We know what a Greg Davis offense looks like. We know what a Greg Davis + Mack Brown offense looks like. But what does Major bring, aside from a churlish, shit-eating grin?
The Q package got a lot of attention, so let's start there.
I've been begging for this. It's an easy adjustment that instantly spreads out the defense. This play went to the RB, and it looked like it was designed that way, but just the appearance of the action gives DCs a headache. It also bucks our trend of designing packages for players and announcing to the world that they will get the ball. Tony Jeffery weeps.
This is another thing I'd like to see more of, and not just to Chiles. You can tell it's a designed screen because the WRs don't even pretend to run a route. Let's put our athletes vs. their athletes in the open field and see what happens. Of course, we'll probably start throwing these to Luke Tiemann.
I don't know what this play is called, honestly, but it represents a huge step forward for our offense. I mentioned it briefly in the review of the spring game, and less briefly in the masturbatory "How I'd Do Things" post above if you're interested in the play itself.
The problem with our offense has been predictability, but not before the snap. We have so few formations that it's hard to tell what we'll be doing. The problem is once the ball is snapped it is glaringly obvious where the ball is, and we don't counter it well enough to make the defense care. That's why successful teams have RBs slashing through spread out, confused defenses, and why we keep butting heads with perfectly aligned, grouped defenses.
Now we've started adding in false keys, meaning the defense won't know where to run all the time. The backside help will have to stay backside, the rest of the front can't crash to one side, and our skill players will find themselves only needing to make one guy miss instead of three.
Quick Screen w/ pull
This is a great example of how easy it is to go from 3 yards gains to 8 yard gains with almost no effort. To the layman, it looks like Cosby shook off a LB and got a few extra yards because of it. But watch the LG. Watch what effect that has on the OLB that ends up missing the diving arm tackle. See how little things can make such a difference? Greg Davis can fool people into thinking he's competent because, allegedly, he can sit down and talk basic strategy like nobody's business. But it's not basic strategy that's been hurting us. Everybody does the big things, champions do the little things. We saw more little things in the first quarter than we did all last year.
Ace Zone Read
This is another thing I've been after since Vince left -- two tight ends (also in the links above. I think Major reads this site). Vince gave us the luxury of making the defense add another run defender in the box even if we were in 3-4 WR formations. Colt can't do that, not against anyone good anyway, so we need to put another blocker in there for him. We can avoid clutter by making that blocker a TE, who is a much more effective receiving threat than a RB or FB.
Colt made some nifty moves on the play, but they don't work if our OL and TEs aren't going 7 on 7 and giving him room to operate.
On the last drive of the quarter we put in Chiles and did nothing of note. We did run a little shotgun screen but we started doing that last year. It's still nice to see, even if it didn't work. After that drive we shut it down and reverted to the 2006-2007 offense and we got 2006-2007 production.
A couple more things of note that aren't technically new wrinkles -- we passed out of the goalline formation once for a TD, something we need to see a lot more of. The second was Colt's willingness to not force passes and use his checkdown guys instead of scrambling. We need Colt to stay in place and let the runners run, plus eventually it'll open up more intermediate routes. If he plays like that all year we are going to be really good.
The first test has been aced. The second will be to see if this stuff sticks against OU and Missouri, etc.