Stat Guy: Horns need more players to catch passes

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Never have growing pains been more evident than in Texas’ 55-17 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday. Throughout the entire afternoon neither the defense nor offense looked in sync, like they had in the previous two games against Iowa State and UCLA.

The Texas offense was on and then off the field with three-and-outs as quickly as Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones was slinging touchdowns to his receivers.

As effective as the Sooner receivers were in the game, the Longhorn receivers as a whole were almost the polar opposite.

Three actual receivers caught a pass against the Sooners: Jaxon Shipley, Mike Davis and Blaine Irby. The trio combined for 17 catches, 171 yards and one touchdown.

Looking back throughout this season, Davis and Shipley have certainly established themselves as the go-to receivers for a pair of young quarterbacks.

In fact, Shipley has already caught 25 passes for 369 yards and three scores, while Davis has hauled in 15 balls for 334 yards and one score. The duo has tallied 703 of the Longhorns’ 1,082 yards. For anyone without a calculator on hand, that’s 65 percent of the Longhorns’ air game. To the statistical eye, one wouldn’t believe that this is an offense that likes to spread the ball around to different playmakers.

A couple of weeks ago at UCLA, D.J. Grant emerged as possibly the next great tight end, racking up six catches for 77 yards and three scores. It must have been California Dreamin’ because since then Grant has caught one ball for 19 yards.

When Marquis Goodwin declared his return his return to football the week prior to the BYU game, much hype was given to his world-class speed mixed into the versatile Texas offense. Since then, Goodwin has caught three balls for 15 yards. The list can go on about lackluster receiving performance.

While some of the blame can be placed upon errant throws, it is still the receivers’ job to help the quarterbacks out. There is far too much talent on the Texas sideline for only two receivers to be making a major impact. It is time for receivers like Grant, Goodwin, Darius White and DeSean Hales to put up some numbers. John Harris being out indefinitely with a foot injury doesn’t help, either.

To co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin’s credit, a multitude of skill players are seeing touches, however the majority of the time those touches aren’t producing significant yards. Until major fluidity is created between the quarterbacks and receiving corps, look for Davis and Shipley to continue to carry the Texas offense on their backs. But it’d be nice if they could get some help.

Printed on October 11, 2011 as: Shipley, Davis carry nearly two-thirds of Texas receiving load