• While most focus on QB, numbers say Horns should focus on running the ball

    Mack Brown has won 150 games in 15 seasons as the Longhorns’ head football coach. Winning 10 games a year for that long a period of time is quite an accomplishment but Brown hasn’t topped that double-digit win plateau since Colt McCoy was taking snaps for him four years ago.

    On paper, this is the best Texas team since McCoy, the school’s all-time winningest quarterback was behind center. Much of the offseason discussion surrounding the Longhorns has centered on their implementation of an up-tempo offense and who is engineering the attack – junior quarterback David Ash.

    But, if the formula for how Brown-coached Longhorns squads have done well is any indication, it shouldn’t. If Texas plans to regain its status as a perennial conference and national title contender, the numbers tell us it should focus on refining its ground game.

    Over the last three years, the Longhorns have posted a 22-16 record – losing as many games over the past three seasons as they did during the previous nine. In those 22 wins, Texas actually averaged fewer passing yards per game (226.3) than it did in the 16 losses (228.4). In fact, the Longhorns threw it 11.3 fewer times in the 22 victories (26.9) than in the 16 defeats (38.1).

    On the other hand, Texas averaged 209 rushing yards per game in its 22 wins over the past three years, compared to 132 rushing yards per game in the 16 losses. During that span, the Longhorns averaged 4.7 yards per carry in their wins and 3.7 yards per carry in their losses. More importantly, they ran the ball 7.2 more times in those 22 triumphs (42.9) than in the 16 losses (35.7).

    The discrepancies between the significance of a productive running game and a prolific passing attack are even more pronounced over Brown’s entire tenure with Texas.

    In the 150 games Brown has helped the Longhorns win, they have averaged 209 rushing yards per game, compared to a nearly even 100 rushing yards per game in his 43 defeats – an 108.9 percent increase.

    Meanwhile, Texas has thrown for 252.7 passing yards in those 150 victories and 229 passing yards in the 43 losses – merely a 10.4 percent increase.

    The Longhorns have averaged 6.3 fewer pass attempts and 10 more rushing attempts in their 150 wins under Brown (30.4 pass, 42.7 rush) than in their 43 losses (36.7 pass, 32.7 rush).

    Since Brown arrived at Texas in 1998 after reviving a dormant North Carolina program, the Longhorns are 121-16 (.883) when running it more than they pass while making it a near-coin toss when they throw it more than they run, going 29-27 (.518) in all other games.

    Under Brown, when Texas runs it at least 10 more times than it passes, it has been even more successful, posting a 86-7 (.925) record. The Longhorns are 14-15 (.483) when passing the ball at least 10 more times than they run it.

    The switch to an up-tempo offense, designed to give the Longhorns around 15 more plays per game to work with, is an exciting change. It should be embraced.

    But, no matter what scheme Texas runs, it’s imperative they establish an effective running attack this season.

  • Coaching bios

    Head coach Mack Brown has 19 of 22 starters returning for the 2013 season. With that level of experience, Brown and the coaching staff have high expectations. 
    Head coach Mack Brown has 19 of 22 starters returning for the 2013 season. With that level of experience, Brown and the coaching staff have high expectations. 

    Mack Brown

    Sport: Football

    Age: 61

    Years at Texas: 15

    Salary: $5,266,667

    Entering his 16th season as head football coach at Texas, expectations are higher than ever for Mack Brown and his team. Throughout his first 12 years in Austin, Brown helped cement Texas’ reputation as a perennial Big 12 contender and notched the Longhorns’ fourth national title in 2005. However, the results haven’t been quite as rosy since then. Texas has posted a mediocre 22-16 record since losing in the 2009 national championship game. While Brown and his staff have often used the “rebuilding stage” rationale when discussing the team’s struggles over the past three years, that’s no longer the case. With more returning starters (19), including eight seniors, than any team in the nation, youth and inexperience will no longer be a factor. 

    Interesting Fact: Mack Brown is the highest paid state employee in Texas and the second-highest paid coach in college athletics, trailing only Alabama’s Nick Saban.

     

    Rick Barnes

    Sport: Men’s Basketball

    Age: 59

    Years at Texas: 15

    Salary: $2,400,000

    Known for his strong recruiting classes and regular season success, Rick Barnes’ failure to produce in the NCAA Tournament over the past several years has him in the hot seat at Texas. After leading the Longhorns to the Sweet Sixteen or better in five of his first 10 seasons in Austin, Barnes has failed to get past the second round of the Big Dance since 2008. Last season he missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in his 15-year tenure. Texas hasn’t been short of individual talent in Barnes’ time in Austin — he’s recruited superstars the likes of Kevin Durant, Tristan Thompson and T.J. Ford. However, even with that talent, the team has failed to produce in the postseason. With only one upperclassman (Jonathan Holmes) on this year’s roster, Barnes will have a tough task to not only make the NCAA Tournament, but to possibly save his job.

