Chalkboard Talk: The Texas Offense

<p>GBW correspondent <strong>Josh Turel</strong> takes a look at a few common plays run by the Texas offense and breaks down how they worked against previous opponents. What must the Wolverines do to be more successful than their predecessors?</p>

Play 1 (read diagram below)
This is a run that Texas used against Kansas that is a part of a zone read scheme where Texas deploys Vince Young (#10) and Cedric Benson (#32) in the shotgun. At the snap of the ball (red circle represents the quarterback), Young receives the football and normally focuses his eyes on the middle linebacker or defensive end on the weakside of the play. He then puts the ball into Cedric Benson's chest, but maintains possession. If the end slants inside, Young will pulls the ball back and takes it himself on a designed run. In that case it is a sweep to the outside (highlighted in red). If the end contains (i.e. keeps his outside free), Benson takes the ball from Young. It's a bang-bang decision that Young has performed very well throughout the year.

All American Left tackle Jonathan Scott (#73) lets the slanting end go pretty much untouched and then goes for the scrape linebacker that is responsible for weakside contain. The end really doesn't make much happen because Young is out and running once he gets there. Scott is a very athletic tackle that moves like a tight end and can reach the inside backers with ease. The attention the Benson draws pulls the linebackers hard, which makes Scott's and center Jason Glynn's (#52) jobs a lot easier. To add to the deception, the RT (#63) and TE (#16) double the right side end. That prompts the strong safety to sell out to the fake also. The slot corner on the left side comes up hard in an effort to contain the play, but he takes a very sharp angle to Young and was easily avoided.

The wide left receiver, Limas Sweed (#4), gets a 10-yard cushion from his corner because of his speed, but does an excellent job of blocking his man downfield. That takes the left side corner out of the play, leaving the safety to fill the alley and clean up the lost contain on Vince. That doesn't happen on this play and that will be the case 95% of the time. When you isolate Vince Young on any player on the field, the outcome will go his way. This time was no different. The free safety got shook and Young was eventually caught downfield by pursuit. Again the play shows some key things: Cedric Benson with or without the football has the attention of the defense. Poor discipline, loss of contain, and one on one matchups with Vince Young translate into a big chunk of yards.

The weakside end has slanted inside along with the tackle, causing Young to take it himself and sweep to the left or "weakside". Benson runs his designated angle, only without the ball. Because of the runner he is, he draws a lot of attention, especially from the linebackers.


Play 2 (see diagram below)
If there is one play that scares Michigan fans, it is the quarterback draw with an athletic quarterback. The draw play is something Texas likes to run and turned one into a big play versus Texas A&M last week. Here's how it worked: As soon as Young (#10) receives the ball, he takes one step back and brings the ball up in a pass look. That immediately sends the defense (and specifically the linebackers) into their coverage drops. A&M is in a cover 3 soft zone. With his second step back, Young plants, brings the ball down, and begins up field. He reads the interior blocks (highlighted in red). The blocking is superb, which is not a surprise since this is a very solid Texas offensive line. The first task is to make sure the nose guard does not penetrate. He is triple teamed off the snap. Once he under control and the center (#52) can finish the block, the guards (#64, #72) break off to kick out the linebackers.

Cedric Benson (#32) comes out of the backfield to take on the linebacker with the left guard (#64). On the play in question, Benson totally KO'ed the linebacker and was the key block when Young cut back to the left side. The receivers and tight end team up for the downfield blocking on the secondary. The thing that made the play even more dangerous was Texas called it in the center of the field. That just gave Young more room to work his magic. With the nose guard under control, Young has the option of running to either side. He can use his vision to find the cut backs and running lanes that WILL be there if the blocking is executed properly. The first key to stopping this play is some sort of disruption by the nose guard (Gabe Watson), which would force Young to commit to one side before he gets past the LOS. The other is the linebackers reading, reacting and beating the blocks of the guard and running back. If the inside linebackers are taken out of the play, it's then up to the secondary to make the stop. That spells trouble.


Play 3 (see diagram below)
This play is a hand off to Benson (highlighted in red) that Texas ran against Texas A&M for a large gain. Again you see the defense's attention is diverted. The left receiver (#2) comes in motion and at the snap of the ball heads into the backfield. Young (#10) gives the ball to Benson (#32), who then fakes it to the receiver on the reverse. A good sell is crucial, and against A&M two key players bought it. The weakside tackle over the right guard (#72) was slanting inside and had a chance to break up the play, but he spun around and went after the reverse. Next, the strong safety, who understandably is lured to the reverse, was caught to far upfield to make a play on Benson once he cut the play back.

The blocking scheme was executed almost perfectly. Make no mistake, it was a designed cut back play with the offensive line blocking down. The tight end (#16), kicks out the defensive end on the left side. Left tackle Jon Scott (#73) seals off the strong side linebacker, who was flowing to point of attack. The left guard (#64) and center (#52) double the strong side tackle to prevent him from penetrating and breaking up the play. The center then peels off and seals the middle linebacker who could potentially stop the cutback. Right tackle Justin Blalock (#63) throws the key block for the big gain. That was the block on the weakside linebacker. The WILL linebacker is trying to fill at the point of attack but gets out of position. Benson breaks to the right on the cut back and Blalock seals him off from pursuing the play downfield.


Play 4 (see diagram below)
If there’s one player that scares me other than Vince Young and Cedric Benson, it's tight end David Thomas (#16). The Longhorns have come up with very creative ways to get him the football. Whether it's a 15 yard post pattern or a tight end delay, Thomas makes plays. On this particular play, Thomas is the backside tight end in a double tight end set. Vince Young rolls to his right. Once he gets the football, he stares down his two receivers on the right side as they go down field. At the same time, the entire offensive line pulls to the right side. Front side tight end Bo Scaife (#80) and tailback Cedric Benson (#32) double the strong side end to prevent him from busting up the play. The defense has dropped into their pass coverage already and is almost completely rolled to the strongside (as you can see the left side corner and linebacker are dragged away from their zones). However, there's a catch. David Thomas (highlighted in red), who initially blends in with the blocking scheme, drops back and receives the throw back pass from Young. With just about every defender in the area rushing over to the right side of the field, the backside area is practically vacated. To make matters worse for the defense, LT Jon Scott (#73), LG Kasey Studdard (#64) and C Jason Glynn (#52) disengage from their initial blocks and form a convoy in front of Thomas. Jon Scott is the lead blocker for Thomas and throws a key block for an easy 15 yard gain. A well conceived play that uses misdirection and deception to get the defense out of position for an easy first down.

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