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The place for off topic discussion on Hookem

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Answer me this...

  • So, after 2010, Mack Brown decided that the best thing for Texas Football is to be the Alabama of the Big 12 and totally change the offensive philosophy. He brings in Harsin from Boise to implement the offense and run it for him. He became totally obsessed with having the pounding running game that he so much desires. He wants his ricky williams type back. He wants to slow the game down and pound the rock.

    Fast forward to the Alamo Bowl victory. After the game, Mack mentioned, that the second half offense is a more "Big 12" offense. He essentially credited that philosophy for the victory.

    If I am correct, yesterday, he said he wanted to have a more up tempo offense, less substitutions on offense.

    My question is, has Mack wasted 2 full years of Texas Football for his own little desires? Where would Texas be at had we never changed offensive philosophies? What if we had run the up tempo with speedsters like Goodwin and Monroe for the past 2 years?

    I know some will have different opinions and I would like to hear them. It just seems to me that Mack completely lost it after the 2009 championship and made a horrible decision that he now is starting to realize and even more after watching a Chip Kelly offense in action...

    This post was edited by LonghornMando25 14 months ago

  • No.

    More than 2 years, going on 4 in 2013.

  • I think he realized how hard it is to do what Alabama has done on the recruiting trail. If you want to play simplistic football like Bama, you better have the studs to run it. So he's going back to what they did best when they were successful. At least that's my take.

  • partially, but I think he realized that in the high powered Big12, that type of offense is a killer if you get down two scores. I think being able to run the ball is a priority, but he saw what Ole Miss and A&M did to Alabama.

    Power running game as your bread and butter will not work in the Big 12. I think Alabama loses two games if it played all 10 Big 12 teams last season (ok, at least 1).

    I think the changes Mack has tried to implement will help Texas down the road as we have some big OL and big RBs we can pound when needed.

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  • No, because after that game it seemed pretty clear that having a power running attack was what won national championships. Remember, Chip Kelly's offense lost 22-19 in its only national championship appearance ... to the power running of Cam Newton.

    edit: As others have noted, now we know that a power running game is an overall system that requires a program overhaul like Saban had to do at Alabama. That, in addition, with the strengths of Texas' high school football players, means we should probably have continued developing our own spread offense.

    This post was edited by Syed 14 months ago

  • Good to see others noticed that too. The real issue is Mack forced the first change with only spread personal available. Now that Searles has signed a road dozer crew Mack is flipping back to an uptempo spread? Does Mack blow in the wind in a couple years and go power running again when the just signed OL is ready for snaps?

  • Leaving the offense that netted you a NC, 3 BCS wins, and a 2nd appearance in the BCS title game should be an offense with a punishment up to and including termination.

  • Fans can say all they want about Greg Davis but the zone read with VY changed college football and the short passing game with Colt really changed things IMO as well. There are people who have found a way to run things much better than he ever did but the man knows offense. His play calling left a lot to be desired.

  • Mack has told some privately (one of whom relayed this to me, but I'm sure Bobby can verify) that the game that MOST influenced his philosophical shift after the 2009 season was actually the 2008 BCS title game when Florida held OU to 14 points. Remember, OU had the highest scoring team in football history, and had just scored at least 60 points in their last 5 Big XII games. Then, Florida plays physical ball against them and holds them to 14 points.

    The next season, Bama knocks Colt out in the first drive and our offense couldn't even get a first down on the ground for the remainder of the competitive portion of the game. Oh yeah, the SEC had won 4 straight MNCs across 3 teams at that point.

    So, there is justification for a change in philosophy away from a finesse offense that can't run the ball when is NEEDS to and is 100% dependent on a superlative QB to score points. It wasn't just some fancy that Mack went on to humor himself.

    Personally, I think that Mack got it half right. He was right that we need to be more "SEC like"...but it's on defense. I think where Mack missed was on changing the offense in total. I see the need for a power-blocking scheme on offense (as does Mack), but you should have a wide open, horizontal spread game behind it (backfield and WRs) to accentuate the athleticism of the skill players and put maximum pressure on the defense. The team that I see that best exemplifies the principles of Power blocking scheme with "spread" concepts is the SF 49ers. Okie State mixes their blocking schems. Most of the "spread" teams that we see in the Big XII run behind predominantly zone blocking scheme (WVU, Baylor, Tech). I refuse to re-watch the OU games so I don't know what they've thrown at us schematically (I'd guess some of both).

    I think Mack's biggest mistakes in making the philosophical change after 2009 were that he misunderstood his personnel (GG was a Leach-spread passing QB only, and an OL that couldn't run block), and that he misread the larger macro trends in recruiting in Texas - where kids now look to up-tempo, wide open offenses as a big differentiator in their decision. Mack whiffed on this by having a boring, Power-based offense at the exact time that Baylor, A&M, WVU, OSU, Oregon, OU were lighting up the scoreboards. We saw the result yesterday.

