First, I have no intention for this post to come off as argumentative. Second, I agree with the entirety of your post. Third, my comments may turn out to be the dumbass comments of the week. Being fearless as I am, though, here's my spin:
How hard is it to block straight ahead? Since Ricky left, I concede that it's been pretty hard to block straight ahead, sideways or any other way here in Longhornland. Now we have been able to run post-Ricky, at least on paper, because Hodges Mitchell has run up 1000+ seasons.
The problem at RB has been between the tackles and in 3rd and 2 and 3rd and 3 type situations. Hodges wasn't big enough to get those jobs done even though he was big enough to stave off the others.
The premise I throw out, then, is how much has our RB personnel been responsible for our running deficiencies? Will Hayter or Williams or Beltran or Ike "grow up" this off season? Will Benson transfer his HS exploits to level 2?
If any of the backs get a hair better or if Benson comes on -- and by this I mean a RB who gets the 1st down once in a while, to hell with the blocking -- then won't the OL come together that much more quickly?
It seems to me that we've got to spend alot of time on pass blocking. Pass blocking takes much more finesse that straight ahean run blocking. And we've got the beef to block straight ahead.
Now I will further concede that trap blocking and other types of finesse run blocking take more practice than the straight ahead "there's your man, block him" game, and I also note that Mack and Davis have stated that they want to run some traps, etc., but I still think we've got to be able to pass the ball. And that means continue to devote lots of practice time to pass blocking.
I feel like I'm starting to wander, so I'll quit for now, but hopefully I have made some kind of point in all this verbiage. If not, what else is new?
Okay, ex-Offensive Linemen of the world, make your opinions known.
As a person who has played all OL positions at one time or another in a previous life, XOVER, I give you my opinions.
Assignment blocking is easier than zone blocking. In the former you are going after a warm body in the latter, you are reponsible for an area. Who do you block if 2 people are in your zone? And can you rely on to pick up the one that you miss?
In the other instance, any block that positions you for better angles against a defender is preferable to one-on-one base blocking. We used to run a simple quick trap play as a staple play in our offense. As a guard, I either double-team a 2-techique with the center (that was fun) or I pulled and plowed into the unsuspecting 5-7 technique on the weak side (even more fun). If they don't know you're coming and you are agile enough, you can make a good share of pancakes.
So, in order for easiest to hardest: double-teaming, seal-blocking, trap blocking, base/assignment blocking, and then zone blocking. The exception is at center, where it takes exceptional skill to snap and execute a trap block. The Nebraska guys do it all the time.
Now to this offense. The Greg Davis scheme emphasizes pass blocking... and that has never really changed. Nor do I expect it to change. Most running plays require the offense to execute base or zone blocking techniques. One of the reasons behind this is that the offense doesn't quite know what it is going to run until after the QB reads the defensive set. Better that the offense understands "drive block the guy in front of you" after an audible rather than "was I supposed to trap block or double team" after the audible. You really look goofy if you miss the audible and trap block on a passing play. I'm speaking from experience.
Given our preference for pass blocking, all we really have been asking the OL to do in run situations is to hold their blocks long enough for the RB to break the LOS. Most of us really underestimate the importance of the Tailback in this offense. We are looking for someone with size who can bust arm tackles with ease, block effectively when needed for pass protection, has good enough hands to go out wide and be a 4th receiver... and so on. Ricky Williams fit the bill perfectly, and we were spoiled.
If nobody steps up at RB, Davis needs to get out the playbook and run more traps, sweeps, and other misdirections-- or just pass the ball. Moreover, we might just need to go out there and run assigned plays like a counter-trey WITHOUT bothering to read the defense. Why we spend 30 seconds to read and react to the defensive alignments just to run a dive play on 3rd and 2 is not only uncreative, it's destructive.
Before I start to foam at the mouth, I'll stop for now...
