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Nebraska vs. Texas - What Will the Longhorns Do On Offense?

Despite it being one of the biggest questions of the week, you're not going to see too many articles about what Texas' offense might do against the Blackshirt defense. You're not going to see those articles because there really isn't an answer, or better yet, there isn't a clear cut answer. 

With as many four and five-star recruits Texas has, you'd think they'd have a clear handle on their offense. Instead nearly everything they've tried hasn't worked. 

Before the season started, Mack Brown was adamant that the Longhorns would have a successful running game. It hasn't happened. 

Texas' rushing offense is currently ranked 82nd nationally, this after having played Rice, Wyoming, Texas Tech, UCLA and Oklahoma - teams that rank 59th, 117th, 39th, 92nd, and 79th against the run. 

Garrett Gilbert was going to be the next great Texas quarterback. Instead, his 63.3 rating has him ranked 83rd nationally, and he's thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. 

The Longhorns passing offense is 53rd, total offense is 71st, and scoring offense is an abysmal 80th at 24.8 points per game. 

Of Texas receivers, only James Kirkendoll is ranked in the top 100, at 93rd with 57.6 yards per game. 

Texas can't run and they can't pass very well either. 

You might be partially correct if you take the perspective that they've assumed the form of last year's Nebraska team. Recall that after the Huskers suffered consecutive defeats to Texas Tech and Iowa State in 2009  that Shawn Watson began using a much more conservative approach. Nebraska protected the ball, used conservative play calling, relied on their top defense and punter Alex Henery to win the field position game. 

Would that approach work well for Texas in Lincoln? 

It's not who Texas is.... or at least who they're supposed to be, but they might not have much of a choice. Plus, I don't think it's any secret that the Longhorns will need to run straight at the middle of Nebraska's defense to win this game. If they can pick up some yards on the ground, it'll give them more options in the passing game. 

Texas has some talented running backs, and as you'll notice, they've gotten their chances. Unfortunately, no one has stood out. 

Rushing Receiving

G Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Rec Yds Y/G Avg TD
Cody Johnson 4 43 146 36.5 3.4 3 2 35 8.8 17.5 0
D.J. Monroe 4 11 130 32.5 11.8 1 0 0 0 0 0
Tre'Newton 3 27 97 32.3 3.6 3 3 2 .700 .700 0
Foswhitt Whittaker 5 47 234 46.8 5 2 17 76 15.2 4.5 0

D.J. Monroe blew up Oklahoma for a 60-yard touchdown, then only touched the ball three more times after that. Monroe is lightning fast, perhaps as fast as our own Taylor Martinez.

Fozzy Whittaker is a quick hitter with explosive speed (and fun to watch with the exception that he plays for Texas), but he's been injury prone.  If nothing else, you'd think the Longhorns could pound 5'-11", 250 pound Cody Johnson straight at the middle of the Husker offense and pick up three or four yards a carry.

Tre' Newton is their best all-around back. He started against Wyoming, had a single carry against Texas Tech and zero against UCLA and Oklahoma. No idea what's going on there as he's not listed as injured. 

It's easy to write these guys off, and laugh at the 'Horns inability to run the ball, but they have to do something, right? Husker fans know that despite how lousy their team is, Colorado always plays their best against Nebraska. Don't you think that's what you're going to get out of Texas this weekend? Write off their running backs at your own peril. 

However, if Texas can't run the ball successfully, then all of their drives will be two-yard dive, bubble screen left, bubble screen right, punt, then rely on the defense to force Martinez into a couple interceptions and you might just steal a game. 

Texas' receivers are good, but they don't appear to be playing with a lot of confidence. Mike Davis and Malcolm Wililams are both big bodies that should challenge Nebraska's secondary. Marquise Goodwin is the speedy receiver that's supposed to stretch the field - except that Texas has shown a knack for throwing the long ball. Gilbert is averaging 6.4 yards per attempt, ranked 80th nationally. 

So what do you guys think Texas is going to do on offense? How are they going to approach this game?