What Now? Fixing The Longhorn Offense, Part 2

Why does stuff always turn out to be cyclical?
In Part 1, we laid out the basic storyline of how we got to this point. That basic gameplan we saw Kansas State employ on Saturday will be the blueprint for every team heading forward: control the vertical game with two safeties deep, jump the short routes, tackle well.

It'll work, too, if something doesn't change. Those who hate the dink and dunk horizontal passing game (and who doesn't?) are in for a long season if Greg Davis doesn't try to overhaul his approach immediately.

But that begs the question at hand: can we realistically overhaul the offensive approach in the middle of the season? And do we even have the personnel to do it?

The second question may be more important than the first. Not only is Colt McCoy ill-suited to run the offense at hand (he poses no credible running threat to freeze defenders), but he's getting thoroughly rag-dolled because our offensive line is tremendously weak in the middle. Dallas Griffin requires help on virtually every play, and his help is coming in the form of underwhelming guards (Tanner, Hall, or a true frosh).

Worst of all, McCoy suffered a concussion just before the end of the first half on Saturday. With the rain pouring down, the Texas passing game all but collapsed, and a quarterback with an injury history getting his bell rung... Texas' coaches brought McCoy back out to start the second half.

As he took the field, I noted my confusion in the open thread:

This makes no sense

Given the weather, Colt's injury, and Colt's struggles - why not play Chiles?

Colt gave it his best shot and is to be applauded for his courage and toughness. Nonetheless, it was obvious - at the time and especially in hindsight - that he shouldn't have been out there. By the fourth quarter, he was throwing up on the sidelines - classic post-concussion symptoms. It's borderline reckless that the coaches put him out there to play.

It was what it was, and we are where we are, so now the question turns to next week and the Red River Shootout. The team doctors (Brad McCoy?) have already cleared McCoy to play this Saturday, and though I'll be cheering like hell for the Longhorns, the prognosis is grim. Stoops' gamebook is probably saturated with saliva right now, and I hope to high hell that Colt doesn't suffer some sort of major injury because he gets pummeled.

In all likelihood, this story's gonna get worse before it gets better. Should we lose to Oklahoma, the only important remaining question will be: do we try to overhaul the offensive scheme to better suit what Colt McCoy can and can't do? Or do we stick John Chiles in to run the current scheme?

It's almost shocking to be having this conversation right now, given Colt's heroics in 2006, but it won't do us much good to deny the reality of the landscape. The offensive line might be able to succeed in a zone-read Chiles-based scheme. I'm not sure Colt McCoy can survive a full season in the current situation.

What's more, we have to ask: who has the higher ceiling? Can Texas get to the big games with a Applewhite-Simms-McCoy type attack? Greg Davis hasn't proven able to do that in his career. Ever. Should we expect him to now?

What Davis has managed to do is put together a nice package for a supremely gifted running quarterback. It does appear we've got one of those on the roster here... Is it time to bite the bullet, make the hard decision, and go in that direction? You'd feel bad for McCoy, of course, but the team comes first, right Mack?

For now, we'll wait to see how things go in Dallas. The Big 12 championship goals are still attainable, and while that's still on the table we should put our best foot forward and make a go of it.

If the wheels come off again this Saturday, though? It might be time to start trying to build the next great Texas offense. With John Chiles.

--PB--

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