Explosive Texas Offense On Record Pace

QB Vince Young couldn't believe his eyes last Sunday when Texas coach Mack Brown showed him the team's current stats. That's because the ground-gobbling 2005 Longhorns are on the verge of shattering decades-old records for offensive dominance established by the 1969 national champions.

"Coach showed me that and I was shocked by the numbers we've been putting up," Young said.

It's been 36 seasons since QB James (Slick) Street and RB Steve (Woo, Woo) Worster directed the devastating wishbone attack that set the program's standard for yards-per-game (472.1) and points-per-game (41.4). These days, Young and company are on the verge of rewriting school records for total offense (518 ypg) and scoring (48.3 ppg). The offense has generated 4,662 yards (2,507 rushing and 2,155 passing) through nine contests. With three (and, in all probability, four) games remaining, the 2005 Longhorns should also erase the program's mark for total yards (5,709) set just two seasons ago.

"I get frustrated now if we don't move the ball," Brown said. "I got really upset with the (failed) 4th-and-3 (attempt at Baylor) because that put us in a tough spot. I made that decision, so you get spoiled. And it will be different this weekend (against Kansas' top-ranked run defense). This year, people have not moved the ball against the Kansas defense. It will be a real test for us."

The KU rush defense ranks first nationally, allowing just 64.1 ypg. But consider these numbers:

...The last two games mark the first time in school history that Texas has posted 600+ yards in consecutive outings. In fact, it was just the third time in program history -- but the third time in as many years -- that the Horns have notched a pair of 600-yard games in a single season.

...Four of the program's Top 25 offensive games have come since Labor Day weekend. Texas generated 585 yards at Missouri, 591 against UL-Lafayette, 606 at Oklahoma State and 645 at Baylor.

...By averaging 278.6 yards rushing and 239.4 yards passing, Texas joins USC as the nation's only program averaging 230+ yards in both categories.

...Texas is the only team to score 50+ points five times in 2005 in games versus Division-I opposition.

...Texas has now scored 100 unanswered points dating back to David Pino's FG just before halftime against Oklahoma State.

...Vince Young's 506 total yards against Oklahoma State mark the first 500-yard total offense game in school history. Following his heroics in Stillwater, VY became the first player in D-I history to rush for more than 250 yards and pass for more than 230 yards in the same game.

...Texas has six one-play scoring drives this season. The most recent was Ramonce Taylor's 42-yard TD reception from Young against Baylor last weekend.

....Texas is converting more than half of its third down attempts. Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis' goal is to move the chains at least 45 percent of the time on third down. Currently, the Horns third down conversion percentage (50.4) is on pace to beat the mark set in 2001 (49.2 percent).

"Our third-down percentage is ridiculous," laughs Young.

Most of the preseason concerns centered around the offense: who would fill RB Cedric Benson's cleats? Would the receivers finally step up? Could Young elevate his passing game to complement his ridiculous running skills? Would defenses mitigate Young by putting eight or nine in the box?

"I would say my biggest (preseason) question was the wide receivers before Jamaal got here and we saw that Selvin was healthy," Brown said. "The biggest question mark was whether Ramonce should go help the wide receivers or should he stay at tailback. When Jamaal and Henry (Melton) got here, and Selvin getting well, we still weren't sure about the wide receivers but they've come further than everybody."

Seven different WRs have caught passes this season -- five have TDs -- and the group has combined for 93 catches for 1,552 yards (16.7 ypc). Sophomore Billy Pittman leads the pack with 25 receptions for 647 yards and five scores.

"The biggest thing is they're not seeing things for the first time," Greg Davis said. "Once you feel comfortable, your skills begin to come out and you get more of their personality on routes. They suggest things more and it's because you understand more. They're making plays. They've allowed us to attack differently this year."

The threat of VY tucking-and-running forces defenses to think twice about man coverage.

"If you blitz everybody and he breaks it with (the DBs) running off, they've seen him go 60- and 80-yards so quickly," Brown said. "I really think the trend is to get quarterbacks who can move on 3rd-and-four. We can go for it on 4th-and-3 because our defense is better and because Vince has the ability to run if it's not there."

Heading into Senior Day, Texas' rushing offense is rated No. 3 nationally despite the fact that RBs Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young have been slowed by nagging ankle injuries. Young and Charles are combining for 164.4 rushing ypg (credit VY for 86.4 ypg rushing) while Ramonce Taylor has added some catch-me-if-you-can burst as of late.

"I really don't care where the stats come from," Young said. "The running backs have been up and down this season with their injuries. Coach Davis and I really love our running game a whole lot. It makes our team balanced."

And if you buy into the old adage that it all starts up front:

"I do think this is the best offensive line that I've ever been around," Brown said.

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