Longhorn issues start in red zone
August, 14, 2012
By Chris Fallica | ESPN Stats & Information
Brendan Maloney/US PresswireMack Brown and the Texas Longhorns have gone a combined 13-12 over the last two seasons.
For the first time since 1993-1994, Texas failed to produce a first-round pick in consecutive years.
For the first time since 2000, Texas did not have a player selected in the first three rounds in the NFL draft.
So what are the biggest reasons for the Longhorns' struggles the past two years?
First, they haven't been able to protect the football. Their 56 turnovers are the most by any AQ school over that span.
They haven't been able to replace record-setting QB Colt McCoy.
In 2009, McCoy threw 27 touchdowns in leading Texas to the BCS Championship Game. Since then, three different Texas quarterbacks have combined to throw 26 touchdowns, with a conference-high 32 interceptions. Their struggles in the red zone are highlighted in the chart below.
Texas has to get better in the red zone in 2012, especially when passing the ball. The Horns ranked dead last in the FBS last season in yards per pass attempt in the red zone (1.6).
Home-field advantage at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium is nonexistent these days. Texas is 2-6 in Big 12 home games the past two years, with the two wins coming last year over Kansas and Texas Tech. Those two were a combined 2-16 in conference games last year.
In the past two years, just seven AQ teams have won fewer than two conference home games, and three others have won exactly two (Northwestern, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt).
Under new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, the defense was strong statistically, especially against the pass. The Horns allowed only two touchdown passes of 20 yards or more in 2011, tied for fewest among all FBS teams -- with LSU and Alabama. Both of those touchdowns the Horns allowed came against Heisman winner Robert Griffin III and Baylor.
On the flip side however, in four games against ranked teams (all losses), Texas allowed 39.5 points-per-game. Eliminate Kansas State, and that number balloons to 47.0 points-per-game in losses to Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
With both Case McCoy and David Ash returning at quarterback, and Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and highly touted freshman Johnathan Gray at RB, this could be the year where the Texas clicks on offense. If it doesn’t, what changes could be in store for 2013?
BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
Final Illinois 18 Louisiana Tech 35 Final Rutgers 40 North Carolina 21 Final North Carolina State 34 UCF 27
Final Cincinnati 17 Virginia Tech 33 Final 15 Arizona State 36 Duke 31 Final Miami (FL) 21 South Carolina 24 Final/OT Boston College 30 Penn State 31 Final Nebraska 42 24 USC 45
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State