Texas Longhorns offensive play-caller and wide receivers coach Jay Norvell knew that it wasn’t going to be as easy for Jerrod Heard to escape the pocket and make a play with his feet against Oklahoma State as he made it look against Cal.
He figured the Cowboys were going to spy on Heard just as The Bears started to do late in their game when Heard amassed 527 yards of total offense.
But the spy really wasn’t the issue that kept Heard from doing what he does best, which is make plays with his feet [he did have 19 carries for 103 gained yards, but finished with only 48 net yards due to the sacks].
“The problem wasn’t as much the spies as it was our lack of protection in some of those third down situations,” Norvell said.
Third down protection was terrible for the Longhorns.. They were just 4-of-16 against OSU with Heard getting sacked four times.
“It was a good learning experience for Jerrod that once he breaks the line of scrimmage there’s going to be someone waiting on him,” Norvell said. “But there’s also a plus-side to that, if we protect him there should be throwing lanes and he should have open lanes down field. We want him to throw the ball down the field and he’s capable of doing that.”
Despite the manner in which they’ve lost the last two weeks, the Longhorns have put up 42, 44 and 27 points since Norvell and Heard took over. There’s confidence that comes with that, which Norvell is trying to make sure doesn’t get lost in the heartbreak that this team has experienced lately.
“I think the one thing our kids are gaining confidence in is that we can move the ball in a hurry, and we can score in a hurry if we don’t have a penalty and if we protect our quarterback,” he said. “We just have to get back to that. We’ve done that in the last few weeks but we have to do it consistently. We certainly didn’t do it in the second half on Saturday.”