Assessing 3 important defensive leaders for Texas football in 2022

DeMarvion Overshown, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
DeMarvion Overshown, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Moro Ojomo, Texas Football
Moro Ojomo, Texas Football /

A weak spot for head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Texas football program last season sat on the defensive side of the ball. In Big 12 play, the Texas defense wasn’t very clutch and had trouble keeping this team alive in key games.

When the offense wasn’t producing, it was difficult for Sark and the Longhorns to rely on this defense. Texas allowed 31.1 points per game (99th in FBS), 6.1 yards per play (102nd in FBS), and 426.2 total yards (100th in FBS). Those numbers will obviously never amount to a recipe for success for any defense.

Moreover, Texas’ defense clearly must be more stout this fall if this team is to find more success in the win column. The good news is that Texas brings back a lot of the more productive defensive players from last season’s team. A few different senior leaders on this defense should be in line for more successful campaigns compared to last season after getting another year in this scheme under co-DC/linebackers coach Pete Kwiatkowski.

Defensive leaders that must rise to the occasion for Texas football in 2022

With that in mind, here’s a look at an assessment of three of the most important defensive leaders for the Longhorns in 2022.

Moro Ojomo, DL

Among the three defensive leaders for the Longhorns on this list, the one that I would imagine is the quietest purely in terms of production on the field is the senior defensive lineman Moro Ojomo. The 6-foot-3 and 280-pound Ojomo is in his fifth year with the Longhorns, and this could wind up being his best.

Ojomo had high expectations as one of the starting defensive linemen for PK and the Longhorns heading into last season. But Ojomo wound up having one of the least productive seasons of his career to date, evidenced by the zero sacks he posted in more than 220 snaps in pass-rushing situations.

The fact of the matter is that Ojomo just has to be more impactful in terms of production this season than he was last year. While I do believe that Ojomo is in line to have a more productive and efficient run this fall compared to last season, the real impact he can make on this front seven could have more to do with what he does away from the ball.

Texas is going to have other playmakers along the defensive line that will rack up more stats than Ojomo game in and game out (i.e. nose tackle Byron Murphy and jack ends Barryn Sorrell and Alfred Collins. And that’s probably the best thing for Texas given how overwhelming Murphy can be in the trenches and the quickness that both Sorrell and Collins possess at the point of attack.

Where Ojomo can thrive comes with his ability to set the edge, effectively take up space by consuming double-teams, and avoid bad mistakes such as missed tackles.

We’ve seen before that Ojomo can effectively set the edge thanks to his sturdy frame at 280 pounds. He was also one of the least mistake-prone defensive players for the Longhorns last season.

Ojomo proved that last season by registering the second-best defensive grade, second-best run defense grade, and a nice ratio of stops per missed tackle.

In fact, not only was Ojomo the highest graded interior defensive lineman for the Longhorns last season, but he was also the only player in his position group to post triple the number of stops he had compared to missed tackles.

Ojomo needs to be an extremely fundamentally sound player for the Longhorns in the trenches that does all the little things well for this group to ultimately find success.