When Texas has the ball.
Starters: < br>
QB: Vince Young (So.)
RB: Cedric Benson (Sr.)
FB: Will Matthews (Sr.)
FL: Tony Jeffery (Sr.)
SE: Limas Sweed (Fr.)
TE: David Thomas (Jr.)
LT: Jon Scott (Jr.)
LG: Kasey Studdard (So.)
C: Jason Glynn (Sr.)
RG: Will Allen (Jr.)
RT: Justin Blalock (So.)
K: Dusty Mangum (Sr.)
KR: Ramonce Taylor
PR: Aaron Ross
Offensive Stat Leaders
Passing: Vince Young: 132/222 - 1669 yds - 59.5% -10 INT, 11 TD - 129.95 eff.
Rushing: Cedric Benson: 303 att. - 1792 yds. - 5.8 avg. - 19 TD
Receiving: Tony Jeffery: 29 rec. - 399 yds. - 13.8 avg. - 3 TD
Scoring offense (14th) 35.0 pts
Pass offense (105th) 163.9 yds
Rushing offense (2nd) 302.4 yds
Total offense (9th) 466.27 yds
Punt returns (77th) 8.2 avg
Kick returns (111th) 16.2 avg
It seems the ultra conservative days are over for the Texas team that lost to Oklahoma from a ridiculously low risk approach. Texas runs a variety of formations, you will see plenty of two tight end and power running sets along with some more spread out looks such as a three wideout set. Texas will use the shotgun formation a good amount of the time as well. I suspect Texas will use a spread out look more this game, it stretches the 3-4 out which helps Young better see a possible blitz or coverage and also makes it more difficult for Michigan to load up against the run. The philosophy is simple, wear down the defense with Benson and use Young's athletic ability in the running game. You will see the zone read option employed on quite a few of the Texas runs, it's basically where Young gets the ball, reads the defense and either keeps or gives the ball to Benson on an inside angle run. A lot of the Longhorns running schemes are zone or combo blocked, Gabe Watson will see double or triple teams initially on practically every play, and Texas has ran all day on interior defensive lineman who can't hold their ground and get moved out of the point of attack. You will see Texas go to the tight ends a lot, on throw back screens, drag routes, delays, play action bootleg passes etc. They are very creative in ways to get the tight ends open. I think you will see some of the same things MSU and OSU used to exploit Michigan's habit of being out of position. Expect plenty of quarterback draws, misdirection draw plays, options, rollout passes, things MSU used against Michigan. This offense can be pretty creative when it wants to be, if Greg Davis comes out of the turtle shell for a big game, Texas should have a pretty solid gameplan.
Cedric Benson from a scouting standpoint is a very, very good back, the best Michigan has faced this year. Excellent power runner, doesn't go down on first contact or arm tackles and is really assertive in the running lanes. Not only is he a excellent power runner but he's got the footwork, shiftiness and vision to avoid tacklers and run in space. Although his speed isn't up to NFL standards, he's got pretty good wheels for the college level. If there is a weakness it would be in his lack of receiving skills and ability to pickup the blitz (although he's a great run blocker). Ramonce Taylor is the speedy tailback that will back up Benson, with both Selvin Young and Erik Hardeman de-commishioned. Fullback Will Matthews is often over looked in Texas's running game but he's a "Kevin Dudley" like iso blocker who does a great job of clearing out the hole for Benson.
A very solid group up front for the Longhorns. Left tackle Jonathan Scott is the most nimble lineman in the entire country and is excellent pass blocking against speed rushers. He's also very good at blocking in space, though can be given trouble by bull rushers. Guards Kasey Studdard and Will Allen will be counted on angle blocking Watson to clear out the middle on occasion, both are pretty solid lineman but will need to help center Jason Glynn out in the middle. Glynn, although a nimble lineman who's been solid throughout his career, lacks the elite strength and power needed to move big Gabe out of the middle gaps and could struggle trying to contain him. Right tackle Justin Blalock is a star in the making, although he's probably better suited for guard, he's an outstanding run blocker.
Quarterback & Receivers:
The other part of the two headed attack is sophomore quarterback Vince Young. Young is bar none the best running quarterback in the country and is not afraid to use it either on designed runs or when the pocket breaks down. Make no mistake, he's not thinking run when he drops back to pass and will be patient to deliver the ball. His mechanics are way off, he's more of an "arm thrower" rather than using his footwork to make more accurate throws. His odd throwing style does help him some cases however, allowing him to throw sidearm through lanes and a high release throw over defenders. He does have a habit of throwing interceptions but he's made plenty of clutch throws throughout the season.
The graduation of Roy Williams. B.J. Johnson and Sloan Thomas took away 120 catches, 1,964 yards and 15 touchdowns worth of 2003 production from the passing game. Tony Jeffery is not a big deep threat but he's one of the few that has experience and he can get open in the short-midrange passing game. Limas Sweed could be an X factor. The 6'5 track speed receiver is only a redshirt freshman but has big time potential and had a breakout game against Kansas. Brian Carter and Eric Enard will complete the more spread out sets. Carter is a pretty good athlete, while the walk-on Enard is a big, physical receiver but both haven't seen many passes come their way so far. The tight ends are sure to see a lot of action in the passing game once again. David Thomas, though not a great drive blocker can really stretch the field with his speed and he's an excellent overall receiver. He's one of the few targets that can make plays deep in the secondary. Bo Scaife is a little bigger at 250 and like Thomas lacks top playing strength but he's a reliable pass catcher as well and does a good job of adjusting the throw.
How does the Texas Offense stack up vs. Michigan Overall?
Now Michigan has had a month to prepare for Texas and re-evaluate themselves, it is test day today! The question comes up a lot, how do you stop a mobile quarterback? Well no one has the big secret, though I would recommend taking a peek at Monte Kiffin's (Tampa Bay's D coordinator) strategy against Michael Vick. Discipline, fundamentals, team speed and inside pressure/outside contain can at least limit a running quarterback's effect. It's kind of hard to say that Michigan will contain Vincent Young when honestly they have never really been able to keep tabs on mobile qb's. Brandon Kirsch, Zak Kustok, McNabb, Troy Smith, Drew Stanton, I'm sure you can all remember. So saying Michigan will contain Young, is kind of like betting on the horse that's never won a race. Not saying it can't happen but it's high unlikely. Michigan can stop tailbacks, though the shotgun adds a new facet to the running game, Gabe Watson is the best nose guard Texas has faced and I think he could really have a game. I'm curious to see how Michigan plays their secondary, or how Texas MAKES them play with their formations. Michigan would love to put Ernest in the box but if Texas lines up with spread out formations, it may not be possible to but Shazor on the strong side every down. What you will likely see is Shazor play near the middle so he can make a play to either side, or at least that's what should happen provided Young can option the play away from Ernest if he lines up on the strong side. Another interesting aspect will be what type of coverage Michigan plays. I think the cover 3 would work best, seeing as it is a preferred run stopping coverage, you can commit 8 against the run but I'm sure you will see plenty of man coverage mixed in to jam the receivers. The problem being with man coverage, the defensive backs have their back turned to the quarterback running with their receivers and can lose tabs on where Vince Young is. On the other hand the strength of zone coverage is the defenders are reading the quarterback and likewise adjust to him.
Texas Longhorns – The Game Program (Tex. Offense)
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