The Longhorn QB has a gift for painting the corners and here are four examples on his scoring strikes against UTEP (the Warrick fumble robbed him of a fifth touchdown toss).
Unsurprisingly, three of his four touchdowns came on switch routes. Texas inside receivers also caught 14 of Buechele's 22 completions. An important message was sent that playing off Burt and Foreman can still be punished vertically by the Texas offense.
Let's let's look at the four touchdown tosses:
1. Nice call and catch by Heard, but this is perfect ball placement. Look at how much air Shane puts under it - drops it on the front far paint of the end zone. This is a switch vertical route, meant to exploit Cover 2 or 3. A de facto wheel route from the inside receiver (Heard) while the outside receiver clears out over the middle. The deep safety is left flat-footed and late. Good OL protection allows Shane to make an accurate throw.
2. The initial sell by Warrick and a little pump fake by Buechele are key. Foreman creates the rub action and Warrick accelerates into the wheel route for 6. The UTEP CB has decent coverage and a solid recovery, but the ball placement and route are too sharp. Remember this play - you'll see it on TD #4. Executed at an even higher level.
3. UTEP is in Cover 2. Dorian Leonard gives a subtle indication he wants an inside route, gets the corner to squat and then blows by with a clean outside release. The safety has too much distance to cover on that quick release and Buechele throws a strike that floats into Leonard's hands in perfect stride. 46 yard touchdown.
Now, look at Jake Oliver at inside receiver backside. Running his own open vertical. And Duvernay - his corner tries to press him and gets whipped. Texas has three WRs running open even though UTEP dropped 8 into coverage. But 4 of the 8 defenders are useless, dropped into LB depth in the middle of the field. This is how Gilbert's offense can create isolation and space - even when a team is "playing coverage."
4. Same play as #2. Except Jerrod Heard and outside receiver Collin Johnson do an even better job of execution than the Warrick-Foreman pairing. This time it's Jerrod Heard at inside receiver. Collin Johnson does a nice job of selling a block than his hard cut inside without setting a pick. Better spacing, too. Buechele hits the gimme.
We've got a QB with unique gifts of accuracy and timing, a very capable, deep receiving corps and an offensive coordinator who keeps putting them into good situations.