TAKE FIVE: THE O's FACE, HAVOC, HEISMAN RACE

In this TAKE FIVE, Chip Brown gives a, "Well, hello!" to Texas freshman S DeShon Elliott, aka The Kraken ... tries to help Jay Norvell realize Norvell has already found his offensive identity ... discusses Shaka Smart's preseason rotations ... the Big 12's bad weekend ... and the new (possible) Heisman Trophy front-runner.

#1 ... Of all the young guys who got playing time against Kansas, it's hard not to get excited about what we saw from freshman S DeShon Elliott, who had two interceptions and played with high-energy.

You can tell The Kraken loves football - that it's important to him. And that means he has a chance to become a star player and leader, both of which I think he will accomplish.

In the story I wrote about Texas freshman RB Chris Warrren before the season, he talked about how when Warren's Rockwall team would play Elliott's Rockwall-Heath, Warren said he felt like there were seven Elliotts on the field because Elliott was such a playmaker and let you hear about it when he made a tackle. 

 

#2 ... I was interested to see Dan Neil say in his HD column that Texas' identity on offense right now is the two, split backs in the shotgun with an offset TE/H-Back with speed sweep motion and using play-action to throw deep.

As you all know, because I've been a broken record, I wholeheartedly, 100 percent agree.

But when I asked Jay Norvell after the Kansas game if that was the identity of the Texas offense, he said no.

"Oklahoma had problems with it, and so did Kansas State, but it wasn't very good tonight (versus Kansas)," Norvell said, even though D'Onta Foreman scored on a 9-yard run - untouched - with Johnathan Gray as his lead blocker.

And I'd argue Texas got some good results out of the Insanity Set early against Iowa State. But, hey, what do I know?

The bottom line is the identity of the offense is exactly what Dan Neil said. Hopefully, Jay Norvell isn't letting pride get in the way of seeing that. Some offensive coordinators feel like they can't run something over and over again, because they worry defenses will catch on and shut it down, and then their identity and confidence is shot on offense.

I completely disagree with that philosophy. Don't overthink it. Run something over and over until the defense adjusts - anticipate the adjustments - and then adjust accordingly, with play-action or by using the inside or outside zone instead of the counter, or vice versa.

Bill Snyder runs the same stuff almost every play on offense with his QB run game, but he tailors the blocking or play-calling ever-so slightly to exploit weaknesses in a defense.

Do what you do well with playmakers who are hard to stop, which Texas has (Daje, Newsome, etc.).

 

#3 ... I know it was just an exhibition game, but there was a lot  to like in the way Texas disposed of reigning Division II Final Four team Tarleton State, which is loaded again this year.

I liked the way Shaka Smart substituted/rotated players in that game.

I liked the way he started big men Cam Ridley and Prince Ibeh, getting them invested in that HAVOC tempo early. It paid off big against an undersized TSU team as Ridley was incredibly productive in just 18 minutes of play (15 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks). Ibeh had 5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks in 17 minutes.

I liked that Texas hit its free throws (23 of 27) and that Ridley was 7-of-8 from the FT line.

Most of all, I liked how fearless and confident the freshmen - G Kerwin Roach, G Eric Davis and G Tevin Mack - played.

We had heard all off-season they were the best shooters - along with Javan Felix - and that was certainly the case last Friday. Mack (4-of-9 from 3 pt), Roach (2-of-5 3pt), Davis (2-of-4 3pt) and Felix (2-of-3 3pt) were a combined 10 of 21 from 3pt (47.6 percent).

It's going to be hard to keep Roach off the floor. He can play point guard, and he has a better jumper than Isaiah Taylor. But Texas will need both players this season. And in Shaka's HAVOC system, UT will always need two point guards.

 

#4 ... Let's be honest, Oklahoma State's 20-point beatdown of TCU, including four INTs thrown by Trevone Boykin was bad for the Big 12 overall. 

Matt Leinart was saying before the game how Boykin had become his Heisman front-runner. And after TCU's pulverizing of Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl last year, the Horned Frogs had a lot of "benefit of the doubt" in the college football world. Moreso than Baylor, which continues to be dogged by Art Briles' scheduling stance.

This week's game between Oklahoma and Baylor in Waco is enormous, and I can't wait to see how Lincoln Riley draws up the plan to use the Sooners' running game against BU after K-State was able to run on the Bears last week.

OU is probably the only Big 12 team that could get into the CFP with one loss. If the Sooners, who opened as a 5-point underdog and is now only a 3-point underdog, beat Baylor, they'll play TCU at home Nov. 21 before going to Stillwater on Nov. 28

For the sake of making the CFP, the Big 12 needs either Baylor, Oklahoma State or Oklahoma to win out. Which one has the best chance of doing that in your mind?

 

#5 ... Who are the Heisman Trophy front-runners now?

Alabama's Derrick Henry, who had 38 carries for 210 yards rushing in a 30-16 win over LSU ...

... and Baylor WR Corey Coleman (11 catches for 216 yards, 2 TDs vs K-State, giving him a nation-leading 20 TD catches for the season) ... have to be up there now.

They were probably the biggest benefactors in the Heisman Trophy race of the poor performances in losses by LSU's Leonard Fournette (19 carries for 31 yards vs Alabama) and TCU's Trevone Boykin (4 INTs in 49-29 loss at Ok State).

Here are latest Heisman odds from Bovada Las Vegas:

2015 Regular Season - Odds to win the Heisman Trophy (Players in red have longer odds, players in blue have shorter odds, and players in black stayed the same)       

Odds on 11/2/15         Current Odds (11/9/15)

Derrick Henry (RB Alabama)                               14/1                              3/2 

Leonard Fournette (RB LSU)                              4/9                                2/1

Ezekiel Elliott (RB Ohio State)                            8/1                                7/1

Corey Coleman (WR Baylor)                               40/1                              8/1

Deshaun Watson (QB Clemson)                         9/1                                8/1

Trevone Boykin (QB TCU)                                  5/1                                16/1

Christian McCaffrey (RB Stanford)                     25/1                              16/1

Paxton Lynch (QB Memphis)                              75/1                              Off the Board

 


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