If offense wins games, then defense does what? For Texas, it'll be helping them claim a Big 12 title in the first season under Steve Sarkisian.
Entering 2021, Texas will be on its third defensive coordinator in three seasons. Todd Orlando is with USC, and Chris Ash was not retained when Sarkisian was hired. Now, it will be up to Pete Kwiatkowski to find the right 11 to start in his 4-2-5 system.
The Longhorns' expectations have not changed despite the hiring of a new staff. Sarkisian comes from a winning background during his time in Tuscaloosa. Kwiatkowski is one of the more respected coordinators at his craft. Add that all together, a title still should be on the mindset down in the Forty Acres.
Texas' new formation will take time to adjust towards. It certainly will for those who missed spring camp due to injury. Then again, as the leaders of the staff, their role should be taught in no time.
In the end, there's one defensive player that most of America should be watching come December.
In our new series on Longhorn Country, we will be breaking down the top 10 names to watch for during the 2021 season. Some will be role-players, others will be full-fledged starters. Either way, each will be a benefactor to the success found in DKR.
Check out our other profiles already shown entering the summer months:
No. 2 LB DeMarvion Overshown
Now more than ever, linebackers can no longer be thumpers. Once big burly tacklers made hits across the middle of the field, the game has changed. The quicker, more agile, and better in coverage one can be, the more playing time they should receive.
Let's look at the stat line for Overshown in 2020.
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Second in tackles? Cross off the tackling factor.
Team leader in pass breakups? Cross off cover skills.
Leader in the locker room? Check, check, check.
Overshown might be the forgotten name to the casual fan following spring practice. The junior underwent shoulder surgery following the arrival of Sarkisian for an injury suffered during the season. Sark told reporters he is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for Week 1.
The skills Overshown possess aren't ones that were taught during his high school days in Arp, a small East Texas town. Originally recruited by Orlando to play safety, it wasn't until Ash's arrival that he asked to switched roles.
“I was actually working out with the safeties, and I went up to coach Ash one day, we had like a voluntary little workout,” Overshown told reporters in September. “And I asked him like, ‘Where do you see me, what do you think is best for me?’ And that's when we started chopping it up."
Ash believed the way the game has changed now requires a box safety to play more linebacker. The Longhorns DC moved him to the "WILL" backer role prior to the start of the season opener against UTEP.
From there, Overshown showed out his stuff.
Games like the one against Oklahoma have shown the willingness and skills it takes to tackle in the Big 12. He finished the afternoon with a career-high 11 tackles with a 29-yard interception return in a 53-45 four-overtime loss.
In three of his nine games, Overshown logged at least eight tackles.
With the transfer of Juwan Mitchell, Overshown now is the veteran of the linebacker room. In Kwiatkowski's front seven, he likely will be the linebacker remaining on the field when the team elects to go to a dime formation.
As for learning his new role, Sarkisian said that from the sidelines, he still is learning. Every meeting, every film session, every practice, Overshown is there, still active on the team.
Texas' front seven will be its best unit entering the season. Overshown's skills could very well warrant a look from scouts come next April. Add in a full season, and Overshown could earn first-round buzz similar to that of Kentucky's Jamin Davis.
Change has never been a problem for Overshown. In a new formation, perhaps this is what transforms him into an All-American talent.
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Do you think Overshown can be the x-factor on defense? Comment and join in on the discussion below!
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