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Film room: Texas' 8-play drive slices through the Oklahoma defense to go up 14-0

Joe Cook10/10/22
Article written by:On3 imageJoe Cook

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Xavier Worthy (Will Gallagher/Inside Texas)

After Texas defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat stopped the Oklahoma offense inside the Longhorn 10 late in the first quarter of Saturday’s Red River Shootout, Steve Sarkisian’s offense needed to go 92 yards down the field in order to score.

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This was the Longhorns’ third drive of the game. The first drive ended in a punt, while the second drive ended in a Bijan Robinson touchdown. This drive would eventually end in a touchdown as well, but between the first play and the eighth and final play of the drive, Sarkisian committed what Inside Texas’ Paul Wadlington termed a “schematic murder.”

Every play gained yards. All four of Quinn Ewers‘ pass attempts were completed and each gained at least 10 yards, including the final touchdown toss to Xavier Worthy. Robinson and Roschon Johnson combined to average 4.5 yards per carry on four rushes. Johnson even set up the score, albeit through the air, with a 38-yard reception.

Through motion, RPOs, varying personnel, and more, Sarkisian put on a clinic against Brent Venables’ flawed defense. Did it feel easy? That’s not exactly the term Texas players would use.

“I wouldn’t call it so easy, but that just goes to show you how good our coaches are and how good this team is,” Ewers said Monday. “We take pride in our knowledge of the playbook and knowledges of other defenses. I think that just showed on Saturday.”

It was obvious when Texas marched 92 yards in eight plays, taking 3:03 off the clock.

Play 1 – 1st and 10 – (-8)

utou drive 1
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Personnel: 21
Motion?: No

Was the start perfect? No. Did it still gain three yards? Yes. What appears to be a RPO ends up in a give because of just how far the end man on the line of scrimmage is from the mesh point in the backfield. But the line gets discombobulated when two Sooner defenders shove Kelvin Banks out of the play. Johnson appears to make the right blocking decision, but it’s to little effect because of the two-versus-one situation he’s thrown in. Robinson still makes something out of this play to gain a handful of yards.

Result: Bijan Robinson 3 yard rush.

Play 2 – 2nd and 7 – (-11)

ou drive 2
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Personnel: 12 heavy
Motion?: No

After using 21 personnel on the first down play, Sarkisian sends in Andrej Karic for Johnson to give the Longhorns a heavy-set 12 personnel look. Oklahoma disrupts some of the blocking, but is at a numbers disadvantage since the blitzer sticks with Ewers and takes himself out of the play. Robinson dances behind Christian Jones and falls forward to get close to the line to gain. The Texas O-line isn’t perfect on these plays, but they do enough to give Robinson a chance to run for the first down.

Result: Bijan Robinson 6 yard rush.

Play 3 – 3rd and 1 – (-17)

ou drive 3
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Personnel: 12 heavy
Motion?: Yes

Sarkisian begins to involve motion in the offense after the quarter break, but this play is just a simple case of pushing the line of scrimmage. Even though Cole Hutson doesn’t do much on his block, Jake Majors is able to move that man out of the way. Same with Jones on the right side. Hayden Conner does just enough against his man, but watch what Banks does on this play. He gives an assist to Conner before stalling the Oklahoma linebacker. Johnson runs where Conner and Banks did their job to net the first down and keep the drive going.

Result: Roschon Johnson 7 yard gain.

Play 4 – 1st and 10 – (-24)

ou drive 4
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Personnel: 12 heavy
Motion?: No

Only two receivers run a route on this play action with seven blockers and a check down. One of the routes is run by Jordan Whittington, and it’s one he and Ewers have found success with this year. Worthy clears out the safety with a deep route that runs off screen. Whittington first starts to run a route toward the middle of the field, puts on the brakes, then cuts out. It’s a long-developing route, and Texas’ O-line plus some maneuvering by Ewers gives him a pocket. The throw is a little off target, but Whittington gives a diving effort to haul it in.

Result: Quinn Ewers pass complete to Jordan Whittington for 13 yards.

Play 5 – 1st and 10 – (-37)

ou drive 5
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Personnel: 21
Motion?: Yes

Just filthy, and this is when Paul’s “schematic murder” comment popped up. Sarkisian just makes the Oklahoma defense’s reads illegible. First, Hutson pulls to protect, something Sarkisian uses with regularity. It’s window dressing. He then fakes the screen to Keilan Robinson, the motion man. The linebackers follow the motion and see Ewers swing his hips and follow him. Then, Ewers stays poised despite some pressure he probably never sees to turn and pass quickly to Johnson, who has two lead blockers in front of him. He weaves through defenders to move into Oklahoma territory after 38 yards.

Look at DaShaun White on the chase down. This is the beginning of a tough day that would only get tougher for the OU defense.

Result: Quinn Ewers pass complete to Roschon Johnson for 38 yards.

Play 6 – 1st and 10 – (+25)

ou drive 5
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Personnel: 21
Motion?: Yes

More motion, but Keilan Robinson puts on the brakes and runs upfield. Pretty sure Sarkisian sees this, as we’ll see in the next play. Some apparent miscommunication between Hutson and Majors brings No. 77 into the backfield. He wraps up Bijan Robinson, who fights forward for a couple of yards.

Look at the motion on the very next play, then look and see what happens.

Result: Bijan Robinson 2 yard rush

Play 7 – 2nd and 8 – (+23)

ou play 6
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Personnel: 21
Motion?: Yes

After electing not to cover Keilan Robinson on the play prior, OU does it again. Sarkisian probably tipped Ewers off to watch for it on this play, and Ewers makes the right read on the RPO for the first down and more. The OU defensive backs are out of sorts. They’ll remain that way for one more play.

Result: Quinn Ewers pass complete to Keilan Robinson for 13 yards

Play 8 – 1st and 10 – (+10)

ou drive 8
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Personnel: 21
Motion?: Yes

Just a simple glance RPO. The Oklahoma safety steps down to play the run, vacating exactly where Ewers places the ball for the score. It puts the Longhorns up 14-0, the result of a total dismantling of the Sooner defense by Sarkisian, Ewers, and the rest of the Longhorn offense that would continue throughout the day.

Result: Quinn Ewers pass complete to Xavier Worthy for 10 yards, touchdown