Offense shows future potential

AUSTIN, Texas -- This story comes with a warning label.

Don’t skip it. Don’t forget it while you read.

Baylor’s defense is 114 out of 120 FBS teams.

OK, go ahead, proceed with caution.

Looking back, Texas liked some of what it saw.

It would be hard not to.

The Texas offense threw for 356 yards. It ran for another 201 yards.

There were big plays -- 80 yards to Marquise Goodwin, 67 yards to Jaxon Shipley.

And there were sustained drives -- 16 pays, 67 yards for 7:30 in the first quarter.

"You can see what the Boise-Bryan Harsin offense is going to be if we combine the passing tonight, take away the turnovers and run like we did at midseason, we will have a chance to be really good," said Texas coach Mack Brown, following the 48-24 loss to Baylor. "And that’s what we’ve got to do."

Thing is, as Brown said, Texas has constructed an offense in pieces. Harsin’s fingerprints, which many times were all over the scene of the crime, could also be seen in many successful areas as well.

The run game has never been better during Brown’s 14 years at Texas than it was in back-to-back games against Kansas and Teas Tech. Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron showed they could easily be the focal point on an offense.

If you include the Oklahoma State game, over a three week stretch, the ground game went for more than 1,100 yards. The offensive line was buying in to the downfield blocking scheme. The holes were huge. And Harsin was calling the right plays -- read options, speed sweeps, inside runs -- at the right time.

Even against Missouri, with Brown and Bergeron out, Fozzy Whittaker had four rushes for 15 yards and Texas had two quick first downs before the senior’s knee injury.

“The injuries to our running backs the last four games really hurt, because that’s who we became,” Mack Brown said.

Texas lost its way. So too did Harsin. His run-first offense had to be retooled. He didn’t have the right parts. Texas would have to make do.

Harsin and Case McCoy did that against Baylor. The passing game finally started to grow up. It also showed a glimpse of what it can be when it is fully matured with the right quarterback in place.

Ultimately though, the immaturity of McCoy and trying to keep up with Heisman finalist Robert Griffin III superseded all the yards, completions and first downs.

Still Texas had a chance, largely because of the game being called by Harsin. Texas came back from 14-0 at the start. It had a chance in the fourth quarter to at least put a scare into the Bears.

Trailing 41-24, Harsin brought David Ash in at quarterback. Ash, who had been used as a runner against Texas A&M, drew the safeties in and hit Goodwin in the hands in the end zone.

“I dropped it,” Goodwin said. “It’s on me.”

But the play was there, as they were all game. That is what has Texas looking ahead.

“We will have a fresh start next year and be back in the mix,” Mack Brown said.