Horn in Oz, I'd like to see our coordinator read defenses!! I don't care what we run, but I'd like to see 2 things from it: 1) We're better at running it than they are at stopping it (from their base). 2) Have intelligent complimentary plays, or complimentary blocking schemes.
Hell, I'd settle for "wedge" vs that 2 technique! If they can't stop it....... I bet "wedge" brought back memories, huh? Those are really fun.
For those who responded, thanks for some excellent commentary and insight. Circumstances resulted in my being unable to participate in the discussion as much as I would have liked, but I'll see if I can catch, at least in part.
Horn4Life, I would agree that some ball control does give the defense time to regroup, and the OU debacle is an excellent example of what happens when an opponent gets on a role and your offense goes three and out. Whether that's done vis the ground or the air is a matter of indifference to me, but, based on the talent on hand, it looks to me like the air game offers the best bet.
ctj, it's good to see you figured out a way to get your PC out on the ledge with you. As to Bragg in a speedo, that creates a mental picture of such unpleasantness that I'm going to have to put up a post advocating redshirting Benson to get it out of my mind,
As to one back sets, I'm in complete agreement. With four receivers on the field, be it two TEs or three WRs, that's going to create some interesting matchup problems for most DCs. I would anticipate we would see a lot of nickel packages thrown at us, which right away puts only six in the box. As well, I suspect the LBs are going to be thinking about their drop zones more than shooting the gaps.
HorninOz, having read your two responses, I would say that you and I are on the same page as regards our offensive situation. I've long thought that the brute force blocking schemes favored by Nunez and Davis requires a "big back", which was what Brown seemed to employ much of the time at UNC. As you note, Ricky was the perfect type, but, unfortunately those types of players are tough to find. I think both Ivan Williams and Kenny Hayter were recruited with that type of offensive need to be filled - unfortunately, neither has really stepped up, as yet. Possibly, Benson will prove to be the answer - let's hope so.
I think doberbo, in the response directly under yours, hits on the key point and it's one wich I completely agree. I simply think we have neither the personnel, nor will be spend the practice time, to implement the types of blocking schemes to be a strong rushing team. That begs the question of whether Davis can design such a system and whether Nunez can teach that type of run blocking.
Capt, I would agree that keeping the defense guessing is a good thing, although we haven't seemed all that interested in doing so the past couple of years. That hasn't seemed to matter against weaker teams, where we can simply overpower them, but it certainly hasn't helped us when tougher guys are on the other side. I have no feel, in spite of various coaching proclamations, as to whether we might actually diversify. I'm all for it, but agree with the statements already made that I think passing to set up the run offers us the most promising avenue to do so.
Homer, thanks for the discussion of one of my favorite plays, the counter trey, which was noted previously by mudboy. One of the things that stuck in my mind when Brown and Davis showed up was the announcement that we would see no more counters. Well and good, I thought to myself, there are other ways to skin the offensive cat and, with Ricky around following a veteran offensive line, it turned out to be so. With the departure of those components, it turns out that the offense, especially against good defenses, is not quite so productive.
I've read, in several places, that one of the reasons we can't run the counter is lack of tackle speed to get out on the pull. Possibly, that's true, but it's hard for me to believe that our current tackles can't match Oct Bishop for footspeed.
As an aside, I continue to believe one-back sets are the way to go as the base offense, with the two back set coming into play in short yardage situations. IYO, can you still run counters and get the offside linemen out on the pull to lead the way, or does that simply present too much exposure to the backside rush?
