Texas Longhorns Offense: Not That Great, Buddy

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Texas Longhorns Offense: Not That Great, Buddy
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Malcolm Williams: A fan of the "tip drill"

34 points against Rice and Wyoming, 24 points against Texas Tech. Ranked 71st in passing yards, 65th in rushing yards, and 50th in points overall. And without playing a ranked team the whole year.

Texas fell two spots in the polls after an extremely mediocre offensive performance against the Red Raiders, and understandably so. Texas looked awful. They had 57 yards in the second half against Texas Tech, along with four turnovers.

The idea coming into the year for Texas' offense was to shift into a power running game. The only problem with this plan is that Texas can't run the ball… at all.

This 'power running game' has netted us an average of less than four yards per carry. None of our running backs have broken 100 yards in a game yet, with the best rushing performance coming from Fozzy Whittaker, who had 62 yards on seven carries against Wyoming.

Against Tech, we had 93 yards total rushing - less yards than the New Mexico Lobos had (the same New Mexico Lobos that lost by 72 to Oregon.)

We're not much better passing the ball either. Garrett Gilbert has yet to play really well, and receivers Malcolm "Tip Pass" Williams and James Kirkendoll haven't exactly been Jordan Shipley.

Malcolm had a great drop against Tech that turned into an interception in the second quarter of the game on Saturday, helping Gilbert to get the 'three picks in one half' milestone, and ruining another scoring opportunity.

The offensive line has been a problem all year, and they haven't helped much as of late. Specifically against Tech, the tackles decided to block the defensive ends in the standard fashion instead of cut blocking them like they needed to do.

Britt Mitchell blocked poorly enough to make Scott Smith look like an All-American after Smith tipped an interception to Jarvis Philips and picked off a pass of his own. They haven't opened up holes for any of our tailbacks, and have done a mediocre job in pass protection.

Texas' biggest offensive problem may not lie on the field. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis made some extremely questionable calls in the game against Tech, like the end around that resulted in a loss of eight and the constant attempts at the delayed handoff up the middle that we've seen all season.

Because this delayed hand off seems to be the only play that Texas runs when trying to get the running game going, Texas hasn't been able to be great—or even average—against anybody on the ground.

After the first half, every defense knows exactly what to expect from Greg Davis' offense: halfback draw on first down, wide receiver screen on second down, and an inconsistent seven  to 10 yard pass up field, with the occasional failed end around to keep defenses "guessing."

It seems like Davis' playbook is the size of the "Jewish Sports Stars" pamphlet in Airplane, and his lack of creative play calling has doomed the Longhorns' offense more than once.

Despite what his defenders might say, Texas' offensive success in the past hasn't been because of Greg Davis. Vince Young and Colt McCoy's improvisational abilities saved Texas more times than Davis' playcalls did. Hell, the greatest play in Texas history against USC came on a scramble out of a called passing play.

Texas can't run the ball, they can't throw the ball, they turn the ball over, they go three-and-out, they give the opposing offense a short field, they get penalized, and really have shown only one sign of their effectiveness, which was the 22 play drive against Tech in the fourth quarter.

Was that drive a sign of things to come? We can only hope. At this point, don't look for Texas to put more than 10 points up on Oklahoma or Nebraska. As of late, they've been sliding by on talent alone, but that won't last long once Big XII plays starts revving up.

*****

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