowl sent former head coach Mack Brown on his way. Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong had just been named as Brown’s successor. Fans barely had enough time to digest the Strong hiring when Reed announced he would come back. For some fans, Reed’s announcement was the best news they had heard yet.
Reed had a breakout season in 2013. He was second on the team in sacks (10) and tackles for a loss (19). He forced five fumbles, which helped earn Reed a first-team All-Big 12 selection. He teamed with Jackson Jeffcoat to keep the defense from being a complete train wreck.
Many people were surprised Reed chose to return. The program was struggling. The defense was atrocious at times. I won’t even bring up the numbers from the BYU game. Reed had every reason not to return to the Forty Acres. The fact that he is returning is a testament to his character, and his commitment to help the football program right the ship.
He won’t have to do it alone.
Defensive tackle Malcolm Brown will help alleviate the pressure on Reed. Brown made his presence felt at times in 2013, registering six tackles for a loss. The junior gained more and more confidence in himself with each game. This should serve him well as the anchor of the defensive line. If Brown can take on double teams, it will open up opportunities for the linebackers to make plays near the line of scrimmage. This would represent a big improvement over a defense that was routinely gashed by opponent’s run game.
Texas fans are anxious to see the new defensive scheme under Vance Bedford. There is still some uncertainty how much the defense will improve, if at all. It will be comforting to know that players like Reed and Brown are ready to help transition in a new era of Texas football.