We saw an attempt at real offense and the positive effects it has on our total team play.
Even if the total production was lacking (62 plays for 271 yards) and the play calling was conservative (see 4th quarter), we put our players at advantage with scheme, attacked Nebraska's man coverage schemes and overaggressive LBs with the QB draw, bootleg, and misdirection, and set up our interior OL to maul Nebraska's overrated DT combo of Crick and Steinkuhler. There was real game planning - not a one size fits all, random play generator approach to offense. See the lack of horizontalism because of Nebraska's match coverage, for instance.
We converted short fields with points, played a clean game in terms of penalties and turnovers, allowed the defense to play with a lead (see panic substitution of Lee for Martinez), and established a physical presence throughout the game. Seeing an offense with a pulse that doesn't slit our own throats heartens every other unit on the team.
This is the kind of offense we can win with and the key going forward is continuing to make weekly tweaks in our game planning to provide different looks and cause pause in the enemy's defense. I expect we'll see some zone coverage to keep eyes on Gilbert soon enough and this will necessitate our passing game taking the next step when the QB draw well dries up.
Until then, a lot to be happy about. This was the first offensive tape I've reviewed where there was a rhyme and reason to what we were doing, even if we weren't world beaters. Huzza!
Let's run the goddamn table...
The MVPs by a large margin. Any and all of our 1st half offensive success was abetted by the positive reciprocal loop that solid play calling and solid OL execution set up for our skill players. The scheme gave the OL advantages and the OL made the schemes materialize.
And, voila! - football happened!
All five men played well, but Snow and Walters were particularly effective dominating Nebraska's touted DTs. Both of those guys play high and we made them for pay for it. The OL gave up only 2 tfls all game, Gilbert was not sacked, we had no foolish penalties, and we dominated the tone and tempo of the game. This is the best these guys have played all year and probably the cleanest performance by a UT OL in two years. They were greatly aided by the draw game and once Nebraska became hesitant to take gaps and we got LBs guessing, the power running game was productive.
I could not be happier for Britt Mitchell, who had his best game as a Longhorn. Hats off to #72. He scrapped hard.
I wish I could keep the positive tone, but this unit was wanting across the board in all phases. Malcolm Williams and James Kirkendoll dropped perfectly thrown TD passes (or, to be more exact, Kirkendoll could not possess his), their blocking was poor (thank God running inside makes outside blocking less relevant), and they came up small in every way against the best secondary in the Big 12 (outside of ours).
Our wide receivers contributed one catch all game despite consistently finding themselves in man coverage. Like last year's title game, they spent most of the game being herded out of bounds like a wayward ewe set upon by a border collie.
We will be improved greatly by graduation and it's clear that many of the things we attributed to Bobby Kennedy's coaching - good hands, perfect route running, toughness, clutchitude - with Quan and Jordan are things that both of those guys were already. I'm not sure Bobby Kennedy knows what good looks like and for our sake, I hope White and Davis prove talented enough next year to overcome his instincts.
Solid performance overall and I was particularly pleased to see Cody Johnson used as the finisher. His late game heady cutback, DB stomping, and refusal to go out of bounds was a satisfying coup de grace. He's a momentum runner and if you can get a little push, he's really a damaging dude. Wisconsin would love to have him. However, a little penetration kills the big man because 250 pounds doesn't lend itself to stop-start. If we keep blocking like this and focus on the inside running game, Cody can start to offer the output I expected back in the summer.
On review, Fozzy missed a couple of holes, but he ran hard, took hard shots early, and set up Newton and Johnson's efficacy late. You have to love Fozzy in the passing game (41 yarder + a little drop off that would have gone for big yards if Gilbert doesn't botch the throw) and some part of me wonders if we might turn him into a slot WR in the Spring. Is that insane? Maybe. Tell me how Malcolm Brown looks.
Tre Newton really maximized his runs, including the manly 3rd and long conversion, but steady is his upside.
We didn't see DJ because this game was about physical play inside the tackles. Attacking NU outside is unsound and though I would like to see more of the little man in the draw game and a counter trey or two, when the coaches orchestrate a real game plan like the one on Saturday, I'm not going to nitpick.
Wow. What a gutty running effort by GG. He's not a Colt level runner, but showing that he can punish overplay was gratifying. It really suits what our OL does well (body and screen) and his running allowed us to take the early 10-0 lead and extend it to 17-3. He made two outstanding throws on dropped TDs (reading the NU boards, apparently they're the only ones to drop TD passes?) but struggled to convert some gimmes (potentially big play to Fozzy) and wisely sailed some other balls out of bounds as our WRs were manhandled and thrown off of their routes.
We used GG a lot like Ohio State used Craig Krenzel or even Georgia used Matthew Stafford in the draw game and it set the entire tone for our offense. This is exactly the kind of stuff I've been clamoring for from Davis and huge props to Gilbert for running through Nebraska LBs and DBs in manly fashion to set the tone. He also looked comfortable on the boot and his play fakes are improving.
A lot of QBs benefit from getting hit as it fuels their competitiveness (see Colt, Vince, Gardere) and Gilbert strikes me as one of those dudes.
Let's just not get him hit too much.
I'm really happy to see Texas play football. A conservative old school SEC offensive approach may strike some as unacceptable, but if we play clean football, convert short fields, don't shoot ourselves on special teams, and put the saddle on Muschamp's defense, we can have results on the only place that matters - the scoreboard - even if our offensive statistics are as ugly as your ass in a funhouse mirror.
We pissed away half a season with foolishness, but now that our staff sees what a little effort in game planning can yield, I expect to see us finish this thing strong. I am so proud of this team for rising to the occasion in Lincoln.
Let's beat the Cyclones in Austin and see what a little momentum and confidence can yield.