While concurring there is room for improvement, head coach Mack Brown is quick to defend his offense. People outside of the team (fans & media) are too myopic in dispensing criticism instead of giving credit where credit is due, according to Brown.
"Were not turning the ball over, and were scoring in the red zone," Brown said. "Were not getting any credit for the things were doing well. Were getting a lot of criticism for stats that are probably not real important. We didnt even get credit when we have big stats, so this is a hard place for an offense."
The problem has nothing to do with personnel or with scheme, Brown said. Instead, it boils down to breakdowns with "one play here, one player there" that has kept the ground game from getting consistently untracked, Brown said.
"We didnt run the ball very well (at KSU), but we ran it well enough at times," Brown said. "Were just not making any big plays in the running game, so were not being as consistent as we need to be."
Brown added: "Were sure not giving up on our running game, but weve got to get more third-and-short situations. Weve had too many third-and-longs right now. Our (KSU game) plan was to protect well enough because we could run the ball and take some deep shots in situations, especially with the wind.
"Most of the time against OU and Kansas State, youre not going to run up and down the field. Weve just run into the best defenses in the country two weeks in a row. Usually, good defenses win."
The usual suspects for the sluggish ground game have been the offensive line (three new starters this season, and RG Beau Baker is listed as 'doubtful' for the Iowa State game) and offensive coordinator Greg Davis game plan.
"Theyre (offensive line) doing pretty well," Brown said. "I thought theyve done a good job the past two weeks. It hasnt been noticed as much but were protecting much better. Were just not making the long runs, and thats what weve got to do. Weve got to figure out why were not making them, and start making them."
Brown was asked to what extent he might pull rank on Davis during games. Generally speaking, Brown will only make suggestions.
"What I get involved with, on both sides of the ball, is the game plan more than the play selection," Brown said. "I think it's hard during the game. In some games I may say if were not completing any passes, run the ball. I thought what we did (Saturday) was what we needed to do to win the game. I thought the game was very similar to last years Texas A&M game. Its a game where they werent moving it, and there was a lot of wind, and you had to pick your shots. You just werent going to move the ball up and down the field against either team."
Is Davis game plan too conservative against high profile teams?
"Conservative is a weird word," Brown said. "I guess when you dont score 50 points around here, its conservative. We were conservative last year against Oklahoma, and you all said we threw it 42 times. So I get confused."
There is little confusion that Davis has become the primary target among fans who are exacerbated with the offensive production this season. The coordinator has been the subject of a website, titled www.GregDavissucks.com, that a UT alumnus created two days after the Oklahoma loss. Within 48 hours, the site reportedly received more than 15,000 hits.
"Honestly, what weve learned here is we pay no attention to the news reports or the fans," Brown said. "So we go to work, and try to study, and see what we can do to be better the next week. Thats what you have to do at Texas. You dont want to get into who likes you and who doesnt like you. Its very unimportant here."
RB Cedric Benson was a relative non-factor against Oklahoma (54 yards on 22 carries) and didnt fair much better against KSU (59 yards on 23 carries). He was also held to less than 100 yards against Tulane and North Texas. Currently, the sophomore who exploded onto the scene at this time last year, is averaging 105 yards per game (NCAA No. 27; Big 12 No. 3).
"Cedric is working and really trying hard to do everything that he needs to," Brown said.
Benson told Austin media last week that he is exhausted after playing minor league baseball during the summer.
"Baseball is hard, and its really draining in kids," Brown said. "But I havent seen anything different from him at all. We havent talked about anything different. I think we just need to make more plays. Not just him but as an offense."