During the first half of last night’s Alamo Bowl game featuring the Texas Longhorns and the Oregon State Beavers, Texas fans were already worried about Major Applewhite in his new position as the Horn’s offensive play caller .
As any football fan knows, common sense is not something that is easy to come by when fans are watching their teams play, so most Texas fans likely didn’t stop to remind themselves that Major has had exactly two weeks of bowl practices in his new position, so it wouldn’t be fair to judge his future after one game.
That said, the Longhorns’ offense was absolutely terrible in the first half of the game, so the blame, unfairly or not, was placed on the new offensive play caller.
However, what Texas fans saw from Applewhite in the second half should give them hope for next season. He proved last night that he is able to make the necessary adjustments to put his offense in position to win.
In the third quarter, the stagnant Texas offense came to life. Instead of forcing the run game, which clearly wasn’t there, Major opened up the playbook, spread the field, and let David Ash, who had been completely ineffective, make plays with his legs. The Horns reverted back to their old, no-huddle, hurry up offense that they had recently abandoned, and what a difference it made.
Two years ago, Mack Brown made the decision to move towards a power run game, despite the fact that they Longhorns had been one of the most powerful offenses in the country while running the spread in recent years. Since making the change, the Longhorns have been in a desperate search for an offensive identity, struggling at times to move the ball.
But last night, when the coaches made their offensive adjustments, everything simply began to click. The no huddle, hurry-up tempo had the Beavers on their toes late in the game. Major called plays that allowed Ash to move the chains using his legs and spread the ball around to his many offensive weapons. In this style of offense, the team flourished. Ash, who is a solid threat to run the ball, finally looked comfortable, which is key for the Longhorns going forward.
So, does this mark the end of the Longhorns’ two-year search for an offensive identity? Will they finally go back to the up-tempo, spread offense that worked so well for them in the past?
If you believe Major’s post-game comments, that certainly appears to be the plan.
It may have been just one half of football, but after the game, Applewhite told the media that “life’s too short to huddle up.” For Texas fans, who have been pleading for the team to go back to the spread for the last two seasons, that has to be music to their ears.