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Baylor Positional Review: Running Backs

Positional Review Prelude: Required Pre-reading

If you were hanging out on the site during the game, you heard my frustration with the running game build and build and build, peaking here. I wasn't frustrated with the tailbacks - who were running well - or the offensive line - who were blocking just fine. I was frustrated with the lack of rushing plays in the gameplan.

I speculated in my game prediction that Texas would take chance out of this game equation as much as possible, probably grinding away at Baylor with run after run.

It didn't happen. I think Greg Davis read a few too many of the stories about Colt McCoy "growing up" in Dallas and got way too cute with his new toy. It took exactly one busted running play and a quick Baylor score for Davis to abandon a rush-first attack. Don't take my word for it, though. Texas' first three drives:

Drive 1
1-10 Selvin rush for 10 yards
1-10 Selvin rush for -4 yards (run game officially abandoned)
2-14 Incomplete
3-14 Incomplete

Drive 2
1-10 Charles for 3 yards
2-7 Sideways pass to Limas for -2 yards
3-9 No gain/sack of McCoy

Drive 3
1-10 Incomplete
2-10 Colt rush for 1 yard
3-9 Incomplete

Finally, in the fourth drive, we had a momentary return to sanity.

Drive 4
1-10 Colt rush option for 8 yards
2-2 Charles rush for 5 yards
1-10 Charles rush for 9 yards
2-1 Charles rush for 5 yards.

Looking good, right?  Whoops.

1-10 Colt interception

And just like that Texas had wasted four possessions without a score. The first quarter ended, Texas trailed 10-0, and I started cussing because we weren't running the ball.

Things eventually got straightened out, but it needs to serve as a good lesson for why the pass should be a compliment to the rush. This is still a rushing group that hasn't been shut down by an opponent. Oklahoma got as close as anyone's come, but our commitment to the run kept the Sooners honest and eventually opened things up for the passing game.

On Saturday, though, we came out with a pass-first approach, with predictably bad results. Davis is usually very good at designing his offense to get the most out of what talent he has on hand. On Saturday, though, he abandoned what's usually his strength - the commitment to rush the football. It cost Texas a quarter, but as noted in the prelude to these reviews - better now than against a tough opponent.

The tailbacks themselves did fine. Both Charles and Young averaged 4.6 yards per carry, but it was pretty silly that the duo combined for just 25 rushes all game, when they should have that many in the first half. We'll give them a B for showing up and doing what they were supposed to, but they should have been the ones setting records Saturday. Not Colt.