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UTEP Film Review


Ryan Bridges
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The plan is to toss up some highlights, then post cool stuff as I see it.

 

OFFENSE

 

There really isn't much interesting stuff in the offensive highlights from an Xs and Os point of view, but the touchdowns are worth watching again.

 

The Time Warrick Kept the Ball

 

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This isn't the only time you'll see this play, against this defense, lead to a touchdown. UTEP sold out to stop the run, even trying to play man coverage, and Sterlin Gilbert really didn't bother trying to make them pay for it much except in the red zone. They're in Cover 0 here, rushing five and letting the inside linebackers sit to take away the quick game to the slots. This throw isn't supposed to be as easy as Shane Buechele makes it look. The DB did a good job avoiding the rub but wasn't able to close the distance with Jacorey Warrick to even have a chance to make a play on the ball.

 

Collin With the Assist

 

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Same play, same coverage, same result. This time the DB (a different one from before) jumps the bubble route, but watch how Collin Johnson adjusts his route to make the defender run just a little bit farther to get back to Jerrod Heard. Look at the bottom if you want to see Devin Duvernay and Lil'Jordan Humphrey run the same concept.

 

Heard Is Good

 

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We all knew he could run, but I did not expect Heard to be making contested catches like this so quickly. I drew this up like Cover 1 because it's a more accurate depiction of how the play works out, but UTEP is running a zone blitz. You may notice the defenders on the UTEP sideline didn't run it nearly as well as the ones on Heard's side —  if Jake Oliver has an eight-yard lead on the nearest defender, someone either screwed up or fell down.

 

The blitz pickup by Chris Warren is noteworthy. He plays it inside-out and buys Buechele time to make this throw. The ball is actually underthrown, and even though the DB is beat, he plays it about as well as the UTEP coaches could have hoped. He gets a hand in the pocket and even pulls Heard's right arm down, but Heard already has the ball safely tucked away.

 

The Time Warrick Left the Ball

 

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Texas has UTEP outleveraged, and the corner is playing soft. Everyone is way too slow to react, especially the safety. Add this play and John Burt's drop against Notre Dame and Buechele would have 8 TDs to 1 INT.

 

Leonard Can Catch?

 

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UTEP rushes three and tries to man up Dorian Leonard to the boundary, but this poor guy in coverage had no chance. Again, not a whole lot to analyze. Texas is running 4 Verticals, and there are more open receivers than covered ones. In the close-up you can see why Leonard maybe has had trouble hanging onto the football in the past:

 

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Instead of letting it drop into his hands, he basically claps his hands around the ball as its falling in front of him.

 

Porter Finds Space

 

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There weren't really any highlights in the run game for Texas, but I was very interested to see if Kyle Porter will be capable of coming close to replicating D'Onta Foreman (and if Warren was going to continue to look sluggish). There was very little space for Porter to run, but he did find some on this outside zone run —  something Texas didn't run last week. There's some nice burst there, but overall it was a forgettable debut for Porter. Add in Kirk Johnson's persistent injuries, and I'm not sold on the backfield being as dangerous and deep as we've been led to believe. 

 

DEFENSE

 

I’ll start with the positives and then very quickly move to negatives. This is how we learn.

 

At Least Two Guys Understand Screens

 

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Screens were a big problem against Notre Dame, but recognition was better this week. Bryce Cottrell, who was absent against Notre Dame, sniffed this one out. He didn’t make the tackle, but he got the ballcarrier going sideways, where Malik Jefferson was waiting. Anthony Wheeler is still late to read and react.

 

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DeShon Elliott gets the credit on the stat sheet, but he wouldn’t have had the chance without Naashon Hughes grabbing the intended receiver of the screen. (Yes, that’s defensive holding. It seems like it’s only called maybe half the time.) Notre Dame’s screen game was much better than UTEP's, but it’s still encouraging.

 

Omenihu Brings Aggy Tears

 

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He’s not there yet, but these sorts of displays of power and flexibility are why Strong recruited Charles Omenihu. He’s fun to watch.

 

Two Levels of Good, One Level of Bad

 

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On the one hand, Omenihu gets after the quarterback and Davante Davis makes a heads-up play and rips the ball out. On the other hand, an old problem rears its head: A linebacker — Malik, in this case — gets sucked in by the seductive power of a shallow cross on 3rd & long, and a receiver comes open behind him, past the sticks. The linebackers will need to be better at this next week.

