Today we answer another not-so-burning question about the upcoming football season.
Question #2: What should every Tech fan's #1 wish be for this season?
This is an easy one for me. Every Tech fan should hope we run the ball more. I wrote an article focusing on our offensive stats compared to top offenses from last year. One of the first things I noticed was the disparity in our rush/pass ratio compared to some of the top offenses in the nation. There is a big correlation between rushing attempts and offensive efficiency (yards/point). For the most part, the top offenses were more efficient the more rushing attempts they had. I won't rehash the whole article, but feel free to read it here.
The first reason I hope we see more rushes is it will combine the forces of our two best position groups, offensive line and running backs. Why wouldn't we lean on them together? If there was any season to lean more on the rush it was last season, so I am not optimistic this will happen but I hope it does. I know some will say that A&M led the SEC in rushing in 2012 (Kliff's only season as OC) so that proves he is not afraid to rush the ball. I would contend that based on stats, it was much more a factor of Johnny Manziel's ability to run the ball when a play breaks down. I understand Kliff wants to rely on that in a quarterback, but Manziel is a rare player. Beyond that I want the ball in our running backs hands if we are running, not depending on the quarterback to do so unless we have Manziel on the roster and I am not sure anyone in the country has that.
Secondly I want to help our defense as much as possible. That means giving them time to regroup, catch their breath and make adjustments. I couldn't be more frustrated last year watching us throw the ball on first, second and third down, then then punting on fourth down immediately after we had just given up a touchdown. Our defense was forced to jump right back out onto the field. I heard Kliff say at Big 12 Media Days that every offensive play has a run/pass option. That's all fine and good for the offense, but sometimes we need to slow down just a bit and help our defense catch their breath. If someone wants to argue that Kliff's offense is the offense and it isn't changing I understand. My contention is that he is the Head Coach of the team and the team is more than just the offense. That is why Leach will never find sustained success no matter where he coaches. He refuses to be a head coach and focuses exclusively on the offense.
Lastly, the spread offense has evolved. It is no longer a passing offense. The spread offense now represents a balanced offense that spreads the field in order to create holes in the defense for both the rushing and passing game to take advantage of. As I mentioned above, the best offenses ran the ball significantly more than Tech and they all ran at least 50% of the time. Personally I think we may gain less per play if we rush more often, but I think overall the offense will improve because we will sustain more drives.
The combo of Stockton and Washington could be deadly to defenses this season if given the opportunity. That doesn't even take into account Felton and White who are extremely solid backs as well. We really should take time to enjoy the backfield this year because I think it will be special.