WHAT A DIFFERENCE A SPRING GAME MAKES …
I was talking to a friend about if the spring game would have been canceled because of lightning and moved inside the practice bubble.
No one would have seen Shane Buechele throw the ball where only Armanti Foreman could catch it for that 27-yard TD pass. …
… Or see Buechele loft that perfect touch pass over the top to John Burt on a double move for a 65-yard touchdown. …
… Or see perhaps the most telling play of the game when it comes to Buechele – on an incomplete pass. Buechele was flushed to his left, completely spun around and still got eyes downfield and threw a perfect strike 30 yards downfield to Collin Johnson in the corner of the end zone. The pass wasn’t completed. But like most of Buechele’s throws last Saturday, the ball was where only his receiver could get his hands on it.
The bottom line is - everyone needed to see that for themselves. They needed to see Buechele get the ball out quickly, on time and on target. They needed to see his deep ball with touch and how he threw that 27-yard TD strike to Armanti Foreman – back shoulder – so Holton Hill couldn’t swipe it.
WHY YOU NEEDED TO SEE THAT
Everyone needed to see Buechele’s poise and moxie.
Because if Texas has the kind of turnaround season on offense that I’ve said they’ll have – increasing their points per game from 26.4 to at least 33.4 (probably more) - I wanted you all to see why I was already saying that.
I wanted you all to see why – when I keep saying the QB starting job is Buechele’s to lose and that if the season started today, Buechele would be the starter – why I’m saying it.
Now you know.
And no one is more aware of how little Texas showed on offense in a vanilla spring game than I am. This has nothing to do with how little the offense was calling or how the defense didn’t blitz.
It has everything to do with HOW Buechele operated the offense. How decisive he was, how quickly the ball came out as well as the ball location –so his intended receiver was the only one who could catch it, no matter how tight the coverage.
No one will say it publicly, but Buechele will be the starter against Notre Dame.
So why not just announce it?
There is nothing wrong with keeping the competition between Buechele, Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard going through the summer and into the fall, pushing each other every day to be better.
And, because Heard missed the last six practices with an injured throwing shoulder, it gives Heard a fair chance to work his butt off and see if he can overtake Shane.
Buechele had a substantial lead over Swoopes and Heard in terms of running the more complex run-pass-options (RPOs) in Sterlin Gilbert’s offense.
Bottom line: Buechele was progressing in the offense at a much higher rate than Swoopes and Heard and then, when the lights came on for the spring game, Buechele continued to be unflappable while protecting the ball and, of course, made some big plays in the passing game.
Poise, moxie, accuracy.
Buechele may well have a cot in Sterlin Gilbert’s office he’s in there so much. The freshman can’t get enough of what Gilbert can teach him. He wants more, more, more.
You all have heard me say countless times: the quarterback at Texas has to treat his position, his college experience as if he has a fulltime job in addition to being a full-time college student.
The quarterback doesn’t get to go out to Sixth Street as much as the receivers, DBs or linemen.
There’s work to be done – either for school or for his offense.
PUTTING IT ON FILM
Here’s another big reason Buechele will start the season at QB against Notre Dame. He just put on film exactly what opponents need to fear about this offense - that it can touch all points on the field.
From sideline to sideline, deep and underneath.
By giving Notre Dame that film to chew on – while not showing any of the two-back power running with speed-sweep motion that will set up play-action – the Irish have to respect Buechele’s arm talent.
And as long as players and coaches have to fear the QB’s ability to accurately deliver the ball all over the field to receivers who can get behind the defense, then pick-your-poison decisions about what the defense wants to force the offense to do are less certain.
And the G-Force Offense feeds off of defensive uncertainty – whether it’s the dizzying tempo to make players line up simply or incorrectly or gambling that it’s better to focus on D’Onta Foreman and Chris Warren than deep passes to John Burt or Collin Johnson.
The beauty of the G-Force Offense is that as long as the quarterback is making quick, accurate reads on run-pass-option plays – especially as the defense gets more fatigued - the offense should always have the right answer.
And right now, no quarterback on the roster comes up with those quick, accurate reads and those correct answers the way Buechele does.
That’s why he’s your starting quarterback for 2016.
THE JARRETT ALLEN PUZZLE
I was told today, "Anyone who thinks they know what's going on with Jarrett Allen - they don't have a clue."
Allen continues to dance to his own drummer.
After an in-home visit from Texas' Shaka Smart on Monday and an in-home visit from Kansas coach Bill Self on Tuesday, I'm told Notre Dame was on the campus of St. Stephen's for a visit with Allen Wednesday. ND is an Under Armour school, and I'm told UA is doing everything it can to help its schools secure top talent.
Hold on tight.