If there is one overriding complaint that can be applied to any version of our perennial offense, it's been that all that the moving parts don't work together. A good offense is like an airplane -- the engines provide the forward thrust while everything else helps it stay afloat.
In the past -- 2004.5 and 2005 excepted -- we've been a rudderless nightmare, a team with 8 engines but no wings, navigation, and maybe 3/4 of a hull. It took divine intervention to get us there under Vince Young. We had the talent, we had the coaches, but Vince literally Davis-proofed the offense to a degree that he singlehandedly provided direction for everybody else. Bad playcall? Who cares, he'd just take off for 12 yards. 6 straight zone reads? He'd make it work.
It still took a year and a half for Davis and Mack Brown to figure out how to use him. Watching our teams in 2006 and 2007, one would think we'd never figure it out for Colt. But once again the fates decided to help and gave us a mediocre run blocking OL and struck down Blaine Irby, as if God and the devil made a bet to test his faith. Job-style.
(I'm not saying Irby wasn't good, or couldn't have fit in to this offense. He was built for it. But his injury forced us into a new paradigm. He'll be a monster next year.)
So what do you do when you lose your only good receiving threat at TE? My idea was to just line up in goalline the rest of the year and follow Roy Miller, to whom the label "beast" would not be satisfactory.
But, to their credit, the offensive staff stumbled upon a solution and outdid everyone's expectations. They figured out how to use the spread. Welcome to 2003 guys!
It wouldn't be possible without Colt, of course, who is putting up video game numbers (I hate that phrase, by the way, because whoever started using it obviously hasn't played the last 3 versions of NCAA Football. I couldn't put up 80% completion rates against air in those games.). But having good players is only half the battle, putting them in the right place is the other half.
Now we have an identity -- the west coast passing game -- and we rely on it to an appropriate degree, unlike how we've tried to hammer teams the last few years with our gimped zone read. That's a tough thing to stop, a hive-minded QB and his WR, but what makes it work is not the engine this time, it's the rest of the parts.
If you want to focus on our passing game, you probably want to stop Shipley and Quan, right? Bradon Collins may not be to their level yet, but do you trust your nickel or dime backs to stop him for an entire game? Malcolm Williams and Dan Buckner may be largely inconsistent, but how do you not keep a safety on them? Their one or two catches will be huge. How much do you focus on the running game? It's not good enough to beat people, but play pass-first and we can slice you up 4 yards at a time. We can't block 7 but we can sure as hell block 5. Do you try to stuff people at the line and take away our 5 yards and a cloud of dust offense? Do you really want our guys running free one on one down the field?
These questions keep us moving. Whatever the defense doesn't do, we do. The weakness of that offense is always the same, it puts a ton of pressure on the QB do make the right decision and execute it. Thing is, there is nobody doing both of those things right now better than Colt.
He isn't panic-scrambling and throwing blind passes down the field anymore, he moves with a purpose, dodging pressure like a Mom at a grocery store corralling her kids with one hand and browsing the pancake mix with the other. He does throw, someone is actually open, because we've got 4 good WR on the field and no one can cover all of them for that long.
It's unity as it's best. It's fun to watch -- something rare in Vinceless eras -- and when you combine it with a young, aggressive defense, we become must-see football.
I don't want to give any credit to Greg Davis specifically. He still has huge deficits to repay. So I'll say "Great job, staff" and leave it at that.
Great job, staff.