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Whither the Offense? A Review

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I thought Big Roy did an excellent job last Friday of framing five big questions facing the Texas offense this season. However, since Texas proceeded to thump so handily Florida Atlantic, with Colt McCoy in his Saturday best, there's been a remarkable pacification of what had been a relatively freaked out fanbase, at least where the offense was concerned. While I count myself among the pleased with regards to Saturday's offensive showing, I keep coming back to the thought that almost all the same questions fueling the preseason panic have to be considered unresolved against Florida Atlantic.

Let's revisit each:

1. Will the offensive discover its identity before Colorado?

I think the best one could say is 'maybe,' pointing to Colt's phenomenal night as the cornerstone of a very efficient offense which gobbles up what the defense is giving them. Maybe. The truth is, Florida Atlantic was so badly outmatched that McCoy and his offensive line just did what they wanted to. That's indisputably a good thing, but what's the offense's identity against good defenses? I don't feel comfortable saying I know.

My esteemed whills gave it a shot in a comment earlier this evening, though:

Developing...

With McGee in the 4.3 range and an inside runner, and Fozzy on the outside with comparable speed, I think we’re gonna see some long TDs. That’s just a hell of a threat in both places. And that doesn’t count the wide-outs.

I’m no longer worrying about having a game breaker now; we have several. I like consistent offense but we have some serious threats most everywhere. As we get more efficient – esp. with OL blocking – these will pan out quite well. We’re just discovering our goodies…

Is it possible the picture whills paints will come to be? Certainly. However, it's much more a prediction of what he thinks we can become than a statement of what we are. However pleased I may be with Saturday's showing, I think this particular question has to be considered as yet unresolved.

2. Will a deep [WR] threat emerge?

Texas tight end Blaine Irby led the team in receptions (7) and yards receiving (62) and McCoy finished averaging 7.65 yards per attempt. Jordan Shipley had a solid game with 53 yards on 4 catches, but he wasn't exactly the deep threat this question is after. There's still a lot of potential among this Texas wide receiver core, but nothing approximating an established deep threat. Take a look at McCoy's eight full drives on the game:

P = PASS  /  U P = UNDERNEATH PASS  /  R = RUSH

Mccoy_drive_chart_fau_medium

Only 6 of 57 plays went for over 15 yards, and of those just 3 through the air (Ogbonnaya 30, Shipley 31, Irby 17).

3. How much will the Q Package be used and how?

Texas didn't get carried away with the Q Package Saturday (a good thing), and I actually liked some of the different looks Davis gave the defense by using Chiles in ways we've not seen before. The jury's still out as to whether Texas can translate the package into tangible gain, but I'm encouraged that the operating philosophy is sound. We'll see.

4. Run-heavy or pass-heavy? Physicality or finesse?

Texas finished with 46 rushes and 35 pass attempts; take away some of the rushing attempts as McCoy scampers on pass players and the distribution was about even. I expect much of the same all year. As for power vs. finesse, I don't know that either description leaps out as appropriate just yet. Texas' offensive line did a very nice job against inferior foes, and should only get better as the year goes on, so if we had to choose, especially given the ongoing search for big play game breakers, it looks like power.

5. Good Colt or Bad Colt?

Finally, an easy one. Demolishing FAU isn't anything to get too carried away with, but I was impressed with the way Colt got it done. He stepped into all his throws, and when he ran, I thought he did so purposefully. I know some don't like the way he'll abandon the pocket prematurely at times, but if he's picking up big yardage for Texas as a rusher--as he was Saturday--that actually helps our offense quite a bit, I think.

CONCLUSIONS?

The main point of this exercise was not to diminish what Texas accomplished on offense Saturday--they were mostly excellent--but to highlight that it's still far too soon to forget about these big questions, which may not matter against FAU but will as competition stiffens.