Steve Edmond never saw the hit coming.
The Texas Longhorns linebacker was laid out by a vicious block from Texas Tech Red Raiders receiver Eric Ward. The hit caused a lacerated liver and ended Edmond’s season on Thanksgiving night, nonetheless.
Now Edmond looks to rebound from the injury and build upon the success he was having in 2013. He had 68 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions – highlighted by an acrobatic game-saving interception in the end zone versus the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Edmond was developing into a force on defense, using his size, speed and athleticism to make plays all over the field. With Jordan Hicks sidelined for most the season, Texas defensive coordinators Manny Diaz and Greg Robinson relied on Edmond to fill the void left by Hicks’ departure. He responded by being one of the bright spots on an otherwise forgettable season for the Longhorn defense. Edmond was selected honorable mention All-Big 12.
Linebacker should be a strength of the defense this season. Hicks is back for his final season. One of the byproducts of his injury was the opportunity for Dalton Santos and Peter Jinkens to get on the field. Between these four linebackers, experience will not be a concern for new defensive coordinator Vance Bedford. Getting each player enough snaps could be. Despite the logjam at linebacker, Edmond should see plenty of time on the field.
Stopping the run will be key for the defense this season. The new scheme run by Bedford should maximize Edmond’s ability to shed blockers and get to the ball carrier. He is also versatile, playing both middle and weakside linebacker. If Malcolm Brown and Cedric Reed can tie up the offensive linemen, it should open the door for Edmond to get some stops at or behind the line of scrimmage. Forcing more third and long scenarios should help get the defense off the field, something it had trouble doing last year.
The 2013 season was embarrassing for a prideful Texas defense. It was tough for Edmond, who had to watch the last two games from the sidelines as his teammates gave up 60 points to the Baylor Bears and Oregon Ducks. The frustration carried over into the offseason when he called the Baylor football program ‘trash’. Edmond will get another chance at redemption this fall.
And this year, it is Edmond who plans on delivering the crushing hits.