Welcome back Phx - I hope your absence was either fun or made $ to enjoy later. I don't equate # of receivers to profficiency via the air, but I do like the stresses different formations put on the players in the wrong colored jerseys. We can throw just fine with 2 backs, 1 back or empty. Backside on the tre = FB to DE, and center to DT. Neither block requires dominance for a long period of time - just can't whiff. Of course it would probably help if we ran some complimentary plays to that side so they have to at least look at the FBs belly for the ball. One thing I think helped Ds key our plays (not that that was particularly difficult - but interesting still) is if we do lean on zone blocking vs smaller stunting fronts, I bet we are reducing our splits. If that is picked up on film or field - we're screwed. I think we are going to start seeing our gaurds pulling more each year. With Simms under-appreciated mobility and with Brock waiting in the wings, I can't imagine us not rolling the pocket - that requires pulling as well. Also, we can buck or power sweep with just the gaurds in ref to your OT speed concern. Plus you don't have to pull the Gaurd accross the center to get a trap or kick-out, playside Gaurd can kick DE out or lead through the alley if DE slants inwards - called a G-block FYI, the O-block would be the backside gaurd doing the same solo. ANYTHING TO DIVERSIFY
Practice time, I just can't imagine these schemes being new to our O-linemen and requiring lecture time 101. I'm sure all of them saw this in HS. As Oz pointed out, these schemes are designed to simplify blocking from a mechanical standpoint, not to mention the huge psychological edge coming from deception. If a DL or blitzer isn't sure where his attacker is coming from, and if he knows that blind penetration is exactly what we want from him, it tends to slow them down and make them conscious of reacting to blocking patterns. If we just straight ahead block or straight drop pass block - we lose those advantages, physical and mental. Hook-em
cutter, it's good to see you posting and I agree completely with your comments about "balance equals mediocrity". I don't follow pro football, but it strikes the same thing seems to be true there, even with unlimited practice time. With the NCAA mandated practice limitations in place, I doubt there's enough time available to be good at both facets of the offense.
The other thing that sways towards the pass, other than our QB-Receiver talent lode, is that we recruit for that approach in the line. The majority of our guys fit the profile of the prototypical pass blocker - tall, long arms, and feet quick enough to cut off the outside speed rush. Contrast those guys to the Nebraska linemen, who tend to shorter and somewhat smaller but faster in terms of run blocking. Even with our haul of this year, all of the incoming players, save Mike Garcia, fit the pass blocking model.
DIMYH, there's no doubt the OL injury situation had some impact on the spring work. Still, position drills are about individual effort and are not affected by injuries. For the first time since I've been going to practices, we did spend some time working on run blocking, although pass protection got the majority of the drill time. So be it, but let's forget the balanced offense mantra that we're hearing and put it up.
XOVER and HornInOz - I think HIO has covered the run blocking situation pretty thoroughly. I especially agree with his comments about the requirement for the TB to be able to break tackles. From watching the various tapes, in the Davis/Nunez run blocking schemes, it's pretty much the Samson approach - grab the jawbone of an ass and proceed to beat the [censored] out of the guy across from you. Manly duty and not for the faint of heart. Unfortunately, that type of scheme rarely results in the gaping holes that both running backs and fans like to see. Rather, it results in what I choose to call seams - small and ofter short-lived cracks in the defensive front. That means the running back has to have the vision and instincts to see the seam developing, the speed to get though it on a timely basis, and the strength to run through the invariable arm tackles.
I realize there are teams that make the above work successfully - hell, we did in 1998. We haven't the last two years, however, for a variety of reasons already discussed. That causes some amount of frustration among the Longhorn faithful, since most of us are curious as to why we pound a Hodges Mitchell or Victor Ike between the tackles and behing an OL that has demonstrated it is not proficient on run blocking. As HIO suggests, it would seem to me that it might be wise to modify that strategy with some more counters or traps that give the OL those coveted blocking angles. To that end, we were pulling the guards more in the spring, although I can't honestly say that the results were all that encouraging.
HIO, I agree completely about merely calling the play and running it, be it a counter or a pass.I think we spend far too much time trying to read the defense pre-snap. As I understand it, most good DCs like to show one or two looks presnap, but don't move the defense into it's final alignment until the QB begins the snap count.
