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After each game this season, former Longhorns’ All-American OL DAN NEIL, who won three conference titles at Texas and two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos, will provide a breakdown of what he saw. Here's his analysis of Texas' 27-6 win over Iowa State:

When I watch the UT games on Saturday, I am thinking about this article.  


Often, I see things live and watch the film to see if I was correct in my initial observation.  


I was at the game this weekend, and it is more difficult to see everything live, but a lot more exciting! 


What I saw live was Iowa State playing good run defense and forcing Texas to fight for almost every yard.  


D'Onta Foreman still got his 100+ yards rushing. But they were tough yards.  Remember, this offense had rushed for more than 300 yards against Cal and Oklahoma State.  Iowa State held Texas to 207 yards on the ground.


The offense for Texas struggled this game.  If you take away the big plays in the third quarter, there is not a lot of production there.  


The biggest initial reaction was this team could not run the counter/power play that is this offense.  


When you can’t run the power play there are two reasons. Can’t get the backside lineman blocked and/or do not get a push on the play side double team. 


The reason I love the power play is that you get a great double team play side between the guard and tackle with good angles.  It also allows the pulling guard and pulling tackle to get a running start and go hit a guy whose job is to stand his ground.  


For an offensive lineman these are plays you beg for.  The only guy that has a tough job on this play is the center.  I played center for 2 years at Texas and realized I like guard better!  


Let me breakdown this play and go into how you stop it.  


Before I do that let me tell you a story.  


I was listening to John Madden tell how when he first started coaching he went to a seminar put on by Vince Lombardi.  


Madden thought he was ready to be a head coach in the NFL, and he knew all there was to know about football.  


At this seminar, Lombardi spent the whole day breaking down one play.  The famous sweep play that the Packers perfected.  


Remember Jerry Kramer pulling and killing the linebackers?  That’s the play.  Madden left the seminar and said he realized he did not know anything about football.  To breakdown a play and all the different variables would take all day.  


I'm going to generalize my breakdown of the power play for sake of time.  I love doing this for HD, but I’m not going to spend all day breaking down one play!


The center's job is to block the defensive tackle over the pulling guard.  This can be extremely difficult if this tackle is quick and gets off the ball.  


What the defensive tackle will attempt to do is get in the hip pocket of the pulling guard and make the tackle for a loss.  The center has to snap the ball and almost run right past the pulling guard to the defensive tackle and not allow him to penetrate the line of scrimmage.  


When the defensive tackle hesitates, this block is easier.  


When the defensive tackle reads the pulling guard and gets up the field, this can be tough to get blocked.  


Shackelford has done a good job at this all year.  It has also probably been the block he has struggled with the most all year.  


I get it!  It is a tough block and one of the hardest things a center has to do.  Also, Shackelford got injured when a DB coming off the edge ended up on the back of his knees.  There are a lot of bodies flying around out there!


Playside guard and tackle.  I group these two together because they almost always double team the defensive tackle and climb to the backside linebacker.  


This is why they moved LG Patrick Vahe and LT Connor Williams to the same side of the offensive line.  Their double teams are fun to watch.  


They often get the defensive tackle on ice skates and deposit him into the backside linebacker.  


When they run this play to the left side, there is usually room to run.  This block is key.  


If there is not movement on this double team, there will be bodies in the hole, and it is difficult to run this play.  


Maybe you are beginning to see why I Iove this play.  


The guard gets a double team where you can just fire off the ball and bury your head and drive the defensive tackle.  


The guard's other job is to pull and hit a guy that has been told to take on your block. 


The pulling guard gets the best job on this play.  


His job is to open his hips and run straight at the end man on the line of scrimmage and literally run through him.  


When you get to him, you want to explode your hips through the man and envision yourself running through him.  


You want to destroy him.  His job is to spill the pulling guard.  In other words, get his head inside the pulling guard and create a pile where you want to run the ball and force the ball carrier outside where there are no blockers.  


