With the short week before TCU I didn't get the chance to get a post up about the Stephen F Austin game. And really, I'm not so sure there was a ton there to remember. I don't know about you, but cupcake games tend to be the ones where I remember the least, for a number of reasons. Usually at least a dozen of them.
ANYWAY... We've heard a lot of talk about running the ball lately, from troubles stopping it down in Austin to our own problems getting it going. There may be plenty behind the scenes on why the running game hasn't been featured or effective so far to this point. Kliff Kingsbury did mention in his quotes about Eric Ward that he got a little away from his game plan. I don't know if it's fair to conjecture whether that goes beyond getting the ball in Eric's hands to the whole offense, but with the sluggish feel to the middle quarters last Thursday, it wouldn't surprise me either way.
So today I want to look at the play that surprised me the most. A running play called when the score was tied 10-10 and we were just a couple plays away from (almost) taking the lead.
Let's focus up front... Le'Raven Clark takes the DE right out of the play, which I think shouldn't have been too big of a task. He's trying to rush around the edge, away from the hole we're creating. So, Clark only has to let the DE go that way and keep him at arms length. It's easy to overlook, and I don't know how purposeful it is on Clark's part, but keeping the DT a little away from you at that angle allows the offensive player to stay away from a position to get called for holding. Just great positioning and strong arms. It's why he's great.
Moving inside to Alfredo Morales and Jared Kaster. They both engage the DT at the snap, but their path diverge quickly. Morales gets some good leverage on the DT, and then gives him a good shove back over towards the short side of the field, creating the huge hole. Now, HERE'S WHERE THE REAL PLAY HAPPENS IF YOU'RE SCORING AT HOME. Morales doesn't just fire off the line and just drive the DT back. That would be fine in a one-on-one drill, but not in the greater scheme. By allowing the DT to make a little progress upfield, but away from the hole, he opens another hole. One for Kaster to get up to the second level. If they both just drive the DT back, then the linebacker is free to jump in the hole and limit the yardage gained. Kaster does get through, and the block springs Washington past the linebacker level where only the safeties are left to make the stop.
Honestly, it took me a while to start to analyze this play. The first 100 views were spent on the opposite DE who strafes a second, then runs right into the DT and just falls over. If we can get the other team to block themselves like that every play we would awesome in the ground game. Pretty good little awesome.
In the overall game plan, this is a great peek into the pass setting up the run. Few defenders in the box, d-linemen eager to get up the field and attack the QB, and a good run by Washington to move the chains. I expect these kinds of runs to be productive as Baker gets more effective throwing the ball and teams keep their focus on that.
Until next week, Wreck 'em!