Morning Coffee Wonders What The National Punditry Is Smoking

Gary Danielson goes Schlabach on Colt McCoy. Apparently, being no. 1 means the national punditry makes ill-considered statements about that football team. In a word, goes all Schlabach on you, while slobbering all over Georgia's Matthew Stafford. Take it away Gary Danielson (and remember, as a CBS analyst, he knows good offenses):

I'll take Stafford [over Colt McCoy]. He's a 235-pound player; more of a pro. If Stafford played in one of those junk offenses, he'd be putting up numbers just like McCoy. I think he's more the pro body-type, he's more Matt Ryan. I think he's just a brilliant football player, I really do. He's gonna be an NFL franchise quarterback.

It's certainly true that Stafford has the type of arm that scouts drool over and McCoy doesn't. But beyond that debate, Texas runs a junk offense? What makes it a junk offense, Danielson? Because McCoy is on pace to shatter completion percentage records in the NCAA? If it's such a junk offense, why has no one figured out how to stop it yet? Wanna see a junk offense? Go watch Auburn play. I don't think Matthew Stafford could complete 80% of his passes against air. Gary Danielson, you, sir, are a moron. Go start a club with Schlabach.

 

Do good teams squeak by the Huskers at home? Tip of the hat to texascfo for bringing attention to this, as Nebraska controlled the clock in their game against Tech in a manner reminiscent of the Texas/Texas Tech game last year. Nebraska held the ball for more than 40 minutes, while holding Tech to 16 first downs and under 300 yards passing. Tech won the game with an interception in overtime, but the blueprint Nebraska used is similar to the blueprint for Texas success mentioned in Morning Coffee on Tuesday. Most relevant to the Longhorns, Nebraska controlled the clock passing the ball (357 yards), rather than running 60+ times (35 for 114) as the Longhorns did last season against Tech. It's no secret the Longhorns will try to control the clock, and if Nebraska can take Tech down to the wire in Lubbock with maybe one player (Marlon Lucky) who would compete for a starting job at Texas, there's no reason to think the Longhorns can't do the same and better on Saturday.

Respect Rak. Tech bloggers are remarkably unconcerned about slowing down Brian Orakpo, quite possibly the best defense end in the country and currently ranked 7th on SI's draft board (h/t jc25). Unlike the second ranked defensive end, Michael Johnson, playing the run is not a liability for Orakpo, who has 12 tackles for loss on the season. Dedfischer concedes that point, but calls Orakpo "primarily a bull rusher" and believes that the immensely strong Rylan Reed will neutralize the strength of Orakpo. Perhaps he is forgetting that Orakpo runs a 4.6 40 and has run by nearly every left tackle he's faced this season. For some reason, Orakpo's destruction of Phil Loadholt is dismissed as irrelevant, even though Reed and Loadholt are of similar size and strength. As way of anecdotal argument, I recall a shot from the Missouri broadcast from behind their offensive line showing Orakpo shifting quickly to left in a four-point stance before blasting through the Missouri split. That would be a display of quickness, not bullrushing.  I don't care if you can bench press a Buick, it won't help you stop Orakpo charging through a split in the offensive line. 

Blitz at your own peril. Despite an overwhelming lack of success, teams continue to blitz the Texas offense. Seems suicidal doens't it? PB has you covered on the problem opposing defensive coordinators face:

 

  1. Blitzing Colt McCoy and his band of telepathic receivers is a fool's errand.
  2. Not getting pressure on Colt McCoy is inviting another Heisman-worthy stat line.
  3. Getting through Texas' offensive line and to McCoy without a blitz has proven exceptionally difficult.

 

With the Texas offensive line and running backs picking up blitzes in pass protection, Colt McCoy is often finding the middle of the field wide open. Think the long Brandon Collins catch-and-run against Missouri. Pressuring Quan Cosby in man coverage has often resulted in Cosby shedding defenders with quick moves. Zone defenses aren't working. Amazingly enough, Texas Tech actually has some talented defensive ends this year who may be able to get pressure on Colt McCoy without having to resort to blitzes, but I wonder if there isn't another solution.

Bill Belichick has long given opposing offenses fits by only rushing three defenders, while dropping eight into coverage. The Longhorns haven't seen that look yet this year, but McCoy has been picking apart blitzes and conventional coverages with equal efficiency, so it makes sense to try to further squeeze the already small windows into which McCoy often fits passes. Dropping eight into coverage could force the Longhorns to become more vertical in the passing game, which they have been reticent to explore since McCoy doesn't have the arm or release point to consistently make those throws. Not to mention the fact they don't have to make those throws with shorter passes open consistently. The issue with dropping so many defenders? Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley use their bodies so well to shield defenders while elevating in traffic that nearly perfect coverage often results in completions for the Longhorns. Amazing how hard it is to defend the "junk offense" Texas runs, isn't it?

It's good to be king. For the third week, the Longhorns sit on top of the college football world. But are Texas fans enjoying it? With another huge game looming against Texas Tech, the Longhorn faithful are holding their collective breath for the third week in a row, waiting for the football team to substantiate their belief or for their dream of another national championship to come crashing down. But isn't that attitude way too pessimistic, too fatalistic? What's the point of being on top if you can't enjoy it? Penn State fans are writing "Texas Hate Manuals" and hoping the Longhorns fall, because hoping for other teams to lose is the only chance they have to sneak into the national championship game. Instead of controlling their own destiny, they have to rely on other teams for help. Fellow Longhorn fans, let's take the next two days to enjoy the view from the pinnacle of college football and revel in this football team, that was never supposed to be in this position. My friends, while we all love putting two fingers in the air, glory in being the only fanbase that can put a solitary index finger in the air with any truthfulness. 

 

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