2. Efficiency against the run game
Texas had its fair share of struggles trying to get its ground game going on the offensive side of the ball in 2017. Sophomore running back Kyle Porter had a below mediocre average of yards per carry to say the least. And, the other three running backs in Toneil Carter, Daniel Young, and Chris Warren III, that got significant workloads themselves didn’t do enough to offset tons of pressure on the quarterback and Porter under-performing.
Last season, Texas let up just 3.0 yards per carry flat which was even less than it managed on offense. To keep control of the clock and the possession battle, which can be so key in the Big 12, Texas needs to have control of the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
A lot of this burden falls on both the offensive and defensive lines. We all know that the Texas defensive line can carry its weight. However, the offensive line will have a bigger effect on the defense for the Horns than most people know. Texas has to get some quality possessions each week out of the offense in Big 12 play. Even against teams like the USC Trojans and Maryland Terrapins, that factor will be huge.
This level of success for the Horns against opposing ground games should continue to play a factor this fall. The Texas defense only let up more than 4.0 yards per carry on average in two games last year, which happened against the Oklahoma Sooners, Mizzou Tigers, and Maryland. Texas needs to have the edge in this regard most games to give itself the chance at winning each Saturday.