Texas enters 2013 with a veteran squad and high expectations. There are simply no more excuses for Mack Brown and the Longhorns not to win a Big 12 title—at least.
Yet for nearly the entire first half Saturday night against New Mexico State, Texas was utterly lost and, at one point, trailing the Aggies 7-0.
Then, the Longhorns offense unleashed. David Ash connected for four touchdowns and 343 yards as UT racked up 715 yards, a school single-game record, against New Mexico State on its way to a 56-7 win.
Part of that offensive success came from Texas' ability to spread the ball around. In all, eight different players contributed to the passing game and seven different players in the running game. But the shiny (relatively) new toy for UT's offense is wide receiver Daje Johnson.
The sophomore had nine touches Saturday night—three receptions and six rushes—for 129 yards and a pair of scores. In all, he averaged about 16 yards every time he touched the pigskin.
Johnson had 287 yards receiving as a true freshman in 2012, but his role within the Longhorns offense as a threat in the running and passing game can increase significantly this year.
Mack Brown has received criticism in the past for underutilizing speedy receivers like D.J. Monroe and Marquise Goodwin. He has the chance to put the ball in the hands of another talented guy more often this time around.
It'll be interesting to see if Brown and offensive coordinator Major Applewhite find more instances to get Johnson the ball. There are plenty of playmakers on UT's offense, from Jaxon Shipley to Johnathan Gray, but Johnson is proving himself early to be the most versatile and dangerous of the group.
In short, get Daje Johnson the ball. It would appear Applewhite and Brown are willing to do just that, per Bob Ballou of CBS Austin:
Major on Daje Johnson: "The better you do the more we'll invest in you."— Bob Ballou (@KEYESportsBob) September 1, 2013