It’s kind of like a gun fight. You both know what the other is going to do, but only one wins! (Excuse the analogy but I just watched the Magnificent 7!).  This is your chance as a guard to deliver a knockout hit. 


Backside tackle may or may not pull. 


If he pulls, his job is to lead the ball carrier through the hole.  He will turn up to the playside linebacker inside the pulling guard's kickout block.  


The ball carrier should follow the tackle, and the next thing he hits should be the safety.  


If the backside tackle does not pull, he will likely block the man over him or even step down to fill the pulling guard's spot and double the defensive tackle to the backside LB or DE.  A lot of variabilities with the backside tackle on this play.


Quarterback’s job is to block the backside end.  


Yes, the quarterback has to account for someone.  


It is a numbers game, and everyone has to block.  The QB needs to hold the backside end with a run fake.  


He does this by keeping the ball when he sees the backside end crash down and chase the running back.  


The end should have contain and should hesitate until he sees the ball handed off.  That is all the time the ball carrier needs to hit the hole if he runs like he is shot out of a cannon.  


This was a problem for Texas Saturday.  Iowa State did not respect Buechele running the ball, and the end was crashing down on Foreman.  The end was on Foreman’s legs all day.


If everyone does their job, this play can’t be stopped.  Even if someone breaks down, it is such a physical play that it wears out the defense.  


This is part of the reason Texas had a big third quarter.  


Iowa State was tired of trying to stop this play.  Put youreslf in the shoes of that playside end and seeing Vahe running at you knowing you have to take it on.  Gets old after a while!


Offensive Notes:


  • The touchdown pass to Heard in the third quarter was due to the bock by D'Onta Foreman.  I always have to point out when one of the best running backs in college football blocks.  All the great running backs do!


  • Kent Perkins was not himself Saturday.  I feel like he has improved this year. But he took a step backward Saturday.  Not sure if he's fighting some injury, but he needs to be better next week.


  • Jake McMillon did a good job filling in for Zach Shackelford.  Every offensive line needs a backup guard/center they can count on.  McMillon is that guy.  He played well last week for Perkins and again this week.  He will be a good player next year at right guard.


Defensive notes:


  • Love 23  (LB Jeffrey McCullough) on the defensive side of the ball.  He is an excellent blitzer who gets after the QB.  


  • I like 55 (DT Jordan Elliott).  This looks like a man amongst boys out there.  He is a big, physical, quick player who certainly has all the tools.  This guy can be special if he continues to develop and plays with a high motor.  The problem here is DT Poona Ford, DT Chris Nelson and DT Paul Boyette all have been playing well.  There is not a lot of room for playing time at this position.  I do feel we will see more of 55 this season.  


  • I feel like CB Kris Boyd is starting to play with a lot more aggression.  He is looking more and more physical.  Attacking on run support and becoming a good tackler.  His play has improved the last two weeks.  


  • When I watch this defense, I can’t help watching Breckyn Hager.  He may not be the best player on the field, but I love watching him play.  I wish somebody could explain to me why everyone on the field does not play with that passion.  I've just never understood why you would not play that hard.  Give me 11 Hagers, and we would at least have fun getting after the other team - and they wouldn't like it very much.


  • One of the things I wanted to see is how this secondary would do in coverage.  Couldn’t tell.  The Iowa State QB was assaulted by Texas’ pass rush.  UT abused this offensive line and QB.  This is why pass rush and coverage go together.  Each can pick up the other, and UT’s secondary needed a night like last night from the Texas pass rush after the past 3 weeks.  It also looked like UT was playing more aggressive in man and not allowing the receivers free releases off the ball.  


After watching the film, I think this team played better then I originally thought.  It just took a little while to get going.  It's how you finish, not how you start!  That is what Texas has to remember every week this year.  Finish strong and give yourself a chance!


If you get the chance, go watch the movie Magnificent 7.  Might be as good as the original.  Might be!




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