DALLAS, TX– When Texas Longhorns Head Coach Mack Brown was asked about changes to his offense for the upcoming season during Big XII Media Days, he mentioned running the ball more aggressively, avoiding turnovers and joining the growing trend of up tempo offenses. Then he pointed to an interesting example.
The Marshall Thundering Herd.
That’s right. In what is certainly a first, Texas wants to be more like Marshall. More specifically, Brown wants to see his Longhorns put more pressure on defenses by running more plays each game.
“So we want to be in the trend of the up tempo. We had 68 plays per game last year. I think Oregon had maybe 82. Marshall, I think, had in the 90s. So we’d like to have in the 80s, if we could, in number of plays per game,” Brown said.
Mack Brown was close. Marshall actually averaged 90.5 plays per game a season ago and finished the year ranked first in the country in passing offense (365 yards per game), sixth in total offense (534.3 yards per game) and seventh in scoring offense (40.2 points per game). Meanwhile, Texas averaged 68 plays a game and was 41st, 40th and 23rd respectively in those categories a year ago.
I’m not trying to argue that Marshall could beat Texas in a head-to-head matchup, but Brown’s statement demonstrates that Marshall’s offense is once again ahead of the curve. Until last year, Marshall’s offense felt bland and lacked a direction. However, after getting the right players in the right places and getting them some valuable game experience, the system began to work. The Herd put up offensive numbers not seen since Byron Leftwich or Chad Pennington had been under center.
As Mack Brown wants his offense to pick up the pace, the key for The Herd in 2013 might be slowing things down. The Herd often marched down the field like a well oiled machine when in jumping into the “turbo” offense. However, the offense sputtered when the situation called for a long sustained drive to wear down the clock and keep the opposing offense on the sidelines.
If Marshall is able to control the temp of games and speed up the pace then slow it down at will, 2013 could be an extremely successful season for The Herd.
Nonetheless, the fact that one of the best college football programs in the country has taken notice of Marshall accomplished last year and wants to emulate it, shows that The Herd is headed in the right direction.