    Interesting Fact: Rick Barnes is the second-highest paid coach, behind only Buzz Williams of Marquette, in the NCAA without a National Championship on his resume.

     

    Augie Garrido

    Sport: Baseball

    Age: 74

    Years at Texas: 16

    Salary: $950,000

    The winningest coach in NCAA Division I baseball history, Augie Garrido enters his 17th season as head coach at Texas. Garrido is known for his small ball coaching style, and before the past two seasons his Longhorn ballclubs appeared in 13 straight NCAA Tournaments, winning a pair of National Championships. Despite the team’s struggles the past two seasons, Garrido and his staff have managed to recruit well and the future looks bright. Led by returning senior outfielder Mark Payton, who passed up an MLB contract to return to Austin, Garrido’s club should be back at the NCAA Tournament this season.

    Interesting Fact: Garrido has had only one losing season, at Texas in 1998 (23-32-1), in 40 seasons as an NCAA Division I head baseball coach.

     

    Jerritt Elliott

    Sport: Volleyball

    Age: 44

    Years at Texas: 12

    Salary: $195,000

    Entering his 13th season as head coach of Texas’ women’s volleyball team, Jerritt Elliott is the only head coach on the 40 Acres who starts the season as a reigning national champion. Elliott’s 2012 squad compiled a 29-4 record en route to his first national title, and the first for the University since 1988. The Longhorns start the year as the No. 1 team in the nation, receiving 55 of 60 first place votes in the AVCA Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Elliott, who won National Coach of the Year honors last year, will lead the Longhorns as they open the season at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Hawaii.

    Interesting Fact: Elliott has led the Longhorns to the Women’s Volleyball Final Four in four of the past five seasons.

     

    Eddie Reese

    Sport: Men’s Swimming and Diving

    Age: 71

    Years at Texas: 34

    Salary: $208,053

    The longest tenured head coach at UT, Eddie Reese enters his 35th season at the helm of the Longhorns' men’s swimming and diving team. Reese, who worked as the head coach of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Team at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics, has won 10 National Championships at Texas, most recently in 2010. Arguably the greatest swim coach in NCAA history, the Daytona Beach, Fla., native is the only college swimming coach to have won NCAA team titles in four separate decades and has been NCAA Coach of the Year on eight occasions. With 17 upperclassmen on this year’s team, including six seniors, Reese looks to return Texas to the top of the national picture, adding an 11th championship ring to his collection.

    Interesting Fact: Reese is a member of the University of Florida Hall of Fame for his success as an athlete and the Longhorn Hall of Honor for his success as a coach.

     

    Karen Aston

    Sport: Women’s Basketball

    Age: 49

    Years at Texas: one

    Salary: $337,500

    After just one year at the helm of Texas’ women’s basketball team, Karen Aston has struggled to adjust to the pressure of coaching at Texas. When former head coach Gail Goestenkors left Austin after a mediocre five-year tenure in 2011, Texas decided to hire Aston, formerly an assistant coach at Texas, from the University of North Texas. In Aston’s first year with the Longhorns, the team finished at 12-18, only the fourth losing season at Texas since women’s basketball became a varsity sport in 1974.

    Interesting Fact: Aston’s salary is less than one-third of what Texas paid her predecessor, Gail Goestenkors, who made roughly $1.25 million a year while coaching the Longhorns.

  • Four Longhorns primed for breakout seasons

    Junior Jackson Jeffcoat, one of the best defensive ends in the country, scored his first touchdown in his college career against West Virginia
    Junior Jackson Jeffcoat, one of the best defensive ends in the country, scored his first touchdown in his college career against West Virginia

    With 19 starters returning, Texas will be one of college football’s most seasoned teams in 2013. Preseason rankings place the Longhorns at No. 15 in the nation. But can this football team really meet expectations? 

    To do so, Texas will rely on increased production from a number of players in 2013. Below are four Longhorns primed for breakout seasons.

