After the success of the Wildcat line-up with Roschon Johnson as the trigger in last year’s victory over the Kansas State Wildcats, Texas Longhorns fans were asking for more. And Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian was even forced to admit it was working as the Longhorns looked for some diversity with Bijan Robinson out with injury and the two quarterbacks bumping into each other.
But feelings about the roster have changed dramatically after they enjoyed little success in last Saturday’s loss to the Texas technology Red Raiders in Lubbock when he drove in just 10 yards on six plays and a failed fourth conversion at a crucial point in the game.
“I didn’t think we were going to get beat up and give up penetration to 4th and 2nd like we did. I have to call a better game, obviously, in this situation,” Sarkisian said on Monday.
Despite failing to convert that fourth down, Sarkisian defended the variety available even though Texas has yet to throw a pass, either this season or last season.
“We have a lot of variety when it comes to Wildcat,” Sarkisian said. “Everyone assumes Wildcat is the same because the running back is at quarterback, but the reality is there are a lot of different formations that we use, a lot of different personnel groups that we use. I think this package has been good for us and will continue to be good for us. I would have loved to make the fourth save they made against us, but other than that it’s been very productive for us in the first four games and we’ll continue to build on that.
To assess the validity of these claims, it’s worth looking at every Wildcat game this season and why they failed or succeeded.
2nd-and-10 at the Texas 44-yard line – IZ reading, possible speed option – Roschon Johnson runs five yards
In 31 staff, Keilan Robinson and Bijan Robinson are lined up next to Johnson in an offensive Go-Go formation and, most likely, an offensive Go-Go play that featured a zone-reading play while the offensive line blocks at inside the zone and then, most likely, a speed option exploded as Alabama edge Will Anderson scrambled Johnson’s read and then nearly tackled him in the backfield to make blow up the field relationship between Johnson and Keilan Robinson. I don’t know why Ja’Tavion Sanders didn’t block the cantilever defender on this play, but maybe that’s why Johnson had to move Anderson instead of making the throw to Robinson.
3rd-and-2 at Alabama 15-yard line – reading IZ zone, pass option possible – Bijan Robinson runs winless
Once again in 31 staff with the tight end lined up at the boundary this time two offensive linemen fell after Johnson was handed over to Bijan Robinson when playing following the defensive lineman of Alabama’s Justin Eboigbe running a smashing line play into a responsible lineman for a looping teammate who made the tackle. On this play, it looks like Keilan Robinson is either serving as primary blocker or passing option for Johnson if he keeps that ball. Like Anderson did in the previous play, he didn’t commit to the line of scrimmage or to Johnson, which made it harder to read.
Alabama Game — Two plays, five yards
2nd and 10 at the UTSA 25-yard line – IZ zone reading, pass option possible – Bijan Robinson gains seven yards
Remaining in 31 staff with this look, the tight end is on the border with running backs in the offset Pistol I formation. It’s the same play as the previous call against Alabama, just starting at ‘ a different formation, and it resulted in a solid gain as Robinson succeeded by bouncing the ball off the left edge when his aiming spot became cluttered.
3rd and 3 at the UTSA 18-yard line – QB sweep – Rochon Johnson gains 16 yards
Sticking to 31, the tight end and running backs are all on the field as Sarkisian dialed in off-plate play, using both running backs as header blockers for Johnson on the sweep. Sanders and both running backs made good blocks on the play and Johnson pushed a defender to put the Longhorns close to the goal line.
1st and goal on the UTSA 2-yard line – IZ slice reading – Roschon Johnson runs to drop a yard
On 21 staff this time with two wide receivers and the quarterback in the field, as well as the tight end, Johnson is in the backfield with Bijan Robinson. But the game exploded when right tackle Christian Jones was kicked off the line of scrimmage and Sanders used poor technique against the reading defender by hitting the defender with his shoulder instead of his hands. With the line of scrimmage moved to that side, Johnson had nowhere to go and the Reading defender played behind the line of scrimmage, which should never happen on this call.
2nd and 7 at the Texas 23-yard line – Pin and pull read – Bijan Robinson runs for a 77-yard touchdown
In 21 staff, Sanders is lined up as a borderline H-back with both wide receivers and the quarterback on the field. Johnson read the fullback as Sanders and right guard Cole Hutson both headed for the play side. Both players made solid blocks and Robinson exploded through the line of scrimmage with nothing but fluff. grass in front of him. With UTSA playing so many players near the line of scrimmage, it’s the type of massively explosive run that can happen from the Wildcat if Johnson or Robinson finds a crease.
