Texas S Brenden Schooler feels more comfortable in defense

Texas Longhorns super senior safety Brenden Schooler’s long, winding football course has now come full circle.

A star in both sports and occasionally back and forth at several high schools in Dana Point, Calif., Schooler signed with Oregon as a defensive back in the recruiting class of 2016 after recording 91 tackles and three interceptions. as a senior.

Slightly considered a three-star prospect barely ranked among the top 2,000 players nationally, Schooler quickly made an impact on Eugene, starting 10 games as a true freshman and finishing third on the team with 74 tackles. while also ranking third among all true FBS freshmen. with four interceptions.

Schooler spent the next three seasons, including an injury-scarred 2019 campaign in which he was limited to just three games, playing wide receiver for the Ducks after catching the attention of new head coach Mario Cristobal. while catching passes.

The original plan was to spend his final season playing with his brother, Collin, in Arizona, but Schooler set off in search of a new destination when the Pac-12 initially pushed back the 2020 football season until the spring, eventually landing in Texas.

Schooler got off to a good start on the Forty Acres, capturing two passes for 65 yards and one touchdown in Game 1 against UTEP, then racking up seven catches for 58 yards and another touchdown against Texan technology. A deep thigh contusion, however, derailed his season, contributing to Schooler missing the Oklahoma State game and recording just three catches for 17 yards after his quick start.

With a new coaching staff in Texas and a need for security, Steve Sarkisian brought Schooler back to his old security post and Schooler readjusted quickly, starting with the first team defense in the Orange-White game. and maintaining this position until the preparatory camp.

Schooler considers it his most natural position.

“I definitely feel more comfortable on the safe side than on the receiver – I love playing catcher, don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty fun scoring touchdowns – but when I got out of high school I was recruited as security, so I played defense my entire high school career with a little sprinkled in the receiver, ”Schooler said this week.

it showed in the Orange-White game when Schooler smashed a potential touchdown pass in the end zone and finished with three tackles.

Now he’s trying to bring a lunch bucket blue collar mentality to the security post as he replaces the late Chris Brown and settles next to senior BJ Foster. With defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski often preferring to play with deep safety and safety in or near the surface, Schooler typically fills the role of single deep safety.

“They still have that deep security and he’s just going around the pitch and having fun and with Coach Joseph coming from our Lady he put up some really cool covers that I think will be good for us where we can just fly and do a bunch of games, ”Schooler said.

As a sixth-year player, Schooler has a particular focus on communicating with the rest of the defense to make sure no one is out of position, especially himself.

“I think the most important emphasis for me, and I can speak for the high school, is communication, because it all starts at the back if we’re wrong, and they squirt across the front line and linebackers,” we have to be back out there to clean it up and if we don’t communicate and fall on the wrong side it could be catastrophic and turn into a touchdown, ”Schooler said.

As Schooler and Foster have grown used to working together and developed a level of trust, some of this communication isn’t even verbal.

“I think with our old heads out there, we’re doing pretty well – we can look at each other and look at each other and we know who’s going down, we know who’s doing what,” Schooler said. “So I think having him there also gives me confidence to play freely and I know the security next to me is going to do its job.”

Sarkisian sometimes likes to joke about Schooler’s long journey, telling the sixth-year player he’s probably heard every talk Sarkisian could make to the team, but the Texas head coach also appreciates what Schooler brings to the team. the team.

“I love his approach,” Sarkisiasn said Thursday. “I think he’s a guy who appreciates his opportunity. He’s a very intelligent player, he’s heady, I think he communicates very well. And obviously because of his experience in attack and defense, I think he has a very high football IQ. So all of those things make him a really valuable piece of the puzzle for us defensively and in special teams. “

As much of an impact that Schooler can have on defense, he can have an equal impact on special teams as well. Although injury limited him last season in this area, he was a first-team Pac-12 special teams player in 2017 and 2018. So look for him to play a role in several special teams units.

And for Schooler to play an important role as the last line of defense in his sixth and final season of college football.

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