Texas offense in a frustrating funk

The Texas offense is in trouble.

The running game is going nowhere, sophomore quarterback Garrett

Gilbert is turning the ball over – when he’s not on the run from

pass rushers – and the receivers are dropping balls.

Texas hasn’t looked this shaky under coach Mack Brown since,

well, ever.

Brown and offensive coordinator Greg Davis have been at Texas

since 1998, a tenure that includes the top nine scoring seasons in

school history. Since 2002, Texas’ 652 touchdowns are second only

to Boise State’s 708.

Texas has always been able to put up points – fast.

Not this year.

And after a 34-12 loss to UCLA, the No. 21 Longhorns (3-1) are

desperately seeking someone to pump some life into a surprisingly

punchless attack before they meet No. 8 Oklahoma (4-0) on Saturday

in Dallas.

”We’re looking for playmakers, quite honestly,” Davis said

Monday.

The best one so far, freshman flanker Mike Davis, may not even

be able to play against the Sooners. He’s considered questionable

after a getting banged up in the loss to UCLA.

If Davis can’t play, that takes yet another weapon away from

Gilbert, who has few consistently reliable options when throwing

downfield. Long gone are the days of Jordan Shipley shredding

defenses with deep routes or short catches he turned into long

runs.

Colt McCoy had Shipley running around for many of his

career-record 45 victories. Gilbert, in his four games as a

starter, has a receiving corps that has more drops than

touchdowns.

”In the heat of the game, I’m going to continue to trust those

guys,” Gilbert said. ”It may be they just need to relax, do what

they came here to do.”

Not that Gilbert has been perfect. He’s been responsible for

three interceptions and two fumbles in the last two games.

Brown says Gilbert is playing well, but, ”he’s got to stop

turning the ball over … it’s killing us.”

Gilbert won’t deflect blame for the miscues. He even took

responsibility for tailback D.J. Monroe’s fumble on a handoff

against the Bruins that set up a field goal.

”That’s always on the quarterback,” Gilbert said. ”(I’ve) got

to be better with the ball and not put our defense in positions

like that.”

The offensive line has struggled to protect Gilbert, too, and a

unit that had to replace three longtime starters has allowed five

sacks in the last two games. Depth has become a concern. One

expected starter, right guard Tray Allen, injured his foot early in

training camp was still on crutches last week. Top backup Luke

Poehlmann was lost for the season with a knee injury in the second

game.

And the running game that Texas spent all offseason working on?

It’s averaging just 89 yards the last two games. The season average

of 135.5 would tie for fifth-worst in school history.

Brown said he won’t pay attention to any offensive statistic

other than touchdowns scored.

”I’m only concerned about the lack of points,” Brown said.

”The rest is all talk. How you get it in the end zone is all that

matters.”

Texas isn’t doing much of that, either. Since 2007, Texas has

averaged no less than 37.2 points. After the first four games of

2010, the Longhorns are scoring well below that at 26 points.

In three games, Texas hasn’t scored a touchdown in the first

quarter. Against UCLA, Texas managed just one TD and it didn’t come

until the fourth when the game was all but over.

”We need to quit shooting ourselves in the foot,” Brown

said.