60 days, 60 stats: No. 56

Each day, as a countdown to fall camp opening on Aug. 2, we are going to provide you with a number that was important in 2011 and let you know why it will be important in 2012.

Inside the number

Before Garrett Gilbert was booed to SMU, he hooked up for a 56-yard pass play with Mike Davis.

The play was supposed to foreshadow what was to be for Texas in 2011. Gilbert, the anointed starter, was showing off his arm. Davis, the receiver who was supposed to step into the spotlight, was showing off his speed and ability.

Almost a year later, Gibert is gone, and Davis is still trying to reach his potential. Some of that has to do with the quarterback situations at Texas last season. Neither David Ash nor Case McCoy had the arm strength to get the ball to Davis when he was open downfield.

But the burden falls on Davis as well. Although he finished with a team-high 46 receptions, he had only one 100-yard game, the first of the season, and proved that he was not capable of shedding tacklers or defenders when fighting for a ball.

Where it counts in 2012

The spring appeared to bring about a change for Davis. Texas coach Mack Brown credited his maturity and said Davis had to deal with some family issues that weighed heavily on him in 2011.

Now Davis is more willing to go up strong with his hands and snatch the ball out of the air. He also is more willing to take contact and stay up. In fact, the coaches have even toyed with putting him at punt returner because he has become a stronger runner.

Davis’ spring also was a strong signal that he is willing to work on his game. In 2011, his bad practice habits forced him out of the starting lineup while the coaching staff tried to send a message that in order to play on Saturday, he had to practice all out during the week.

That message was heard in the spring s Davis looked ready to be the breakout player everyone expected him to be in 2011.