Homer, you put up your last post while I was composing another response. I think your earlier two points are well-made and, if we're doing it, it has not been apparent to me, especially the part about complementary plays. It always strikes me that each of our plays represents an independent event, unlinked to any overall offensive strategy. Possibly that's untrue and there's some underlying theme that I've simply missed, but all too many of our opponents, not to mention several posters, have commented on their success in reading our probable playcall, likely based on formation, personnel, and down and distance.
As to base formations, you're likely correct that we can be successful in any number of different formations. However, I actively hope Davis and Brown figure out what kind of offensive front they want to display and then get the right personnel on the field to execute it. My opinion, as is probably fairly obvious by now, is that our personnel - across the board - are much more skilled in the passing game than in the run. If that's the case, then it certainly makes sense to me to replace our least utilized position - the fullback - with an additional receiver, or use your H-back suggestion to get the best of both worlds.
Your thoughts regarding settling into one "base" would help create an identity akin to KCHorn's pleadings of a year ago. I do like multiple looks, b/c I think it uncovers D gameplans quicker. Just as long as we don't overcoach ourselves. Somewhere between the painstaking stubborness of last year and the imaginative fury of off-season posters is a balance that fortunately we have the personnel to execute. Great thread.
Many here seem to advocate abandoning the run because we have so many weapons in the passing game.
Others who don't take as strong a stance state that the manner in which you gain yards doesn't matter.
I agree we have the chance to have an unbelievably prolific passing attack, but lacking any sort of viable running attack is a prescription for trouble.
Chris Simms will, at some point in 2001, have an off day throwing the football. There's a decent chance we'll play a game in very inclement weather. We will play at least one team with a very talented secondary, who might even (gasp!) hang with the Big 3. Then what? What if two of those happen in the same game?
When you have to turn to the run, and it gets you 13 yards, or -7 yards, or whatever, you are cooked. And all it takes is one time per year to ruin your run for the MNC.
So, yes, it doesn't matter how you get your yards, as long as you do, in fact, get your yards. But there will come a time during the upcoming season when we will absolutely have to produce in the running game, against a tough damn defense, and the result will determine whether we're a contender or a pretender.
So... does anyone want to put this thread in and envelope and send it to Mack?
There are so many good points here, it's hard to disagree with much of anything.
The one thing I will add has a bit of a silver lining-- I don't think we are really all that far off from having a superb offense. We've got almost all the personnel Davis needs to get this thing clicking. If a dependable RB emerges-- one who can break the tackles that Hodges couldn't-- we can give even good defensive teams fits. It was only 3 years ago that teams sold their souls to stop our running attack: the blocking schemes really have not changed much at all since 1998.
Today, as compared to 1998, we have much greater phyical talent at just about all receiver positions, a QB who is so talented he his starting ahead of our very good 1998 QB, an offensive line that isn't quite as good as in 1998, but not all that far off. The missing piece is RB-- and from what I've seen from Cedric Benson, he has the ability to be that back.
So do we need the run? Yes, we do. As GOBH aptly pointed out in a previuos post, we may need to run due a bad day in the office in the passing attack.
Does that mean we have to train our OL to be like Nebraska? Certainly not. We can live just fine on base + zone blocking schemes as long as we can find that one special RB who can find the seam and hit the LOS quickly. If we can't find the RB we need, Davis needs to put more effort on what PhxHorn well describes, as schemes where we create "gaping" holes with better blocking angles, as opposed to those smaller "seams" that only stay open for a half a second.
I love the counter trey, and think we have the ability to run it and execute it well. One way to keep the opposite DE honest is to run a few sweeps and misdirection his way to keep him at home. It takes a pretty athleticly gifted and heady DE to read the scheme and collapse down quicky enough to get to the ball carrier. If the DE has figured it out, you've run the counter trey too damn much.
