No. 15 Texas overloaded with RBs in 2012

Now that’s he won the job as the starter, Texas quarterback

David Ash said he would be just as happy handing the ball off to a

running back all season instead of throwing it – as long as it

means winning.

He will certainly have plenty of options of who to give it

to.

The No. 15 Longhorns open the season at home Saturday night

against Wyoming, boasting their deepest backfield since Ricky

Williams pretty much did it all by himself in 1998 on his way to

winning the Heisman Trophy

Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron are both big, bruising runners

who combined for 1,205 yards and 10 touchdowns last seasons despite

some struggles with injuries. Freshman Johnathan Gray brings a

blend of speed and power that that saw him score a national high

school record 205 career touchdowns.

While Brown or Bergeron will start against the Cowboys, all

three expect to get plenty of action all season.

”There’s not really a set starter. It’s more of a rotation,”

Brown said. ”You can put any of us in.”

Texas coach Mack Brown has yearned for the type of punishing

rushing attack that can control a game since the Longhorns lost to

Alabama in the national championship game after the 2009 season.

Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson powered the Crimson Tide to the

victory, bruising Texas’ ego and revealing a winning formula the

Longhorns have been trying to craft for themselves ever since.

The commitment to a strong running game started to take hold

last season, even if its best efforts were against some of the

worst defenses in the country. The Longhorns were clearly

developing the confidence that they could run the ball against

anyone.

Sometimes it worked, as in consecutive 400-yard games against

Texas Tech and Kansas, and other times it didn’t, as in 36 yards

against Oklahoma.

”We are going to be a physical team (this season) and we are

going to dominate our opponents physically for four quarters,”

Texas guard Trey Hopkins said.

Wyoming will be the first to put that to the test when the

Cowboys make their second trip to Austin in three years. Wyoming

lost 34-7 in 2010 but brings an experience team energized by

quarterback Brett Smith, who led the Mountain West in total offense

last season as a freshman.

”He’s got a surrounding cast around him now and we’re at a

place where we can do what I want to do in the spread offense,”

Wyoming coach Dan Christensen said.

Wyoming plays in a stadium that holds about 29,000. At Texas,

about 100,000 will pack into Royal-Memorial Stadium, raising the

temperature a few more degrees on a hot Texas summer night. Texas

is a 30-point favorite.

Wyoming senior center Nick Carlson said the Cowboys who were

there in 2010 know what to expect.

”When it comes down to the field, we’re still blocking football

players,” Carlson said. ”It’s going to be physical.”

As for Ash, who fought off Case McCoy to be the starting

quarterback for Texas, the game will be the first time he hasn’t

had to look over his shoulder after every play to see if he’s being

replaced.

Ash struggled to run the offense and split starts with McCoy for

most of last season. But Mack Brown says Ash has earned the start

Saturday and the right to keep it if he plays well. McCoy may play,

but the Longhorns’ are clearly Ash’s team for now.

”He was so overloaded last year, it was hard for him to take

time to lead,” Brown said. ”David has really improved.”