Inside the Game: It's About Setting Standards

Like Vince Young getting his face drove into the endzone grass, I would send a wake-up call to this team. I would rip them in film and take my rude mood to the practice field this week. It’s about setting standards… and maximizing that game 1 to game 2 improvement.

Fumbles, dropped passes, getting tackled by punters and such are not going to cut it this coming weekend in Columbus. The third quarter punt return in the Louisiana-Lafayette game is a perfect play to rip in the film room. Everybody knows it was a great play, the players are teasing and giggling. And WHAMO! Coach goes off on how it’s going to be a game of inches. He tells his returners they can’t run like Pete Rose about to take off on a head first slide into third and expect to make a touchdown-gaining change of direction. And WHY is that punter up on his feet making a play anyway? …. The room gets quiet, the standard is set… NOW it’s time to practice for Ohio State.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Huff on Ginn and playing Cedric Griffin at safety. The Huff/Ginn matchup would be great, but that’s not the only reason why I’d like to see this. If you read my article last year after the OU game, you’ll recall I mentioned Cedric would make a great safety. The play that led me to that conclusion involved a fly route deep into the corner of the endzone. Since Cedric’s receiver ran a mid-level crossing route which was picked up by a safety, he was free to just play ball. He quickly saw the fly route, and coming from the OTHER side of the field, he turned on the jets and made it into the far corner of the endzone along with the incoming football. This guy covers ground unlike almost any other player you or I have watched play football. And, I wanted to adopt him when I saw him last Saturday not even care about the ball and just run up and blow up the receiver. That play, and the Michael Griffin KO of the running back were two of the most physical plays I’ve seen a UT safety do in years. Could it be? Are the Horns physical?

DON’T EVER LET ANYONE CROSS YOUR POST!!! If you’ve been around this game in any capacity, you’ve heard a grizzly old O-line coach bellow these words in the spring. I love the fact that Coach Chizik is going to slant his ends inside the offensive tackles. I LOVE the fact that he showed it. The post foot for an offensive tackle is the inside foot that he posts forward. He simply cannot let an end beat him to the inside — this is when quarterbacks get their heads ripped off. If you are an old offensive lineman, I bet when you read the first sentence of this paragraph you pressed your post foot into the carpet a little stronger. That sentence acted like a shock collar on a Doberman. Imagine what Ohio State’s tackles felt when they saw Brian shooting the B-gap into the backfield. They probably went into the equipment room and changed their 1/2-inch cleats for 9-inch nails. Brian will be able to head fake inside, chop down the outside arm and have a free run at Zwick. And then, at Smith!

Hook-em, and be the hammer, not the nail…

Tom McLaughlin has coached high school football in the Phoenix area, coaching OL, DL, LBs and serving as both a defensive coordinator and head coach. McLaughlin also contributes on the Inside Texas message boards under the handle of 4ormore2orless. His "Inside the Game" column appears periodically during football season on InsideTexas.com.

NOTE FROM CLENDON: Be sure to check out our just-launched Coaches Corner forum. The forum will be a place to ask questions of our resident coaches and talk about Xs and Os, schemes, gameplans, offensive and defensive theories, etc. Basically, this will be a teaching and learning forum to make us all more knowledgable football fans, both in general and specifically about the Longhorn football team. Our coach-columnists Tom McLaughlin and Mark Kissinger will be active in the forum, and Mike Venable (known around the message boards as UTexasfootball) will moderate and significantly contribute, and we'd like to invite all Inside Texas members (plus other coaches and former players) to participate in this exclusive teaching and learning experience. CLICK HERE to visit the Coaches Corner. Thanks!


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