Offensive Woes Continue to Plague the Longhorns - NinosCorner™ Sports | Efficient Sports Analytics...Successful, Relevant Data

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Offensive Woes Continue to Plague the Longhorns

Offensive Woes Continue to Plague the Longhorns
by:  B.R. Battle
Photo:  Eric Gay, STF

Once again, the Texas offense was nonexistent for more than 55 minutes of their 60 minute contest.  The only variable was the opposing team.  This week, the Longhorns trotted out an anemic offense against the TCU Horn Frogs, resulting in another Texas loss…bringing the team to a 4-5 record for the season.  How does a team with all of the offensive talent Texas possesses stoop to the horrible offensive play that we’ve seen throughout this year?  Well, let’s review the analysis to assess where the problems lie.  

The NCAA average Offensive Success Rate (SR) is 40%.  The Longhorns posted an abysmal 27% SR for this contest.  For a “blue blood” football institution, this is awful, especially considering that the newly appointed Texas head coach, Tom Herman, is supposed to be an offensive guru.  
For starters, this Longhorn offensive line is just bad.  I understand that Texas lost their unanimous All-American left tackle, Connor Williams, during the 3rd game of the season; however, the Longhorns are college team that “should” have the depth behind their starters to at least play at an average NCAA o-line level.  The truth of this team is that Texas does not possess the athletes, beyond their starters, that can allow them to play at an efficient level.  

With the lack of effective offensive line play, the Longhorns continually placed quarterback, Shane Buechele in situations that are not favorable to his skillset.  Buechele does not have the intangibles that true freshman quarterback, Sam Ehlinger has.  Shane’s pocket presence is almost nonexistent.  He does not have the escapability that Ehlinger has, and this greatly hampered the Longhorn offense.    

Speaking of Buechele, his passing and rushing success rates were 30% and 40%, respectively, for the game.  His passing SR per down was 28% on 1st down, 33% on 2nd down, 27% on 3rd down, and 33% on 4th down.  What does this metric suggest?  Well, it shows that the Longhorns offense was continually in unfavorable positions on every down throughout the game.  As the old saying goes, they were “behind the 8 ball” all night.  On the contrary, TCU's quarterback, Kenny Hill, had outstanding 1st and 2nd down passing success rates, leading to favorable 3rd down situations in which TCU was able to rush for a fee of their first downs.  
Enough of the woeful individual analysis, let’s deep dive into the overall team statistics once more.  The Texas defense was really good, once again.  The Longhorns posted a defensive SR of 49%, which is above the NCAA average of 45%.  If you dig into the analysis a bit more, you’ll notice that the defense had a SR above average in each quarter on 3rd down.  In fact, the Longhorn defense averaged a 73% SR on 3rd downs, suggesting that they were able to get the TCU offense off the field when needed.  The problem is that the Horn Frogs posted a 69% defensive SR, severely limiting the Texas offense.  With an unsuccessful Longhorn offense, the Texas defense was forced on the field for a majority of the game, eventually tiring out the Longhorn defenders and resulting in TCU points.  

Battle’s Quick Thoughts:
- The UT offense had a 0% success rate for the entire first quarter and an 11% SR for the 4th quarter.   Wow…just pathetic.  Not being able to start or finish this game correctly is one of the main reasons for this loss.  

- Without the playmaking ability of Sam Ehlinger, the Texas offense has no rhythm.  Ehlinger’s ability to ad-lib plays is what makes him special.  No disrespect to Buechele, but he does not have that uncanny ability. 

-  The Texas freshman running back, Daniel Young, might be the most complete back on the team. He’s tough and gritty…exactly what this offense needs. 

- Legendary coach Bill Walsh stated that a team that wins the explosive play battle by 2 plays ends up winning the game 80% of the time.  TCU had 7 explosive plays to Texas’ 5.  

- Teams that win the Success Rate “battle” go on to win the game 83% of the time.  TCU won both the offensive and defensive SR battle.  
- The Texas defense played like Alabama…unfortunately, their offense played like a team that could be beat by Austin Westlake High School.

- Poona Ford played another really good game. Could this senior defensive tackle get a combine invite?  I sure hope so.

- Malik Jefferson and Gary Johnson should have been on the field together all season….what took so long? 

- Speaking of Malik Jefferson, he’s become a special player this year.  We’ve always seen the potential, but he’s finally put all the pieces together this season.  Longhorn fans, I hate to say it but he’s gone after this season.  

- I think the Longhorns abandoned the running game too early.  It seemed as if Tim Beck and company just do not like to run the ball.

- Speaking of Tim Beck, if this is the play calling Texas has to get used to over the next few years under him, Beck may beed to be released from his contract following this season.  Good coaches adjust their scheme to the personnel they have.  It feels as if Beck tries to run the same scheme, regardless of the players on the field.  Ehlinger cannot do what Buechele can do and vice-versa.  

- On Texas’ only score of the game, the Longhorns were able to capitalize on Buechele’s deep ball ability.  Texas scored a touchdown and never attempted to pass the ball deep again to utilize their tall receivers who average more than a 4 inch height advantage over the TCU cornerbacks.  

- Tristian Nickelson…you cannot be a starting left tackle at a Division I school and continually get beat by a 210 pound defensive end.  

- Holton Hill is a man-child.  It’ll be interesting to see if he leaves early for the draft.  6’2” and 6’3” cornerbacks do not grow on trees.  

Next week, Texas plays Kansas.  This “should” be a win for the Longhorns but we’ll see.  

As always…Hook Em \m/

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