Now, we’re jumping into the meat of where the difference was made at times for Texas football during the successful 2018 campaign. The Texas defense, in the second-year under defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, didn’t really take a step forward. But, it was one of the better defenses in the Big 12 for the second straight year and came up big when needed.
If not for the defensive efforts, especially in the front seven, for the Horns in the Allstate Sugar Bowl victory over the Georgia Bulldogs, that game might’ve been lost. Instead, the Horns got a big performance out of senior leaders like linebacker Anthony Wheeler. That Sugar Bowl outing was a memorable one for Wheeler as he was able to rack up his fourth sack of the season.
Altogether, the contributions made from Wheeler for this Texas defense are evident in the numbers as he was the second-leading tackler for the team this year. Wheeler posted 87 total tackles, four sacks, and 8.5 tackles for loss. He also ranked as the third best on the team in sacks and fourth in tackles for loss.
The sure-tackling ability and proven experience that Wheeler brought to the Texas linebacking corps this year made it one of the most formidable in the Big 12. It is going to be extremely difficult for Orlando and the Horns to replace the two key linebackers departing this off-season, including Wheeler.