TCU has struggled to defend the zone ground game
Continuing the theme of talking about the matchup in the trenches between Texas and TCU this weekend, it will be important for the Longhorns to establish the zone ground game early. Getting Ewers back in a rhythm and setting the tone on the ground game can help Texas establish itself on offense and get an early lead against the Horned Frogs.
Texas should come out attacking the overmatched TCU defensive line that has struggled mightily in defending the zone ground game in Big 12 play this season. TCU has allowed more yards per carry against the zone ground game in conference play than any other team in the Big 12 at a clip of nearly eight yards per attempt.
One of the ways you can attack the 3-3-5 flyover defensive scheme that TCU deploys is to get offensive linemen blocking the second level of the defense to seal off running lanes for the backs. Give the ball to Brooks and Baxter against TCU, let them wear down a thin defensive line, and quiet the crowd in Fort Worth.
Kansas State and Texas Tech successfully ran the ball right at TCU’s defensive line in the last two weeks. Those two teams rushed for an average of 245 yards in two losses for the Horned Frogs. Texas can employ a similar strategy of attacking the biggest weakness on the TCU defense, the D-Line.
I expect big games from Brooks and Baxter, who combined to rush for over 225 yards in the overtime win over Kansas State last week. Brooks, specifically, is gashing opposing defenses in the zone ground game this season. He ranks third in the Big 12 in zone rushing yards (387), second in broken tackle rate (31 percent), and second in yards per carry (5.9).
As Texas’ interior offensive line has gotten healthier since senior center Jake Majors returned for the Houston game in Week 8, they’ve run the ball much better up the middle. And it’s always a favorite play of Sark’s to run off-tackle in the zone ground game behind Jones and sophomore left tackle Kelvin Banks Jr., who do a great job sealing the edge.