UTSA game — Four plays, 99 yards, one touchdown
2nd and 10 on the Texas Tech 17-yard line – QB power reading – Roschon Johnson runs for a yard
In 21 staff, the wide receivers and near end are lined up on the field with Bijan Robinson to Johnson’s right. This game went awry from the start when left guard Hayden Conner was trampled by left tackle Kelvin Banks as he started to shoot – there was no real chance of success after that point, especially when Johnson received a tough read from the edge of Texas Tech Tyree Wilson.
3rd-and-1 at the Texas 38-yard line – IZ bracket reading – Roschon Johnson runs winless
A truly giant line-up here – 23 staff with tight end Gunnar Helm on the move and Sanders lined up on the pitch alongside backup tackle Andrej Karic playing tight end. Sanders immediately blew himself up on this play, which prevented Helm from being able to get to his block. And Karic didn’t leave his combo block fast enough, allowing the linebacker an easy shot on Johnson, who was hampered because the defender who beat Sanders tackled Bijan Robinson. Johnson did well to pick up a few inches on this play after giving up the initial tackle attempt, but couldn’t pick up the first down.
4th-and-1 at Texas 38-yard line – QB power reading – Roschon Johson gains two yards
The fullback in this game lost the line of scrimmage, but that didn’t matter as Hutson made a good block to give Johnson enough room to pick up the first down. If Helm can do his block effectively and Conner can get to the second level, it could have turned into a big play, but Karic was pushed back into Helm, slowing him down and causing him to miss his block. And Conner got stuck in traffic trying to get out of his combo block and couldn’t get to linebacker.
4th and 2nd on the Texas Tech 22-yard line – IZ slice reading – Roschon Johnson runs winless
Let’s start with this image. A good way to tell that a game hasn’t gone well is if only two players are still standing when it ends.
The two major issues here as Texas run from the 32-staff pack again with Helm moving through formation for his block – Hutson badly missed his block as the defender bowed to his face and Sanders didn’t come out of the combo block for account for the defender in the hole, an extremely important block.
And then there was also the fact that everyone eventually fell.
1st and 10 on the Texas 35-yard line – IZ read with passing options – Bijan Robinson gains five yards
Back in the 31 Go-Go formation with the tight end on the field and the running backs on the border, Johnson passed the baton to Robinson, who ran through a tackle and made a nice win. What stands out from this play is that Johnson appeared to have three passing options if he keeps that ball – wide receiver Jordan Whittington on a tee route, Keilan Robinson on a wheelie route and Sanders in the flat. The passing aspect of this game represents a key constraint for a defense that wants to engage all of its defenders in the box.
2nd and 5 at the Texas 40-yard line – IZ read with passing options – Bijan Robinson runs two yards
Texas returns to the same formation and runs the same play with Johnson again passing to Bijan Robinson. But Robinson didn’t have much wiggle room because Jones never got out of his combo block, allowing the playside linebacker to make the save. Texas Tech also provided safety to come out of the back, limiting the success of this play if Robinson received the transfer.
But it also represented one of the game’s biggest missed chances as Whittington and Robinson weren’t defended at all.
If Johnson fired that ball and found either, it’s probably a touchdown with the safety in the left corner of this screenshot, Texas Tech’s deepest defender.
Texas Tech Game — Six plays for 10 yards
Texas has used Wildcat formations on 12 plays so far, yielding 114 yards and a touchdown, but 77 of those yards have come on Bijan Robinson’s touchdown run. And although the Longhorns have a 41.7% success rate with these plays – defined as winning “50% of the yardage needed on the first down, 70% on the second down and 100% on the third and fourth downs” – the rate of non-UTSA pass rate is 25 percent. Even in short distance, the training only has a success rate of 33.3%.
Offensive Go-Go plays outside of short range had some success, producing the touchdown run and 16-yard run against UTSA, but all 32 personal plays didn’t work in short range against Texas Tech due to poor execution and lack of constraint games.
Where are the throwing sweeps or moving players to keep defenders honest? In the Arkansas iteration of the Wildcat, as well as how the Miami Dolphins used, jet sweeping was crucial in allowing room for QB power to work.
And Johnson’s lack of pitching this year or last year of the roster is notable, especially when Texas Tech ignored Whittington and Robinson on both plays during the crucial drive that resulted in a punt with the game. tied at 31-31 more than half. until the fourth trimester. Not pitching on the first play is understandable, but even if Johnson doesn’t get the ideal read on the second play, he should shoot it and at least try to pitch it because the potential for a big play is so huge. For the formation to work, it’s something the Longhorns have to try.
Until Texas can execute better along the offensive and tight-end line, Sarkisian should reconsider the 32-person package at close range, but the Go-Go seems, especially with the passing game attached, seems promising and will require defenses to pay attention to players. the running courses or will remain big play opportunities if Johnson finally gets the chance to kick the ball.