Texas Football: Longhorns Must Find Offensive Identity, and Fast

Taylor Gaspar@Taylor_GasparFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2014

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The Texas Longhorns kicked off Big 12 play on a positive note with a 23-0 shutout over the Kansas Jayhawks.

Quarterback Tyrone Swoopes completed 19-of-34 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown, in addition to a seven-yard rushing touchdown in his third career start. The offense's performance was a bit inconsistent, but a win is a win.

However, if Saturday's game taught us anything about the Longhorns, it's that its offense is still lacking an identity. 

Texas entered the season with the hopes of being a downhill running team. The Longhorns finished the game with 36 rushing attempts for 111 yards.

But here's the kicker: The Longhorns put up 104 yards on 24 carries in the first half.

Running backs Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown are struggling to break loose, and the offensive line has done little to help open up holes in the ground game. Head coach Charlie Strong is not entirely blaming the O-line. He has told Brown and Gray that they have to run through defenses and break tackles.

But the running backs have not been able to do it.

The duo is very talented, but has been a non-factor in 2014. If the two backs continue down this path, it will be up to the sophomore Swoopes and his receivers to lead the offense.

And that will not be an easy task either.

Swoopes has played consistently well but has not done enough to make anyone believe he is capable of carrying the offense on his own. Quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson has kept the game plan fairly basic for the young quarterback. But a conservative offense will not work against high-scoring Big 12 opponents. 

The Texas defense was solid against the Jayhawks and has continued to progress following the embarrassing performance it put up against BYU in Week 2.

But the defense can only do so much.

At this point, there is no reason to believe that its inconsistent offense will allow Texas to keep up with the prodigious offensive attacks boasted by other Big 12 programs. Next week, Texas will face a Baylor team that averaged 59 points against its first three opponents. Hypothetically speaking, let's say the defense finds a way to hold the Bears to 30 points and keeps the Longhorns in the game. Does anyone truly believe the Texas offense would be able to score more than 30 points?

From what it has shown thus far, the logical answer to that question is no.

The offense has to figure out what its identity is and find a way to put points on the board in order to keep up with the potent offenses in the conference.

If it cannot do this, Texas fans need to be prepared for an extremely long season.

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.

Taylor Gaspar is Bleacher Report's featured columnist covering the Texas Longhorns. Follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar.

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