Keondre Coburn, Alfred Collins, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Ricardo B. Brazziell /American-Statesman-USA TODAY Sports A potential problem point for Texas football on the defensive side of the ball lies with the defensive line, more specifically with the push they can get in the pass rush. Texas didn’t have a […]
A potential problem point for Texas football on the defensive side of the ball lies with the defensive line, more specifically with the push they can get in the pass rush. Texas didn’t have a particularly potent pass rush last year throughout Big 12 play. And when you take the former star junior outside linebacker/edge rusher Joseph Ossai and senior defensive end Ta’Quon Graham out of the equation, the outlook for the pass rush gets even bleaker in 2021.
Texas did do some good work in the NCAA Transfer Portal this offseason to fill some voids in the pass rush. But that’s only the first step that this Longhorns’ front seven has to decipher. This defensive line will be a work in progress likely throughout the first few games of the regular season, considering the roster and coaching staff turnover.
That is largely to be true, though, at multiple different position groups early in the fall.
Good news for the Longhorns along the defensive front is that they have some returning linemen that are set to make a big impact this year. Texas returns a group of talented and underrated linemen that can anchor them in the trenches including redshirt junior defensive tackle Keondre Coburn and sophomore Alfred Collins.
Both Coburn and Collins were two of the most efficient Texas defensive linemen in the reps they got in 2020. The same should hold true for them this fall.
What impact DT Keondre Coburn is set to have for Texas football in 2021?
But we’re going to focus more closely on what Coburn can provide for the Longhorns in particular in 2021.
Coburn is the most productive returning defensive linemen for the Longhorns in 2021. And at times, it feels like he is still the most underrated considering what he’s given this team in the last two or three years. In his three years playing for Texas thus far, Coburn racked up 51 career combined tackles, nine tackles for loss, three sacks, three pass breakups, and one forced fumble.
Last season was a particularly efficient one for Coburn. All three of his pass breakups were technically batted balls last season. He also added a double-digit number of quarterback pressures, only two missed tackles, 15 stops, and he didn’t have a single penalty called against him.
That led to a pressure rate north of six percent, which is solid for someone like him that often lined up at nose tackle and a disruption rate at a career-best 5.5 percent (including batted balls and tackles for loss).
Coburn was a disruptive force for the Longhorns last year, especially down the stretch. A lot of his production came in the last three games of the 2020 campaign. Hopefully, that is some momentum that he can carry into next season.
Keondre Coburn @KeondreCoburn99 finished out last season on a high note in the last 3 games:
-9 tackles, 2.5 TFL’s, 1 sack
-0 missed tackles
-10 QB pressures, 17.3% pressure rate pic.twitter.com/wItikm93Qm
— Hook'em Headlines (@HookemHeadlines) June 1, 2021
Coburn has started to make that a habit, though, to round out seasons on a high note. He rounded out the 2019 campaign with a final three games where he registered a dozen combined tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble, six quarterback pressures, three stops, and no missed tackles.
If Coburn can finally put it all together in a complete body of work for a season where he’s also able to stay healthy, he will be one of the best defensive linemen in the Big 12. His production was largely underappreciated for the Longhorns thus far. His presence should come to the forefront in 2021.
Texas finished up last season with a record of 7-3 (5-3 Big 12) under the direction of former head coach Tom Herman. Former Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator/the reigning Broyles Award winner Steve Sarkisian took the reigns as the next Texas head coach to replace Herman back on Jan. 2.