Longhorns going back to drawing board this week

Austin Laymance

The Longhorns are going back to the drawing board this week.

Texas looked like a team on the rise two weeks ago, but Saturday’s 17-5 loss to Missouri and a season-ending knee injury to Fozzy Whittaker threw a wrench in the Longhorn’s plans.

Whittaker led UT with nine touchdowns and 955 all-purpose yards, and leading rushers Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron are both nursing injuries.

“We’ve got us a mess right now,” said head coach Mack Brown. “We’ve got to figure it out in a week.”

Brown, a freshman, has been sidelined by turf toe for two weeks and a hamstring issue has limited Bergeron in practice. Both suited up but did not play against Missouri and their status is uncertain moving forward, starting with Saturday’s game against Kansas State.

“We can’t plan on Joe and Malcolm being ready on Saturday,” Mack Brown said. “And we can’t plan on them playing the whole game if they are ready.”

Texas had found something on offense in the run game behind the trio of Brown, Bergeron and Whittaker, rushing for more than 400 yards in two straight games. But things turned south against Missouri and UT was held to a season-worst 247 yards (76 rushing).

“The thing you look at is, we’ve got an identity,” Brown said. “And all of a sudden, that identity is gone in the first quarter [at Mizzou]. So we’ve got to go back and regroup.”

The Longhorns don’t have much time to figure it out with No. 16 Kansas State (8-2) visiting on Saturday. 

Diaz sees Tebow in Klein

Longhorns defensive coordinator Manny Diaz compares Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein to former Heisman Trophy-winner Tim Tebow. 

Klein leads the nation with 24 rushing touchdowns and is first among quarterbacks with 1,009 rushing yards. He ran for a school-record five touchdowns last week against Texas A&M and is three scores shy of Ricky Williams’ Big 12 season record (27). 

“If you go by the film and not the hype and the side show, he plays a lot like Tim Tebow played at Florida,” Diaz said. “He’s a running quarterback and if Kansas State had been in the national spotlight from Day 1, people would think of him along those lines.”

Tebow was a dual-threat quarterback at Florida, where he led the Gators to a pair of national championships before being selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft (No. 25 to Denver). Klein has an awkward throwing motion, much like Tebow, but has passed for 1,504 yards and 10 touchdowns against five interceptions in 10 games. 

“When you watch film, you say, ‘There was a guy who did this a couple years ago,’” Diaz said. “I’m not saying they are the same, but there’s a lot of similarities.”

Klein torched Texas last season for 127 rushing yards and two touchdowns as the Wildcats won, 39-14 in Manhattan. 

Brown wants replay changes

Mack Brown said he plans to suggest the American Football Coaches Association look into expanded replay for the 2012 season. The Longhorns had a few calls go against them in Saturday’s loss to Missouri.

“The official upstairs should be able to have a replay on any play that may change the game,” Brown said. “If it’s an awful call and it happens so quickly and they don’t see it, or they’re arguing over it, then let the guy upstairs watch it three times.”

Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro was penalized for illegal helmet-to-helmet contact on a questionable play in the second quarter against the Tigers. Vaccaro stopped De’Vion Moore for a two-yard loss on third down, but was flagged for a personal foul. On the ensuing play, Kendial Lawrence sprinted 35 yards for a touchdown to give MU a 14-3 advantage.

“It’s hard to call,” Brown said. “We need to protect kids, but we’re in a position where it happens so fast — if the guy misses — it is a very difficult call. We’re doing it for fumbles, out of bounds and in bounds, line of scrimmage. Why don’t we do it on any call that’s a bad call that changes the game?”

The coach cited the BCS as another reason for replay reform because “one loss can kill you.”

“We’re in a position where losses kill us,” Brown said. “We need wins. One play can make a difference to us.”