60 days, 60 stats: No. 37

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.

There was at least one number in Texas passing game to be somewhat, maybe not proud, but satisfied with … 37.

That’s the number of pass breakups defenses had on Texas. Alone that number may not mean much, but when paired with the number of pass breakups committed by Texas’ defense, 79, it is easy to see how it played a significant part in the Texas passing game.

Inside the number

Like any stat, it can be parsed and dissected in any manner of ways. For instance, there were only 37 breakups because Texas rarely threw the ball and was inaccurate when it did, therefore nullifying any chance at a breakup or interception.

But there were also 37 breakups because Texas had a more controlled passing game, didn’t put the receiver in harm’s way too often, had sure-handed Jaxon Shipley both catching and throwing and the quarterbacks started to learn when to throw the ball away.

It’s the last fact that might be the most important for Texas. Co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin harped on making smart and timely decisions when it came to throwing the ball away. Case McCoy never really caught on to that. He was more of a gambling quarterback. David Ash, who could be more controlled by the coaches, did and therefore earned every snap in the Holiday Bowl.

Where it counts in 2012

As Texas goes into year two of Ash and Harsin, it is Ash who is assumed to be the starter. That’s in large part because he has shown a willingness to protect the football.

Ash had no picks in the spring game. McCoy had two.

As Texas goes into 2012, the number of passes broken up by opponents should hover around the same number. That’s because Ash is going to be even more conservative in his decision-making and Texas is going to thrown even more high-percentage passes, such as screens.