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Texas WR/TE Passing Offense Talk

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Thanks @satyanash

(Scipio Tex) 2020 UTEP Post-Mortem: Offense

WR/TE

The RBBC (running back by committee) is joined by the WRBC and TEBC. The beauty of having a lot of skill options and an effective OC and QB running point guard is that it's hard for a defense to cheat towards tendency or personnel. We could see the downside of not having one overwhelming guy at WR or TE if a good defense plays physical man against us with a talented secondary and strong pass rush and guys need to win 1 on 1 consistently, but I'm having trouble finding that team in the Big 12. Particularly after looking at today's scores. Holy moly. So we'll deal with Alabama in the playoffs when we get there. 

Josh Moore totaled 6 catches for 127 yards against UTEP's fairly awful corners. And yeah, that safety's angle wasn't so great on his game opening 78 yard TD jaunt either. But you can see Moore's quickness and ability to separate. Moore is also comfortable in multiple spots and that will be important when Jake Smith returns. Tarik Black got tripped up by the turf monster twice and he needs to learn to keep two hands on the ball in a crowd, but I like his effort, route-running, and how he uses his length to attack the ball. He doesn't passively receive the pass - he snatches the ball. Really pleased to see him go for 5-80-1 td in his Texas debut.

Speaking of transfers, Brenden Schooler, who has been here a week, exploited single coverage for 2-65-1 td, including a sideline tightroping 40 yard touchdown after stiff arming the UTEP corner into the field turf (and the hoards of crickets that apparently reside there). Anyone still mad he's on the team? Schooler did drop a Thompson pass that he should have had, so his status as my adopted son is still in question.

Jordan Whittington looked great until his knee injury. 2-45 in the passing game, including a sideline catch where he showed strength and burst, and a nicely schemed 15 yard gain on the reverse. Best hopes for him, but as expected, the lengthy persistence of his hernia issue is going to have downstream effects for some time. Marcus Washington had 2-43-1 td on a couple of nice routes. Also dropped a gorgeous Thompson pass. He took a shot and held on to the ball on his 26 yard catch.

What's more surprising: that Kai Money caught 4 balls and a touchdown? Or that Kai Money is a white guy from Brownsville? Eagles made a nice play late on a deflection off of the defender for his only catch, a 35 yard touchdown. He also ran some routes where he didn't separate and he couldn't come up with a semi-high difficulty misfire from Ehlinger. #13 seeing Ehlinger throw for 400+ in a half without any contribution from him in the box score is good for realigning his perspective.

Texas played all four tight ends. I liked what I saw from Brayden Liebrock. He moves well and he's really comfortable split out (2-11). He's also an enthusiastic blocker in space. I'd like to see more. Cade Brewer caught a well-schemed open TD throw (Whittington's pre-snap motion and Ehlinger's sell make UTEP's secondary bite hard; Josh Moore is also wide open in the end zone on the same play) and some other good concepts. I didn't see Wiley get any targets. Epps had a big run (credits as a rush) for 40 yards on the Card option but he didn't nab any balls in the passing game.

 

Edited by LTtxfan

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Thanks @satyanash

(Bobby Burton) Texas vs. UTEP grades: Sam Ehlinger, offense dominates opener

Wide receivers

Last year, it was the Devin Duvernay show. This year, it's more of a committee approach, and multiple players got in on the action. Six different wide receivers caught TD passes. The most exciting was the first play from scrimmage by Joshua Moore, who looks like he could become Ehlinger's favorite target. Moore led the team with six catches for 127 yards. Michigan grad transfer Tarik Black finished with five catches for 80 yards and a score. He also looked like he got tripped up by the turf a couple of times and unnecessarily fumbled the ball trying to gain extra yards in the second quarter. There were a couple of drops, including one by Marcus Washington, although Washington also made two of the nicer catches on the evening. Brennan Eagles continues to be an enigma. He looked to be on a different page than his QB a couple of different times only to make a highlight reel TD catch in the third quarter. Jordan Whittington's catch-and-run late in the first half showed exactly why Texas coaches have been so high on the Cuero product. Brenden Schooler, who has good size and physicality, turned a simple out route into a long TD. This group provides more run-after-catch ability than previous Texas receiving corps. But they have to cut down on the drops as the competition stiffens.

Grade: A

Tight end

Yes, Cade Brewer caught three passes, including a touchdown where he sold the short ball to get open deep. But what I really liked from Brewer was his improved feel in blocking for the run game. Brewer has been a tentative blocker at best in previous years, but he seems to finally getting a better feel for where he's supposed to be and what he's supposed to be doing in the run game to create lanes for the backs. That was the most encouraging aspect of the night for me among the tight ends. We also saw Brayden Liebrock get his first extensive action. He made catches on two back-to-back plays; the second one was particularly solid.

