Can Texas Get ‘Offensive'?

We said Monday that the Texas offense was more banged up than had been reported, but did not get into specifics because head coach <B>Mack Brown </B>said he was speaking &quot;off the record.&quot; We wanted to honor his request, but not all media outlets did.

Therefore, since this information has been disseminated (in one form or another) in other venues, it was reported that neither SE Roy Williams nor SE Sloan Thomas had practiced the week before the OU game since both (both?) had hamstring injuries. Brown said he was surprised that either of them played Saturday. (We knew about Williams; Brown acted as if media had known about Thomas’ ailment all season). Nope, none of us did -- especially since the team practiced indoors (inside the "bubble" at the northeast corner of Dean Keaton and Red River) and out of view.

The reason Matt Trissel did not play was because "he was sick," Brown said.

With even less detail, Brown said Tuesday that "a bunch of guys are banged up on offense. We’ve got to get more guys out to practice and get some other guys healthy."

For the first time this season, UT trainers did not issue an injury report on either Sunday or Monday.

On Tuesday, Brown told reporters that there has been no particular emphasis on improving the ground game other than scheming for Kansas State.

The difference between winning and losing in Dallas, the head coach said again, wasn’t so much the ground game but the team’s overall inability to convert third downs.

"We were ahead for three quarters," Brown said. "If we convert in the third quarter and early fourth quarter, we still win the ball game. We’ve got to go back and do a better job with third downs."

It may have had something to do with the fact that Texas’ longest run from scrimmage against OU was nine yards. Meanwhile, Sooner RB Quentin Griffin averaged 7.8 yards per carry.

Cedric Benson had 22 carries against OU while true freshman RB Selvin Young carried once for a one-yard loss. Just a few weeks ago, the talk was that Benson would get close to 30 carries while Young would get about one-third of the totes.

"If you don’t convert on third downs, you only have the ball 61 times," Brown said. "And when you get down two touchdowns and you’re running out of time, that’s when we threw the ball more often than not. We just didn’t keep the ball in the third quarter. The third and fourth quarters were really disappointing. Offensively, we played pretty well in the first half."

Relatively speaking, of course.

Here are Texas’ offensive team totals for rushing and passing by quarter in the OU game:

RUSHING: 18 in the first; 47 in the second; 2 in the third; (-14) in the fourth

PASSING: 66 in the first; 10 in the second; 19 in the third; 61 in the fourth

Despite the emphasis on the running back (from the media’s line of questioning at least), the buzz phrase throughout the Greg Davis era is "two-dimensional". Statistically, this roughly translates into about 250 yards rushing (god, wouldn’t that be sweet!) and about 250 passing.

The K-State defense, ranked fifth nationally, presents very few weak spots but may be susceptible to the long ball because of its man-to-man coverage (and that has more to do with its style of play than its personnel).

"They invite you to take some chances," Davis said. "Because they play so much man-for-man, there are some opportunities for one-on-one situations. I think they’ll play man most of the game. That’s what they believe in. They are predominantly a man-to-man team and, after six games, people usually do what they do."

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