Texas’ interior offensive line isn’t physical enough in the red area
A big issue for the Longhorns throughout Big 12 play is the inability of the interior offensive line to move defensive linemen off the ball in short-yardage, and goal line plays. Texas has shown some physicality from the offensive line blocking for the run this season. But the level of physicality needed for Texas to move the ball effectively in the zone ground game isn’t showing up from everyone in this starting group this season.
Senior center Jake Majors is still dealing with the lingering ankle injury he originally suffered against the Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Rivalry game on Oct. 7, which could be impacting the interior offensive line’s ability to move opponents off the ball recently. But we also haven’t seen the ability of junior guard Hayden Conner to win consistently win his blocking assignments when it matters most in the red area and in short-yardage plays.
The red zone issues can also be partly blamed on Texas’ inability to move opposing defensive linemen off the ball in the tighter areas of the field.
A good example of Texas’ inability to move opponents off the ball and create running lanes for the backs is yards before contact in the red zone. Texas has averaged just 0.3 yards before contact per attempt on run plays in the red zone in conference play. That ranks third from the bottom in the Big 12 this season.
Texas has also struggled to block for sophomore running back Savion Red when the Longhorns utilize the “Redcat” package in short-yardage and fourth-down situations. Texas has gone 0-for-2 on money-down rushing attempts while averaging -3.5 yards per carry, with Red running the ball out of the “Redcat” package in the last two games.
There was a blown block along the interior offensive line, causing Red to get brought down short of the line to gain when Texas tried to run him on a fourth-down play in the second half against TCU this weekend.