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Offseason inventory: A look at Texas' tight ends

Eric Nahlin

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 Ja'Tavion Sanders

After wandering the desert for a dangerous receiving tight end since the moments before Blaine Irby’s injury in 2008, Texas finally fielded a bona fide stud at the position. It didn’t come as a total surprise given Ja’Tavion Sanders’ lofty high school rating and clear receiving ability, but he was also a quality blocker in 2022 despite arriving to Texas quite raw in that regard.

If you’re one of those who follows offseason inside information to glean how the next team might take shape, a huge team note last year was Sanders’ growth. It was around this time a year ago when Inside Texas started to hear and report about how hard Sanders was working. The proverbial light switch was coming on. Starter Jared Wiley had just left for TCU and the position was Sanders’ to lose. Rather than lose it, he put it in a chokehold by continuing to develop his game all offseason. In the process he began to emerge as a leader in the room.

Just as encouraging as Sanders’ growth was Steve Sarkisian’s usage of the position, though there were times Sanders probably could have been targeted more. That will likely work itself out with an offseason for Sark to re-examine his offense and further develop his young quarterback.

It’s not just Sanders returning. Fellow junior-to-be Gunnar Helm had some quality snaps, primarily as a blocker. Helm has more receiving ability than we’ve seen thus far, but it’s going to be hard to receive targets with Sanders on the roster.

Other than these two the position is pretty thin, but we aren’t forgetting about Juan Davis.

Let’s take a deeper look at the few tight ends on the roster and also a quick glance at the high schoolers who will arrive in late May.

JR Ja’Tavion Sanders

He went from 0-54 real quick. That’s his total receptions from his freshman to sophomore year. It wasn’t always perfect. He did have a couple of unfortunate drops that will probably go away with experience. He has perhaps the best hands on the team so any drops were likely a byproduct of other factors. 

Sanders should serve as a schematic force multiplier in the coming year. He’s now proven and one of the best tight ends in the country. Texas can easily flex between Sark’s preferred 12 personnel and the 11 personnel sets we saw more of in the Alamo Bowl. As a receiver, he can reliably get open and make plays after the catch. He uses his entire catch radius to haul in throws. He uses the entire field — down the seam, outside the hashes, screen game, etc.

Then there’s the blocking. As a jumbo receiver he was so rarely asked to block in high school. He put in a lot of work to become a quality perimeter blocker. Another offseason of S&C should better prepare him to go one on one with defensive ends.

Here’s a nice little clip.

Let’s enjoy him for one more year and hope he goes out with the Mackey Award.

JR Gunnar Helm

Helm is on a solid trajectory. Sure he only had five receptions this year but his blocking improved to the point Texas likely won’t need to reprise the Andrej Karic ‘heavy TE’ role unless the coaches absolutely want to for short yardage. 

Despite the meager receiving numbers, Helm can become a productive receiver, there are just other options ahead of him. A senior year with 25-30 receptions wouldn’t be that surprising. But before then, another year as the inline tight end with Sanders playing the more varied role with the lion’s share of targets.

Helm is a big, coordinated kid (see below). Another year of S&C should help him become one of the better blocking tight ends Texas has had since Geoff Swaim. 

JR Juan Davis

When good info is absent we need to fill the gaps with fact patterns. Fact: Juan Davis is still on the team. Fact: Texas decided to not address tight end in the portal despite only having two players with real experience after losing Jahleel Billingsley. Fact: Other than Sanders, Davis will be the only tight end on the roster who is a dangerous receiver, even after the two signees arrive. 

Is Juan Davis about to get his chance? Probably, but we’ll need to learn more.

Davis is a bit of a tweener, and not between flexed and inline, but between flex tight end and receiver. He’s definitely on the small end of the scale of what could be considered a tight end at about 6-foot-2.5, 220 pounds.

What he does have is quick twitch and flypaper hands. He also has a more clear route to the field with low numbers at the position. 

The Two Signees

Will Randle: Randle is the quintessential H-back, similar to Andrew Beck, who can do a little bit of everything. He has good hands as a receiver and want-to as a blocker. Will it translate to college? I have no idea, but guys like him come out of the woodwork all the time to become quality college players. 

