2011 Texas-UCLA Post Mortem: Offense

A dominating performance against a bad UCLA defense. The Longhorns ran the ball 50 times for 284 yards, threw for 204 yards with an index card passing game playbook, controlled pace and tempo, imposed their will in the running game, and put on a play-calling exhibition. We used every part of the running game multi-tool and it was a lot of fun to watch.

Five red zone trips, five touchdowns. 11 of 17 on 3rd and 4th down. Yeah, that'll work.

QB

After the game, Case McCoy drove to an Indian Casino, won Blackjack splitting his fours with the dealer showing a eight, ran the Craps table playing only field bets, and tripled it all with an impulse lottery scratch-off purchase. As he bent to pick up a quarter in the parking lot, a concert grand piano flew off of the back of a moving truck, bounced six inches over his head, and took out a Nissan Sentra. Nearby, a black cat burst into flames for no apparent reason.

Case's feet and head help him to make his own luck (a hyper efficient 12 of 15 for 168, 2 TDs), but if having "It" means defensive backs will volleyball set underthrown interceptions into 45 yard gains, UCLA DL will whiff on an extended scramble like a bad Friday Night Lights episode end of game resolution, and DJ Grant will run down the field without a defender within 20 yards in the 1st quarter, then I'm a huge fan of "It." Case certainly made some fine plays and he took total control of the offense, but it's still clear to me that a quality defense paired with a defensive coordinator who will tailor his defense in very specific ways instead of "we're going to just do what we do" is going to present some challenges for Case and our offense. And no, I'm not sure if Venables is bright enough, but Stoops will intervene.

I thought both QBs played well and I love the addition of the play action option pass to Ash's repertoire. That's open all day. We'll continue to play both guys and we'll all continue to suffer through the media's narrative in defining our QB position without the benefit of actually watching or understanding the games. You see, Case is the heady passer! And Ash is a dumb runner! Arrghhh. Shoot me now.

Garrett Gilbert's medical redshirt guaranteeing surprise surgery leaves us paper thin at QB and we need some health. //Dazed and Confused // JP Floyd, I've seen that bad crowd you're hanging out with. Don't think I haven't noticed!

OL

Strong game from this group. We were extremely successful running fly sweeps, end arounds, and Fozzy was stout from the Wildcat - all taking advantage of UCLA's limited quickness in the Front 7, but I was encouraged to see us line up Brown in the I, tell the Bruin defense that we were going to run, and still average 5 yards a pop. Name the last Texas OL that could do that. 2006? I love counter plays and seeing them restored in our playbook in earnest (and actually run properly) warms my heart.

It's hard to quantify OL play neatly, but let's try it this way: on 70 snaps, the Texas offense had two plays go for negative yardage. When you play the whole game on their side of the line of scrimmage, you're going to put up 49 points.

I won't get into minutiae, but David Snow had his best game this year and I'm hoping that has to do with him getting back to full strength post-mono rather than a weak UCLA DT. I was also startled (in a good way) by the amount of playing time logged by Josh Cochran. #68 hasn't come close to growing into his body yet, but he's battling out there. Paden Kelley also logged a lot of time as OT #3 and he's continuing to show well in games. He has trouble getting a push on down linemen, but he covers a lot of ground quickly when going after LBs and down blocking. His strength has also increased markedly in his base and he's now able to pass block without being overpowered. Curious to see how he holds up against quicker fronts, but thus far Kelley has proven to be a gamer. Hard to believe it's the same player we saw in the Spring. He's proving a useful motivating burr in Trey Allen's ass.

RB

Malcolm Brown is a run maximizer. He kept us ahead of the chains all game (22-110-1td) and didn't have a single negative run on any attempt. That's a pretty amazing statistic considering man blocking is susceptible to boom or bust types of results. His fumble was unfortunate, but it was more a great play by the defender than lax ball security. I couldn't be happier with how we've brought him along and thankfully, Bryan Harsin isn't as stupid as Bob Davie as to give Brown the ball 35 times a game.

DJ was used sparingly, mostly because of the nature of the game and Marquise Goodwin is able to run most of his plays without a personnel change. Donald Junior is not forgotten, but he'd better keep his game sharp.

I like Cody Johnson's use as our short yardage back and though I respect the arguments for Brown in that capacity because of his vision, people are losing sight of what we're trying to do in the big picture. Namely, keep our stud fresh and uninjured. Sparing a back of short yardage duty is a nice way of lowering their wear and tear. Cody still isn't blowing my skirt up as a blocker. Jamison Berryhill is the superior weapon there. The problem is that Berryhill can only do that.

As I wrote last week, Fozzy has a role. He showed why he's going to continue to get snaps. 8 carries, 63 yards, 2 TDs, and an explosive 36 yard run from the Wildcat that was the game clinching dagger. I was sitting in that end zone and heard him distinctly say as he accelerated into the end zone, "Hush now, Internet." Sometimes I make things up to spice these things up.

Loved seeing Bergeron brought in late to finish. Sadly, Joe hasn't gotten to show his versatility because a lot of his use was linked to our spread passing game where he could excel as a runner, blocker, pass catcher and Malcolm Brown has really asserted himself. His short term playing time prospects were tied to Gilbert and the use of our "full offense." We have an offense of roles and he temporarily lost his. We'll figure out others.

WR/TE

I loved DJ Grant in high school as a pure athlete when he was at Austin LBJ and I'm so glad that he has been able to fight through two season ending knee injuries to flash as a true weapon in the passing game. In camp, Grant's most recent knee injury was bothering him a bit and the coaches wisely decided to bring him along slowly. Apparently, he started looking spry in the last two weeks and Harsin put in an entire package of plays to feature Grant. I'm going to go out on a limb and offer that UCLA didn't do much game planning for our TE position. 6-77-3 TDs. We've got a tight end, y'all. And our mad scientist in the booth has another toy to play with.

Irby and Grant are struggling as pure blockers, particularly on bigs, but they're trying.

Marquise is an effective #3 WR in his role in end arounds and on screens. Interested to see if his repertoire expands. The block he put on the UCLA DB was textbook and anyone crying about it needs to follow co-ed field hockey. The announcer's ensuing explanation that you don't have to be overly violent to block someone made me laugh out loud. Next time, Marquise should curl up on the ground and hope the guy trips on him. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY COUNTRY. This pronouncement on the heels of the media's tut-tutting of Floyd Mayweather Jr for daring to punch an opponent in the ring instead of making out with him after the ref called time-in after that opponent's lunging purposeful head butt put me over the edge. Protect. Yourself. At. All. Times. Say it with me.

Buckle your chin strap next time

Jaxon Shipley was nifty and possessiony and Mike Davis deserves credit for seeing both of his big plays all the way through. Darius White is now completely buried on the depth chart. That will go one of two very different ways - and neither of those trajectories will stem from contentment with his new reality.

The receivers had minimal opportunity, largely because we went run heavy and decided to make DJ Grant an All-American.

Overall

In the preseason, BC built up Bryan Harsin as a maximizer of talent and for the cleverness of his schemes and thus far he has met expectations. The QB issue will be revived when we play a defense that we can't brutalize in the running game, but that's something we probably all understand at some level.

Best timed bye week ever?

(And in case you were wondering, yes, we're preparing for ISU and OU right now)

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