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October 12, 2010

Breaking down the Texas Longhorn offense

Nebraska Opponent Offensive Scouting Report

Team: Texas Longhorns
Location: Austin, Texas

Colors: Burnt Orange & White
Enrollment: 50,170
Conference: Big 12 (South Division)

Head Coach: Mack Brown (Florida State, 1974), 217-103-1 in 27 seasons, 131-29 in 13 seasons at UT
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks: Greg Davis

2010 Record: 3-2 (1-1 Big 12)
National Ranking: None (receiving votes)
Series Record vs. Nebraska: Texas leads 9-4

Game Date: Saturday, Oct. 16
Game Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
Stadium: Memorial Stadium (81,091) in Lincoln, Neb.
TV: ABC
Radio: Husker Sports Network


Signal-Caller: The Longhorns have struggled getting the offense going and are averaging just 320 yards of total offense per game this fall. After losing senior leader Colt McCoy last year, QB Garrett Gilbert (6-4, 215) has taken over direction of the offensive attack, which has gained 230.2 yards per contest through the air through five games. He has completed 63.3 percent (114-of-180) of his pass attempts, but hasn't been able to help UT put the ball in the end zone consistently with just four touchdown passes against five interceptions.

On the Ground: Brown has stated he wants the ground game to lead the way. So far this season, it's sputtered to manage just 129.8 yards per game without a single back averaging 50.0 yards per contest. Foswhitt Whitaker (5-10, 195) leads the way with 242 yards on 47 carries (46.8 ypg) while Cody Johnson (5-11, 250) has added 150 yards on 42 rushes. Johnson and Tre' Newton (6-0, 200), who has 27 carries for 97 yards, lead the team with three rushing TDs each. Whittaker, D.J. Monroe (5-9, 171; 11 carries, 130 yards) and Newton have been listed as co-starters on the depth chart as no one has taken charge early in the season.

Catching It: Five different receivers are averaging at least 30 yards per game with James Kirkendoll (5-11, 185) leading the way with 57.6 ypg on 23 catches (288 total yards). Mike Davis (6-2, 183) is second with 45.8 ypg with 16 receptions and a team-leading two receiving touchdowns. Marquis Goodwin (5-9, 177), Whittaker and Malcolm Williams (6-3, 235) also each have double-figure receptions this year with 17, 17 and 14, respectively.

On the Line: The Longhorns have had some injuries but still start three seniors and a junior who each started at least four games last year. Despite the experience, RT Britt Mitchell (6-5, 305), RG Mason Walters (6-6, 300), C David Snow (6-4, 300), LG Michael Huey (6-5, 310) and LT Kyle Hix (6-7, 325) have not regularly opened holes for the ground game and left coaches searching for ways to move the ball more effectively.

Kicking It Around: PK Justin Tucker (6-1, 185) has been a strength for the Longhorns when the offense has failed to get to the end zone. Tucker has connected on 9-of-11 field-goal attempts this season, including two FGs in four separate games. Only four of his attempts have been from outside 40 yard, where he is 2-of-4 including a 45-yarder against Wyoming. Inside 40 yards, Tucker is a perfect 7-of-7 this season. He has also connected on all 13 PATs to lead the squad in scoring with 40 points. No other Longhorn has more than 18 points entering week six.

They Said It: "Three of the five games we haven't really had turnovers. So they've really taken care of the ball, but the other two (games) it seems like a different team has shown up. I think Garret Gilbert is making progress. We've had injuries at wide receiver, injuries at running back and tight end. We have been limited in those areas and the offensive line has had two injuries--one out for the year, one who hasn't played yet. But the offense has kept working, trying to get back on track and go back to the explosive offense we have had around here 12 years previous to this one."
--- Head coach Mack Brown talking about his offense during the bye week

Quick hits

***UT fell out of the national top 25 polls on Oct. 3, marking its first week out of the rankings since Oct. 15, 2000, snapping what was the longest current streak in the nation with 162 consecutive weeks in the rankings.

***The Longhorns are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since dropping their last three games in 1999.

***UT is ranked 71st in total offense this week as the Longhorns have averaged 360.0 ypg, including just 129.8 ypg on the ground (82nd). Texas has averaged just 24.8 points per contest this season, placing it 80th in the country in scoring offense.

***The Longhorns have rushed for more than 100 yards in just one of their past three games, surpassing the mark with 107 yards on 22 carries against OU. UT tried to pound the ball on the ground against Rice and Texas Tech with 46 and 43 rush attempts, respectively, but averaged just 4.2 and 2.1 yards per carry, respectively.

***The Longhorns have been forced to throw at least 35 pass attempts in each of the last four games. UT had 42 attempts in their latest setback against Oklahoma and a season-high 45 in the loss to UCLA.

Texas Longhorns 2010 Schedule/Results
9/4 Rice, W, 34-17
9/11 Wyoming, W, 34-7
9/18 at Texas Tech, W, 24-14
9/25 UCLA, L, 34-12
10/2 vs. Oklahoma, L, 28-20
10/16 at Nebraska, 2:30 p.m.
10/23 Iowa State, TBA
10/30 Baylor, TBA
11/6 at Kansas State, TBA
11/13 Oklahoma State, TBA
11/20 Florida Atlantic, TBA
11/25 Texas A&M, 7 p.m.


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