Depth helps Texas ground game
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Friday, October 12, 2012
10/12/12 at 6:11 AM
NORMAN - Running the football will be foundation for success of either Texas or Oklahoma this weekend.
The Longhorns will showcase talented running backs in Saturday morning's contest in the Cotton Bowl.
While the health of sophomore Malcom Brown (ankle) is unknown, OU coach Bob Stoops complimented the Texas backs this week.
"All of those guys are running the ball well," Stoops said. "They find seams, they've got excellent speed and make good cuts."
The team that has rushed for the most yards in this game has won since 1998. The only exception was in 2006, when Texas captured a victory while running for the same amount as the Sooners.
Texas is led by Brown, Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray, who have anchored an attack that's averaged 209.4 rushing yards a contest. The running back position has only lost yardage three times this season for a combined five yards.
While Bergeron (nine) leads the Big 12 with rushing touchdowns, it's been the emergence of Gray that's drawn recent attention.
The freshman has gobbled up yards out of the "Wildcat" formation in recent games, filling in a void left from Fozzy Whittaker last season.
Gray, highly recruited out of Aledo, Texas, has gained 155 yards on 26 carries in his past two games against Oklahoma State and West Virginia.
"(He's) just very quick," Stoops said. "They're in the wildcat a fair amount too. It's something we'll have to spend a lot of time on."
Added OU cornerback Demontre Hurst: "He's a pretty good athlete and a great running back. He brings a lot of depth to the Texas running backs and their offense. It's going to be a factor. We're going to have to maintain them and slow them down."
Bergeron had a career-best four touchdowns against West Virginia and has gained a team-high 300 yards this season.
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391