Texas Spring Football: By the Numbers

Taking a deeper look at Texas 2012 spring football practice, by the statistics.

1 — The number of turnovers the offense is allowed to commit per practice. The Longhorns were 8-1 in 2011 when they won, or tied, the turnover battle, and 0-4 when they lost it. The lone loss came at Missouri, in a game the Longhorns largely played without their top three tailbacks. Texas coach Mack Brown said that if the offense went over that mark, they would be given "reminders" to keep the turnovers down.

3 — The number of turnovers the defense is expected to force every practice, putting it directly in the way of the offense's goals. Texas forced three turnovers four times in 2011, and won all four contests. While the offense has reportedly done a nice job of holding onto the ball, rising sophomore defensive back Josh Turner accomplished this feat by himself at one practice, intercepting three passes. As a team, the Longhorns forced five turnovers on that day.

4 — The rank of the Texas Longhorns in Football Outsiders' S&P+, a defensive yards-per-play metric that accounts for field position, down and distance and strength of schedule. So while the Longhorns might have finished just outside the top 10 in total defense, they were the fourth-best defense in a more advanced statistical category. By the way, the three teams above them in the 2011 rankings — Alabama, LSU and Boise State — combined to go 37-3 last year, with two of the teams meeting up in the BCS National Championship Game.

6 — The number of newcomers enrolled and taking part in spring practice. That includes two junior college transfers in offensive tackle Donald Hawkins and defensive tackle Brandon Moore, and four high school early enrollees in quarterback Connor Brewer, fullback/linebacker Alex De La Torre, offensive tackle Camrhon Hughes and cornerback Orlando "Duke" Thomas. Both junior college players are making immediate impacts: Hawkins has been with the first team at left tackle from Day One, and Moore is forcing his way into a crowded and talented defensive tackle group. The freshmen have all had their moments, especially Thomas, who could potentially start Sunday's spring game with starting cornerback Quandre Diggs sitting out with injury.

7 — How many starters the Longhorns return defensively. Texas could potentially be elite on this side of the ball despite missing defensive tackle Kheeston Randall, linebackers Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho and safety Blake Gideon. Randall will be replaced by a four-man (at least) rotation of tackles including three players who played extensively a year ago in Ashton Dorsey, Desmond Jackson and Chris Whaley, along with Moore. And Gideon will be replaced by Adrian Phillips, a versatile athlete who started five games between cornerback and safety a year ago. Linebacker could be more of an issue, though in sophomores Steve Edmond and Tevin Jackson, and junior Demarco Cobbs, Texas has some nice, athletic pieces.

10.3 — The time, in seconds, that both Marquise Goodwin and D.J. Monroe have hit on their 100-meter dash attempts. Goodwin may even have the potential to clock 10.1. But the point is this: for its troubles on offense, Texas has a pair of players with absolutely explosive speed waiting to be let out of the garage. Goodwin showed up well as a deep threat late last season, and Monroe averaged 6.8 yards per carry last year. The Longhorns are experimenting with ways to get both players the ball, including moving Monroe to wide receiver to see if he can test defenses in the passing game. Defensive back Sheroid Evans has also clocked in the 10.3 range in the 100-meter dash.

34 — The number Earl Campbell in the NFL, and Ricky Williams in his senior season at Texas. Williams wore No. 34 as homage to the previous Longhorn great, and now the two will be enshrined together at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. In the southwest corner, next to Campbell's existing statue, Texas is unveiling a statue in Williams's likeness on Sunday prior to the Texas Spring Jamboree. A Heisman Trophy winner at Texas (like Campbell), Williams recently retired from the NFL.

64 — The number of combined starts Texas has on the offensive line. Mason Walters (25), Trey Hopkins (17), Dominic Espinosa (13) and Josh Cochran (7) have all started for more than half of a season. Backup offensive tackle Paden Kelley also started a game two seasons ago. The best part? Walters and Hopkins are just juniors, while Espinosa and Cochran are sophomores. So Texas will have a chance to put a veteran line on the field not just this year, but next year as well.

