A Closer Look at Defensive Backs Coach Duane Akina

Texas defensive backs coach, Duane Akina, has coached 14 Longhorns to the NFL. (Photo Credit: Jay Janner/American Statesman)
Texas defensive backs coach, Duane Akina, has coached 14 Longhorns to the NFL. (Photo Credit: Jay Janner/American Statesman)

There’s a meeting room in the Texas football practice facility dubbed “DBU.” Inside this meeting room, where players watch film of former Longhorn defensive backs, are rows of seemingly brand-new black leather chairs, a large mural with a quote from former Longhorn Curtis Brown, and a wall adorned with photos of 28 former players.

“The Wall” shines a light on the successes of defensive backs coach, Duan Akina. All 28 players displayed on “The Wall” are former defensive backs under Akina who went on to play in the NFL.

“If somebody wants you to cover corner that’s an absolute insult,” Akina said. “What you want them to say, or the players to say individually, is ‘I play defensive back.’

“This entails being physical, you can cover, you can play zone, and you understand the mental side of the game.”

There’s no doubting the pride Akina has in his program at Texas, which has a long, deep history of producing some of the game’s best defensive backs.

This is Akina’s 13th season with Texas in a career that spans 28 years in football at the collegiate level. In that time, Akina has coached three Thorpe Award winners (awarded to the top defensive back in college football) and, as mentioned above, 28 defensive backs who have gone on to play in the NFL, including 14 from Texas.

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If you watch Longhorn games on television, you likely recognize Akina. ESPN cameramen capture his animated demeanor at least a couple times per nationally-televised game. There’s no doubt you will, once again, see shots of him in tonight’s game against Kansas State.

Like many fans, Akina hopes to see his current defensive backs receive the honor of having their pictures hung on “The Wall.” This will undoubtedly require some improvement after the last two games, but Akina knows his program works.

“It’s an incentive for the guys in this room to ask ‘Are you going to get on this film? Am I going to be talking about you 10 or 15 years down the road?’”

Twenty-eight NFL players gives current defensive backs 28 reasons to listen to Akina.

“The idea is, once you spill blood for me, we’re tied together forever.”

Brian Kendall

Part-time journalist turned full-time blogger, Brian is an online staff writer at Horns Illustrated and serves as senior staff writer for digital marketing agency Speak Social. Brian currently resides in Austin and you can read his blog at the following address: briankendall.wordpress.com