The Texas offense received a performance enhancement Saturday, the return of left tackle, Connor Williams. If you didn’t know, he’s kind of a big deal. If you read the Game Week post, Texas needed to attack the C-gaps (gap outside of the tackles), throw to space (cushion) outside, and attack some man-coverage in the pass game? Let’s take a look how they did, shall we?
Texas opened well, then penalties, a slip, and a drop happened. The rain started again, Shane left, and Sam came in. The first big play came off of my favorite route, the ‘7’, or Corner route. From a ‘10’ personnel (1 RB, 0 TE) ‘Trips’ formation set to the field, Texas runs a familiar route combination. Outside-in, they run a Pivot, Cross, and Corner. The #3 receiver (outside-in) stems inside, fakes and inside release, then routes vertical up the seam.
The ‘7’ is what I call the Advantage route and so long as the red highlighted safety stays in against any run, the ‘7’ is expected to come open. Below, you can see Sam’s timing is good, as he’s releasing when the receiver is breaking his route outside, big play. Note the Cross is coming open too. If that safety were to sink over the Corner, the Cross is there, if he stays in or covers the Cross, the Corner is there, a great concept against man-coverage or half-field coverage.
If you follow your boy on Twitter, the next example is ‘Eerily’ familiar to a play I pointed out from the OSU-WVU game. It’s a ‘20’ personnel ‘Slant-Flat’ combination. I’ll tell you why that’s in quotations below. First off, you see the quarterback-running back mesh, the tight end shooting the flat, and the single receiver stemming vertical.
Play-action here does a great job keeping the linebackers in, but what makes this play work is the single receiver route. He makes sure to keep his outside shoulder on the corner while he works up to the safety. Sam is already releasing the ball to the flat.
The tight end does a really good job planting and running inside and vertical on the corner. Meanwhile, you see the block on the safety, great execution here.
The next example is very familiar as well. I Periscoped a part of the OSU-WVU game to show you how OSU attacked the WVU defense outside the tackles using Outside Zone. It led to a good ‘trick play’. Texas ran similar with Sam in the game.
You see the action, everything right. You see the pursuit, WVU pursues aggressively on most everything. Texas had already used Outside Zone to attack the C-gaps and saw this pursuit. There are no eyes in the image below backside. Also, given Texas’ history throwing halfback passes, the defense also must worry about a pass vertical.
The throwback to Sam is deadly, you already see pursuit late when catching the ball, but the right guard’s already turned to cut-off linebacker pursuit. The remaining offensive linemen’s job is to create a ‘sidewalk’ for the quarterback down the sideline. This was a big gainer, helped by Texas’ success with Outside Zone.
It was safe to say, play-action was working Saturday. Texas was finally able to run the ball with some consistency. Williams returning at left tackle helped tremendously. Add to that, the staff mixed in some quarterback runs with Sam Ehlinger.
This one was no different, you see the box, you see eyes in on the backfield action and mesh. Meanwhile, you also see the loan safety is set near the field hash, as opposed to the middle hash. The beauty of this concept is that it attacks the field flat and the boundary seam.
Sam is on time again. He hits Chris Warren up the seam and you already see how out of position the defense is against this concept. It all started with formation, alignment, and action.
These were but a few examples. If Texas continues the 1-game trend of consistent running and I suspect it will, defenses will have a much more difficult time against the multiple play-makers. The return of Williams at left tackle combined with the offense matched-up with defenses that aren’t very good is a great recipe for Longhorns fans. Up next is a beleaguered Tech team and another defense that should serve it up well. It’s up to Texas to finalize the trend and eat! As always, let me know what you think in the comments.