Grade: B

Offense

Welcome to Austin, Mike Yurcich. The Horns got off to a fast start and really never slowed down, except for back-to-back three-and-outs to start the second half. Yurcich's style and play-calling put receivers in better positions to earn yards after the catch. His move to run more crossing routes in the late first quarter really gave UTEP fits. The O produced explosive plays and 28 first downs. With 698 yards of total offense, it's hard to find much wrong. But the Horns were just 5 of 10 on third downs on the night. Third-down efficency will need to improve. Overall, the Horns look talented. They appear explosive and solid at the same time. This has the makings of the best Texas has seen in a decade. And part of that is in the small things. The Horns even ran a rub route correctly to end the first half for a touchdown to Kai Money. I can't remember Texas ever executing a rub route that well. Good job by players and coaches alike.

Grade: A

 

Edited by LTtxfan

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6 hours ago, LTtxfan said:

Thanks @satyanash

(Scipio Tex) 2020 UTEP Post-Mortem: Offense

WR/TE

The RBBC (running back by committee) is joined by the WRBC and TEBC. The beauty of having a lot of skill options and an effective OC and QB running point guard is that it's hard for a defense to cheat towards tendency or personnel. We could see the downside of not having one overwhelming guy at WR or TE if a good defense plays physical man against us with a talented secondary and strong pass rush and guys need to win 1 on 1 consistently, but I'm having trouble finding that team in the Big 12. Particularly after looking at today's scores. Holy moly. So we'll deal with Alabama in the playoffs when we get there. 

Josh Moore totaled 6 catches for 127 yards against UTEP's fairly awful corners. And yeah, that safety's angle wasn't so great on his game opening 78 yard TD jaunt either. But you can see Moore's quickness and ability to separate. Moore is also comfortable in multiple spots and that will be important when Jake Smith returns. Tarik Black got tripped up by the turf monster twice and he needs to learn to keep two hands on the ball in a crowd, but I like his effort, route-running, and how he uses his length to attack the ball. He doesn't passively receive the pass - he snatches the ball. Really pleased to see him go for 5-80-1 td in his Texas debut.

Speaking of transfers, Brenden Schooler, who has been here a week, exploited single coverage for 2-65-1 td, including a sideline tightroping 40 yard touchdown after stiff arming the UTEP corner into the field turf (and the hoards of crickets that apparently reside there). Anyone still mad he's on the team? Schooler did drop a Thompson pass that he should have had, so his status as my adopted son is still in question.

Jordan Whittington looked great until his knee injury. 2-45 in the passing game, including a sideline catch where he showed strength and burst, and a nicely schemed 15 yard gain on the reverse. Best hopes for him, but as expected, the lengthy persistence of his hernia issue is going to have downstream effects for some time. Marcus Washington had 2-43-1 td on a couple of nice routes. Also dropped a gorgeous Thompson pass. He took a shot and held on to the ball on his 26 yard catch.

What's more surprising: that Kai Money caught 4 balls and a touchdown? Or that Kai Money is a white guy from Brownsville? Eagles made a nice play late on a deflection off of the defender for his only catch, a 35 yard touchdown. He also ran some routes where he didn't separate and he couldn't come up with a semi-high difficulty misfire from Ehlinger. #13 seeing Ehlinger throw for 400+ in a half without any contribution from him in the box score is good for realigning his perspective.

Texas played all four tight ends. I liked what I saw from Brayden Liebrock. He moves well and he's really comfortable split out (2-11). He's also an enthusiastic blocker in space. I'd like to see more. Cade Brewer caught a well-schemed open TD throw (Whittington's pre-snap motion and Ehlinger's sell make UTEP's secondary bite hard; Josh Moore is also wide open in the end zone on the same play) and some other good concepts. I didn't see Wiley get any targets. Epps had a big run (credits as a rush) for 40 yards on the Card option but he didn't nab any balls in the passing game.

 

LIebrock also hustled and got Black's fumble when UTEP had two guys with better shots.

Eagles one catch was phenomenal on an underthrown ball, but mostly he looked like he wasn't focused.  I think Sam had 4 of his incompletions thrown towards Eagles.

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7 TD passes to 7 different receivers.  Wonder if that has ever happened at UT.  Or anywhere else?  Maybe Andre Ware did it vs. SMU.

