Each day, as a countdown to fall camp opening 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.
Malcolm Brown caught three passes in 2011.
One of them gained positive yards. The running back went for 19 on a catch against Oklahoma. It came in the fourth quarter with the score 55-10. So paint the reception and run inconsequential. So too really was Brown’s viability as a receiver.
Inside the number
In total Brown had only 17 yards receiving. The three catches and 17 yards were the lowest totals garnered by Texas’ leading rusher -- save for quarterback Colt McCoy in 2008 -- in the Mack Brown era.
Even Cody Johnson, a makeshift running back in 2010, had four catches. Typically the number hovered between 9 and 15 with Cedric Benson going for as many as 22 in 2004.
Where it counts in 2012
For Brown to become more involved in the scheme of the Texas offense in 2012, he will need to become more involved in the passing game as well. It only stands to reason that with three running backs -- Brown, Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray -- that each will have to bring versatility to the position. If Brown is labeled solely as a runner when he enters the game the defense will be able to key on just his ability to run the ball.
It is a given Brown is adept at that part of the game, but he could become more a threat if he added another dimension, saying receiving, to his skill set. He is not alone in the need to expand his skills. Bergeron failed to have a catch in his freshman year.
At the least, these two could serve as a release man or safety receiver for a quarterback that needs to operate with a wide net.
At best, Brown and Bergeron could become multidimensional backs capable of taking a screen for positive yards and taking the defense from its toes to its heels every time either enters the game.
Of course, Texas will have other players, such as D.J. Monroe and Daje Johnson, who might fill the multipurpose role runner and receiver. But the more players it has who can do both, the harder it becomes for a defense to sniff out tendencies.