The following are notes taken from my Kansas – Texas review. Though Texas didn’t have a whole lot of trouble, they managed to underwhelm fans with their performance on both sides of the ball. It’s an educated guess of mine that Herman sacrifices time-intensive game-planning and practice when it’s clear a simple and streamlined game play will suffice. After all, there are bigger and similar fish to fry the next two weeks. The KU game plan, after review, was extremely simple. Let’s get started.
Warren Surprise – The big surprise was the position-switch of Chris Warren, the 6’2″ 250 lb. back was moved to tight-end. If you remember, Warren’s blocked well in the past, for D’Onta Foreman in Jay Norvell’s offense. Now, the staff looks to revive that role and more for Chris. He’s big, athletic, and has good hands. I like the fit.
Frosh Backs – Part of the reason for Chris’s move is the development of the freshman backs. In Daniel Young’s case, vision, balance, and burst are all parts of his game, the most well-rounded thus far. In Toneil Carter’s case, he’s also seeing the field well, can ‘juke’ you, and that speed! Need I say more?
Personnel – Herman-Beck opted for simplified ’12’ Tight, ’11’ Tight, and ’10’ Tight groupings, the ‘Tight’ indicating an extra tight end in the backfield or split wide. All of Warren, Brewer, and Moore saw the field as tight ends. Also, even in early down, long distance situations, at least one to two tight ends remained on the field. Then, almost all ’10’ personnel groupings featured a tight end.
Deep Ball – Shane opened with a beautifully thrown post route to Joe. Then, they didn’t attack the safeties as aggressively after that. This needs to change some. Also, I noted Collin Johnson needs improvement tracking and adjusting to deep sideline throws.
Simple Call Sheet – The concepts Texas ran would fit on a smart phone home screen. It was clear the plan was to stay simple in personnel, formation, and a handful of concepts. Apparently, that was all that was needed to beat KU this season.
Protection – Protection was good at times, it was bad at times. One issue I noted in both run and pass is the defensive tackle-defensive end stunt. It’s when the tackle will rush diagonally at the offensive tackle and the end feints rushing at the same offensive tackle then shoots in inside of him. The problem here is, couple it with another rusher off the edge outside the end and now the center needs to recognize the stunt and make it over to stop the stunting end. In one instance, Shack couldn’t stop it and allowed a runner in on Shane. Pick these up in both run and pass, be good.
QB Movement – One thing I don’t like are the quarterback movement schemes. Coaches tend to move the quarterback post-snap to throw-off the rush. The problem for Texas, very few times anyone is open and the quarterback remains pressured. I’d prefer the staff stick to working from the pocket. Shane is accurate and quick with the ball when receivers are open. Keep working on protecting him from the pocket.
Extra Protection – Another issue, more protectors doesn’t usually equal more time. I get the reasoning, but you’re better off planning more for outlets the quarterback can throw to when pressured. Having an option outside and incompletions beat sacks any day.
Dime – Orlando was content with Dime personnel. That’s 6 defensive backs, two linebackers, and three defensive linemen. The way Dime allows the front to take away interior gaps and defend spilled runs make this particularly effective. Part of the reason for that is many of the quick passes and deeper routes are taken away pre-snap by structure. It’s a win-win when you can count on the defensive line to do the ‘heavy lifting’.
Antwuan Davis – He is hungry and making you forget Locke’s the starter. That goes for the previous week too. Davis is physical and fast. What you worry about heading into WVU and TTU is his ability to cover. I think he’ll be okay, but it’s no easy task.
Corner – It’s easy to ‘beat up’ on Davante Davis, but he had a fair game and gave up a highlight worthy difficult catch down the sideline. Contrast that with Boyd, who managed to draw an unneeded pass interference down his sideline to also extend a drive. This is a difficult position and the type of passing attacks Texas faces mean you’re never sure when the ball is out. Keep an eye on these two these next two weeks.
Contain Rush – The Texas defense continues to allow long scrambles on 3-man contain rushes. This is difficult because the defensive linemen don’t have the luxury to ‘pin their ears back’ and rush. They must stay ‘heads up’ as they slowly collapse the pocket, then be able to shed the blocker to pursue laterally in front of the quarterback. One instance, Graham allowed himself to be ‘kicked out’ or ‘sealed’, allowing a lane for the quarterback to run through. It’s not easy, but you won’t learn unless you’re allowed to make mistakes.
Tight End – Something Dime allows for is a cover-down on the tight end with a safety without distorting structure too much. Texas can still play 2-high or man from this look, even incorporating brackets. What this also does is mitigate the physicality advantage that tight ends often offer both in-line and split. One thing I will say. If covering down on a tight end, the schemes need to allow for the safety to match the tight end up the field.
FIB – Formation Into Boundary gave coverage some issues, in KU’s case, Trips into the boundary. There’s a reason teams formation this way, it stresses the structure of the defense. Keep an eye on this come the next two weeks, in particular, the way Texas plays verticals (switch included) when against FIB.
Tempo- Lastly, uptempo procedures have given Orlando issues two weeks in a row. The last two games have come against Air Raid programs and the next two, the same. This tends to occur against quick substitutions and or alignment issues when the defense is ‘paced’.
It didn’t take much to beat a lowly Kansas team this season. Though it may have left fans unsatisfied, a win is a win, and there will be no new ‘lost to Kansas’ jokes. What’s important, the next two weeks, Texas will do its best to become bowl eligible. It won’t be easy either. If the offense was scoring points, you’d think it would, given the way the defense is playing. That is not the case. Heading into Morgantown, you wonder if the newer ’12’, ’11’, and ’20’ personnel sets will be part of the plan. I’ll be getting to why some of that may be a good idea against the Mountaineers. Also, the defense will retain its Dime package. An idea I tinkered with was playing Jason Hall as the third safety up or near to the line of scrimmage against the Mountaineers 2 tight end sets. We shall see. As always, share your thoughts in the comments.