Brown, Bergeron ready for Cal

December, 15, 2011
12/15/11
4:17
PM ET
AUSTIN, Texas -- Mason Walters wants to move the ball on the ground.

Doesn’t matter who moves it. He just wants it moved.

“I don’t care if you put my grandmother back there, I want to run the ball,” the Texas offensive lineman said.

[+] EnlargeJoe Bergeron
Ray Carlin/Icon SMIWithout Joe Bergeron or Malcolm Brown, the Texas offense lagged at times.
She’s had a knee replaced so it might be wise to hold off on that. But Texas does have a couple of healthy guys to handle the carries. You might have heard of them, too -- Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron.

“They look nice,” linebacker Keenan Robinson said. “They’re both cutting pretty well. They’re both accelerating and opening up in their strides.”

Because of that, Texas could make some strides in its offense. That’s because despite being first and second on the team in rushing, neither Brown nor Bergeron has actually played a full game with the other.

Sure they were both healthy through the first seven games. But the coaching staff didn’t know what it had in the two running backs. Brown was seen as the featured back next to Fozzy Whittaker.

Even when Brown took a seat and handed the duties to Bergeron at the end of the Kansas game, the thought was Bergeron’s success might have had more to do with a tired defense and his fresh legs than every-down talent.

By the next week against Texas Tech it was confirmed that Bergeron could indeed be an every-down back in the Big 12. But he injured his hamstring on his 29th carry. So for the rest of the regular season Texas would not get the opportunity to see what co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin might scheme with two every-down backs.

Similarly because of the lack of running game, Texas was also never able to see what a balanced attack might do to a defense. Because there was no fear of Jeremy Hills or Cody Johnson breaking off a big run, opponents were able to key on stopping the passing game in the final five games.

The thought now -- as it was at the start of the season -- is Texas has to become a balanced attack. To do that, it wants to establish the run first. Now it has two players who are healthy enough to do that. Cal is 37th against the run nationally, allowing 130 yards per game.

The Bears did give up 365 yards rushing to Oregon. They also gave up 294 yards rushing to UCLA. Those are two teams that run it the most in the Pac-12. So Cal, despite the above stats, is susceptible to the run if the right guys are running the ball.

Carter Strickland | email

Reporter, HornsNation

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