University of Texas

Texas tries to find confidence as it faces West Virginia

As the season winds down for the Longhorns, Texas is 4-5 overall and two losses away from missing out on a bowl appearance for the first time since 2010, a season it finished 5-7.

However, on Saturday, the Longhorns found some momentum with a 34-13 win against in-state rival Texas Tech.

And on Monday, Texas head coach Charlie Strong said the team has found confidence heading into the final part of the season. But there is still a lot of work to do as they face a Top 25 team against West Virginia this weekend.

“Right now it’s about us getting ready for West Virginia,” Strong said. “And we need to play well at home. We need to defend our home turf.”

Texas is 0-4 this season against Top 25 teams, though, in three of those contests, it has been able to stick close to its opponents, almost pulling out wins against UCLA and Oklahoma.

“We need to finish,” Strong said. “That is something we haven’t done. And we need to finish.”

Hicks a semifinalist

Senior linebacker Jordan Hicks was named a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player.

Hicks, along with Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman, is one of two Big 12 players named among 20 semifinalists and is just one of five linebackers.

Hicks, a fifth-year player for Texas, has averaged just under 13 tackles per game this season in the Longhorns’ nine games. The Ohio native, who came into the season with no interceptions, is tied for second on the team with two interceptions and has 11/2 sacks.

Seeing the ball

Charlie Strong said he found out junior defensive back Mykkele Thompson has worn glasses since the ninth grade.

Though during games, he chooses not to wear contacts, trusting his uncorrected vision to help him track down receiversts.

When Strong found out he wasn’t wearing contacts, the first-year head coach asked Thompson to put them in against Texas Tech, and he had his first interception of the season.

“I asked him how do you see?” Strong said. “Your eyes have been wearing and tearing since the ninth grade, how do you see the football? But he has contacts in now and I told him he would have never made that interception without them.”

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