One other thing: I'm clearly in the similar camp with most others about the FB. If you don't intend to give your fullback any touches-- at the very least use the position as a decoy to keep the defenses honest. The H-Back concept is particularly appealing, especially if the TB position turns into a strength. The less the defense knows, the more you'll keep them guessing-- that goes for formations as well as blocking schemes. And right now, everyone knows we base block and use the FB as a battering ram and not much else.
Wouldn't it be nice if we ran a "hard" script of 20 plays-- without having to waste time and read every defense set (and most teams do indeed tend to disguise until the very last second)-- and hammered on the 3 or 4 plays that actually worked the best? It seems to work pretty well for most WCO teams I've seen over the past 10-15 years...
Phx - it's a tossup which is more difficult: establishing a meaningful running game with our offense or attempting to succeed in readily accessing this Board.
In any case, this is just the kind of thread we all needed to see again -- and, surprise, it came from PhxHorn.
I've read (and reread) your initial post and each response -- it seems to me the whole thread is very good, full of substantive food for thought. Nonetheless, a couple of suggestions stood out in my feeble mind (after I compartmentalized Elle).
The suggestions in question were from HSS and HornInOz, both of whom appear to have playing and/or coaching experience related to the offensive line.
First, HSS has suggested that the Horns should have a couple of "signature running plays" that are aggressive (as distinguished from the draw plays we used with Hodges) and demand the kind of forceful blocking that could give our offensive team in general -- and our OL in particular -- at least a piece of the kind of dominating action that helps make you tough mentally. There have been several suggestions regarding what those plays might be -- but the important factor here would be that the Horns would have an aggressive "calling card" that the opposing defense (even if it's a Top Ten team) HAS to deal with successfully to keep UT from winning.
Or we'll run the damn plays all day.
And, as you have pointed out, PhxHorn, as the opposing defense reacts to those "signature" running plays, that would afford our OC (Mr. Davis) the opportunity to adjust our own offensive game plan to take advantage of the opposing defense's efforts to deal with those key running plays. THEN we might have a discernible pattern of offensive strategy that actually relates our "set-up" plays to those we implement as the game progressed.
HornInOz notes that we should have a "hard" script of about 20 plays and then hammer the three or four plays that work the best.
I think (they can correct me, of course, if I've misunderstood their points) they are talking about the same thing. We hear endlessly about how complex our offense is -- both Simms and Roy have been quoted directly to that effect. That's fine with the passing game (given our talent and the practice time allotments you have noted), but maybe we need to go the opposite direction with the running game.
Why not focus on a limited arsenal of running plays (that we DO have time to hone to perfection), include a counter trey, and force the opposing defense to stop "signature" running plays that have some aggressive force behind them.
It seems like we could do that within the framework of all the other factors that have been discussed in this thread. And that would go a long way, imo, towards addressing the concerns regarding the Davis-Nunez (Brown) approach to our running game, because those "signature" plays would be right there for everyone to see -- and we would either "execute" those plays or die in the process.
What we have right now is, as you (and others on this thread) already have pointed out, essentially much ado about nothing. The "passive approach" we used in the last two years (without a Ricky Williams) leaves a bad taste not only in our mouths, but also, imo, in the hearts and guts of our players.
We don't have to emphasize the running game more than the passing game to win this Fall at the University of Texas, but we damn sure better have some "signature" running plays this time around that have some aggressive force behind them (and can garner two yards when we have to have it) if we want to enjoy the whole enchilada.
GOBH, HIO, HSS, and kchorn, thanks for some very well conceived and well articulated responses. kc, it's good to see you again - I was concerned that my suggestion of FB abandonment would send you onto the ledge with CloseToJumping/horndfl.
I've got a mixed reaction to GOBH's very astute observations about there coming a day when, for either reasons of human frailty or curses from the weather gods, we have to run the ball. First, we did have several wet fields last season and the only time I recall us struggling was vs OU, and I don't think that was due to the damp. It certainly didn't bother the Sooners very much.