His college career starts with the adversity of overcoming an ACL injury suffered this fall.

Spencer Shannon: Shannon is a sensational fit as someone who can aid Sark’s preferences to run the ball then throw it over the top. As a blocker he’ll have offensive tackle length with more mobility. He’s advanced as a blocker and should become a monster with S&C. He could play as a freshman. While he won’t be a dangerous receiver, he can become one that keeps defenses honest.

Puncher’s Chance

The staff is still swinging at five-star Duce Robinson. They do not believe they’re out of this recruitment so they must be getting enough feedback to at least stay engaged with the Phoenix stud. I remember being in awe of Mark Andrews’ high school film. Robinson is better as a high school recruit.

Summary

Numbers are only okay on the surface with the addition of the two signees. Texas is cutting it a little thin with only Sanders and Helm having real experience. However, we do think Sark will run more 11 personnel next season which does reduce the workload for tight end.

Sanders is an elite receiver who should be even better in 2023. He’s someone Sark will shape the offense around.

 

Enjoy @immamac

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1 hour ago, Lhorn said:

Is that a good thing?

Jaguars WR Coach Chris Jackson Responds to Texas Longhorns Rumors

The wide receiver coach has helped the Jaguars' starting duo have career years, and on Monday took to Twitter to address rumors that he is next heading to college.
 
 
Maybe?
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Chris Jackson officially announced as the Texas Longhorns' new receivers coach

By  FUCK CHIP BROWN       17 hrs ago

Quote

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian officially announced the hiring of Chris Jackson as the Longhorns' new passing game coordinator and receivers coach, replacing Brennan Marion, who left to become the offensive coordinator at UNLV.

“We’re fired up that Chris Jackson is a Longhorn,” Sarkisian said in a statement released by the university. “He’s such a talented coach with a ton of football and life experience that we’ll benefit from having on our staff. Chris is a passionate and attention-to-detail guy who took a unique path to coaching, but is as good as they get when it comes to developing and preparing receivers.

"He’s a very well-respected coach with great work ethic who is a student of the game, and he’s a proven leader who not only helps his players improve on the field, but also builds strong relationships with them, too."

Sarkisian touted Jackson's 10 years of experience in the NFL - five as a player and five as a coach.

Jackson’s entry into NFL coaching was as an assistant with the Chicago Bears in 2018 as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship.

Jackson, a college teammate of Texas special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Jeff Banks at Washington State, also has a connection to Dallas-based receiver trainer Margin Hooks, according to sources.

Hooks has worked with 2022 five-star Evan Stewart (Texas A&M); 2023 five-star Johntay Cook (early enrollee at Texas), Isaiah Neyor (Texas) and five-star Micah Hudson (6-0, 186) of Lake Belton, the nation’s No. 6 overall prospect and No. 2 receiver in 2024 (according to the 247Sports Composite Ranking) and the Longhorns’ top WR target in 2024.

In 2019, the Bears hired Jackson as a defensive assistant before making Jackson the assistant receivers coach in Chicago 2020 and 2021 under receivers coach Tyke Tolbert. Before the 2022 season, Jackson was hired as receivers coach for Jaguars by first-year Jacksonville head coach Doug Pederson.

"During his time in the NFL, he’s worked with some exceptional coaches who have all quickly recognized his talent in the profession," Sarkisian said. "Not only has he coached players at the highest level the past five years in the NFL, he knows the position well having been an NFL veteran, All-Pac-10 and 1,000-yard receiver himself.

He played at Washington State with Jeff Banks, so he’s a guy we’re very familiar with and know he’ll be a tremendous addition to our staff. We’re excited to get him started.”

In his one season with the Jaguars, Jackson coached one of only three receiving units in the NFL to have two players with 80-plus receptions in 2022 in Christian Kirk (84) and Zay Jones (82). Kirk also achieved his first 1,000-yard receiving season with 1,108 to rank 14th in the league to go along with eight touchdowns, which tied for fifth in Jaguars’ history. Jones registered 823 receiving yards and five touchdowns, and Marvin Jones, Jr., added 46 receptions for 529 yards and three touchdowns.

