When it was announced two years ago that former Boise State offensive coordinator, Bryan Harsin, known for his offensive creativity, would be heading to the 40 Acres, Texas Longhorn fans were ecstatic.
The problem was that Harsin’s arrival came at a time that Texas was struggling to find a new offensive identity, being forced to rely on true sophomore and true freshman quarterbacks to get the job done.
As a result, Harsin’s first season at Texas wasn’t as offensively sound as many would have hoped. In fact, there were times that it was downright abysmal.
Garrett Gilbert, starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, was benched in favor of sophomore, Case McCoy, who was eventually benched in favor of true freshman, David Ash.
Though Ash, who did not receive many repetitions until after the season had actually started, was thrown into the fire, he showed some slight signs of promise in the Longhorns’ Holiday Bowl win over the University of California.
From all reports, Ash, who is expected to be the No. 1 guys heading into the fall, had a solid spring and is looking solid in summer workouts. The good news for Ash and Harsin alike is, however, that they don’t need Ash to be an All-American this season; they simply need for him to get the ball into the hands of his many playmakers.
One of the biggest playmakers and the most dangerous home run threat on the Longhorns’ offense is senior running back, D.J. Monroe. Despite his unbelievable career all-purpose yards average of 12.8 ypp, Texas fans have been left wondering why he hasn’t received more carries over the course of his career.
This year, with freshmen Johnathan Gray, who was recently named the Gatorade National Player of the Year, and Daje Johnson joining Monroe as similar type role players, Harsin and Mack Brown are hoping to change all of that.
Heading into the fall, the Longhorns are hoping to use a hybrid-type position in their offense, or the hybrid T-Z position (the T is for the tailback position; the Z is for the wide receiver position).
Mack Brown knows how dangerous these three guys can be. He and Harsin are working on several packages for D.J. Monroe, and hope to get Johnson and Gray on the field as soon as possible to help create more explosive plays out of the T-Z position.
Last year, 59 of the Longhorns 61 touchdowns came as the direct result of an explosive play (whether during the drive or at the end of it), so it’s clear why Texas hopes to generate more of them.
This year, the Horns’ offensive line, young wide receiving corps, and true sophomore quarterback will be more experienced, which should help create more opportunities for Texas to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers.
The Texas Longhorns certainly have the weapons. They have the offensive mastermind in Harsin. Now, they just need to get it done on the field.