Actually the white team won, which included the no. 1 defense, which is the reason they won. For the defense to perform like this was probably the most encouraging thing that could have happened. You're nuts if you're worried about this offense after they struggled in a exhibition/scrimmage setting playing against a 30 mph wind. Oklahoma looked similarly shaky a year ago in a similar setting and then had the most explosive offense in college football history.
Tom Herman’s spring games at Texas have followed a particular trend over the last two years. They are vanilla, don’t include much of the run game, and tend to consist of the various teams throwing the ball against each other in the base offensive concepts. Of course Texas is a run-centric team heading into 2019 with a pair of young RBs getting all the attention, but Herman’s goal for the spring game clearly isn’t geared around trying to beat Texas or encouraging a physical fight that only has downsides.
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell has a nice slogan for the process his teams use to develop their identity for the coming season. He picked it up from his early days at Mount Union under Larry Kehres, who built the Purple Raiders into a program that won 11 DIII national championships over 26 seasons before handing it off to his son Vince who’s gone 84-5 while adding two more championship banners.
It’s only spring football, a time for tinkering and working out who the star talents are and how to maximize their abilities. So any tinkering with something as important as the defensive front has to be taken with a grain of salt. I’ve seen numerous programs over the years quietly or boldly announce some changes to the way they play their front. At times they’ve made real changes and at other times they defaulted to their previous base schemes.
At the last player availability, Sam Ehlinger was asked how Texas can become more explosive in 2019 after failing to produce a single play of 50 yards or more in 2018. The lack of explosiveness to the Texas offense was a major theme to the season, particularly early in the year when it seemed liable to crush the team’s hopes of playing effective enough offense to compete in the Big 12.
Spring on offense is pretty similar to defense. You want to find out who “the guys” are and then build around them while carving out the supporting roles in the fall. However, offense is a much more skill intensive unit, so the timelines on various players can be longer. The development of an identity on offense tends to start earlier than on defense, particularly for the 2019 Longhorn offense. Several important foundation pieces are already set such as the team’s QB. Plus, they aren’t replacing nearly as many important cogs as the defense.
Teams normally build their identity in the fall, and find their cornerstones in the spring. Last spring is when Todd Orlando determined that Brandon Jones was going to be a key piece of the puzzle in 2018 and what exactly he was going to offer (superior tackling and run support). They also established that Lil’Jordan Humphrey was one of the best players on the team and spent the fall figuring out how to maximize his abilities.
Linebacker has been a real challenge for Todd Orlando since coming to Texas and the Big 12 in 2017. While the American Athletic Conference is heavy on spread concepts, it doesn’t attack linebackers in coverage like the Big 12 does. In fact, no other conference attacks linebackers in coverage like the Big 12 does. Orlando’s concessions to the demands of defending the spread were actually a step behind where they needed to be in order to battle the Air Raid gurus in his new conference.