Texas Rushing the Ball

Texas runs out of a shotgun spread formation, typically a three wide reciever set as shown below. They will employ a two tight end set, but remain in the shotgun spread, as shown below the 3 WR set.

Two Tight End Set

Texas likes to run what they call a 'zone read' play is basically an option without a fullback to block, do dive fakes or quick hits. Oh, the irony that a basic option game has been run by how many national title contenders/champions, but it wasn't good enough for Nebraska anymore. Apparently we love our fullbacks too much, but I digress. Starting quarterback Colt McCoy is not the same rushing threat that Vince Young was last year, so it's not nearly as effective as it was in 2006, and we won't see it as much against Nebraska as in past Texas games.

What we will see is more counters and sweeps or stretch plays. No doubt that Texas will counter to try to use an attacking defense against us. Sweeps and stretch will be used to get Jamaal Charles to the edge - remember he's very fast - to see if our linebacker can get to the edges before he can.

Let's look at where Texas rushing leaders are, which also includes quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead.

Player Rushes Yards Rush Avg Rush TDs Receptions Yards Rec Avg Rec TDs
Jamaal Charles 81 463 5.7 3 11 89 8.1 0
Selvin Young 62 353 5.7 4 14 93 6.6 1
Henry Melton 39 177 4.5 6 1 6 .9 0
Colt McCoy-QB 35 152 (96 net) 2.7 1 0 0 0 0
Jevan Snead-QB 15 89 5.9 1 0 0 0 0

Given the backs and the offensive line that they have, you have to wonder why Texas doesn't run any type of power set - even an "I" or offset "I", and include another back in the offense. They have big Henry Milton (260 pounds) with over a third of the total rushing TD's (15) by Texas, but the only time they go into any kind of power formation is in short yardage situations. Even then Milton is the running back, they'll use a lineman as a fullback. I'm not sure they even have a typical fullback other than Milton's size. Perhaps we'll see something different from them Saturday, a willingness to pound the ball at us, but I doubt it. It's just not their thing. It's foreign to them.

How To Defend

Remember Nebraska's sacking defense from last year? We don't have near as many this year, because it's been more important to contain opposing defenses than it is to get pressure on the quarterbacks. With Texas, the song remains the same - contain the offense, slow them down. Don't worry about sacks or tackles for loss as much as making sure that no one gets loose on the outside in the running game. It will be a war in the trenches in the truest sense of football. Depth will play a huge role.

Nebraska has a pretty good front seven, and the obvious question will be Charle's speed versus our linebacker movement. The Husker's biggest hope would be that we don't need to move our safeties up to help against the run. USC moved on Nebraska's defense by running a lot of bubble screens to the outside, and moving Booty out of the pocket. I don't see anything from Texas that shows they'll do the same, but again, watch the game and see what happens.

I hope to finish something on Texas passing, but between travel and computer problems, it may not happen. Suffice it to say that if we don't stop the run, it may not matter what Texas does in the passing game, because they WILL big play us to death.

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