“My major thought in this move was originally just young men,” Jackson said in a statement released by Texas. “The excitement and opportunity to coach at the college level at a school with the notoriety that Texas has is a great opportunity. Working with young men coming in from 17 to 18 years old to leaving at 22 and providing a platform for them and allowing them to grow, not only as football players but as young men, that’s what I was drawn to, as well.

"I’ve always been passionate about that, and I’ve been able to do that at NFL level, but there’s something that’s super intriguing about those young men, ones I can hopefully inspire and lead through the position I just left. Some of them will want to pursue a professional career and just need some of that guidance and leadership to get there, and I’ve seen that not only as a player, but as a coach now. That’s the work for me – young men and development.”

Sarkisian made it clear to candidates for the UT receivers coaching position that he wanted a technician who could develop talented, diverse personalities at wideout, a room at Texas that will include rising junior Xavier Worthy, rising senior Jordan Whittington, redshirt junior Isaiah Neyor, new Georgia transfer Adonai Mitchell, early enrollee freshmen Johntay Cook and DeAndre Moore Jr, freshman Ryan Niblett and rising sophomores Casey Cain, Brenen Thompson and Savion Red.

“Coach Sarkisian has always been phenomenal and a mastermind of offense,” Jackson said. “Being a wide receiver myself, I’m looking to really just lock all the way into his thought processes for why he does things and how he does things, so I can just be an extension of him. He’s had success not only at the college level, but also in the NFL, so I just want to embrace all of it and add whatever I can in regards to my experience and thought process. But to me, it was a no-brainer to come to Texas and work under the leadership of Sark and with his great staff. He’s done it at the collegiate level and the NFL level, and I know he’s turning the culture there. I just want to be a part of that.”

As receivers coach of the Chicago Bears in 2021, Jackson helped second-year receiver Darnell Mooney record his first 1,000-yard season with a team-leading 1,055 receiving yards and four touchdowns. In 2020, Jackson helped guide Allen Robinson, who led all Bears receivers for the second-straight season with 102 receptions, 1,213 yards and six touchdowns, eclipsing 100 receptions for the first time in his career. It marked the first 100-catch season by a Bears wide receiver since 2013.

Jackson worked with the Bears in 2019 as a defensive assistant under coordinator Chuck Pagano after previously assisting the Bears during training camp in 2018 through the fellowship program. Prior to his time in Chicago, he served as the wide receivers coach at Liberty High School in Peoria, Ariz.

As a player, Jackson spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1998), Seattle Seahawks (1999), Tennessee Titans (2000), Green Bay Packers (2002-03) and Miami Dolphins (2003). Jackson also played several seasons in the Arena Football League where he was a standout wide receiver and the AFL Rookie of the Year in 2000 with the L.A. Avengers. He helped lead the Philadelphia Soul to an Arena Bowl XXII championship in 2008, recording 140 receptions for 1,692 yards and 49 touchdowns. Jackson totaled 325 receiving touchdowns in his AFL career, a mark that is still second all-time in league history.

“I know Texas is football,” Jackson added. “That’s what I do know, and that’s coming from a California kid. I knew people back in the day never left Texas, especially if you were one of the top players in Texas, that’s where you went. I want to play a role in helping Coach Sark and the staff continue to get back to that aspect, where Texas is the only place these Texas kids want to go. Austin is an awesome city. My oldest son went to St. Edwards for two years, so I got an opportunity to get him situated there and look around. I’m very much drawn to the city, the lake, and downtown is beautiful. I’m just excited to be a part of that and helping to continue to grow the tradition of Texas.”

