AUSTIN--The Texas Longhorns debuted a dominant running game in their season opener on Saturday but want to get more long-yardage plays through the air.
Texas did not complete a pass for more than 16 yards in its 37-17 win over Wyoming.
"I think you have to go get more explosive plays in the passing game and continue to keep the other team from having explosive plays on defense," head coach Mack Brown said on Monday. "Those were the two things that probably hurt us the most."
The Longhorns rushed for 280 yards and four touchdowns on 47 attempts against a porous Cowboys defense. But UT did not have similar success in the passing game.
Sophomore quarterback David Ash was 20-of-27 for 156 yards and one score. Texas averaged 5.6 yards per pass attempt and would like to see that average increase.
"We feel like we need to throw the ball more often deeper and we have to make more yards on the short passes," Brown said. "That's something that we've been concerned about. It will open up more as the season comes on, and David gets more comfortable."
Ash said he's working on not hesitating when he finds his target downfield.
"There's a couple of times I took a hitch step which threw off the timing which means the ball is going to be late," he said. "So for me the main thing is trusting my reads, trusting my feet, and getting rid of the ball."
So how do the Longhorns plan to improve their passing game before Saturday's game against New Mexico?
"There are things here and there as far as blocking and running the right routes," sophomore receiver Jaxon Shipley said. "There are little things here and there we can improve on to help our passing game."
One of those little things is turning screen passes into long gains. Texas completed three screens against Wyoming for a total of 22 yards.
"When we get screens, we want them to plant that foot and go north and south. We don't want the dancing," Brown said. "We had two or three times the other night where we had opportunities to make four or five yards and we make two, or maybe 10 yards and we make four. We want them to
become running backs as soon as they get the ball, plant the foot and get north and south."
By Austin Laymance/Special to the Star-Telegram