Each day, as a countdown to fall camp opening 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.
When it came time for Texas to get the short yards or the short touchdown run, it almost always turned to Cody Johnson.
Inside the number
The senior fullback picked up fourth down after fourth down and also scored 36 points on short-yardage touchdowns. Now Johnson is gone. And Texas is going to be in a struggle to replace him.
Ryan Roberson was moved to fullback. But he is not going to be a short-yardage specialist like Johnson. First off, he doesn’t have the experience of finding the holes and plugging himself into them. Although he is a senior, Roberson has only seven rushes in his career and that was two years ago.
Where it counts in 2012
It is clear that Roberson is going to be a blocking fullback rather than a scoring fullback. The scoring should come from Joe Bergeron.
Bergeron is the biggest of the three true running backs and has shown a willingness to run straight through the line and pick up the tough yards. If he has Roberson in front of him, Bergeron should see plenty of holes when it comes to picking up the short yards.
Now while Roberson is not going to be doing much damage as a runner, where he can be an improvement over Johnson is in the passing game. With everyone keying on the running backs, Texas might be able to utilize Roberson by slipping him outside for a swing pass of a play-action fake.
Roberson did catch a couple of passes last year against Baylor and has demonstrated throughout his career that he has very good hands.