I think we all agree that the offensive performance has been more mixed than the defense thus far.
I admit I was initially skeptical of the Briles scheme, knowing Frank was probably never going to regain his former degree of mobility. And, I always fear a hurry-up scheme helps to wear out your defense.
Happily, the defense has, thus far, done fine…though I think we all felt like they did wear out against Georgia.
I studied the Briles scheme alot over the summer. I like most aspects of it. I particularly like the option components…and not just the RPO’s everyone is running. (More on that). I do wish we would use the QB under the center in short yardage. The good ole QB sneak is the best short yardage play in history.
That said, I think the offense is getting better and better.
Franks has played really well IMO. He has come under some criticism from some posters, for things like bad footwork. Holding onto the ball too long, etc. Overall, though, I think most of us understand that Franks is humongous upgrade over anything we have had since the Allen boys were on campus. He has a couple of BAD turnovers that have hurt us…but overall has protected the ball well. He has shown his terrific arm. Has good accuracy. Reads defenses well. And is a LEADER. The latter is the biggest thing.
I am so pleased with D. Warren I could bust. I think we have 3 really fine receivers…with Morris and hopefully Knox continuing to produce. (C’mon Knox! We need you man!).
Burks is, of course, a GREAT PLAYER. More on him in a second.
We have all been disappointed in the running game to a degree. I think we are all impressed with Smith, and know that #5 needs to get it going. That said, Rakeem hasn’t been totally healthy…and the run blocking has been the weakness of the offense. We have to get better play from two specific positions, to be candid. They are not playing at the same level of the other three. Clary especially is playing his rear off. But until we get all five playing at a high level…maintaining blocks and getting some push…the counters, and powers, and stretch plays are gonna be tough sledding.
Burks and Smith need some lanes. They are having to make too many people miss at the first level.
Which brings me back to the option plays. I have LOVED them. On the first snap of the most important drive against Ole Miss…when we had not moved it at all on the 2nd half…we ran a version of the old triple option. The TV announcers said it was a “simple play to get Burks in space.” It was far more than that. It started with a “ride” in the belly of Rakeem as he and the o-line flowed left. Franks then pulled the ball, headed right, where we had “optioned” their backer. Curiously, the backer took Franks, allowing Feleipe to make the option pitch to Burks, who had been in the slot. Burks then popped a really nice run. The fact that the “option toss” was made overhand doesn’t change what the play was.
It was the old counter triple option. A version of it anyway.
We ran that a couple of other times against Ole Miss. I can’t recall it not working. Maybe I missed one…but I don’t think so.
I think that is something we should use more often. I also liked the “give the ball to Burks on the speed sweep with Rakeem as the pitchman option” that we ran earlier this season. I think that play has real possibilities. I didn’t work versus Georgia…but I think it deserves to be re-explored.
Bottom line…I think these option concepts that involve arguably our best offensive player (#16!) are our best chance to establish a ground game as our o-line develops. And…I agree with Pittman when he says we have to run the ball.
I do think that we have the chance to get the base running plays to the level I know Briles wants them. The o-line will keep improving. and Rakeem getting healthier will help too.
Hopefully some running game will gel against the hated Aggies…allowing us to hurt them with some big plays when they have to commit to the box. I think the scheme, the pace, and #16…and his mates…can lead to our fight song being heard in College Station several times.
And that would make us all very, very happy.
Go Hogs baby!