Each day, as a countdown to fall camp opening on Aug. 2, 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.
Inside the number
Texas, as always, was blessed with speed in 2011.
There was D.J. Monroe, Marquise Goodwin, Fozzy Whittaker, Malcolm Brown, even Joe Bergeron could get up and go when he needed to. So it comes as a bit of a shock that the longest run from scrimmage for Texas came from Cody Johnson.
The fullback, bad ankles and all, rumbled for 55 yards against Kansas State. His next longest run was 12 yards.
Where it counts in 2012
Don’t expect to see the fullback running for 55 in 2012. In fact, don’t expect to see the fullback carrying the ball at all outside the opponent’s 5-yard line. That’s because Texas has more players who can make explosive plays on the ground than possibly ever in the Mack Brown tenure.
There is no doubt that Texas will work to soften up defensive fronts with a combination of Brown and Bergeron in the first half of games. Couple that with an offensive line that currently goes eight deep, and could be on its way to 10 deep, and Texas should have an impressive power running game that grinds down defenses.
That means, by the time the second half rolls around, Texas should be in a position to break longer and longer runs with fresher backs. Monroe, along with Johnathan Gray and quite possibly someone like Daje Johnson, should have opportunities to get the ball on the outside and go. Monroe’s touches might come more through a swing pass but if those are completed behind the line of scrimmage it is lateral and counts as a run.
Then there is quarterback David Ash. He ripped off a 51-yard run in 2011 and is going to be more apt to pull the ball down and go this season because of successful runs such as that.
So there should be opportunity for Texas to post more than a few runs of 55 yards or more in 2012.