Football

Remembering the greatness of the retiring Jamaal Charles

Longhorn legend Jamaal Charles is signing a one-day contract with the Kansas City Chiefs today so he can retire as a part of their franchise.

Our own @rodofdisaster recently noted how special this guy was and how unbelievable it is to look back on his highlights runs. I thought it would be fun to GIF a few of his TD runs in the 2007 Oklahoma State game, in which the Longhorns came back from being down 35-14 on the road to pull out a win.

Here was the first, with the Cowboys already up to a 21-0 lead:

Zone-read from a double TE formation. The read DE can’t recover to Charles after briefly showing a hard edge to Colt McCoy and then the middle linebacker, who isn’t blocked, can’t get back over into the cutback lane in time to get Charles. The safety drops down and just gets embarrassed.

After a PA toss over the middle to Jermichael Finley, Texas endured a scoring drought that resulted in being down 35-14 into the fourth quarter. Charles TD run No. 2 came with 11:44 left in the fourth quarter and was an unbelievable run that Chris Hall would talk about years later.

The right guard pulled to the left and nearly blew up the play by getting in the way of the left guard and left tackle who were pulling around on GT counter. Fortunately the TE cleaned up any problems that could have ensued and the tackle made contact on a defender so Charles was able to just blow by everyone for a score. Only thing I’ve seen like it since was unfortunately that Kyler Murray long TD run where both of his guards pulled on the same play (GT counter) and he just ran around the chaos.

On their next drive, Texas started on their own one yard line. They managed to make some headway to about the 25 and then ran another GT counter play for Charles and…

…the hesitation that play was causing for the OSU linebackers and safeties was plainly just too much. They couldn’t arrive in time to handle Charles if he had any space at all to accelerate into. He was just running by people.

The next drive started Texas out deep in their own territory again but they picked up about 10 yards on a Colt scramble, another 10 on yet another GT counter for Charles, and then about 55 on a fade to Jordan Shipley. McGee finished the drive from the jumbo set and it was 35-all.

Oklahoma State went down the field next but missed a 32-yard field goal. Colt pretty much took over from there with some scrambles and throws. The game winner was this third and 11 scramble that serves both as a “oh yeah, Colt was pretty quick” reminder as well as another example of how badly OSU misplayed this game.

Notably, the week before included Jamaal Charles running for something like 400 yards in the fourth quarter to lead Texas to a comeback win at home against Nebraska. The breakthrough occurred in the fourth after Colt went to the sideline when the Huskers took him to the turf.

John Chiles came in and ran a midline zone-read play leaving a DT unblocked that caused some confusion for the Husker LBs and freed up a solid Charles run. Then Colt came back and ran the play, keeping it for a big run:

From that point on, Nebraska’s run blitzes which had confounded Texas all day were ruined by the change-up in assignments. The very next play Charles was loosed for a big run and the race was on.

The dude only ever needed a sliver of space and he was gone. He finished the year with 258 carries for 1619 yards at 6.3 ypc with 18 TDs. Then he went to the NFL combine and the 10.13 100m track speed he’d had in HS had stuck and allowed him to run a 4.38 40 at 5’11” 200 pounds.

From 2009 to 2014 he had five healthy seasons out of six and ran for over 1k yards in all of them, always averaging at least 5.0 ypc. With respect to D’Onta Foreman, who was special in his own right, Texas hasn’t had anyone like Charles since.

History major, football theorist.