Jackson played collegiately at Orange Coast College in 1995 before transferring to Washington State. In both 1996 and 1997, Jackson was a starter for the Cougars and a teammate of current Texas assistant coach Jeff Banks. In 1997, he recorded 54 catches for 1,005 yards and 11 touchdowns to earn honorable mention All-Pac 10 honors, helping the Cougars to a Pac-10 co-championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl. The 11 receiving touchdowns is still a top-10 single-season mark in Washington State history, tying for seventh. After his collegiate career, Jackson signed with the Buccaneers in 1998, and following his professional career, Jackson was a physical education teacher before going into special education and then sales and merchandising.

In 2020, Jackson was inducted into the California Community College Football Coaches Association (CCCFCA) Hall of Fame. A native of Santa Ana, Calif., Jackson attended Mater Dei High School. He and his wife, Michelle, have three children: Almani, Deyton and Justus.

 

https://247sports.com/college/texas/LongFormArticle/Texas-Longhorns-football-Chris-Jackson-officially-announced-as-receivers-coach-203609741/#203609741_1

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On 1/25/2023 at 1:27 PM, LTtxfan said:

Chris Jackson officially announced as the Texas Longhorns' new receivers coach

By  FUCK CHIP BROWN       17 hrs ago

 

https://247sports.com/college/texas/LongFormArticle/Texas-Longhorns-football-Chris-Jackson-officially-announced-as-receivers-coach-203609741/#203609741_1

I thought Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, that former point guard from LSU/Denver-Nuggets had become born-again and changed his name BACK to Chris Jackson and was coming to Texas to be the Texas WR corch.

Who knows? Maybe he was a 2-sport-star in Gulfport, MS, and had just decided to play basketball, and after retiring went back into football corching or something.  Lulz.

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I've been a bit busy... Totally missed Marion to UNLV.  I hope Sark doesn't abandon the two back concepts that seemed to really work when used (not enough, imo).

I've been thinking about the Sark offense and I hope I'm wrong, but it seems like his offense can be safely defended by a traditional 425 cover 3  defense if there is a decent pass rush and the backers don't need a lot of help in the run game.

Sark's goal is to run the ball well and then set up deep PA shots. If the safety doesn't have to support the run, the 3 deep shell keeps the big play from happening, so everything is thrown underneath coverage or between coverage levels, which, if the defense can dictate, allows the defenders to know where throwing lanes are and get chances for tips and/or QBs making the wrong decision. And when the pass is completed, it's underneath where the is help to make the tackle.

To be continuously successful, the QB has to make the right decision about 75% of the time and drive the field OR rely on 50/50 deep shots converting because everything works (WR gets by defender, ball is well placed, catch is made, no holding at LoS, etc.)

I hope I'm wrong, but I feel like the offense requires consistent high level execution by high level players. It seems difficult to maintain and simple to defend the concepts, which is why our 2nd half production falls off against teams with decent LBs and a deep zone defense.

We had two NFL RBs and couldn't get our PA/RPO game off.

The (simple in my mind) fix is more flood concepts in the pass game with counter/power run play action away from the flood side, forcing the LBs into conflict, and outnumbering the defensive backfield. I suppose it could be Outside Zone away from the Flood, too... But Sark is an Inside Zone enthusiast (despite Bijan being significantly better running OZ behind our OL).

I don't know anything. Not a coach. Could be easy off, but that's how I'd defend him and that's how I'd counter my own defense.

Back to work.

F the offseason. 

 

Edited by Slacks
Old eyes and typos... I reserve the right to edit again.
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6 hours ago, Slacks said:

I've been a bit busy... Totally missed Marion to UNLV.  I hope Sark doesn't abandon the two back concepts that seemed to really work when used (not enough, imo).

I've been thinking about the Sark offense and I hope I'm wrong, but it seems like his offense can be safely defended by a traditional 425 cover 3  defense if there is a decent pass rush and the backers don't need a lot of help in the run game.

Sark's goal is to run the ball well and then set up deep PA shots. If the safety doesn't have to support the run, the 3 deep shell keeps the big play from happening, so everything is thrown underneath coverage or between coverage levels, which, if the defense can dictate, allows the defenders to know where throwing lanes are and get chances for tips and/or QBs making the wrong decision. And when the pass is completed, it's underneath where the is help to make the tackle.

