How much will new Iowa State Cyclones offensive coordinator Todd Study alter the approach in Ames after taking over for Mark Mangino on Monday?
Not much, says Texas Longhorns offensive coordinator Vance Bedford.
"They are going to do pretty much the same thing," Bedford said Wednesday. "Even though they might have changed offensive coordinators and changed quarterbacks, the quarterback's been playing already and the coordinator has been in the program and in the system. You have a coach in Coach Rhoads who will run the football -- I don't care who the OC is. He's the head football coach and they are going to run the football."
However, the emphasis on running the football could cause a shift in who ends up carrying the ball, Bedford believes, as new starting quarterback Joel Lanning had a package of plays earlier in the season that featured his wheels. The 6'2, 232-pounder can be difficult to bring down because of his strength and slipperiness, but his longest run on the year is 15 yards, so he's yet to prove that he's an exceptionally explosive player.
Perhaps more concerning for Texas is redshirt freshman running back Mike Warren running behind an offensive line that returned 76 starts entering the season and isn't great in pass protection, but has stopped opponents from inflicting negative plays.
Once Warren finds a crease, he's been difficult to stop, averaging 6.6 yards per carry and producing a run of 21 or more yards in each game since taking over the lead role against Toledo. A mid three-star prospect out of Oklahoma in 2014, the 6'0, 200-pound Warren doesn't have any elite physical attributes and his other best offer was from Washington State, even though he finished his prep career as a top-10 prospect in the state.
With 10.76 100-meter speed, Warren does have good burst that could cause the Texas safeties problems if he gets into the open field. Meanwhile, the offensive line can typically create good displacement on inside zone, but Warren makes sure that he maximizes the yardage available by hitting holes quickly and decisively, getting behind his pads to finish runs well for a 200-pounder.
If Warren has one weakness, it's that he's fumbled three times this season on 121 rushes and lost all three, so this is a game for Texas defenders to punch at the football when the Iowa State redshirt freshman carries the ball.
Though the Horns might not see much that isn't already on film, the defensive line will have to contain Lanning while beating one-on-one blocks. And can the linebackers continue to avoid offensive linemen working to the second level after showing significant improvement in that area over the last two games? The answer to that question will largely determine whether Texas can slow down a good Iowa State rushing attack.