AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas offense is in trouble.
The running game is going nowhere, sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert is turning the ball over — when he's not on the run from pass rushers — and the receivers are dropping balls.
Texas hasn't looked this shaky under coach Mack Brown since, well, ever.
Brown and offensive coordinator Greg Davis have been at Texas since 1998, a tenure that includes the top nine scoring seasons in school history. Since 2002, Texas' 652 touchdowns are second only to Boise State's 708.
Texas has always been able to put up points — fast.
Not this year.
And after a 34-12 loss to UCLA, the No. 21 Longhorns (3-1) are desperately seeking someone to pump some life into a surprisingly punchless attack before they meet No. 8 Oklahoma (4-0) on Saturday in Dallas.
"We're looking for playmakers, quite honestly," Davis said Monday.
The best one so far, freshman flanker Mike Davis, may not even be able to play against the Sooners. He's considered questionable after a getting banged up in the loss to UCLA.
If Davis can't play, that takes yet another weapon away from Gilbert, who has few consistently reliable options when throwing downfield. Long gone are the days of Jordan Shipley shredding defenses with deep routes or short catches he turned into long runs.
Colt McCoy had Shipley running around for many of his career-record 45 victories. Gilbert, in his four games as a starter, has a receiving corps that has more drops than touchdowns.
"In the heat of the game, I'm going to continue to trust those guys," Gilbert said. "It may be they just need to relax, do what they came here to do."
Not that Gilbert has been perfect. He's been responsible for three interceptions and two fumbles in the last two games.
Brown says Gilbert is playing well, but, "he's got to stop turning the ball over ... it's killing us."
Gilbert won't deflect blame for the miscues. He even took responsibility for tailback D.J. Monroe's fumble on a handoff against the Bruins that set up a field goal.
"That's always on the quarterback," Gilbert said. "(I've) got to be better with the ball and not put our defense in positions like that."
The offensive line has struggled to protect Gilbert, too, and a unit that had to replace three longtime starters has allowed five sacks in the last two games. Depth has become a concern. One expected starter, right guard Tray Allen, injured his foot early in training camp was still on crutches last week. Top backup Luke Poehlmann was lost for the season with a knee injury in the second game.
And the running game that Texas spent all offseason working on? It's averaging just 89 yards the last two games. The season average of 135.5 would tie for fifth-worst in school history.
Brown said he won't pay attention to any offensive statistic other than touchdowns scored.
"I'm only concerned about the lack of points," Brown said. "The rest is all talk. How you get it in the end zone is all that matters."
Texas isn't doing much of that, either. Since 2007, Texas has averaged no less than 37.2 points. After the first four games of 2010, the Longhorns are scoring well below that at 26 points.
In three games, Texas hasn't scored a touchdown in the first quarter. Against UCLA, Texas managed just one TD and it didn't come until the fourth when the game was all but over.
"We need to quit shooting ourselves in the foot," Brown said.