To be continuously successful, the QB has to make the right decision about 75% of the time and drive the field OR rely on 50/50 deep shots converting because everything works (WR gets by defender, ball is well placed, catch is made, no holding at LoS, etc.)

I hope I'm wrong, but I feel like the offense requires consistent high level execution by high level players. It seems difficult to maintain and simple to defend the concepts, which is why our 2nd half production falls off against teams with decent LBs and a deep zone defense.

We had two NFL RBs and couldn't get our PA/RPO game off.

The (simple in my mind) fix is more flood concepts in the pass game with counter/power run play action away from the flood side, forcing the LBs into conflict, and outnumbering the defensive backfield. I suppose it could be Outside Zone away from the Flood, too... But Sark is an Inside Zone enthusiast (despite Bijan being significantly better running OZ behind our OL).

I don't know anything. Not a coach. Could be easy off, but that's how I'd defend him and that's how I'd counter my own defense.

Back to work.

F the offseason. 

 

To be fair, if their 6 (4-2 or 3-3) can control the LOS and stuff the run game, almost every offense is fucked. You would need NFL caliber QB to score a lot of points. I remember Strong employing 5 in the box and dating Kingsbury to run the ball. He didn’t and he lost 

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2 hours ago, Codaxx said:

To be fair, if their 6 (4-2 or 3-3) can control the LOS and stuff the run game, almost every offense is fucked. You would need NFL caliber QB to score a lot of points. I remember Strong employing 5 in the box and dating Kingsbury to run the ball. He didn’t and he lost 

Bit that's just it... If the playcaller isn't willing to take or force what's there via the run, he's playing to the defense. If the defense can just refrain from getting gashed in the run with 6 defenders, while playing an umbrella, that gives them a relative advantage.

 

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Well we’ve got a head coach in the Super Bowl that’s reluctant to continue with the run at times so even the best are prone to force things.

With regards to Sark, for my tastes anyway, it was never a reluctance to run that was frustrating, but it was the disappearance of those run game extensions - jet sweep, two back/diamond formation play action, screen game. We had a damn near perfect roster for that with lots of variability and options.

Coaching matters everywhere, but I’m not sure Dline isn’t the very most important. Codaxx’s old ass wants to take away something from the O. That’s really the only spot that can control the opponents run game. Then if they’re that good, they can have a massive impact on the pass game too. 3-3-5, 4-2-5, it’s success is contingent on the front line. Personally I prefer a 4 man front as it feels as though it’s better against the run, but it’s really about the right guys doing the right things.

Lots of resources need to go into the defensive front - coaching, recruiting, bodies because as a unit they are most likely to have an impact week to week. They’re important against run based teams, pass based teams.

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21 hours ago, Slacks said:

I've been thinking about the Sark offense and I hope I'm wrong, but it seems like his offense can be safely defended by a traditional 425 cover 3  defense if there is a decent pass rush and the backers don't need a lot of help in the run game.

More of what @Codaxx wrote.

If the D can control your run game and get pressure on the QB with six guys, you’re probably facing a substantially uphill task on offense, no matter what. You’re going to have to drive the field both because the D is set up not to let people behind them and because your QB doesn’t have to time to wait for them to do it anyway. 

You’re probably down to hoping for big plays from fast and/or quick guys on shorter (cross, slant, etc.) routes catching well thrown balls on the run. Sarkisian is pretty fond of saying “I’m just as fast as Worthy and Cook if we’re standing still,” so receivers on the move and meshing is something he already favors. Then, can you beat the inside leverage they’re going to put out there to stop that nonsense, too?

If the base premises are “six guys can stop the run without secondary help” and “six guys can stop the run while also getting QB pressure without secondary help” and “the secondary can play 2 or 3 deep well” how else do you move other than gradually and hope a penalty, drop, or whatever doesn’t put you too far behind the chains to manage it?

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1 hour ago, Doc Daneeka said:

More of what @Codaxx wrote.

If the D can control your run game and get pressure on the QB with six guys, you’re probably facing a substantially uphill task on offense, no matter what. You’re going to have to drive the field both because the D is set up not to let people behind them and because your QB doesn’t have to time to wait for them to do it anyway. 