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On 9/13/2020 at 1:42 PM, LTtxfan said:

Or that Kai Money is a white guy from Brownsville?

Image result for kai money texas longhorns

 

Image result for tilting hand meh gif

 

 

 

 

(j/k. You know i love you kai)

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On 9/13/2020 at 1:42 PM, LTtxfan said:

(Scipio Tex) 2020 UTEP Post-Mortem: Offense

What's more surprising: that Kai Money caught 4 balls and a touchdown? Or that Kai Money is a white guy from Brownsville? Eagles made a nice play late on a deflection off of the defender for his only catch, a 35 yard touchdown. He also ran some routes where he didn't separate and he couldn't come up with a semi-high difficulty misfire from Ehlinger. #13 seeing Ehlinger throw for 400+ in a half without any contribution from him in the box score is good for realigning his perspective.

 

Just want to show the whole section regarding Kai Money written by Scipio Tex

Edited by LTtxfan

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Schooler,  right now,  is better and more experienced than every WR on the 2020 aggy depth chart.   Money is a very reliable option when Smith and Whittington are not 100%.  

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Just want to show the whole section regarding Kai Money written by Scipio Tex
Scipio should either do a little research or refrain from guessing race from now on.

Of course both takes effort, wont happen.

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Good info on passing offense.... Thanks @satyanash  

(Ian Boyd) Inside the gameplan: The Longhorns show off their schematic makeover

Mike Yurcich’s offense

This was my favorite play of the game.

They hurried into this set, and you can see the UTEP strong safety struggling to figure out where he’s supposed to be. A now screen to the bottom might have been easy yardage for Texas, or at least it would be if they’d executed it properly. They’re also running inside zone and it’s right on the edge of being called for “ineligible man downfield” (Kerstetter). So Ehlinger has three options on the play, throw to the bottom, hand off, or throw to the top, based on where the defense aligns numbers.

What makes this design so effective is the three receivers loaded into the boundary. They create a lot of space for the single side receiver to the field, like an isolation clear out in a basketball game. UTEP, as most teams would in this situation, gives Brenden Schooler a lot of space to avoid getting beat over the top. Schooler runs a hitch route and then after a nice ball and a stiff-arm he’s running all alone with the rest of the Miners on the other side of the field. The better answer from UTEP would have been to surrender an easy run, but that wasn’t their gameplan.

We’ll call this one “touchdown play 2.0.” It’s an unbalanced sort of formation they can easily get into while moving at “warp speed,” just like they can with the 4x0 tight zone/bubble screen RPO they ran so often in 2019 (and used twice in this game). The defense has to figure out how to align to it very quickly and then Ehlinger is in position to make quick decisions and distribute the ball in space to playmakers.

There’s no reason Texas couldn’t mix in such schemes regularly and have a half dozen or more “touchdown plays” with wonky, perhaps unbalanced formations and multiple options attached to runs for Sam Ehlinger to choose from. Don’t be surprised if they do, what else is a senior quarterback for?

It’s hard to overstate how deadly such a dimension to the offense could be this season. Texas has never had an offense designed to use spread formations and tempo to generate space and options for their quarterback to distribute the ball to playmakers with room to make something happen. There are diminishing returns against top defenses with time to gameplan all your favorite “touchdown plays” but then Texas can fall back on the pro-spread, “isolate the top receiver” schemes they’ve been uniquely good at in recent seasons.

As for receivers, there are a few obvious options for getting looks on third-and-six. Tarik Black had a fantastic opening game, catching a few shallow crosses and hitch passes while narrowly missing a touchdown when Ehlinger slightly overthrew him on a post. Brenden Schooler hasn’t done much yet, except demonstrate great technique on his two hitch route catches and break tackles in both instances (one captured above). After another two weeks he might be able to greatly expand his role. Josh Moore is not only blazing fast but also went up for a catch in the seam on a four-verticals play and accepted the punishment that came from exposing his small body. Very promising showing from Moore. We’ve still yet to even see Jake Smith, who was reportedly developing a great connection with Ehlinger before the injury.

Brennan Eagles made a fantastic touchdown catch but also struggled with his assignments and once ran into another receiver while trying to run a snag route. Texas notably diminished their emphasis on RPOs when Eagles replaced Collin Johnson at the X a year ago. If he’s still not reliably in the right spots there’s more competition to keep him on the bench this year.

Texas also made some use of 12 personnel. This time instead of using it as a way to guarantee enough hats in the box to run the ball regardless of what the defense did, Ehlinger was empowered to throw the ball outside when the defense loaded the box and gave him 1-on-1 matchups outside.

