Monday, May 7, 2012
Numbers add up to need for big plays
By Carter Strickland
AUSTIN, Texas – Bryan Harsin and his multiple-formation, draw-it-up-in-the-dirt, trick-play, offense were supposed to couple with Mack Brown’s homegrown, eye-popping, five-star recruits for an offense that was to be something to behold.
Well, the only thing anyone was holding was his or her nose.
Speaking of which, smelling salts are now required for the Texas offense and DKR crowd. One of the main reasons is the lack of explosive plays Texas produced last season.
In 2011, Mack Brown and Bryan Harsin's offense couldn't rely on big plays to help drives.
“We need explosive plays,” the Texas coach said.
There you go. There is no denying it now.
He didn’t need to say it. It’s all over the Texas stats.
The Longhorns, the eighth worst scoring offense in the Big 12, scored 61 times last season. Fifty-nine of those scores came as a direct result of an explosive play or at the end of a drive in which Texas had an explosive play in the drive. (For those who are curious Texas allowed 54 scores in 2011 and 85 percent of those scoring drives featured an explosive play.)
An explosive play is defined as a run of 10 or more yards, a pass play of 20 or more yards, a score off a turnover, a forced turnover in the opponent’s territory or a return of 50 or more yards such as Quandre Diggs’ and Fozzy Whittaker’s returns.
The two Texas scores that did not feature explosive plays were a field goal against Kansas State -- Texas’ drive started at the KSU 38 -- and a touchdown against UCLA when Texas started its drive at the Bruins’ 50.
Now that everybody has their abacus out, let’s take this a step further: Fifty-nine of Texas’ 81 runs of 10 yards or more came on scoring drives. That’s 73 percent. Subtract the six 10-plus yard runs that came at the end of the game and were executed with Texas attempting to run out the clock and 59-of-75 or 79 percent of Texas’ runs of 10 yards or more came during scoring drives.
For those who got bogged down in the math, here is the simple conclusion: Texas scored 79 percent of the time when a drive featured a run of 10 or more yards.
Now onto the passing game.
Texas had 28 passes of 20 or more yards. The Longhorns scored 22 times on drives that featured a pass of 20 or more yards. That means 78.5 percent of the time Texas completes a pass of 20 or more yards said pass will lead to a score of some sort.
And if the quarterback can protect the ball the percentage is even higher. Texas had three drives in which there was a 20-yard-plus pass that ended in an interception.
Last bit of math here, promise.
Texas had 108 explosive offensive plays -- a run for 10 or more yards or a pass of 20 or more. Eighty-one of those plays directly contributed to a Longhorns score.
That means, in the future, if Texas rips off a run for 10 or more or a pass of 20 or more it is highly likely Texas will score on that drive.
So Brown is clearly right, Texas does need explosive plays because those plays directly correlate to points on the board.
Now all the coach and his assistant who was brought in to produce such plays have to figure out is how to get them.