    The adjustment that Mack is making going forward (hopefully) will preserve the Power run blocking schemes, but implement the "spread / read" offense behind it, and do so at an up-tempo pace. My guess is our "base" will be 3-WRs, 1 RB, Shotgun / Pistol formations, and a HB (Swain) that can be a lead blocker on some plays and a 4th receiver on others. The beauty of this personnel package is that you can run or pass at the up-tempo without having to substitute personnel and force the tired defense to guess which you're doing on every play. Awesome.

    Lastly, I think there is some revisionist history in these criticisms of Mack. We did NOT run a the "spread" offense in 2004-2007. We had an inline TE on every formation, and we used an FB extensively in 2004 (Will Matthews) and 2005 (Ahmad Hall). It wasn't until half way through the 2008 season that we switched to 4-WRs with a flex TE due to Blaine Irby's injury. By 2009, we hardly ever ran Colt on the zone read (risk of injury) and our offense was ground to a halt by good defenses like OU (we scored 16 points and won), and by Nebraska (we scored 13 points and won) because we couldn't run the ball at all out of 4-WR sets. This culminated in the offensive embarassment in the first half against Bama once they knocked Colt out on his first rushing attempt.

    As I said, Mack's change in philosophy had some merit, but the timing and implementation was really lousy. If he had gotten the defensive side of the ball correct after 2010, we might've won the Big XII last season.

  • I don't think you know what power-blocking means.

    The 49ers are indeed a mixed scheme. OKState might sprinkle a power wrinkle here or there, but they are a zone-blocking team. Alabama is a zone-blocking team.

    It would be a mistake for Texas to abandon inside and outside zone as base running plays in favor of power-blocking. Power O might have been our weakest running play last year (inside zone was no winner either though).

  • Power-blocking as a scheme is base blocking while bringing your backside OG (or C, or OT, or both) on the pull to lead the back into the hole. You can pin-and-pull the OL (block down playside, and pull from the backside), or you can base block the guy in front of you and bring an uncovered backside. Either way, it fits the broad definition. The blocking scheme enables the following run series: the Counter, the Power, and (in some cases) the Iso, although we haven't seen the Iso in a while.

    I'd suggest you re-watch the Super Bowl and count the number of Power / Base blocking schemes the 49ers ran, versus Zone blocking schemes. Overwhelmingly Power.

    What the 49ers have done is build the read rushing plays off the Power blocking schems from the Pistol formation. THAT is fundamentally different than Baylor, the Redskins, WVU, Oregon, etc..

    The zone blocking scheme enables the Inside zone and Outside zone runs. Nobody suggested abandoning the ability to run the Inside zone or Outside zone, but most teams that run the type of offense that other posters are describing will primarily do so behind a zone blocking scheme, not a Power/base scheme.

    We don't have the personnel to shift back to primary zone blocking schemes, after asking Searles to get huge Power blockers over the past 3 recruiting cycles, so we need Major to develop a run package behind the Power blocking scheme.


  • pretty much.

    we got slugged in the mouth by Alabama. Mack and others decided we'd try and be what they were. a "power running team". i discussed this w/ two former Texas players and both agreed it wouldn't work. it was recipe for disaster. we didn't have the OL to do it, and our RB;s were Cody Johnson, Fozzy Whitaker, Tre Newton, and DJ Monroe. that's not power running game. TE was invisible once again since David Thomas. no real blocking FB. it was train wreck from there. since the 2009 season we don't know what we are offensively.

    we ruined Garrett Gilbert trying to make him an under center QB. after the 2010 disaster, the solution was simple right? fire Davis, Kennedy, and McWhorter and run Harsin's Boise State offense. that didn't work. he's gone. 9-4 and #15 w/ tight wins over OK ST, Kansas, Tech, and Oregon State. that;s below average for Texas.

    now we're "more Big 12" based on a half of Alamo Bowl football?

    the offense was running fine prior to the 2010 season. now we're going to be more "up tempo"? so he's taken a page from Stoops now? we have some bright spots at RB and w/ Shipley. i don't know we have the player to run the "power running game" disaster tried or the wide open spread offense. i'm just not sure we're good enough right now.

    i guess we'll see. i do like our schedule in 2013. Mississippi had a magnificent recruiting class, but those are true freshman. it's a home game against a team we demolished in Oxford. Kansas State is a home game. we just have to figure this one out, OU? who knows? @TCU? that probably depends on how our seasons are going.

    my Good, what a wasted three seasons. on offense it's almost as if we're back at square one. we'll see what Applewhite can do w/ the group. i'm more on a wait and see.

  • I don't know what you thought Texas has been the past two years if not primary zone blocking scheme. Even the pin n pull can be thought of as a zone blocking variant with the uncovered to the play side pulling around instead of going straight to the next level. Texas would have been better off I believe to be less mixed in zone v power than they were, in my opinion.

    I'm not arguing with you about the 49ers. They're a pro team, they have practice time available to teach two different blocking schemes and become adept at both. Successful college teams stick to one or the other as their base.

    You imply that you want to mimic Alabama's blocking scheme, I'm pointing out that Alabama is a zone blocking team with inside zone as their base play.

