It's Come To 'Pass': Brown Wants WRs To Share Load

Texas boasts the nation's top-ranked ground game (386 ypg), but hidden somewhere in those gaudy rushing stats lies the semblance of a passing attack. Longhorn coaches met for an hour Monday morning, scheming of ways to unleash QB <B>Vince Young's</B> arm as Texas faces a couple of tune-up games by hosting Rice and Baylor in successive weekends.

"We've got to throw the ball better downfield," Brown said. "It's inconsistency (and) it's inexperience. We've got to get more consistent in that area. We've got to have Vince more in the passing game."

Indeed. While Texas is ranked fifth nationally this week in total offense (541 ypg), just 155 of those yards per game are coming through the air (NCAA No. 97).

The question for coaches is not whether Young has the arm but when Texas can get consistent play from its young receivers. Although they now have two games under their belts, the pass catchers remain largely untested. Shortly after the narrow 22-20 win at Arkansas, Brown noted that Texas' receivers ran the wrong patterns on a number of occasions. That's why coaches spent the extra hour Monday morning, dissecting film from practice and the two opening wins, knowing that stiffer competition is on the horizon starting the second Saturday in October.

"We tried to look at every route and figure out why this guy was a little deep and why that guy lined up a little too tight, why did we have the miscommunication on this route," Brown said. "We've just gone back through everything and try to make sure we're doing it right. We're looking hard at receivers this week and the next. They understand that we've got some work to do. They've got some pressure on them."

Flashback to Arkansas' third-and-goal fumble at Texas eight with less than three minutes remaining. The field goal was a chipshot. Without that turnover, Texas would likely have to turn to its receivers to try to pull out a road win in front of a record home crowd. Even so, the day will surely come when Texas (perhaps in two weeks) will have no choice but to try and head 'em off at the pass.

"At some point, people are going to put everybody on the line of scrimmage and we'll have to throw to win a game," Brown said. "We've got to have balance. As well as we're running the football right now, we should be able to throw the ball easier than last year because we weren't running very well. There should be more people open because of play action pass and our protection is better. We haven't given up a sack yet. That's why I think we can come faster in the passing game then we have."

TEs David Thomas and Bo Scaife "have both played really well" but among true WRs, only senior FL Tony Jeffery stands head-and-shoulder pads above the kiddy corps of pass-catchers.

"Tony has been really good and everybody else has been needing improvement, to be honest," Brown said. "It's a little different in front of 86,000. Things move faster."

Jeffery believes the passing game is temporarily taking a backseat to the vastly more productive ground game.

"When the time comes for us to have to throw the ball, we're going to be ready," he said, before quickly adding, "That's the not issue. It's not that we're not throwing the ball because (the receivers) are not ready. I think the success we've had running the ball has allowed us to hold back."

Some fans have specifically pointed to RS-freshman SE Limas Sweed's misplayed route late in the Arkansas game as indicative of the inconsistency at WR. Brown said that fans forget the miscues that the likes of Roy Williams, B.J. Johnson and Sloan Thomas committed during their freshman campaign while Jeffery said the crowd noise in Fayetteville made it difficult for receivers to hear audibles.

"That was the one big miscue and that was something Limas had never seen before as far as a check-off at the line of scrimmage," Jeffery said. "With it being so loud, had we been playing at home (Young) could have verbally communicated what the play would have been."

Texas hosts Rice 6 p.m. (CDT) Saturday in a Fox Sports Southwest telecast.

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