Running Attack Has Been 'Tweaked'

SAN ANTONIO -- Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis says the Longhorns have "tweaked" their running game for the Alamo Bowl and will feature a different style off attack than what's been used this season.

Davis wouldn't divulge specific plays but says that the time between the Longhorn's regular season ending defeat at the hands of Texas A&M and the Alamo Bowl match-up with Iowa is sufficient time to make necessary adjustments.

"We've tweaked a few things and have a few things prepared," said Davis.

Davis also said that the change in the Longhorns running game, ranked 7th in the Big 12 (170.3 in yards per game), will be a change from the primary offense this season, but nothing Earth-shattering.

"You're not going to see a split-back veer or something like that, but we've had a month off," said Davis. "We had a chance to evaluate what we've been doing."

While we don't know the exact plays that will be in the offense, Texas head coach Mack Brown knows one that will not.

"Zone read was not a good play," said Brown. "It was not a productive play and if you're going to continue to run zone out of the shotgun you've got to run zone read because you've got to pull people out and away from the dive."

The minimization, if not elimination, of the zone-read has mostly to do with the decreased number of quarterback runs in 2006, allowing defenders to key on the running back. Longhorn quarterback Colt McCoy says that while fewer zone reads will be called in the game, the Texas coaches are certainly not discouraging him from using his legs.

"Coach Davis always says ‘if you can make a play with your feet, go ahead and do it,'" said McCoy. "If there's an opportunity there, I'm not scared to run the ball."

One would anticipate that the "new" style of running game will involve more I-Form and under-center runs, especially considering some players' affinity for it. Late in the year there was some grumbling about the lack of success on the ground and RB Selvin Young said after the loss to A&M that he preferred to work in more of a straight ahead attack.

"Faster you're going downhill, the more chance you have of breaking long runs," said Young. "You can see the excitement in the offense when we're going downhill."

Obviously Young had just suffered a frustrating loss on his Senior Day, but his point remains valid. But other players have said they don't necessarily have a preference.

In San Antonio, when I asked offense tackle Justin Blalock what kind of running game he preferred, he laughed and said: "A successful one."

He continued: "I don't care if we're running a perimeter game or traps and ISOs. As long as it's working we're happy."

Blalock says he anticipates the flow of the game itself will have an impact on the style of running the Longhorns employ.

"Our coaches have done a good job of teaching all of the different facets of offense," said Blalock. "If we're good at all of ‘em, it's going to be that much easier to be successful when someone tries to counteract one style of play if you can attack them with another. It's just really a big chess game. Just a matter of finding what's going to be successful on any given day."


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