Each day, as a countdown to fall camp opening Aug. 5, we are going to provide you with a number that was important in 2011 and let you know why it will be important in 2012.
Mack Brown typically doesn't debate too long or too hard about going for it on fourth down.
OK, yeah, Missouri in 2011 was an exception. The reason for that was Texas was having an exceptionally bad day and Brown thought the defense had a better chance to score than the offense.
Inside the number
By and large, when the time comes to pull the trigger on fourth down, Brown does just that. Brown has gone for it an average of 17.5 times over the past five years. Last season he went for it 19 times, the most since 2007. Texas made it nine times or more than 50 percent of the time.
That number could go up in 2012 for several reasons.
First, Texas is going to keep the ball on the ground even more in 2012. That means running plays on first, second and third down might not be that unusual. And on such occasions, Texas might be faced with a short fourth down. Given that the Longhorns have a veteran offensive line and three different options at running back, Brown will undoubtedly feel fairly comfortable in going for it.
Where it counts in 2012
Texas also has options on fourth downs because of its personnel. The running backs all bring different styles from being able to get outside with Johnathan Gray to going up the middle with Joe Bergeron. Also, both quarterbacks are able to get out and run. That provides the opportunity to bootleg on fourth down or even run a speed option play to the corner.
The screen game should come into play as well. If Texas becomes adept at getting the ball out into the flat quickly and is secure in doing that, the Longhorns might choose to run such a play if the box is stacked on fourth down.
So there are options. And those options should lead to Brown opting to go for it more often than he doesn't in 2012. Texas also has the ability to make it on those fourth downs more often than not in 2012.