William Wilkerson, Scout.com

The Longhorns return game was a difference-maker on Saturday in part because of Texas' new special teams coach Jeff Traylor.

The Longhorns return game was a difference-maker on Saturday in part because of Texas' new special teams coach Jeff Traylor.

It’s not just a coincidence that Texas broke a school record for the most punt return yards in a single game on Saturday, or that they did it in three less attempts [set record with 175 yards on four attempts; previous record was 173 on seven attempts against Baylor in 2001].

Jeff Traylor has a lot to do with this sudden transformation in turning the return game into a threat and not just a place-setter for the offense.

He’s got those guys believing that they can be difference-makers in the game, and they are playing like it.

Texas isn’t good enough on either side of the ball to be poor in special teams, especially in the return game. The Longhorns need to excel in this area and that’s exactly what they did on Saturday.

Daje Johnson looked electric spinning away from would-be tacklers on his 85-yard touchdown in the first quarter. He also had a nifty 31-yard return in the third quarter that set Texas up at the Owls 28. D’Onta Foreman scored five plays later to give Texas a 42-14 lead. Then Duke Thomas fielded a shorter punt and returned it 56 yards to the Rice 6 where Johnathan Gray scored two plays later.

You’ve got to give credit where credit is due and Traylor deserves a hefty sum of it with the way ST performed in this one.


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