You won’t find a Beck-hater here. If you’re convinced he’s the reason the Texas offense isn’t better, you may not like this post. As you know, I like to track the offense’s scheming and sometimes, okay, many times I clamor for certain concepts. I will say, I like that the offensive staff puts their heads together and tinker with ideas from week to week. You saw a winning game plan last Saturday. Unfortunately, as often happens for this Texas offense, execution falters. Let’s take a look at some new things and something old. I want to point out how these concepts fit with the whole and show you why I remain optimistic. Remember, as Herman stated in the ‘presser’, at times, you have freshmen at 4 key spots in this offense. What you don’t like seeing are the veterans underwhelming in tight games, very frustrating. Let’s go!
Texas opened with a wicked running back slow screen. Having watched the Oklahoma defense, they attack up front and blitz a lot. Very early, Beck showed he was ready to take advantage of this tendency. Below, from ’11’ personnel (1 back, 1 tight end split wide), Texas opts for a packaged play, a pass-pass option (PPO) as I like to call them.
You see the quarterback’s line of sight to the field. They are setting up a Swing Screen to the receiver in motion. OU had a chaser for the motion man most of the game. You may have seen my complaints about not taking advantage of this, I digress. The point below, the chaser vacates numbers to the boundary. That’s where the real action is. Lastly, Collin is running a favorite route concept, Drag. What does this do? The Drag also vacates numbers and you already see the linemen releasing upfield. It’s coming, y’all!
Just like that, you have 3 offensive linemen (1 looking for the back) leading up the boundary. Big people beat up little people, you ever hear that? That’s the idea here. What you want is a ‘sidewalk’ cleared for the back and you see right guard, Patrick Vahe and center, Zach Shackleford creating a path for the back. What’s great about this concept? Defensive coordinators know Texas’ redshirt freshman left tackle needs help in pass protection. Texas often sends the back the left tackle’s way to double a rusher. You can turn that weakness into an advantage. What else does Texas do a lot? Drag receivers from the boundary to the field, even more on that coming. The best schemes are often the simplest and this is both simple and fits ‘snuggly’ in the Texas offense.
Next is another idea I’ve mentioned. You see Texas in the same personnel, except this time, no motion. The receivers are ‘stemming’ vertical and the back is already expanding to the flat.
Do you see what I see? Drag!!! In this case, Collin goes vertical and you see #17, Reggie Hemphill-Mapps and #80, Cade Brewer running what’s called ‘Mesh’, an old Air Raid staple. You see what the Drag does, again!? Chris ends up running what’s called a Wheel route and so far, he’s wide open.
Of course, OU is blitzing a weak side defender, to take Sam out. It’s too late, the ball is coming out and Chris has a lot of grass in front of him. A concept like this will give you a lot of mileage. Also remember, OU’s coverage is stressed to this side because they left 7 defenders in the box. I’d be willing to bet, the Wheel route is tagged. Once Sam sees the corner over Collin well-over top, the tagged call likely guided Sam to what I call (Dan Gonzalez parlance), the 3rd Fix.
Sticking with this topic, in the next example, you see something eerily similar. Note, the personnel isn’t different. Also note, Cade Brewer quickly made himself an asset. He allows the staff to formation defenses in different ways. What you see post-snap are the receivers stemming inside and vertical, Sam’s eyes downfield, and the back expanding to, guess where, the left tackle’s side.
What do you know, Mesh!!! What’s not clear is where exactly Sam is looking. He could be looking at the coverage over Lorenzo Joe or the linebacker passing-off Brewer on the Drag. Meanwhile, the running back eschews the edge rusher and breaks a route off, horizontal to the flat. That’s different from the Wheel route. In this case, it makes sense, as the field side linebacker will begin to drive down to the flat as soon as the ball’s out, leverage.
The chase is on! Look at all that grass, my word! Now, I know what you’re thinking. Imagine if that was Toneil Carter! I agree, but our friend Toneil must iron out the other nuances of playing running back in Beck’s offense. It’s likely that Carter’s game is limited. That goes for the run and the pass game and the staff sees it in practice. The hope is, he ascends more quickly into the role. His speed is desired, something co-starters, Chris Warren and Kyle Porter lack in comparison.
The last concept should be familiar, one from the beginning. In the case below, it’s 3rd & 1. Texas is passing. What!? Yes, Texas is passing on 3rd & 1, let that sink in. They have ’10’ personnel (1 back, 0 tight end) and all are routing. Sam focuses on the field side and besides the rushers, note the safety between the hashes, turning toward’s Sam’s focus. He’s ready to pursue what looks like a Swing Screen to the back. He would also count as the 5th player in coverage to that side, influence.
Instead, Sam quickly turns, settles and throws the Tunnel Screen developing to the boundary. It looks like left tackle, Denzel Okafor (rof) gets just enough of the defensive end and all of the left guard, center, and right guard are releasing upfield. This one’s going to be great!
There are only 3 defenders to beat and… not only is the ball bobbled, but Patrick Vahe completely whiffs! Somewhere on the sideline, offensive line coach Derek Warehime is face-palming. Look at the blockers, look at the defenders! This should’ve been a big-gainer. Instead, it’s a double screen to pick up 1 stinking yard, 1st down! This has got to stop. Look, I know it’s not easy, but damn it! Patrick Vahe’s on his 3rd year playing! You gotta at least get in the way.
Are you frustrated, angry? You might be a Texas Football fan. For real, this offense is so close to creating more explosive plays. Instead, they create explosive mistakes. It’s all right there. I get it, the offensive line is getting used to two to three new starters. Each have their strengths and weaknesses. However, guys like Vahe have been there, even Collin Johnson for that matter. There is no good reason plays like this shouldn’t be executed at a high level. Consider that this is just one side of the ball. The defense has had its own whiffs, so to speak. When will these players, as a whole, make the jump? Do you think fans see it this week? Are they capable of executing at a high level? I think they are, but this fresh out of high school stuff must stop, especially from the more seasoned players. As always, share your thoughts in the comments, hope you enjoyed!