Malcolm Brown has missed the last five games with an ankle injury, but he was ready to play last week and it’s likely that the sophomore running back will see the field against Iowa State, said head coach Mack Brown.
“[Malcolm] Brown was ready to play Saturday, but he just didn’t practice much,” Mack Brown said. “We would only play him if we needed him.”
Brown’s return brings an element the Longhorns’ ground game has lacked: a physical inside rushing presence. He’s a tough runner between the tackles, and before his injury he was the Longhorns’ most effective overall back, leading the team with 238 rushing yards through the first three games. This total was in spite of the two rushes attempted in the New Mexico contest, nine fewer than Joe Bergeron.
“Malcolm looks good back in action,” running back Johnathan Gray said. “Looking forward to getting him back in the running back room. It’ll be exciting to have him back.”
Run defense improves because of gap control
After one of the worst defensive performances in team history at the Cotton Bowl — the Longhorns gave up 343 yards on the ground to the Sooners — the unit has slowly gotten better at containing the run.
The Longhorns surrendered 255 yards rushing to Baylor and then 234 yards a week later to Kansas. However, Texas made its largest jump Saturday against Texas Tech, when the Longhorns held the Red Raiders to only 112 yards on the ground — the lowest total the team has allowed since the first game of the season.
Some of this can be attributed to its inability to tackle, but the other large factor in Texas’ lack of a stopgap on the ground has been missed assignments — an area the team has taken large strides in over the last three halves of football it’s played.
“It was just gap cancellation. If you don’t do your job then it just leaves big holes, and it can be one guy. We corrected that at Kansas. Steve and the other linebackers did a great job against Tech. They canceled all the gaps out, and now I think we are back.”
Horns face early wake-up call again
Texas does not seem to be a morning team.
Twice the Longhorns have played at 11 a.m. this season and neither time were the results particularly positive. The first opportunity it had at 11 a.m. was against Oklahoma and Texas was blasted 63-21. The second time the Longhorns almost lost to Kansas, easily the worst team in the Big 12.
On Saturday, Texas will once again face an 11 a.m. kickoff when it takes on Iowa State, but this time the game will be at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, so the transition will be a little easier. After two experiences, the team feels like the third time will be the charm for the early start.
“We’ll all be ready to go this weekend,” cornerback Carrington Byndom said. “We’ll all get up and have a pot of coffee and be ready to go.”
Printed on Thursday, November 8, 2012 as: Brown back from ankle injury