Is Offense Too Conservative In Big Games?

Does the Texas offense play too conservatively against highly ranked foes? If so, does it significantly hinder Texas' chances when it's nut-cuttin' time? To what extent can head coach <B>Mack Brown's</b> 7-10 record against nationally ranked opponents be attributed to the offensive scheme? Or, has it to do with the players' failure to adequately implement the scheme?

Given the wealth of offensive playmakers, does Texas get too conservative in the very type of game facing it this Saturday at the Cotton Bowl?

It depends on what you mean by conservative, Brown suggests.

"Conservative is a real interesting word," Brown said. "I get beat up for throwing it 46 times a game (against Oklahoma State), and then I get beat up for being conservative. So, I really get confused sometimes about (the accusation). You're only conservative if you score three points (against OU last season). If you throw it 46 times and complete 46 of them, it wasn't conservative. If you run the ball every time and break eight of them for touchdowns, it wasn't conservative."

Earlier in the season, QB Chris Simms said Texas' thick playbook is filled with arsenal and trickery but that "Coach (Greg) Davis likes to keep it close to the vest." But Simms typically credits the offensive coordinator for his sprinkling in high-percentage completion plays at the beginning of the game to help him settle into the flow of the contest.

For many Texas fans, the ‘conservative' label references the type of lateral passing game, or throwing underneath coverage on shorter routes, with which Davis' offense has become associated with in recent high profile games against Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

For Brown, the moniker is a matter of perspective more indicative of the final score than the game plan itself. "I really believe that, in people's minds, it means that you didn't score," Brown said. "If you score three points (against OU last season), you are conservative with your scoring, and we'd rather not be."

Brown mentioned the fact that two of the deep balls thrown last year in the Red River Rivalry were intercepted. Brown could have also mentioned the more wide-open attack that imploded against Colorado in the first half in the Big 12 Championship game last year, but which also (with a change in quarterback) damn near effected a miraculous comeback.

"Maybe we threw too many deep ones last year," Brown said. "I know that OU's defense, like ours, is really, really good so it's usually not a high scoring game. There's a lot of fast guys on both defenses and the areas where you think you've got an offensive play, you really don't because it closes up quicker."

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