Commentary

More Malcolm Brown could only help

The freshman back had a career day against Oklahoma State, but wasn't used late

Updated: October 17, 2011, 3:38 PM ET
By Carter Strickland | HornsNation

AUSTIN, Texas -- Malcolm Brown knows his place.

And it's not to question the coaches.

"The coaches' decisions, that is pretty much what we do," the Texas freshman running back said.

In the fourth quarter against Oklahoma State, the coaches decided not to put Brown where he has been so successful -- with the ball in his hands, running downhill. Brown rushed 17 times for 130 yards through three quarters. On the first series of the fourth quarter, he had two more rushes for five yards.

His day was done.

[+] EnlargeMalcolm Brown
AP Photo/Michael ThomasTexas wants to focus on the ground game, and Malcolm Brown has proven he can carry the load.
So too was Texas'.

Through three quarters, Texas had done what it had said all week was its plan -- run the ball, control the clock, and not put the entire game in David Ash's hands.

Then the Longhorns abandoned their most successful offensive tactic -- the running game, especially that of Brown. The result was that Texas passed it 40 times and ran it 49. Ash was also sacked five times. It was almost a 50-50 split between run and pass, and looked just like last season.

Unlike last season, Texas has a run game now. And the Longhorns had been attempting to maximize its potential up until the fourth quarter of the OSU game.

In the five previous games, the Longhorns had rushed the ball 64 percent of the time. Save for the Oklahoma game, that had helped them control the clock, protect the young quarterbacks, utilize the play-action pass and, oh, yeah, win.

Coming into the OSU game Texas had stayed on message about its game plan.

"We had to run the ball and try to keep their offense off the field," Brown said. "That was what we had to do."

In the most critical series of the game -- at their own 41 following a safety to make it 38-26 with 11:20 left -- Texas passed three straight times before punting.

And loaded box or not, Oklahoma State had given up 365 rushing yards to Tulsa this season and Texas A&M averaged 6.0 yards per rush against the Cowboys.

Texas, until the drive at 11:20 in the fourth, had averaged 5.3 yards per rush against OSU. Brown was averaging 7.1.

Add all that up and Texas rushed for 231 yards. It was the 71st time in Mack Brown's career at Texas that his team has rushed for 200 or more yards. It's the first time in his career at Texas that his team has lost when it has rushed for more than 200 yards.

As for Malcolm Brown, he is a little more than halfway to 1,000 yards with half the season to go. Texas hasn't had a 1,000-yard rusher since Jamaal Charles in 2007.

"You always have the personal goals," Malcolm Brown said. "My personal goal is just to contribute as much as I can to the team."

Maybe if Brown gets the ball more he might be able to do just that.

Carter Strickland covers University of Texas football and recruiting for HornsNation

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