  • A slow, power based offense seemed to work fine for KSU this season. You don't have to run 80 offensive plays a game to win in this league.

    The real issue is that Mack is a buffoon and doesn't have the slightest idea as to why we win or lose. Our offense is why we won nine games this past season, not why we lost four.

    Look at the stats for 2011 and 2012 -

    2011:
    Offense - 67th yards/play; 46th points/play
    Defense - 5th yards/play; 15th points/play

    2012:
    Offense - 21st yards/play; 8th points/play
    Defense - 48th yards/play; 44th points/play

    Good thing Mack has zoned in on the real issue here! What a joke.

    I don't care if we run the Wing-T, what matters is having a core identity and the ability to evaluate, recruit and coach in light of that identity. Flip flopping every other year isn't an identity, it's madness.


  • Mack is all over the place on coaching and strategy, but don't let that throw you. The man is a recruiting and PR man. Nobody has ever mistook him for a great football coach in the pure sense.

  • If you chart Texas' runs over the past two years, you'd see more Power and Counter runs with pin-and-pull and backside pull than you would Stretch plays or Inside zones behind zone blocking. We did use Outside zones somewhat effectively (with a Center pulling usually, if uncovered), and we ran play action off Power looks far more than Zone looks.

    To me, that's a Power running based offense.

  • I don't think we disagree really then. With the various specialty packages, and the split between power and zone schemes, I can see where its possible to have two different ideas of what our "base" was. That in itself is a problem.

    I don't think that "transitioning" to a zone base is that big of a move considering how much zone we ran last year.

  • Understood. I think where this conversation started was the shift to an "SEC" like offense like an LSU or Bama. My point is that we now invested a lot in an OL that should be able to push people off the ball and bring it downhill, a la LSU or Bama. That's a lot different than our 2009 OL and run game, for example. I'd love to see us build on this and be able to go straight at a defense with the Counter or Power, and then run all the "spread" stuff that other Big XII offenses run off of that ability. In my mind, that's what I saw in the 49ers with Kaepernick. I do differentiate that style of run game from Baylor or Oregon, eventhough most posters seem to broadly throw these teams together as "spread with up-tempo" teams.

  • Is it feasible to run a power based offense at a similar tempo used by OSU, OU, etc.? The 49ers were 30th in the NFL this past season in total number of offensive plays.

  • We have the same overall view, but I think it can be done behind a zone blocking scheme that's more Bama's zone scheme than it is Baylor's. I think zone is easier to teach and master in college with the limited practice and coaching time, and Searel's guys fit just as well, less pulling means we can concentrate on getting the best 5 guys on the line rather than worry too much about mobility.

    Not to mention that if we want to make read-option a staple, then it pairs very well with the inside and outside zones. Kelly vs Malzahn basically.

    I also think people are misinterpreting Mack's comments to read we are changing the offense back to 2009. We can run largely the same scheme, with read-option added to the base offense, subtracting the endless substitutions in favor of tempo. He specifically said that it would be the same offense without the packages and motion that slowed down the tempo.

  • I think Mack's main issue as it pertains to the OP is that Mack never developed a football/coaching identity so therefore this type of thing occured somewhat frequently over his time here. He went from a pro-style O with Major/Simms and that bunch to the VY offense, to a form of that with Colt, to the power running game featuring the likes of Cody Johnson and Tre Newton to this new idea he's got. He's never believed in any one idea strongly enough so consequently he gets moved by the latest prevailing winds.

    Now adaptation and change certainly arent a bad thing however to make such monumental shifts in philosophy so often affect how you recruit and the time and development of those players. It's hard to "reload" when the bullets don't fit in the gun. It's pretty easy to see how you can get behind become less competitive very quickly.

    Now take as an example the most successful coaches just of the last decade and we will include Mack in that group. So let's say Saban, Meyer, Stoops, Miles, Carroll, Tressell and Mack. With the exception of Mack its safe to say imo that all those coaches and offenses had an identity whether it was downhill power running , spread or pro-style attack and stuck to it and recruited to it. Consequently they were all MNC and all were highly competitive year in and year out. None of these coaches decided to change completely who they are. When you factor in their successes its easy to see why. Mack, otoh, decided he wanted to blow up everything that led him to his greatest 5 year run ever as a coach and go a complete180. Is anyone really suprised 5-7 happened? Mack has gone through 3 different offensive identities just in the last decade.

    I believe that he should be given credit for making the offense more Vince friendly. But I also believe that he got extremely lucky that VY turned out to be Superman.

    I think Macks lack of identity is one of his main issues and a major reason Texas is in the position they are today.

  • One of the best posts I've seen on this site Racer. Excellent recap of the offense over the last decade plus. +1. Will up vote tomorrow as well. clap

  • He's flipping back because he learned from the aggys this year that you can run an uptempo spread and still be physical running team upfront. If Mack was smart, two years ago he would have tried to combine the best of both elements. Instead he abandoned a winning formula to copycat Saban.