University of Texas

Texas’ Strong encouraged by improvement, seeks defensive consistency

Texas football coach Charlie Strong said he is encouraged by defensive strides made in last week’s 27-6 victory over Iowa State, when the Longhorns held an opponent without a touchdown for the first time since the 2014 season.

But he stressed the need to build on that effort and establish consistency during Monday’s conference call with Big 12 football coaches.

“Offense is about rhythm and we were able to disrupt it,” Strong said, noting that his defense “hadn’t played a full game that way” this season until meeting Iowa State. “Everything begins with confidence and when you play well on defense, it gives your players confidence. But you can’t let one game define you and say, ‘We’re back.’ We’ve got to continue to get better.”

Strong called it “critical” for Texas to build on last week’s success after ending a three-game losing streak.

The challenge increases Saturday when the Longhorns (3-3, 1-2 in Big 12) visit Kansas State (3-3, 1-2). Texas has not won in Manhattan, Kan. since the 2002 season and Strong, who took over play-calling duties for the defense two weeks ago, plans to give his players a taste of series history so newcomers are not surprised by the game-day environment upon arrival.

Texas lost, 23-0, in its last trip to Manhattan during the 2014 season.

“You look at their home record, they don’t lose many at home and we haven’t been very successful there ourselves,” Strong said. “You always present them with history and how tough it’s been for us to go up there and play so they’re not shocked when we get there. We want to give them an idea of the environment so they can maintain their focus.”

Jimmy Burch: 817-390-7760, @Jimmy_Burch