Mack Brown overhauled the coaching staff, gave the strength and conditioning program a legitimate leader, and even hired a nutritionist. Accountability is at an all time high in the Texas program, so BON has decided now's as good a time as ever to get an auditor to look over the numbers. So join me this season as we look at the results of the 2012 Texas Longhorns and assess if the numbers fairly represent the sporting condition of the team.
47 - 280 - 4: Texas rushing attempts, yards, and TDs
While not always dominant, the Texas rushing attack got the job done to the tune of 6.0 yards per carry. Particularly effective were the perimeter runs of DJ Monroe (5 carries - 36 yards, 1 TD) and Malcolm Brown (14 carries - 105 yards, 1 TD), with Monroe doing work in the jet-sweep game and Brown following pulling interior linemen in the power-O game. Joe Bergeron (15 carries - 110 yards, 2 TDs) was tasked with wearing down the interior of the defense before exploding up the middle late in the game. Each back found success and went for more than 7 yards a carry. Interesting: the Monroe TD was the second rushing TD of his career, the first being the 65 yard run against OU in 2010. [Note: Apparently, I missed a Monroe rushing TD against Tech last year. Thought that was strange. Curse you, MB-TF.com. Still surprised a player of Monroe's explosive capability only has 3 rushing TDs. Thanks for the heads up Horn Brain.]
73-2: Mack Brown's record at Texas when rushing for 200 yards
Anyone surprised Mack wanted to get back to a dominant rushing team? Didn't think so.
10: pass catchers for the Texas offense
Jaxon Shipley led the way with 7 catches - 45 yards and a TD, and Mike Davis added 4 catches - 40 yards. The interesting development in the passing game is the production of the backs, with Brown, Bergeron, Monroe, and Jeremy Hills contributing 5 catches.
53.3: average punt yardage for transfer Alex King
With Anthony Fera out for some time, Duke transfer Alex King was the only option at punter. And at 53.3 yards a kick, with a long of 58, he acquitted himself well. With Nick Rose looking to be a solid kickoff specialist, and King getting off to a good start at punter, Fera will only be asked to step in and hit FGs. After years of having only one guy to perform all three kicking functions, it will be nice to distribute the work.
7: points left on the field by the Texas special teams
A pair of missed 40+ yard field goals and a blocked extra point are pretty obvious issues for Texas leaving the weekend. The hope is that Anthony Fera steps in and hits those 40 yarders. A 44-17 victory feels a little bit better than a 37-17 victory, and those 7 points will definitely matter later in the season.
9: Jackson Jeffcoat tackles, which led the Texas defense
Jeffcoat led the Texas defense in tackles, followed by Steve Edmond and Jordan Hicks with 8. If you felt like Steve Edmond was largely invisible in the game, it is likely a result of only 1 of his 8 tackles being solo. The only sack of the game was an 8-yard loss by Alex Okafor. Cue the panic over lack of defensive end production (or, Brett Smith is a fine QB that can make plays with his feet).
13 - 142 - 9: Plays, yards, and points for Wyoming's first two possessions
Wyoming got off to a good start, getting largely whatever it wanted to start the game at 10.9 yards per play. The highlight of that stretch being the 82-yard TD pass to Robert Herron (who finished with an impressive 5 catches - 173 yards, 2 TDs), a result of Carrington Byndom and Adrian Phillips crashing into each other and Josh Turner failing to clean up the mess. Manny Diaz's defenses pride themselves on not giving up big plays, and the young safeties will have to tighten up tackling on the back end if that will continue to be a calling card of the defense.
45 - 203 - 8: plays, yards, and points for Wyoming's final 11 possessions
After the good start, Diaz's defense adjusted well and dialed up the pressure on Brett Smith, giving up 4.5 yards per play. The final 11 possessions featured 2 INTs, 5 punts (including two 3-and-outs), 2 drives ended by the half, a drive ended on downs, and a sole TD. I was impressed with the timely and well designed outside pressure Diaz brought later in the game to get after Smith, which led to the distressed toss Smith offered up to Byndom. The INT by Vaccaro was an excellent individual play, displaying impressive make-up speed to undercut the deep ball.
276: passing yards given up by the Texas defense
On 28 pass attempts, the Texas defense gave up 276 yards. For what is thought to be a team strength, that performance just won't do. However, of those 276 yards, 152 came on three receptions. Take away those big plays, and the Texas defense holds Wyoming to 124 yards on 25 attempts. The big plays represent the difference between almost 10 yards an attempt and almost 5 yards an attempt. You bet Diaz is working on sewing up those mistakes.
2: interceptions by Texas defensive backs
One knock on the 2011 defensive backs was a failure to convert great coverage into interceptions. Byndom took advantage of a bad throw Smith tossed under pressure, and Vaccaro's pick was largely raw ability shining through. Pair the interception with a nasty open field tackle, and Vaccaro begins his Thorpe candidate season well and continues to build a nice portfolio for NFL scouts.
1 of 11 vs. 9 of 17: Wyoming 3rd down conversions vs. Texas 3rd down conversions
If one of Manny Diaz's pillars of defense is holding opponents on third down, then the Longhorn defense graded out well by giving up only one conversion on 11 attempts. If one of the benefits of a strong running game is putting your team in manageable 3rd down situations, then the Longhorn offense graded out well by converting over half of their attempts.
1-0: Texas' record headed into week 2
In an opening weekend devoid of any real upsets, a 1-0 record is still a nice thing to have. It wasn't a perfect outing, but the coaching staff has plenty to point out and keep the team working.
Those are the numbers that jumped out to me as telling indicators of how the game went. Any numbers that y'all noticed and matter to you?