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Texas HC Charlie Strong: It's about execution, not play calling

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Don't look for tight ends coach Jeff Traylor to receive a chance to call plays this season.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns won't have a third play caller this season after head coach Charlie Strong said Monday that he won't make another change.

Asked twice if tight ends coach Jeff Traylor could take over play-calling duties from Jay Norvell at some point over the last four games of the season, Strong declined to blame Norvell for the offensive struggles against the Iowa State Cyclones, instead blaming on-field execution.

In the passing game, the problem wasn't in the protection, according to Strong, even though seniors Sedrick Flowers and Taylor Doyle had some individual breakdowns that resulted in pressure -- redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard just wasn't patient enough in the pocket.

Playing behind an offensive line that has allowed a higher rate of sacks on passing downs than any other team in the country, Heard's internal clock was clearly ticking down a little faster than necessary out of pure habit. So even though Iowa State often rushed only three and dropped eight into coverage, Heard didn't always have the patience to remain in the pocket and wait for a wide receiver to come open.

The decisions that he did make were often poor -- he threw an interception instead of throwing the ball out of bounds and almost three two other interceptions among his nine pass attempts.

As for Norvell, he's working with a redshirt freshman quarterback who has questionable ability to go through reads playing behind an offensive line that still makes too many mistakes. He didn't have a whole offseason to install his preferred system and had to adjust on the fly against a difficult schedule once he took over following the season opener.

All things considered, he's done an admirable job to put Texas in position to win games against Cal and Oklahoma State, then upset Oklahoma and physically dominate Kansas State.

While there is some allure in seeing what Traylor could do as the play caller, the reality is that there probably aren't any magical solutions for a Texas offense that has some fatal flaws -- only an offseason of development under a new offensive coordinator is likely to fix those issues.