You’re probably down to hoping for big plays from fast and/or quick guys on shorter (cross, slant, etc.) routes catching well thrown balls on the run. Sarkisian is pretty fond of saying “I’m just as fast as Worthy and Cook if we’re standing still,” so receivers on the move and meshing is something he already favors. Then, can you beat the inside leverage they’re going to put out there to stop that nonsense, too?

If the base premises are “six guys can stop the run without secondary help” and “six guys can stop the run while also getting QB pressure without secondary help” and “the secondary can play 2 or 3 deep well” how else do you move other than gradually and hope a penalty, drop, or whatever doesn’t put you too far behind the chains to manage it?

Thanks. I missed what @Codaxx wrote, but our thinking is aligned. 

Of course, the offensive flip side is the same. If you can get the big bodies to protect the QB will enough and block the run well enough, you can force the defense to send and additional run stopper or QB pressurer, freeing up the skill players with more space (if the QB and receivers make the same, correct read.)

But my original point was about the specific use of 425 (or 335 with a big, fast 3rd lb) vs Sark. I think the 5 trips him up s bit because he doesn't seem to commit to hammering the run against 6 run defenders. Maybe it's because he won't also use the QB as a run threat, but it seems we just miss smashing teams into the ground, then we stagnate late.

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39 minutes ago, Slacks said:

Thanks. I missed what @Codaxx wrote, but our thinking is aligned. 

Of course, the offensive flip side is the same. If you can get the big bodies to protect the QB will enough and block the run well enough, you can force the defense to send and additional run stopper or QB pressurer, freeing up the skill players with more space (if the QB and receivers make the same, correct read.)

But my original point was about the specific use of 425 (or 335 with a big, fast 3rd lb) vs Sark. I think the 5 trips him up s bit because he doesn't seem to commit to hammering the run against 6 run defenders. Maybe it's because he won't also use the QB as a run threat, but it seems we just miss smashing teams into the ground, then we stagnate late.

My biggest concern with Sarkisian on offense is that he seems actively to dislike using the QB on the ground. He was there in person when VY dismantled his team in the Rose Bowl, with a great deal of that on the ground. IMO, and I also am not a coach, that cedes too much security to the defense. 

My next concern would be similar to yours: for a guy who explicitly wants to use the run and the RPO to open the D for deep shots, he seems less committed to the run, at times, than that philosophy would indicate. 

My general impression of most play callers is that they appear to get too enamored of how clever they are. If you can beat someone’s brains in running the ball, run the ball until they adjust to stop it. Sure, take play action shots on some “obvious” running downs, but keep mashing them. 

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11 minutes ago, Doc Daneeka said:

My biggest concern with Sarkisian on offense is that he seems actively to dislike using the QB on the ground. He was there in person when VY dismantled his team in the Rose Bowl, with a great deal of that on the ground. IMO, and I also am not a coach, that cedes too much security to the defense. 

My next concern would be similar to yours: for a guy who explicitly wants to use the run and the RPO to open the D for deep shots, he seems less committed to the run, at times, than that philosophy would indicate. 

My general impression of most play callers is that they appear to get too enamored of how clever they are. If you can beat someone’s brains in running the ball, run the ball until they adjust to stop it. Sure, take play action shots on some “obvious” running downs, but keep mashing them. 

It's almost always Ex-Qb's that playcall like that. Quarterbacks in general seem to look at running the ball as a necessity to stay somewhat balanced rather than an offensive philosophy. 

Ex-defensive guys and Ex-OLinemen seem to call a game more to my liking more often than not. 

You can adjust to getting lit up through the air (just keep throwing DB's out there) but when you're just bludgeoning a team on the ground for 5 yards per carry It's demoralizing and very complementary to your defense by limiting possessions and giving long breaks. 

Edited by RoyalBevo21
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Just now, RoyalBevo21 said:

It's almost always Ex-Qb's that playcall like that. Quarterbacks in general seem to look at running the ball as a necessity to stay somewhat balanced rather than an offensive philosophy. 