100 — Texas has three wide receivers this season who passed the century mark in a game last seasons in Goodwin, Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley. Now the key to shoring up a unit that many see as a potential weakness will be getting those players to fire at the same time. Davis had a great start to the year before fading off a bit. Shipley was excellent in the middle of the season before he got hurt. And Goodwin came on at the end of the year. The position took some heat last year as did the quarterbacks, for the team's struggles in the passing game. But it appears that the Longhorns have the pieces to get better here, and that's not counting John Harris (returned from injury), nor a trio of talented freshmen set to arrive in June.

106.9 — The 2011 quarterback rating of David Ash, the lowest of any returning starter in the Big 12, and the mark of the likely starter for Texas when the 2012 season kicks off. Ash received most of the first team repetitions at the two open practices, and looked like his decision-making had improved by leaps and bounds. The physical talent has always been there. It's not impossible for a player to make a big leap, in fact former Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman went from throwing six touchdowns and 15 interceptions as a freshman (a 103.5 rating, lower than Ash's) to throwing 18 touchdown passes to 11 interceptions as a sophomore. After his junior year, he left early and was a first-round draft pick.

131.1 — The yards-per-game average put up by running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron over the season's first eight games. As a duo, Brown and Bergeron rushed for 1,049 yards on 191 carries (a 5.5-per-carry average) and 10 touchdowns over that time period. Texas went 6-2 over the opening eight contests.

132.3 — The quarterback rating of Case McCoy in 2011, when McCoy completed 61.4 percent of his passes, threw seven touchdowns and four interceptions. If McCoy does fall to Ash in the quarterback race, does that give Texas the league's best backup? Going beyond the quarterback rating, five quarterbacks in the Big 12 won at least three road starts last year: Brandon Weeden, Collin Klein, Landry Jones, Seth Doege and McCoy. Weeden is gone, Klein and Jones are considered Heisman Trophy candidates, and Doege's road wins included a 1-11 New Mexico team and a 2-10 Kansas squad that went winless in Big 12 play. That leaves McCoy, who is fighting for his job.

156 — Combined rushing yards between running backs Brown and Bergeron over the Longhorns' final five games of the season, including the bowl game. Over those five games, with Brown nursing a turf toe injury and Bergeron fighting a hamstring injury, the two combined for 53 carries and averaged just 2.9 yards per carry while scoring no touchdowns. Not coincidentally, Texas stumbled down the stretch, going 2-3. Both running backs are now healthy.

228 — The weight of Miles Onyegbule, a sophomore wide receiver who may well outgrow the position. Onyegbule's older brother, Max, played at Kansas, where he went from a linebacker between 210 and 215 pounds to a 260-plus defensive end. With Texas searching for tight ends who can make an impact, Onyegbule could be within that weight range sooner, rather than later. He started his career at Texas in the 210-pound range, and Mack Brown said he basically had to starve himself to keep himself under 230.

255 — The listed weight of new middle linebacker Steve Edmond, who appears to be at least 10 pounds heavier. But don't think his teammates are bothered by his size. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz essentially said that weight is just a number, while noting that Edmond has the requisite athleticism to play well at the position. And safety Kenny Vaccaro took it a step further, stating that Edmond might be the best pound-for-pound athlete on the team. "I don't care if he's 300 pounds," Vaccaro said.

440 — The Texas rushing average in back-to-back games against Kansas and Texas Tech. The Longhorns rushed for 441 versus the Jayhawks and 439 against the Red Raiders. But that isn't necessarily the Longhorns' ideal offense. Mack Brown said that Texas wanted to have the ability to run for 400 yards, while at the same time ratcheting up the passing offense to achieve more balance. He often cites the 2005 BCS National Championship team as his end goal, and that team rushed for 274 yards per game while passing for 237.2 yards per game. Perhaps more importantly, that team scored 50.2 points per game.

500.8 — The quarterback rating of wide receiver Jaxon Shipley. Used four times as a passing weapon in offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin's trick plays, Shipley completed all four throws for 73 yards and three touchdowns. Interestingly enough, that wasn't the highest rating on the team. That belonged to fellow receiver John Harris, who threw just one pass, completing it for a 36-yard touchdown pass to Shipley. That was good for a 732.4 quarterback rating.

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