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MC 9.13: On the Texas offense and the question of tempo

Morning Coffee looks at the speed of the game and provides updates on non-revenue sports and more.

Tulsa v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman bills his offense as a pro-style spread. A secondary attribute of that system is the occasional use of tempo to keep defenses from substituting and to produce simple pre-snap reads for the offense because there isn’t time for a lot of disguise.

When the Horns were struggling in the season opener against the Terrapins, the offensive coaches decided to start operating at tempo in order to help the players relax and think less.

The decision jump-started the Texas offense, which scored touchdowns on two of its final three possessions in the first half in producing 155 yards on those three drives.

Sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger, in particular, seemed to settle down and become more comfortable in the pocket during that period.

The success raised a pertinent question about why the Longhorns offense hasn’t operated in tempo more consistently over the first two games. On Monday, Herman provided an answer.

“The tempo question is one, I think there’s got to be a rhythm established on first down of a series,” Herman said. “I think certainly the entire fourth quarter we were not going to go tempo because that wasn’t the wise thing to do with a 14-point lead that we had at the time, but up until that point I think there’s a sense of rhythm that you need to be in and there’s a sense, you know, like a for instance, let’s say you go out and you call four verticals, play action four verticals on first and ten. And it’s incomplete and now you got three receivers and a tight end all running back from 40 yards down the field to the spot of the ball, just to call a tempo play and in today’s substitution world, you can’t run tempo with subbing people too.

“So there’s got to be a rhythm on first down, but I do, yeah, we are very aware of the fact that this group of guys seems to play better when they are playing fast and free. So we’ll try to do that as much as the tempo and the game management part of the situation allows us to.”

In other words, Herman and his staff want to use tempo when appropriate — it was not in the fourth quarter of the Tulsa game when the offense wanted to burn clock, for instance — but they aren’t willing to sacrifice overall game strategy and expose the defense to do so.

While that might seem odd in a conference like the Big 12, it’s important to realize that there are a number of offensive systems within the conference and outside of it that don’t place much value on protecting the defense.

Liebrock the jock... Texas tight end commit Brayden Liebrock made a big commitment on Thursday:

The Arizona product shot up the recruiting rankings during an impressive spring and he’s now a consensus four-star prospect and the nation’s No. 7 tight end, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

At 6’5, 220 pounder, Liebrock is a talented receiving option at tight end and part of a two-man class with Temple’s Jared Wiley, a more raw prospect who is currently playing quarterback as a senior.

From 4th and 5 to the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame... Not sure why the committee waited almost 14 years to make this happen, but Longhorns Legend Vince Young will be inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame on December 31.

Young didn’t just dominate the 2006 Rose Bowl that secured the last national championship for Texas, he also turned in a transcendent performance the year before against Michigan. In that game, he rushed for 192 yards and threw for 180 yards while accounting for five TDs (one passing and four rushing) to help the Horns to a come-from-behind 38-37 win.

In all honesty, it should be called Vince Young Field at the Rose Bowl.

Just do more... Junior walk-on defensive back Chase Moore received an impressive honor on Thursday when he was named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, becoming the 10th Longhorns player to receive that honor.

A former member of the College of the Holy Cross football program before landing in Austin last season, Moore has a remarkable resume:

He is a member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and actively involved in the UT Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). He also received the Dorothy L. Smith Marbridge Foundation Community Service Award from UT Athletics as the top male student-athlete for community engagement.

This summer, Moore studied Urban Economics Development abroad at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where he was also involved in community initiatives. In high school, he received the California Defense Fund “Beat The Odds” Award.

In Austin, he has been involved in speaking at multiple schools and churches as well as serving as a mentor at The Boys and Girls Club and YMCA. In July of 2017, Moore was a keynote speaker at a juvenile delinquency conference held by the Texas Juvenile Detention Association, the perfect example as somebody who grew up in poverty and with an imprisoned father. Moore has also volunteered at the Special Olympics, Neighborhood Longhorns and many other organizations that impact the lives of children in the greater Austin area.

Congratulations to Moore, who is setting a high standard for his teammates and representing the University of Texas in the best ways possible.

Ouch... A home-and-home series for Texas volleyball against No. 2-ranked Stanford got off to a rocky start on Thursday in Palo Alto when the Longhorns were swept in three sets by the Cardinal.

Stanford had twice as many blocks as Texas and a higher hitting percentage.

On Friday, however, the Horns will have a chance to bounce back with a big rematch in Gregory Gym at 8 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network.

On a roll... Earlier this week, Texas soccer continues its strong start with a 4-0 home win over Houston Baptist. The No. 14-ranked Longhorns will look to stay undefeated with a Friday match looming against UTRGV. It will be the second all-time matchup against the Vaqueros, with the Longhorn Network hosting the match at 6 p.m. Central. Texas star Cyera Hintzen will look to reprise her previous performance against UTRGV, in which she scored a “golden goal” in the 98th minute.