Ex-defensive guys and Ex-OLinemen seem to call a game more to my liking more often than not. 

You can adjust to getting lit up through the air (just keep throwing DB's out there) but when you're just bludgeoning a team on the ground for 5 yards per carry It's just demoralizing and very complementary to your defense by limiting possessions and giving long breaks. 

Seriously. 

One of the most awful feelings in the game, or just watching the game, is the opponent running the ball at you with no answer. Which, on the bright side, is part of what’s so encouraging about Flood and his gigantic guys as they develop. 

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9 hours ago, Doc Daneeka said:

More of what @Codaxx wrote.

If the D can control your run game and get pressure on the QB with six guys, you’re probably facing a substantially uphill task on offense, no matter what. You’re going to have to drive the field both because the D is set up not to let people behind them and because your QB doesn’t have to time to wait for them to do it anyway. 

You’re probably down to hoping for big plays from fast and/or quick guys on shorter (cross, slant, etc.) routes catching well thrown balls on the run. Sarkisian is pretty fond of saying “I’m just as fast as Worthy and Cook if we’re standing still,” so receivers on the move and meshing is something he already favors. Then, can you beat the inside leverage they’re going to put out there to stop that nonsense, too?

If the base premises are “six guys can stop the run without secondary help” and “six guys can stop the run while also getting QB pressure without secondary help” and “the secondary can play 2 or 3 deep well” how else do you move other than gradually and hope a penalty, drop, or whatever doesn’t put you too far behind the chains to manage it?

I would say “AND get pressure bringing 4 and dropping 7”, I believe that is what you meant. Getting pressure with 4 is probably the single biggest disaster to an offense. I have yet to see even the best QBs thrive in that situation 

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53 minutes ago, Codaxx said:

I would say “AND get pressure bringing 4 and dropping 7”, I believe that is what you meant. Getting pressure with 4 is probably the single biggest disaster to an offense. I have yet to see even the best QBs thrive in that situation 

Well, I mean utilizing the front six, but not necessarily all at once. So, yeah, bringing four but not necessarily the four “linemen.” That would, indeed, be a whip regardless of the offensive scheme. 

Scheme may make it harder to whip your ass, but if you’re getting your ass whipped, scheme is unlikely to save you. 

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21 hours ago, Slacks said:

Thanks. I missed what @Codaxx wrote, but our thinking is aligned. 

Of course, the offensive flip side is the same. If you can get the big bodies to protect the QB will enough and block the run well enough, you can force the defense to send and additional run stopper or QB pressurer, freeing up the skill players with more space (if the QB and receivers make the same, correct read.)

But my original point was about the specific use of 425 (or 335 with a big, fast 3rd lb) vs Sark. I think the 5 trips him up s bit because he doesn't seem to commit to hammering the run against 6 run defenders. Maybe it's because he won't also use the QB as a run threat, but it seems we just miss smashing teams into the ground, then we stagnate late.

Oddly the "fly over" defense has been pretty stout vs the run (ISU's 3 DL/3Safety look). You have safeties coming down pretty fast and it is not easy for OL to pick them up. They are not used to that. If you remember Tom Herman used to pound his head into a wall vs ISU for 3Qs  every year, only to go 5 wide in 4Q  and find success vs the look. ISU has finished no worse than 4th vs the run in the Big 12 that last 5 years and 1st 3 times. Sark found success this year vs ISU and KSU using big sets and unbalanced lines to open up the run game. 

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21 hours ago, Doc Daneeka said:

My biggest concern with Sarkisian on offense is that he seems actively to dislike using the QB on the ground. He was there in person when VY dismantled his team in the Rose Bowl, with a great deal of that on the ground. IMO, and I also am not a coach, that cedes too much security to the defense. 

I agree with this here. You don't even need a tremendous athlete to do it. Just get critical first downs via QB run whether called or not. The past two years it seemed like our guys were coached to not run at any cost. Extending drives with QB legs seems to have become and integral part of the NFL game now days.

Edited by BurntOrange&White
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