Texas Football: 5 Things the Longhorns Must Do Better in 2012
Texas is usually one of the better teams in all of college football, but they've really been struggling as of late. In the last two seasons combined, they have a record of 12-13, which is completely unacceptable when you have one of the most talented teams every year and a coach that is earning the big bucks.
But this season is hoping to be a turnaround season for the Longhorns, as they return a total of 16 starters and have a loaded recruiting class coming in. The Big 12 lost a lot of star power this season, so this could be the perfect opportunity for them to become that Texas team we're all used to seeing.
Here are five things the Longhorns will have to do better in order to do that.
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You know how the saying goes: can't win football games if you turn the ball over. Last season, that was the case for the Longhorns, as they turned the ball over a total of 26 times, which was eighth-worst in the Big 12 and ranked 86th in the country.
It's hard enough to win on the road in the Big 12, and 16 of those 26 turnovers happened on the road. In three of the five losses, the Longhorns gave the ball to the other team at least three times. Two of which happened five or more times.
This is a young team, but even the most talented teams aren't going to win many games when they're constantly coughing up the football.
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The Big 12 is a conference that scores a lot of points and isn't exactly known for great defense. With that being said, you have to be able to pass the ball to keep up with the high scoring. Out of the 10 teams in the Big 12 last season, seven averaged over 30 points per game. Not going to be able to keep up when you're offense is one-dimensional.
Texas doesn't know who their quarterback is going to be yet, but whoever is named the starter must improve the passing numbers this season. Last year, the Longhorns averaged 189 yards in the air, which was eighth in the Big 12 and 86th in the country. When you average 160 passing yards a game at home, there is a problem.
Case McCoy or David Ash must step it up this season and improve on last year's totals.
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Now that we bashed the quarterback play from last season, it's also fair to put some of the blame on the offensive line as well. The same group of guys allowed a total of 28 sacks last season, which was seventh worse in the conference and tied for 74th in the country.
Texas returns majority of their offensive line with the exception of only a couple players. There's really no excuse for why this line shouldn't be better this season. When you have two young quarterbacks that are trying to build confidence, having them constantly taking hits and sacks is not going to help them improve.
The offensive line has to improve this season.
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This is probably the thing that frustrated the Longhorn fans the most last season. There's simply no reason that, with all the talent that is on this roster, the Longhorns couldn't punch the ball into the end zone.
Texas had the ball inside the red zone a total of 53 times last season, but only scored 71 percent of the time. Only 10 teams in the country had a worse percentage. Out of that 71 percent, only 50 percent of those scores were touchdowns, which was worst in the Big 12 and was 104th in the country.
There are a total of nine starters on the offensive side of the ball that will be on this team next season. They must find ways to score touchdowns or this season will look very similar to last year's.
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If the Longhorns struggle to score once again this season, the punter could at least help the defense out by punting the ball well. Justin Tucker was a great punter for three years with the Longhorns, but last season wasn't his best showing. Averaging 38 yards per punt was dead last in the Big 12 and was 102nd in the entire country.
Tucker has graduated, which means that it's an open competition in this department. Whoever becomes the punter for this season must help that fantastic defense out by putting a little bit more leg into the football.
Randy Chambers is a B/R featured columnist that covers college football and the NFL. You can contact him @Randy_Chambers or Randy.Chambers7@yahoo.com.