There was very much a 2017 Oklahoma vibe to the Longhorn offense against UTEP. Those Sooners also had a senior quarterback executing a wide array of schemes designed to help inexperienced wideouts. Texas will need to find 1-2 players who can beat man coverage against top defenders and command extra attention to reach their ceiling as an offense, but I think the days of Texas struggling to blow away weaker Big 12 opponents are over.

Really the only significant concerns from this game were on the offensive line, where Texas wasn’t able to consistently impose their will against a loaded box. This offense isn’t necessarily designed to do that, which should be seen as a mercy for Texas fans, and the run blocking wasn’t really so bad anyways. Some of it was even a touch different than a year go. It seems Yurcich didn’t allow a pandemic to stop him from putting more emphasis on outside zone blocking like he had at Oklahoma State and Ohio State:

Texas’ lighter offensive line looked pretty comfortable moving laterally, was that the plan all along? At 6-foot-5, 310 pounds with enough athleticism to stick at tackle, Derek Kerstetter is a center in the mold of a Barrett Jones or Ryan Kelly who powered some terrific stretch blocking schemes at Alabama, or Josh Myers who did so a year ago at Ohio State. Denzel Okafor and Junior Angilau are also quick laterally and Texas’ tackles are much more athletic and powerful than two years ago when their quarterback stretch play with an extra lead blocker was the only way they could count on winning the edge. Outside zone is also a more effective way to run zone-read and Texas mixed in some midline reads (leave an interior D-lineman unblocked and release the tackle) on the play for their younger quarterbacks and ran it as a triple option scheme with the pitch/toss to the tight end twice.

On rewatch Christian Jones was better than it appeared live, most of the issues to his side related to Texas losing hard-charging defenders while trying to trade off blocks on these zone concepts. When you load the box you can cause problems for zone schemes with aggressive linebacker play, but you also might see your opponent house hitch routes. Wait and see how this looks against a team that prioritizes stopping Ehlinger and the passing game before getting overly fretful. Isaiah Hookfin was terrific off the bench. When he hit people there was a noticeable shock and displacement. Andrej Karic looked like the premier athlete Texas needs in the tackle pipeline.

It doesn’t appear Texas will lack for quality athletes on the line this season. Stay tuned for how well they can handle stunts and inside pressure.

The schedule sets up quite favorably for Texas. Texas Tech will test the defense with run/pass conflicts and outside receivers matched up on the cornerbacks, but their own defense will leave them overmatched against the Longhorns. Then TCU will stress test Texas’ offense and their ability to beat good coverage outside or handle well executed pressures. But the Frogs don’t have the offense to really challenge Texas. The upshot is a series of useful tuneups before round one in Dallas. This time Texas will be bringing more firepower into the shootout.

 

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Thanks @satyanash 

Humidor:

Grad transfer wide receiver Brenden Schooler turned heads in his first outing. He’s quickly becoming both a fan and coach favorite, and the same goes for Tarik Black. Both of these guys come equipped with a maturity the position was needing. With Black and Schooler being a tad redundant at X, the staff has worked Schooler at H. @Hookah Horns beat us to the punch on mentioning it, but we had heard it as well. The staff loves both Schooler’s toughness and intelligence but are pleasantly surprised by just how athletic he is. With Whittington missing time, and Jake Smith just returning from injury, this could be a big move for the program. Schooler’s blocking will be an addition as well, but they’re moving him there for more than grunt work.

Sticking with wide receiver, we’ve heard from multiple people who have interacted with that group who say Andre Coleman is a game changer for them. They say it’s a night and day difference. Given the youth and inexperience of the group, it seems Herman made a great hire. Not having a spring to showcase Coleman’s teaching hurt recruiting, but once recruits are able to interact with players, we think it’s going to make a big difference. It will also help when Coleman can sit down and talk to recruits one on one about the finer points.

 

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On 9/17/2020 at 2:32 PM, LTtxfan said:

They’re also running inside zone and it’s right on the edge of being called for “ineligible man downfield” (Kerstetter)

The first touchdown had a similar issue. I bet it gets called on us more than ou sucks.

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Thx to @satyanash

Nahlin:

What’s different about wide receiver this year? “The first thing is, they’re not coddled. Negative attitudes don’t work with Andre Coleman.” Last week we mentioned the group as a whole feels much better coached. That’s going to become evident the further UT gets into the season. Who is the best receiver right now? It depends on the route. If it’s a contested catch, it’s Tarik Black because he uses his body so well. Jake Smith was also mentioned because of his explosiveness. Josh Moore garnered a mention as best receiver, though this source rated him third.

