Can this Texas Offense be Better?

In the Mack Brown era at Texas, the Longhorn offense has produced the top eight scoring offenses in Texas history. Last year's 42.4 points per game ranked fifth in the NCAA and was second in Texas history to just the Vince Young-led national championship team's 50.2 points per game. Can this Texas offense be better than last year's output?

The Texas Longhorn offense, led by coordinator Greg Davis and triggerman Colt McCoy, posted obscene numbers in 2008: 42.4 points per game (5th in NCAA), 475.8 yards (9th in NCAA), 308.3 passing yards (7th in NCAA), and 54.9% third down conversions (3rd in NCAA).

In 2008, the team scored fifty or more points four times (FAU, Rice, Arkansas, Missouri) and a forty or more in four others (@ UTEP, Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas A&M).

With as many as eight regular starters returning on offense depending upon how you count some committee positions, can this offense actually improve on last year's numbers?

Clearly, Colt McCoy's return is the main reason why the answer can be yes. McCoy, who holds 42 school records, certainly thinks this offense can be better. So does coach Greg Davis.

"I think at every position you can get better," Davis said about his star quarterback. "The thing that we've talked to Colt about is just things like ball placement, about where you actually throw the ball so the receiver has an opportunity to run after the catch. We talked about analyzing the defense a little bit quicker, about getting the ball to the third and fourth choices more often. Those are the things you work with him on different from things that you work with younger quarterbacks."

The offense does have questions to answer like will one running back step up and win the starting job and will the team find a weapon at tight end. But, those same questions were true last year after Blaine Irby's devastating knee injury against Rice in the second game of the year.

An answer to either of those questions should allow for the offense to show more diversity and balance, which will make it even harder to defend.

With so many offensive starters back and a senior quarterback who is in his fifth August camp, the team started from day one of camp at a high level of execution rather than explaining intricacies of the playbook.

"I think we had eight starters back on offense, so we were able to get started at a really high tempo, and we started working no huddle (Sunday). That's something that's hard to do if you have them stacked in a huddle and call the play and explain things, so it's critical in camp; what they've been able to retain over the summer," Davis boasted after Sunday's first practice.

Perhaps the biggest question that doesn't get asked enough is will this offense be able to find a replacement for departed wide receiver Quan Cosby?

Cosby led the team last year with 92 catches for 1123 yards and ten touchdowns. Fifty of those receptions were for ten yards or more. A reliable number two receiver to Jordan Shipley must step up and fill the role of pass catcher who can consistently get eight yards on third and seven or 12 yards on third and 11.

The talented bodies are there with Malcolm Williams, James Kirkendoll, Brandon Collins, and even converted-quarterback John Chiles as options but one or several with have to develop that comfort zone with McCoy.

If any of those questions get answered positively, it bodes well for the offense and the team. It might even bode well for the Heisman.

"The Heisman, to me, is the ultimate team award. If our team is playing well, and we are successful, obviously that means I'm playing pretty good too, and I may have a chance to go back, but it is all about team for me," McCoy said recently. "I want to win every game I step on the field. Being at Texas, I am fortunate enough to know if we do that then maybe there will be some awards in the end. But that is not my focus at all."

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