Armanti Foreman is one of the more talented receivers on the roster. Though he’s not a big target, Foreman possesses speed, quickness, and the ever elusive ‘shiftiness’. It’s this level of athleticism that allows Foreman to both thrive and make things more difficult than they need to be. Very recently, I’ve suggested the staff make Foreman more of a focal point in the offense. One way to do that is to add him to the backfield as a run threat. You saw them do this in Ames. That and what I often see as problematic are the reasons for this post. Shall we?
What you see below is a ’20’ personnel (2 RB, 0 TE) set. Only, it’s really ’10’ personnel masquerading as ’20’, why? Because wide receiver Armanti Foreman is aligned to the left of the quarterback in this shotgun split-back set, a personal favorite of mine.
Post-snap, you see Power-read. On paper and given the personnel, you’d think Texas is ‘golden’ here. Playside, by pulling the guard and the quarterback reading the Mike (middle linebacker), you have ‘hat on hat’ blocking (5 vs 5) with backside support in pursuit. Furthermore, you have what you’d think is a great match-up, big Chris Warren leading into the playside alley. Not so fast, my friend (Corso voice)!
Inexplicably, Warren completely whiffs his block on the Mike (*screams silently*)! It’s like Joel Lanning has a Longhorns force field, remember 2015? I digress, it’s a good thing redundancy is built into this concept, as left guard Patrick Vahe is right behind Warren’s missed block. Lastly, I didn’t like Foreman’s cut upfield, it comes a tick late with too many steps to ‘settle’. Plant and get upfield behind your blockers.
The Power-read went for a gain and the playside receivers did a decent job blocking out on the perimeter, leaving the corner out of the play. Little mishaps like Warren’s missed block happened all night. For an offense in search of an ‘identity’, they’ve found it, inconsistency.
Next, you see Foreman motioning to the flat, Texas has an Inside Zone – Bubble (Swing) Screen run-pass option (RPO) called. If a safety is high to the field, Herman-Beck will often motion a receiver or swing the back out to the flat.
Shane throws the screen and the blocking looks okay. Now, this is where questions arise. What is Foreman’s job immediately after catch? From your angle, the play is to get upfield quick and try to get by the eventual block on the Nickel defender by the inside receiver. What do you see instead?
After quick pause, Foreman takes an outside path against a corner with outside leverage, what? Then, he attempts to cut inside only to meet more defenders in pursuit. This is an example of Foreman trusting his athleticism too much and not sticking to the script, if you will.
The last example you see shotgun split-back again. You see a similar alignment from the defense and again, on paper, a read-option run to the field looks promising.
You see Power-read again and everything looks great so far, really looking forward to this big gain!
Then, the Texas offense happens. Take a look at the receivers. The safety coming downhill on the run, unblocked, forces Foreman to ‘bubble’ husband path. Meanwhile, since this run is supposed to ‘hit’ in the alley, Humphrey’s on the wrong side of his block on the Nickel, no gainz.
The staff is doing what it can to get the ball into play makers’ hands. The issues above are two-fold. Texas offensive personnel is not executing consistently nor at a high level. Whether it’s the offensive line, the receivers, or the backs, players are not only losing blocks, but downright missing them at times. Most of you understand you’re not going to win them all, the blocks. What’s difficult to understand are outright misses. This places added pressure on ball-carriers, especially ones prone to take matters into their own hands. Foreman can be a good ball-carrier, but every player needs a consistent ‘picture’. If not, indecisiveness sets in, as well as freelancing. Coaches hate both, from what I hear. What you dislike seeing are unforced errors. As far as the concepts are concerned, I like what the staff has put together, for the most part. I’m okay with giving Foreman touches out of the backfield and as mentioned in Saturday’s post, the staff one-upped my idea of placing receivers in the backfield. Now, I’ll add to that equation. Texas has a very athletic, big, physical runner at wide receiver who happened to play running back in high school, Lil’Jordan Humphrey. If Foreman isn’t giving you what you want, why not hand the ball to Humphrey? The reason I ask is, you’ve seen Humphrey after the catch, he’s much more a physical presence than Foreman and though he doesn’t match Foreman’s speed, given the concepts, you don’t need to be a ‘burner’. I’d be willing to stick with Foreman, but I sure would love to see Humphrey given the opportunity as well.