Monday, October 23, 2017

Until Chris Warren starts getting 25+ carries per game, the Longhorns aren't serious....

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,"
Isaiah 1:18 (a)

It began during the K-State game, when a friend sent the following message:
Why doesn’t Warren get 25-30 carries a game? That size punishes a defense.
Because we were coming off a win, we didn't originally give it a lot of thought.  But following two more losses, the question does beg to be asked: Why isn't Chris Warren getting 25-30 carries per game?!?  That size does punish a defense.

Horns 24/7 on Saturday's Oklahoma State game:
The Longhorns squandered what Herman called a “monumental effort by our defense” due to the offense tallying only 283 total yards through four regulation quarters and an overtime period. Texas averaged only 4.1 yards per play, was doubled-up in first downs compared to the Cowboys (26-13), averaged just 1.3 yards per rush as a team (33 carries, 42 net yards), and moved the sticks on third down at a 3-for-17 clip.
That's pretty brutal; it's made all the more brutal by the fact that the offense performed that abysmally while Warren only got 12 carries.

When we originally planned this post, we were going to write about how the coaching staff's lack of confidence in the running game was making Sam Ehlinger very predictable.  But now Ehlinger has a concussion and is out indefinitely.  Unfortunately, Ehlinger's concussion is a the predictable consequence of the coaching staff's refusal to give Warren the ball more often.

Observe Warren's workload so far this season:

He hasn't had more than 16 carries in a game.

It doesn't take a genius to see how this works: Warren gets a bunch more carries between the tackles.  The defenses respond by loading up the middle.  This creates room on the outside for Colin Johnson, Jerrod Heard, Dorian Leonard, Armanti Foreman, Reggie Hemphill-Mapps (assuming he's healthy) and John Burt to bust big plays.

But until the offense establishes an interior running game, those receivers will consistently receive double coverage.

The biggest shame is that the defense is starting to emerge as a genuinely elite unit.  Holding an Oklahoma State offense led by a genuine Heisman contender at Quarterback to 10 points is an impressive accomplishment.  But it'll all remain for naught until the offense gets in gear.

And the obvious step 1 for getting the offense in gear is a power running game, for which Chris Warren is the obvious candidate to lead.

Bottom Line: Tom Herman says he has confidence in the offensive coaching staff, but if they can't figure out that 6-4, 250 lbs, running backs wear out defenses then they deserve to be fired.

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