If Tom Herman rates Smith’s availability for Saturday, it would likely be “questionable.” Smith’s hamstring is progressing well but those are fickle injuries. And Tech isn’t good. Given Smith’s issues, as well as Jordan Whittington’s, the staff moved grad transfer vibe god Brenden Schooler to slot. How did he look? “Like he’s been doing it for a long time.” Best surfootball player this side of Utah, imo. Schooler has savvy and toughness that will translate to slot, but disregard his speed at your own peril. They think they’ll catch some people napping here.

We may get to see freshman wide receiver Kelvontay Dixon this week. He’s turned heads with his ability to change gears and separate. 

On the other side of the 7-on-7 aspects of this particular game, look for a big day from the UT wide receivers. The Tech defensive backs are bad and there’s no attempt to pump them up as anything else.

 

And for @jinx 

 

Edited by LTtxfan

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6 minutes ago, LTtxfan said:

Thx to @satyanash

Nahlin:

What’s different about wide receiver this year? “The first thing is, they’re not coddled. Negative attitudes don’t work with Andre Coleman.” Last week we mentioned the group as a whole feels much better coached. That’s going to become evident the further UT gets into the season. Who is the best receiver right now? It depends on the route. If it’s a contested catch, it’s Tarik Black because he uses his body so well. Jake Smith was also mentioned because of his explosiveness. Josh Moore garnered a mention as best receiver, though this source rated him third.

If Tom Herman rates Smith’s availability for Saturday, it would likely be “questionable.” Smith’s hamstring is progressing well but those are fickle injuries. And Tech isn’t good. Given Smith’s issues, as well as Jordan Whittington’s, the staff moved grad transfer vibe god Brenden Schooler to slot. How did he look? “Like he’s been doing it for a long time.” Best surfootball player this side of Utah, imo. Schooler has savvy and toughness that will translate to slot, but disregard his speed at your own peril. They think they’ll catch some people napping here.

We may get to see freshman wide receiver Kelvontay Dixon this week. He’s turned heads with his ability to change gears and separate. 

 

And for @jinx 

 

Thank you sir.  I rarely wander into recruiting.

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Seems about right. 5 TDS in the first half will do that. 
I’m getting excited to see what happens this week.

Edited by Doc Reeves

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14 minutes ago, Doc Reeves said:

Seems about right. 5 TDS in the first half will do that. 
I’m getting excited to see what happens this week.

Yeah... I'm anxious to see a lot better blocking by the WRs which helps with more YAC and explosive plays...

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247 Jeff Howe:  WR/TE Depth Chart for Tech 

X Receiver

1. Tarik Black (Sr.-TR)

2. Brennan Eagles (Jr.)

Z Receiver

1. Joshua Moore (Soph.)

2. Al'Vonte Woodard (Soph.)

H Receiver (Slot)

1. Jake Smith (Soph.)

2. Kai Money (Soph.) — OR — Brenden Schooler (Sr.-TR)

Key Quote: "He kept his head down, his mouth shut and he came to work every day. He was the best player on our scout team offense all year last year and did it with a smile on his face. I think that the biggest thing with him in his return was his attitude. Yeah, did he make everything that he was supposed to make in terms of being where he was supposed to be for everything that was mandatory? Sure, he did that. But that's the easy part. The hard part is doing it with a smile on your face and going down to the scout team every day for 13 weeks and getting pushed around, hit around a little bit by our defense and still coming back stronger and with an even better attitude the next day. I think that was the biggest thing was not just what he did, which was, again, be present and accounted for at everything that we told him he needed to be, but it was just the way that he did it and the attitude he had." — Herman on Moore's return to the field following a season-long suspension from game action

Tight Ends

1. Cade Brewer (Sr.)

2. Jared Wiley (Soph.)

3. Malcolm Epps (Soph.) — OR — Brayden Liebrock (RS-Fr.)

Key Quote: I thought they graded out really well. I think three out of four graded a champion. I think we had three out of four catch a ball. I know Malcolm's (40-yard gain) was a lateral that counted as a rush. We had a touchdown catch in that group (a 20-yard touchdown reception by Brewer), so I feel really good about the four guys we have there and they've stayed relatively healthy. Brayden Liebrock rolled his ankle last week and in practice early in the week, but he'll be back today. I do think, especially with J-Whitt out and Jake kind of on the mend, you'll see more and more 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends) and our guys are versatile enough to do it. They can run and catch, but they can also stick their face on people and block them in the run game, too. — Herman on the performance of the tight ends in the UTEP game and the usage of 12 personnel

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