    Jackson Jeffcoat:

    Texas expects the senior defensive end to emerge as the leader of its defense. Jeffcoat has recorded 14.5 sacks in his 27 games with the Longhorns. In his 2011 sophomore season, he registered a career-high eight sacks and 21 tackles-for-loss. An injury in 2012 cut Jeffcoat’s season short, but he should surpass those numbers this year as the anchor of the Texas defensive line. With former defensive end Alex Okafor moving on to the NFL, expect the senior to rise to the occasion and become one of the most disruptive pass rushers in the Big 12. 

    David Ash: 

    David Ash is an inconsistent player at best, but this could be the year that the quarterback puts it all together and leads the Longhorn offense. As a junior, Ash is the most experienced quarterback in the conference, leading all returning Big 12 quarterbacks with 2,699 passing yards and 19 touchdown passes last season. Another year with receivers Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley should allow him to improve on those numbers. After a huge comeback performance in last year’s Valero Alamo Bowl, we can expect Ash to return with more confidence as he enters his third year.

    Peter Jinkens:

    Peter Jinkens made three starts and played in all 13 games during his 2012 freshman season. The linebacker recorded 18 tackles, including three for a loss, a sack and an interception. Jinkens should see a spike in playing time this season and could end up being the Longhorns’ best linebacker. His two best performances last year came in the team’s final two games, where he recorded a combined 15 tackles, a sack and an interception. Jinkens will get a chance to build on those performances early in 2013.

    Daje Johnson:

    In his 2012 freshman season, Johnson finished fourth on the team in both rushing and receiving yards. He hauled in 19 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 27 yards and a score, and was the most explosive player on the roster, averaging 15.1 yards per touch. Johnson could become an even bigger part of the Texas offense this year. With a trio of solid running backs ahead of him on the depth chart, Johnson could struggle to get as many carries but should still have an increased role in the backfield. On a team full of playmakers, Johnson has the chance to be the most electric of them all, and the sophomore could fill a major role as a jack-of-all-trades type in 2013. 

  • Where did the class of 2011 go?

    Texas’ 2011 recruiting class started six strong and was expected to return the program to prominence. Instead, only one member of the class remains at Texas as the group enters what would have been its junior year.

    Myck Kabongo (PG)

    Kabongo, a five-star recruit in the 2011 class, never quite gelled at Texas. His freshman year, Barnes was often hard on the first-year point guard, but Kabongo ultimately came back to Texas for his sophomore season. However, in a long, drawn-out saga, the NCAA suspended Kabongo for the team’s first 23 games because he had received improper benefits. After the season ended, Kabongo declared for the NBA draft but was not selected. Kabongo signed a deal to play for the Miami Heat’s summer league team.

    Sheldon McClellan (SG)

    McClellan, the Longhorns’ most potent offensive player while Kabongo served his suspension, also had his issues with Barnes. The shooting guard often found himself benched for long stretches, even during key games, for an apparent lack of effort. After Kabongo returned, Barnes further slashed McClellan’s playing time. After the season, McClellan declared his intention to transfer and will join Miami.

    Julien Lewis (SG)

    Lewis, an unheralded member of the Longhorns’ 2011 class, was often Texas’ best pure shooter in 2012. The 6-foot-3-inch guard averaged 11.2 points and 3.3 rebounds last season, often hitting big shots for Texas. However, like many other members of his class, Lewis elected to transfer after the season and is headed to Fresno State. 

    Jaylen Bond (PF)

    Bond did not hit his stride in 2012. The projected starter at the four spot, Bond missed all but one of the Longhorns’ first 12 games. After he came back, Bond never quite looked in rhythm, averaging 2.8 points and 3.2 rebounds a game. Like four other members of his recruiting class Bond elected to transfer and is headed to Temple after the season.

    Sterling Gibbs (PG)

    Gibbs did not wait until the 2012 season to transfer. Gibbs left UT following his freshman year citing personal reasons and transferred to Seton Hall.

  • Texas No. 15 in Preseason AP Poll

    Texas came in at No. 15 in the AP Top 25 Preseason poll. The Longhorns are the second ranked Big 12 school, Oklahoma State leads the league at No. 13. Oklahoma (16) and TCU (20) also debuted in the preseason top 25. Baylor and Kansas State also received votes. 

    Texas finished the 2012 season ranked at No. 19 in the AP following its Alamo Bowl win against Oregon State. 

    Alabama topped the powls with Ohio State coming in at No 2. Oregon, Stanford and Georgia round out the top five. 

     

    AP Preseason Poll

    1.Alabama

    2. Ohio State

    3. Oregon

    4. Stanford

    5. Georgia

    ...

    13. Oklahoma State

    ...

    15. TEXAS

    16. Oklahoma 

    ...

    20. TCU

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