The zone read saved our ass on Saturday, and the coaches are attempting to take credit for something that was dumb luck.
First, how many times are we going to hear the coaches mention that they weren't prepared for the other team blitzing? At some point the coaches are going to have to expect teams to blitz us. How many times can you be surprised by it?
After Arkansas St: "They were blitzing a whole lot and taking a bunch of chances. The thing you have in a game like this, just like App State, they've got nothing to lose. They can blitz every play, and if they get beat by 50 or seven, it's all the same. They're coming in with everything to gain and nothing to lose."
After TCU: "...and they were blitzing a whole lot like Arkansas State, so it surprised us quite a bit. They blitzed Baylor quite a bit, but they blitzed us even more tonight."
After Rice: "Rice blitzed a lot again tonight. They came a lot so we didn't even get the ball deep because we are conscious of that."
After Nebraska: "We did not expect them to blitz every play. To their credit we did think they had enough trouble against the run that they would change something. We thought we would have to makes some adjustments during the game, we didn’t think it would be every play. That was just unbelievable. I have never seen anybody change that drastically from one week to the next."
Nebraska blitzed every play because we never punished them for it. No running back screens, no vertical routes to Finley. Instead it was a steady diet of our usual outs and slants with the occasional fade route called for one of our possession guys.
Now Greg Davis talked about the halftime adjustments he made. "We had to make major adjustments at halftime" and "We went in at halftime and made some adjustments, and we talked about being able to run the ball."
So they came out of the locker room and ran 9 running plays out of either the I or offset I for a total of 21 yards. That was the adjustment in the running game. The Nebraska corners even started blitzing. It was so bad that even the ABC announcers were surprised and began talking about Texas' lack of motion and pre-snap shifts to try and slow the blitz.
Then McCoy gets hurt, and Chiles has to come in for a play. Because about the only play Chiles is allowed to run is the zone read, that's the play he ran. Charles picks up 25 yards. Eureka!
Brown says they came in planning to run the zone read, and they did on the second play of the game. Nebraska blitzed, and the linebacker managed to grab a hold of Charles stop him for a 4 yard gain. If he hadn't, Charles would have been one on one with the safety in the open field. You'd think our coaches would have picked up on that. Instead we have to wait until our starting quarterback gets knocked out with 13:00 left in the 4th quarter to run it again.
Now had McCoy not gotten hurt, I have no doubt in my mind that we would have continued to bang our head into the wall for the rest of the game. And we would have lost.