Texas Football: Five Questions for Spring (Defense and Special Teams)

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Nov 27, 2014; Austin, TX, USA; TCU Horned Frogs running back Aaron Green (22) is tackled by Texas Longhorns defensive end Cedric Reed (88) and defensive tackle Malcom Brown (90) during the game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Texas football will begin spring practice later this week, and coming off a poor ending to last season, fans are eager for something that may give them hope for the upcoming year.

Earlier in the week, Hookem Headlines posed five questions for the Texas offense as they begin spring practice. Today, we take a look at defense and special teams.

Last year, the Texas Longhorn defense was no doubt the strongest unit on the team. Despite playing against the nation’s top-scoring offenses in the Big 12, the defense routinuely kept the Longhorns in the game more often than not.

Though there were some late-game defensive let-downs, those were due in large part to the inability of the offense to maintain possession for any extended amount of time.

Despite all that, fans were assured that under Charlie Strong, the defense will continue to be one of the nation’s best.

The defensive line, led by All-American Malcom Brown and All-Big 12 Cedric Reed, was among the best in the country.

The linebackers, benefitted from a finally healthy Jordan Hicks, exceeded expectations.

The secondary, led by senior and defensive leader Quandre Diggs, despite fielding several young players, shut down some of the best passers in college football.

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This season, however, Brown, Reed, Hicks, and Diggs are all off to the NFL, along with some of the other defensive contributors from last season, including linebackers Demarco Cobbs, Tevin Jackson, and Steve Edmond.

The defensive coaches, including new DL coach Brick Haley, will certainly have their work cut out for them this season, however, there is no shortage of talent on the roster.

Some of that talent is already on campus, but more will arrive in the summer.

Spring practice will be a time for the current players to step up and grab a place in the starting lineup before some of the freshmen arrive on the Forty Acres.

Unlike the defense, special teams was a blaring weakness last season, even ranking among the worst in the country overall. The kicking game was inconsistent, the coverage was pretty weak, and the return game was nearly non-existent. Will the hiring of Jeff Traylor as the special teams coach help?

As we head into spring football, here are five questions for the defensive side of the ball and special teams that need to be answered before the fall.

Next: Will anyone be able to replace Malcom Brown?