The play of the defensive line for Texas football in the first few weeks of the season was truly special. Led by redshirt senior T’Vondre Sweat and junior Byron Murphy II, the Texas defensive line looked capable of dominance in the Big 12 from how they performed in non-conference play.
Sweat and Murphy are not only two of the highest-graded interior defensive linemen in the Big 12 heading into conference play but also two of the most productive and efficient pass rushers at the position. These two helped Texas rank No. 1 in defensive efficiency (per ESPN) and in the top 10 in FEI adjusted defensive efficiency this season.
But it sounds like the early-season success for the Longhorns along the defensive line isn’t slowing Murphy’s motivation as this team approaches Big 12 play this weekend. Anwar Richardson of Orangebloods reported on Sep. 22 (subscriber content) that Murphy had a “great week of practice” and was “extremely dialed in”.
Texas football DL Byron Murphy II reportedly showed out in practice this week
Murphy was the only Texas defender specifically pinpointed among the players in this report who were standouts in practice this week. That’s not to say that no one else did well in practice this week. But the fact that Murphy was specifically cited in this report further echoes the sentiment we discussed on this site during the offseason.
We continuously heard during the offseason (especially in summer workouts and fall camp) that Murphy was a step ahead of the rest of the competition along the defensive line in the weight room and drills on the practice field. Murphy set the tone for this group with his intensity and power in fall practice, and the results of that work have shown up during non-conference play, where the Longhorns’ defensive line helped this team get to 3-0.
It’s great to hear that Murphy’s motivation levels remain at an all-time high heading into Big 12 play. This Orangebloods report noted that he was extremely “difficult to guard” in team drills and simulated live-game situations in practice this week.
Murphy looks to continue to set the tone for the defensive line heading into Big 12 play
Texas needs the defensive line to continue to set the tone in the trenches for this team to bully the rest of the Big 12 this fall effectively. The Longhorns won’t win the Big 12 this year if the defensive line isn’t consistently winning battles and controlling the line of scrimmage.
Murphy and Sweat will continue to be the tone-setters in the trenches for the Longhorns this fall. But the depth DL coach Bo Davis and the Longhorns boast along the interior defensive line plays a big role in making the most of the snaps Murphy and Sweat get.