My personal view is that good teams don't necessarily take what the other teams give them, they take what they want. For us, that's the pass and, if we face a secondary who can run with the Big Three (and OU will be able to do so), we've got to win our share of those individual matchups, be it through scheme and route design or by player effort. Great players make plays, and, if we can't muster the playmaking to make our base offense successful, then we're likely [censored].
To clarify the above - when I talk about executing the base offense, that means vs the opponents base defense, whether it be a 4-3 when we're in the two back, two WR set, or whether they're in the nickel/dime when we go four receiver/ one back formations. Our base offense, in that situation, simply must be good enough to force the opponents' to compromise their defensive posture to stop our passing game - and, when they do, then we must be able to run the ball, be it through draws, traps, counters, or whatever. I do like HSS' idea of getting the ball outside the tackles, thereby negating the inside blitzers.
A parallel to the above, on the other facet of the offense, is UNL. The Huskers are going to run the ball, using the option to stretch the field horizontally and the inside game to pound it between the tackles. The natural reaction from a defense that can't stop their attack with a base set, say the 4-3, is to cheat up one, or both safeties for increased run support. When that happens, ie, the defense has compromised their base set, then Crouch hits Wistrom, who's behind the cheating safeties, for about forty.
The same scenario could be said for us in 1998, as others have noted. We were using the same basic formations and blocking schemes that are still in place, possibly even less sophisticated (if that's possible), yet we ran effectively due to Ricky's outstanding skills and the blocking of the veteran Mike Deal-developed line. That success gave us a lot of eight-nine in the box and opened it up for Applewhite. Fast forward to this season - we don't know yet if we have that coveted tackle-breaking TB, but I didn't see one in spring. The OL, developed under that tutelage of Tim Nunez, is looking to be a solid pass protection unit, but I was underwhelmed with the run blocking. Tim, according to his resume, has coached the OL at Marshall and here, in both cases the offenses being pass oriented. I don't know how much experience he has in teaching the zone blocking techniques that he and Davis seem to favor. I also can't tell how much the OL's performance is hampered by the schemes and by the lack of a strong TB.
The other concern, that others have already alluded to, is the predictability of our playcalling. I claim no expertise in this aread, but others - better skilled than I - have made a habit of calling too many of our plays prior to the snap for my comfort level. If they can see it, presumably opposing DCs can see it, as well. The danger with that is a defense able to predict the play with some degree of accuracy is a defense tough to move out of their base set. For example, if we're running four receivers and the defense is in a nickel and playing a two deep zone, we should be able to pound it through the thinned box with success. However, if the safeties read run, they can walk it up during the snap count and turn into two additional LBs. Likewise, if the LBs read run, they start looking for gaps to shoot to disrupt the play in the backfield, rather than thinking about their drop zones. IOW, predictability allows an opponent to compensate for our strength, without being exposed for his adjustments.
Actually, HSS - there is a reference in my post above to the fact that we need some "signature" running plays that are aggressive -- as distinguished from the draw plays we ran with Hodges last season. In any case, we're on the same page, as usual.
Phx, if you come back through here (or if anyone else has an interest) -- what is your view of the "signature running play" issue?
kchorn -- in reference to your astute ability to highlight themes and make clarity out of opaquness, my basic point was sticking to plays that work after running an opening "hard" script. The reason I say "hard" script, is due to the fact we are running a scripted offense at the outset-- but the script is based on what the quarterback reads from the defense. My point, to be clear, is to get in the huddle, call one play, line up-- and fire out on "ONE" (or TWO if the line anticipates). This is precicely the way Bill Walsh ran his WCO in San Fran's golden years (pardon the 49er referenced pun).
PhxHorn -- you might find this hard to believe, but I've actually watched Marshall play a few times during Nunez' last year as OC there (my wife is an alum). They got by very well using a one RB set, and did very little other than execute zone/base blocking schemes. The reason? It really wasn't Moss or Pennington (although they helped)-- it was a smallish RB who had the ability to hit the LOS in an instant and, as well, had the ability to break a few tackles (I can't believe I don't remember the poor guy's name ). After looking at the Oregon game, the first thing that came into my mind was how fast one of their RBs hit the LOS and always managed to get a few yards. Again, after two beers, the name escapes me-- Rpongett can help us on that one.
