The only two things that make life worth living…

Texas players before the RS. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Texas players before the RS. (Will Gallagher/IT)

…..according to Waylon are finely tuned guitars and firm feeling women. My opinion has long been football and spring football run a very close second. This Tuesday there should be some major pad popping going on as we usher in another staff to lead us out of this wilderness. My own personal opinion is this staff has talked the talk saying all the right things but it’s time to prove teaching the game is as important as we have heard.

Kids will play the game as instructed. If you teach a particular technique to any position and drill the hell out of it you will see the results first hand. If you leave them to react to a given circumstance on their own you will see a wide variety of reactions without any structure or discipline. Nothing builds confidence like being successful when a finely tuned technique makes a play. Kids respect accountability. Coaches need to spend more time teaching it.

I have five things that lead my pack of desired happenings I want to see this spring. I hope not to judge any of these until the final whistle of the spring game. I feel strongly that you need to give every new staff ample opportunity to install their program. It takes time to undo bad work habits. We always employed the “Ford” rule—fix or repair daily and always found the kids more than receptive to constructive hard work. I will probably add an opinion or three along the way. It’s kinda in my blood.

Despite being a dedicated defensive coach I’m placing an offensive hope as my number one desire to see this spring. We must sign Muhammad (TE and the for-real deal) first and foremost. He is a lead pipe cinch to be the best TE on campus without a doubt. I think it’s imperative that we throw to our TE a ton all spring. Every scrimmage, every practice, and especially the spring game we need to flood the offense with throws targeting the TE. It doesn’t matter that we are barefoot in talent at that position. We must prove to Muhammad that we not only intend to but we will for sure throw to him early and often. He needs to see it. It should also become painfully obvious to him that he will be the man with little competition and that’s a good thing.

In no particular order I have four defensive matters that hold interest for me. I think we must find out if we have at least one nose that can play two gap and hold up against the scoop block and prevent the reach block. We need a nose that can make the offense double him as often as possible. It will be an added plus if our nose can stunt effectively and change direction when we stunt against the flow.

As an aside, it will also be important to find out if Shack/Jake can handle our nose without adjusting our blocking scheme. This should be the heavyweight fight on our card every practice.

I believe we need to see how well we adjust to playing the 4-i with particular interest in how well we play the combo and avoiding the cardinal sin of allowing a reach block to happen on your watch. These guys must find the secret to maintaining outside leverage on the combo. They must also work their way back into outside integrity rush lanes when they don’t have a outside force coming off the edge.

There is a real good reason why coaches have always maintained that God seems to smile on those that have two good four technique tackles. Moving them to an inside shade just makes their job a little less believable, in my humble opinion.

I will pay attention to how well our secondary matches up with the front. Above all else I hope we never witness another group that constantly blows assignments and looks completely lost at the simple concepts thrown at them every single week. It’s one thing to get beat physically despite you being in proper position.

It’s quite another when you bust the assignment and don’t realize that it was your responsibility for that play. Our secondary needs to shed indecision and play with confidence and proper recognition. Kids learn when placed in a good situation and are properly instructed.

I saved the LB’s for last. If they don’t accomplish another thing this spring I hope they learn how to play an inside cut-off block versus an outside cut-off block. Backers must “feel” underneath pressure coming at them and bounce on quick feet to attack the correct shoulder of the blocker while establishing leverage. When you get an outside cut-off release from the OL (OG) you must square him up protecting your outside. He’s not attacking your outside shoulder because the ball is headed inside.

Smart decisions are coachable. It’s the exact opposite with the inside cut-off—bounce inside and cross hats with the blocker.

You have a 4-i anchored in the cutback lane outside of you. Fundamentals till they bleed and then start all over again. Getting into a favorable leverage position becomes automatic if you make their eyeball’s bleed with repetitions and footwork.

Many might say drops are next but with this bunch I think angles need reworking immediately. If we can’t stop the ground game it might not matter if we can drop effectively into pass coverage. I have no problem with working on the coverages but not at the expense of limiting the time teaching the running game.

Teaching the running game techniques is more time consuming and grinding than teaching the pass coverage techniques. I hope it stays that way these next 13 practices.

I know our package will be heavily flavored with stunts and blitzes. That’s fine but at some point you better be prepared to align in base and win the individual battles man on man. I hope we aren’t depending on the DC to make the best call (stunt) in order to stop the opposition.

The second best sport starts Tuesday. Ask Waylon.