 

Zone Bluff

 

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This play gave the defense some trouble. First, Breckyn Hager does what Breckyn Hager does, which is hit whatever’s in front of him. The problem is that he’s responsible for contain, so once he comes crashing down, the ball can bounce outside of him and the deep safety is the only player who can do anything about it. Wheeler seems to have his eyes in the backfield and overruns the play. If you look at it, Texas basically ends up with four defenders (Hager, Omenihu, Malik and Wheeler) attacking two gaps. In the next clip, you’ll see Hughes play it correctly, but Tim Cole makes the same mistake that Wheeler does here.

 

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Same exact play, except this time Hughes forces the handoff. Cole overruns the play, and the result is similar to what may have happened had the QB handed off in the previous example. The back is able to bang it into the open hole and score after the deep safety, Elliott, takes a poor angle. In his defense, the ball never should have reached that point. Speaking of safeties taking poor angles…

 

Vaccarooo

 

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I don’t want to make too much of this play because UTEP shifted before the snap and there was obvious confusion in the defense, which is why the two tight ends were fighting each other to block one guy. That said, there is an enormous hole right in front of Kevin Vaccaro and he’s oblivious. Would Dylan Haines make this play? 

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Ryan,

 

Excellent stuff.

 

Question, I noticed we did it and UTEP did it, when they went trips one way, we often lined up with 2 DBs vs 3 WRs. . . .what is the logic to that?

It appeared to me that we were more concerned with the RB than the trips receivers. Looked like we had a HB playing the LOS and Pass.
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Question, I noticed we did it and UTEP did it, when they went trips one way, we often lined up with 2 DBs vs 3 WRs.  . . .what is the logic to that?

 

I was asking myself the same thing. There were definitely a couple of times where they could have been burned, but I guess they didn't take the screen seriously (for good reason). Most of the time they had the safety (harder to block than a corner) in press, so if UTEP had thrown the bubble screen, the corner could fly up and force the ball back inside. The safety would be in the next gap, so the receiver would end up cutting back to the linebacker, who was typically in an "apex" position (splitting the difference between the near offensive tackle and the bunch set).

 

It makes some sense when those DBs you're tasking with holding the edge are 6'3" 216 and 6'2" 197. 

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Sorry I'm just now updating this, guys. It's been a busy week. I'll have a few things on Chris Warren, Kyle Porter and Malcolm Roach and then I'm turning my focus to Cal.

 

But first, here are two throws by Buechele that stuck out to me.

 

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Buechele is pretty late to pull the trigger on the first one, but the ball placement is outstanding. Watching live, it was the second play that stood out to me. The catch is awesome, but look where Collin is when Buechele releases it. I want to believe they have McCoy-Shipley chemistry, but more likely Buechele is so accustomed to making this throw now that he can do it on time in his sleep. The second play is an RPO.

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I'd give Warren's reps to Porter starting this weekend, and try to avoid zone plays when Warren is in there.

 

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The right side of the line gets movement but Warren starts running sideways. Based on this angle, one could argue that Warren had to bow out to avoid #63, but consider that (1) #63 never reached an arm out, which I take as a sign that he wasn't that close, and (2) Warren is 250 damn pounds. Stiff-arm that guy or swat his hand away and get downhill.

 

It'd be easy to keep posting clips of Warren dancing in the backfield or stopping his feet, but I'll post this comparison with Porter and move on to talking about the freshman.

 

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The plays are similar, and the blocking for Warren is better, but Porter gets to the line of scrimmage a full 0.25 faster —  and with significantly more momentum —  than Warren.

 

Here's Porter getting the handoff on power, an easier play for the back to read (and a play I'd much rather see Warren running than any zone scheme).

 

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He looks like he's right about at full speed within three steps of getting the handoff and is decisive to the hole. Porter actually missed out on a huge run —  potentially a touchdown —  on power earlier in the game because Patrick Vahe whiffed on his block.

 

Finally, even if you think Warren could make a run like this —  and I don't, though he might get the same type of yardage simply because he's 250 damn pounds —  it's worth the time watching Porter work.

 

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Roach is on the field with Cole (SR), A. Davis (JR), Freeman (JR), D. Elliott (SO), Boyd (SO) and five true freshmen, and he's the first player to recognize screen.

 

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Combine that with his recognition of the crossing concept (twice) that led to the big hit, and you're seeing a level of awareness that Texas' defense is lacking —  and that freshmen, especially 3*s, aren't expected to have.

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  • 2021 Texas Football Schedule

    Week
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