My final point (since I'm failing miserably in the name placing department) is that we don't necessarily need another Ricky Williams to make the running game work under the current scheme. What we need is an RB with the ability to quickly read and hit the LOS before anyone really notices, and then break one arm tackle (RW was superb in hitting the LOS quickly). That equates to a 3 yard gain in most circumstances. Again, everything I've seen or heard about CB is his ability to do just that. We shall see.
kchorn -- as far as running "staple" plays, I'm a little mixed on the concept, as it pertains to our offensive play calling. On the one hand, putting in a new wrinkle, like the counter-trey, and perfecting it is appealing. On the other hand, if it begins to have much success, Greg Davis is using to so often (as in tunnel screen) it's effectiveness really wears off quickly. If we had the ability to keep 6-7 scripted running plays, ran them all in the first 20, and came back to the 3 most effective ones-- well, I think I'd be pretty happy.
Each of your points makes good sense, imo, and it seems to me that your approach would be consistent with the notion of limiting the number of running plays in our repertoire so that we could then practice enough -- even with the limited practice time available -- to execute those plays precisely.
Then, as I understand your explanation, we could select the three or four plays from that group that work the best against a particular opponent and go with those until the opponent adjusts (if ever). Once the adjustment is made on the defensive side, then it's up to our OC to counter by going to whatever offensive plays would be the most likely to take advantage of the changes in the defense.
It certainly seems like we could do that -- and include a counter trey in the mix -- without any great difficulty. So if we're not doing that, what's the reason? Again, I wonder if the media ever discusses this type of issue with Mack when he has his press conferences, or when they interview him (or Davis) separately.
In any case, these are all interesting and constructive thoughts -- and one common note has been sounded throughout the thread: the right running back could make a huge difference this Fall.
HIO, I believe the UO running back was Maurice Morris, who was the top producer in the nation year before last. Can't help you on Marshall, but thanks for the insights - I didn't to see them during Nunez tenure there, but I know they put up some impressive numbers.
KC, I'm more in line with HIO about the use of a few scripted running plays. To that end, it appeared that we were attempting that in spring - it didn't look to me that we ran more than 5-6 plays, although we did run them out of multiple formations, which gives the D different while simplifying the line blocking assignments. I did not the counter trey and doubt we'll see it, although one can hope, I suppose. Perhaps I should just be content that we now pull the guards every now and then.
I think it was Walsh who either started, or at least popularized, the scripting approach and apparently it's prettty widely used. However, when you consider the number of slow starts we had this year - only 14% of our points came in the first - I have to wonder if our scriptwriting might need some enhancement and editing. From where I sat, it looked like macho city - we come out determined to prove our worth by pounding it between the tackles, they come out determined to stop the run, thereby making us one-dimensional, and load eight in the box. They seemed to win more often than we did.
Now, I understand that a coordinator has to test the opponent's defense to figure out what their defensive strategy in going to be. However, it seems to me that it could be tested with plays having a higher probability of success than what we've accomplished. I don't know how much freedom the QB has to audible in the initial series, but I certainly hope he had the authority, after spotting the defense with eight up, to audible to some kind of passing play. Likewise, if we've got a pass on and he notices the D softening up and safeties going deep zone, I would hope he could opt for a draw, or some other running play.
