Offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert talked to the media for the first time since Texas’ 50-43 loss to California in week three. Junior running back D’Onta Foreman joined Gilbert at the microphone to talk about Texas’ offense through its first three games. Here are Tuesday night’s main takeaways.
Offense needs to limit its penalties
The Texas offense committed four penalties on six drives in the second half of its matchup with California. The fouls hindered a Texas offense that produced 35 points in the first half but only seven in the second.
”Those are obviously something we have to not only lessen but attempt to eliminate,” Gilbert said. “Those were drive killers, and those are things that affect us down the stretch in us not being able to overcome those things.”
Texas has committed 28 penalties through its first three games, ranking No. 115 with 9.3 penalties per game. The team also allots its opponents 89.7 penalty yards per game, which ranks No. 122 nationally.
“Those penalties came at crucial times on crucial drives [against California],” Gilbert said. “We weren’t able to overcome those things.”
Running game climbs the national ranks
Texas rushed for 224.8 yards per game last season, good enough to rank No. 17 in the nation. Through three games, the Longhorns have managed to improve on that mark, averaging 238.3 yards.
Junior running back D’Onta Foreman leads the team in rushing with 288 yards, and he has only played in two games thus far. His 144 yards per game average would place him third nationally — he doesn’t qualify in the rankings after missing the Longhorns’ week two game against UTEP.
“[The running backs] set the tempo,” Foreman said. “I just want us to put up as many points as we can. I want us to win ballgames.”
Gilbert echoed Foreman’s comments. He said success in the running game doesn’t matter if the team doesn’t win. Texas rushed for a staggering 307 yards against California, but still came out on the losing end against the Golden Bears.
“It’s definitely a start for us,” Gilbert said. “We just got to continue getting better with that as well. Game in and game out, week in and week out, our sole focus every week is to win. Whatever that takes to win. And if it takes being productive in the run game, then it’s being productive in the run game.