To Air Is Davis

Are Texas’ offensive struggles a

byproduct of a conservative game plan? Even coordinator Greg Davis

is popping the question.
The Longhorns have fallen behind

against four of their first five opponents and, now, Davis concedes

that a conservative scheme may be one of the culprits.

“We’ve played much better in the

second half than we have in the first half of our ball games,”

Davis said. “Is that because we’ve been conservative?”

It was intended as a rhetorical

question but, upon further review, Davis has apparently arrived at

the same verdict as have countless Longhorn fans: his scheme should

have been more aggressive.

“We’ve not cut it loose as much as

we should have,” Davis said. “At the same time, early in the

game, penalties have thrown us off-schedule. We haven’t had as many

(offensive) penalties in the second half as we’ve had early in the


Texas opened with three straight passes

and three straight first downs against UCLA, Davis noted. But,

generally, the opening series is generally intended to get QB Garrett

Gilbert into a rhythm while guarding against turnovers, Davis added. Fans bemoaned the “side-to-side” passing attack following the

home loss to UCLA (Davis said it was intended to fatigue and

spread-out the Bruin defense). Texas’ first two attempts against

OU were lateral passes and rarely tested the deep middle throughout

the afternoon.

“I don’t think we have been

ultra-conservative,” Davis said, “but there are some

opportunities to get the ball down field that we have not done early

in the ball game. Even if you don’t hit those balls, it sends a

message about vertical throws that may open up something underneath

as you go along.”

Overall, receivers have done a poor job

of getting separation against press coverage and (by my count)

dropped 14 passes in the last three games. Yet, a more aggressive

game plan may only stem from coaches gaining more trust in first-year

starting QB Garrett Gilbert (note: Former Texas QB Colt McCoy

operated with no more than 25 percent of the play book during his

initial campaign, coaches said previously).

“Until the trust between Garrett and

Greg gets there, it’s harder to call plays,” coach Mack Brown

said. “Greg has got to find out what Garrett can do and he’s got

to make sure he can do it under pressure.”

Gilbert diplomatically avoided any

criticism of his boss’ scheme.

“Whatever it is we need to do,” he

said. “we need to start faster. We put our defense in a bad