At any rate, I think HIO's concept of a game plan consisting of relatively few plays, those to be tested fairly early to determine the success factor, makes good sense. After all, the key to nearly every play in each game is quality of execution and the odds of successful execution would seem to escalate where we've devoted substantial practice time.
kc, I'm not sure how tough the media is on Brown and Davis, but I suspect they're not too tough. Brown, for all his charm and media skill, has shown he can be thin-skinned when the questions may get into the quick. He seems especially defensive of his coaches, a trait for which I don't fault the man. After all, it's hardly good technique to throw a subordinate to the wolves in public. Additionally, the media have to work with these guys on a day in, day out basis, so I doubt they're going to do anything that might lessen their access. Bottom line, I doubt that these types of questions get posed in a public forum
Normally I don't post once a particular thread surpasses 20 printed pages, but I can't help myself. This is yet another excellent post from the fertile mind of PhxHorn. His posts seem to bring out the best in everyone's responses and we are lucky to have his contributions here. Now, Phx, if you could figure out this broadband stuff...
You made an excellent comment that is so simple in this game yet often overlooked in the quest for the perfect scheme, or gameplan: That great players make great plays. Count me in the minority, but I don't really have an issue with our offensive scheme at this time. I believe that execution, and great players, will make this offense click.
The Greg Davis offense heavily relies on YAC plays; meaning Yards after Contact or after the Catch. The much maligned O-line and it's coach are not counted on to create massive, gaping, drive-a-truck through holes in the D-line. Rather, as many on this thread have pointed out, the SEAMS are what's important. So the lust for the counter trey is unfounded if we have a back that can sniff out the seams and burst through the arm tackles along the line. I have a pretty strong feeling that we will be seeing a far more successful running/blocking game once said running back is in place. Of course, I believe that back to be Cedric Benson, but that thread has been beaten into the ground so I will wait untill August before I annoint him the savior of the balanced attack.
I am also of the opinion that there is NO better way to beat a solid opponent then when you have a powerful rushing attack. Yes, the spread will open up the running game, but what if you have a running game that is still successful even when the defense knows you are going to run? What if you need 1 yard, and the defense lines up to stop you, and you continuously get 2? What if you hold a slim lead in the fourth quarter, and the defense needs some rest? What if your strong armed QB makes a mistake in his reads, misses a disguised zone and throws a pick (or four) for six? TTFT can often bite you in the ass.
As far as the scripted plays and the 5 or 6 special, successful running plays; did not Mack Brown say exactly that, that he wanted a few plays that they were good at and to master those plays until they were great?
We have the talent and depth on offense to run any type of scheme because, to a man, ours are better than theirs. We would be foolish to abandon any hopes of a power running game to simply pass the hell out of the ball. Sure, we'd kill most teams, but we kill most teams anyway. It's the two or three that we have trouble with and not being able to convert 3rd and short on the ground killed us last year. Yes, we couldv'e passed in those situations, or we could put someone in there who can get that [censored] 2 yards between the tackles. Great players make great plays and great offensive coaches. See Josh Huypel.
Remember, this is still a game of inches.
I myself dabbled in pacifism once. Not in 'Nam, of course. -Walter
Sejjr -- excellent post. I think you've summarized most of what we belive is true about this offensive staff, like it or not. As Phx pointed out, we might WANT to see those counter-treys, but GD's philosophy tells us otherwise.
As for the idea of scripted plays, my issue is that we currently go two the LOS with two plays (at least) in mind. Once the QB "reads and reacts" to the defensive alignment (after milking 25 seconds or so) either Play "A" or Play "B" is called. My point is that we should line up with ONE and ONLY ONE play in mind and run it-- at least under the first 20 plays. I think audibles and reads are what box us into running 95% base/zone blocking plays-- and opposing defenses know when it is coming. I could live with 70% of our plays being base blocking and seam dependent, but Davis needs a collection of running plays that can create gaping holes as a Plan "B".
Lord knows, we needed Plan "B" last year and it took GD until late October to come up with a simple trap play. And two weeks later to some up with a Roy-based reverse.
If CB or another RB becomes the seam-buster we are so desparately seeking, then the point (as Sejjr so deftly points out) is moot. Then all we need to worry about is all the possible holes on defense...