Applewhite Talks RB Rotation

Texas running backs coach Major Applewhite discusses the running back rotation and Johnathan Gray's improvement.

Coming out of fall camp, Texas co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Major Applewhite had a tough choice to make. Sure, everybody knew both Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown would rotate at running back. But which one would trot out to start the season?

"Both of those guys had a great fall camp," Applewhite said. "I thought Malcolm had a great fall camp as well, but Joe was just showing some things in fall camp that allowed him first snap of the game. But those guys are rotating so much — last game we got into a better rhythm in terms of keeping them fresh with about five or six plays apiece. We just kept them going in and out of the game."

Of course, now that group could be adding a third in true freshman Johnathan Gray, who has seen his carries go up in each contest so far.

"I think it is a developmental process, and I think [Gray] is there quite honestly," Applewhite said. "When I watched him against Wyoming, just like anybody else whether it is tackle, guard, or quarterback; they are a little bit tentative in that first game. Then I saw him lower his shoulder against New Mexico and run the ball with a little bit of power off the left tackle. Then I see him get in there against a faster, stronger Ole Miss team and now he is hitting the holes, coming out of tackles, foot quickness and speed bursts. I think it is all about familiarity and getting comfortable. I think he is really coming along. He is studying, and he is firing out things left and right during meetings. So I am really excited with his development over the last month."

Now, the trio will head into Stillwater to take on an Oklahoma State defense that Applewhite said would be more difficult to gash than the Longhorns' previous opponents.

"I think it is going to be tougher sledding," Applewhite said. "They are obviously going to come out with a great deal of emotion this being their first conference game at home. Texas is there and a lot of kids on that team are from the state of Texas. I think all that stuff goes out the window after the first series. I think all the 'Wow, he is from Texas and not at Texas' goes out the window.

"Those guys are going to play hard because that is just what they do," Applewhite said. "That is what athletes do. All that stuff that we write about and talk about, the second stop of the game that is not in their mind. They are just trying to beat that guy in front of them. So they are going to play hard, and it is going to be a tougher challenge."

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