Each day, as a countdown to fall camp opening on Aug. 2, we are going to provide you with a number that was important in 2011 and let you know why it will be important in 2012.
Inside the number
Time and again, the Texas defense was put on the field with its back against the goal line. The culprit was an offense, which made a habit of not just turning the ball over, but turning it over on its own side of the field. That meant the defense had to protect the short field. It did so in many instances.
In the 44 trips opponents took inside the Texas 20, they only scored touchdowns 22 times. That means 50 percent of the time, a field goal was attempted or the opponent turned the ball over. Considering the situations the defense was put in, that is a stat that Texas will take.
Where it counts in 2012
As it moves to 2012, the number could get even smaller. Texas has beefed up its defensive line and now has a faster back seven to complement that line. So when you combine a shrinking field with faster players, it means offenses are going to struggle to find yards inside the 20.
Just for an idea of what Texas is striving for: Alabama led the nation in red zone defense last season. The Crimson Tide only allowed 17 drives inside its 20. Only six of those resulted in touchdowns with another four ending in field goals.