Outdated offense

Football:

Texas under Greg Davis has run some of the same passing concepts with different quarterbacks generally to great effect against the rest of the league. This is the OC that made Hines Ward into a quarterback for a bowl game in which he threw for 300 yards.

He installed his own version of the 2-man "stick" concept where the focal receiver runs 4 yards deeper than your guy in NCAA does on this play (I can run this play for an automatic 3 yards but always to the tight end and it won't sustain drives) that devastated in 2008 with Shipley as the TE.

The man develops quarterbacks and he instills his passing system very effectively in practice. Unfortunately, the predominance of the spread means that the best defenses are routinely drilled to stop these passing concepts and will ravage them if they can abandon the box.

Over at Smartfootball you can find a video of Nick Saban talking about his basic strategy for stuffing Texas in the National title game where it all hinges on a simple disruption of the basic zone-read playing only 5 defenders in the box. Five.

Nebraska and OU showed similar disdain for the running game and Nebraska more than got away with it while OU took a few hits that would not have mattered save for the turnover disparity in the game.

Now all three of those defenses were particularly strong but that is the point. While Greg Davis is the fashioner of some truly great passing offenses, his mastery of only 50% of the possibilities of offensive football will not engineer greatness in the new decade of college football where programs in the near vicinity are taking part in the defensive arms race.

Now whether Texas abandons its new focus on running the ball (Mack has indicated that they will not but his word on the running game in the offseason has been virtually worthless to this point) for the spread of the last few years or not the constant for next year is Gilbert. If Texas can run on an honest front Gilbert has enough to do damage in the passing game.

But then we get quotes like this from Chip Brown:

Mack went out of his way to say the offense is not moving totally under center and into a two-back offense. UT will be out of the shotgun at least half of the time. Maybe more.

Oh. Sweet. A multiple offense we've been promised that will feature power running and play-action passing to receivers that are primarily downfield guys...almost half the time?

LT Kyle Hix said, "We're not doing a whole lot different on the line this year. We've just tweaked a few things."When I asked Hix what he thought the personality of the line would be this season, he said, "We want to be nasty."

So virtually none of the time Texas will run something that works?

On Gilbert as a runner, Mack said, "We always want to have a quarterback draw and a quarterback option. Garrett is quick and can slip the rush, but he's not a runner. Neither was Colt. Vince was a runner, a gifted, dominating runner."

Praise the Lord! The least effective 2 plays of the Texas offense will be retained...I was beginning to worry that Texas would abandon the play that Colt could never run and resulted in him being knocked out of the national championship game. Good to see also that the most effective running play for a pass-first offense will still be featuring the one player on the field that the coaches will least want to use in that capacity.

Thinks the offensive line will be good. Mack wants the running game to be better because he said the inability to run the ball "has cost us a chance at two national titles." He was referring to not being able to run the ball well enough against Texas Tech in 2008 and against Alabama in 2009.

See we would love to run the ball, in fact not being able to run the ball has been the reason we failed to completely capitalize on the last 2 seasons with the winningest quarterback of all time. So...we are going to run the exact same f-cking stuff that has utterly failed to this point.

Son of a bitch. Now we can only hope for these alleged tweaks and hope they amount to something more than "we just have Gilbert keep on the option read...actually nevermind, too dangerous." You may recall that Colt kept on the read once against OU and went for about 15 yards before someone stripped the ball away, and he kept a few times on A&M in his 175 yard romp on the celebrated field of Kyle.

It is essential for the 2010 running game that the offense feature something besides the inside zone as the base play. There is hope in the following:

1). Again, this is potentially a better interior OL than Texas has had since maybe 2006.

2). Tight End Barret Matthews. A blocking/receiving tight end makes a big difference as we all know. Use him as a hback more and confuse the likely direction of the play. Bring back the counter and run it in the 20 personnel fashion that you see at Florida or Auburn.

Additionally, it looks like we're relying on Matthews in the 2-man route, or Chiles/Davis/Hales will have to step up as a zone buster for this major Texas offensive component to continue to work.

3). The use of something, anything really, besides the inside zone as the base running play. It doesn't work from the shotgun without the threat of the quarterback keep. A trap play like OU features would make a significant difference, even if Texas is still overusing it like they do the zone. The outside zone is better, or should be used enough to actually get guys overpursuing and open up the cutback lanes for the inside zone.

The point is this, while I think the quality of this OL's pass-blocking will call for a much heavier emphasis on the run to be successful, if they can just run on the honest front and put a stop to this 5 and 6 in the box from Wyoming nonsense that will make all the difference.

Basically I've gone from a 7 in optimism for the running game to a 5. See you at open practice.

Geekdom:

Commanche vs. Mongol, for me one of the more anticipated matchups of the season. On the one hand you have the horse archers that rampaged half the world and destroyed the most advanced city of the time.

On the other hand you have the tribe that, in small bands, owned the plains and terrorized a much more populous people group who beyond them technologically not just in the manipulation of metal, but in the use of firearms.

Before the Texas Rangers and the Colt revolver came along there wasn't really a cavalry that was a match in Texas for the Commanche.

Commanche won although there is was a lot of difference made in the archery test that I found a little suspect. For one, and this is always a problem, to take 2 men who are certifiably not Commanche or Mongol warriors and use their performance in a single test to determine the quality of those warriors archery is a serious stretch.

For another, I believe the Mongol bow is supposed to have a better range than the Commanche bow and this wasn't tested at all. On the other hand the Commanche bow tested better on velocity so perhaps the buffalo hunting bow was better after all.

Another curious result was the dominance of the War Hawk over the flanged mace which was surprisingly devastating. Of course in one on one combat getting your war hawk stuck in an opponents skull is not an issue for the user of the war hawk, more of an issue for the Mongol trying to carry on with an iron spike in his brain.

At one point in the show they discussed intimidation where the Commanche experts seemed willing to concede the edge to the Mongols who drove fear into the Eastern World. I suspect this is because the Commanche were uninterested in examining the terrifying violence the Commanche meted out against frontiersmen and their daughters.

Personally I would be hesitant to boast about my ancestors raping young girls or torturing their captive fathers while totally smashed on moonshine. In reality, no one has the advantage in intimidation over a pack of skinny screaming Commanche braves.

Ultimately I think a Commanche force with the same kind of numbers as the Mongols placed in the battlefield would handle Genghis Khan just fine. Or, that the mongols would utterly fail to keep a hold on the plains where the commanche hunted. For all their steel technology they disregarded the value of steel in crafting armour and consequently would certainly fare no better, or worse, than a buffalo against a Commanche bow or lance.

And beyond the advantage of the plains bow over the Mongol bow, which I think was hardly proven, a skilled mounted lancer takes the edge in open battle over a squatty rider with a curved sword. See Southron v. Rohirrim at the pelennor fields.

Yes I went there.

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