Much of the Longhorn's off-season has been spent reiterating the desire for a stronger running game. While most of the improvement in this area is expected to come from running backs Tre Newton and Fozzy Whittacker, at least one of whom will have to emerge in a big way, that talented duo won't get far if they don't have any holes to run through. The offensive line has gotten used to a pass oriented spread offense. Most of them haven't had to focus on run blocking since high school. So with that in mind, let's take a look at the high school careers of the players expected to be key contributor's to this year's line to see if we can expect a successful transition to a more balanced offense.
Tackle – Kyle Hix – Aledo HS Class of '07
Played in an offense in high school that averaged 282 passing yards per game vs. only 90 rushing yards per game. Suffice to say, they were not a power running attack.
Guard – Tray Allen – South Grand Prairie HS Class of '07
Part of an offensive line that averaged 238 & 208 rushing yards per game in his junior and senior years respectively. Definitely seems to have the pedigree to run block.
Center – David Snow – Gilmer HS Class of '08
His offenses during his high school career gained a total of 4,242 yards rushing vs. only 2,858 yards passing. They rushed for 282.8 ypg. Another guy with some run blocking pedigree.
Guard/Tackle – Mason Walters – Frenship HS Class of '09
His senior year offense gained more yards running than throwing (2836 vs. 2159).
Tackle – Britt Mitchell – Kilgore HS Class of '07
Blocked for two 1800+ yard runners. Blocked for two more 1000 yard rushers. His teams may have been more loaded at running back than this year's Longhorns so he probably shouldn't get all the credit, but at least he has experience in an offense that likes to run.
With the notable exception of Hix, the line seems pretty well versed in run blocking. Now obviously the players they'll be expected to block this year are bigger and stronger than the guys they blocked in high school, so there's no guarantee the skills will translate. But it does help allay the concern that the line will have a hard time adjusting to a run-blocking scheme after running the spread last year. There will still be a learning curve, but it should be a shorter than expected one.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!