Thursday, March 29, 2012
Is the Longhorns RB trio the nation's best?
By David Ubben
Texas' backfield is young, but it's the most highly recruited in the nation and looks to be productive in 2012.
Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray could all be big names soon. We introduced you to Bergeron on the blog earlier this week.
This season, what are the odds that the trio is better than any backfield in the nation? It could happen, especially if they develop like their recruiting rankings suggest they should.
KC Joyner examines the possibility here :
Texas' impressive collection of offensive line talent (the Longhorns return four starters up front) also helped the team post a 44.3 percent run blocking win rate and a 6.8-yard total in the good blocking yards per attempt (GBYPA) metric. (GBYPA is a metric that measures how productive a ballcarrier is when he is given good blocking, which is loosely defined as when the offense does not allow the defense to do anything to disrupt a rush attempt.)
Both of those figures are solid numbers and are a big part of why the Longhorns tallied 2,634 rushing yards last year, a total that ranked 21st in the FBS in that category.
Just getting everyone on the same page could go a long ways towards moving the rushing numbers up to an elite level, but an incredibly favorable schedule will also help matters a lot. Texas plays eight teams (Wyoming Cowboys, New Mexico Lobos, Ole Miss Rebels, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Baylor Bears, Kansas Jayhawks, Texas Tech Red Raiders and Iowa State Cyclones) that ranked in the bottom 40 in the FBS in rush yards per game allowed last year.
You'll need ESPN Insider to see it all, but it's an interesting note. Texas doesn't have a proven home-run hitter yet, but we'll see what Gray offers when he gets on campus.
Joyner notes that in eight of Brown's 14 seasons at Texas, he's used a single back as his premier ballcarrier, but that could be changing now.