I think Gene Chizik, Lloyd Carr, or any of a dozen struggling coaches should consult with PB to use BON as a coaching "consultant" after our dissection and proposed remedy of UT's problems this past week. It was almost like the Texas coaches sat down and said, "Let's see what those BONers think we should do and let's make it happen." We have several lawyers and lawyers-in-training on the network, so for relatively little money, we can form BON Football Advice Incorporated, for talented but confused teams everywhere. Coaches throughout the country should be lining up to study our brilliant suggestions this past week.
The collective BON braintrust recommended
- Pushing the cornerbacks up closer to the line of scrimmage. This was done in a big way. The Tweedles (Palmer and Foster) might still not be up to all comers at wide receiver, but they were flying around and making plays. One play in particular was made by Ryan Palmer in the third quarter. TCU had a third and 4, we blitzed and Dalton tossed out to a wide receiver. Ryan Palmer came up so fast and hit so hard, the receiver was lucky to just hold onto the ball. Punt to Texas. No way that play gets made if Palmer was lolly-gagging 10 yards up the field.
- Get the young, talented guys playing at LB. Boy, did that ever happen. Jared Norton made plays everywhere on the field, and TCU QB Dalton has a faded orange outline of number 11 on his jersey today for all the times he got hit by a blitzing Norton. Roderick Muckelroy should be given the nickname "The Howitzer" for all the times he powered right through the blocking wall to stuff running plays. Overall, Texas LB's made play after play. Even the much-maligned Rashad Bobino made the hit that stuffed TCU on 3rd and 1 at the Texas goal line right before the half, and Scott Derry was in the right place at the right time, if a step slow, at least half a dozen times.
- Attack the middle of the field. I missed the first quarter because those Aggie boys down the road couldn't figure out how to beat Fresno State, but I was ecstatic to see repeated attacks down the middle of the field on drag patterns to Quan Cosby and then later Nate Jones, various patterns to Jermichael Finley (until he went down with a cramped calf the size of a soccer ball), and draws, traps, and counters to Jamaal Charles. These plays led to almost all of Texas' many explosive plays. I was even more amazed about what I DIDN'T see: that zone sweep to Charles, and fade patterns and go routes to Sweed.
- In-game adjustments by the coaching staff. As miserable as the first half was, largely because of penalties, poor field position, and Colt playing like a fashion model, the second half was made by several adjustments.
a. They called for Colt to roll out more, which seemed to transform him from a nervous deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming train to a feisty ferret looking for ways to attack. That change in Colt's psychology was, in my opinion, the key to the game.
b. After Quan Cosby's hyperextended knee, they shifted Quan outside and put Nate Jones in the slot. Jones seems faster than Cosby, even if his hands aren't as good(witness the deflection off his hands that was intercepted and led to TCU's field goal before the half), but he put even more pressure on TCU's linebackers, and the pressure on Colt lightened up considerably after that.
c. After Adam Ulatoski's injury, the coaches didn't just put in the number 2 behind Ulatoski, they said "Cedric (Dockery) it's time to play!" and then put Chris Hall at right tackle. I think Hall played better at tackle than at guard, and Dockery was a monster on running plays. It's tough to tell, but maybe this is the winning configuration for Texas' OL.
d. With Finley gimpy, we actually saw, gasp, the I formation somehwere outside the opponents' 5 yard line.
e. They put Jamaal Charles back in the game after his injury and said effectively, "You da Man!" Result: nearly 100 yards rushing in one half, against a team that hadn't given up a 100 yard rusher in 21 games.
I'm sure there will be lots of posts later this week about "where we go from here." So I'll save that for later. But I got the feeling that the halftime transition was akin to the Vince Young sit-down after the Missouri game in 2004. "Guys, you are tentative and look like a bunch of scared rabbits. Just go play!" I haven't seen UT that aggressive and ferocious on defense and offense at the same time since 2005.
I think BON Football Advice Inc. gets the week off for UCF, although like many companies with dedicated employees, no one will be taking vacation. But we can all give ourselves a well-earned bonus for pulling the Horns out of the tank this past week.