UTSA’s improved rushing attack

Coming in to the 2012 season, it was no secret that UTSA’s number one offensive goal for the season was to run the ball more efficiently. We’re one game through the sophomore season and it looks like the Roadrunners have already made serious progress towards that goal. In 2011, the Roadrunners were only able to average over 4.5 yards per carry against a Division I opponent once, with their best statistical performance coming against Southern Alabama (176 net rushing yards, 4.6 average). UTSA rushed for 183 yards on Saturday, while averaging a very respectable 5.9 yards per carry.

New offensive coordinator Kevin Brown utilized many different looks to achieve these numbers. Soza lead many option plays with Okotcha, Armstrong, and Glasco all taking snaps at his side. Walk-on brothers Aaron and Seth Grubb were both used from wide out– Aaron on a jet sweep and Seth on a four wide reverse. David “El Magnifico” Glasco was the day’s leading rusher, seeing 70 yards on just nine carries (7.8). While Okotcha’s and Armstrong’s stats were mediocre, they did a great job of taking more than simply what the defense gave them with hard running and wise cuts. Similar to last season, UTSA was extremely efficient rushing from the wide receiver position. The Grubb bros combined for 34 yards on two carries, and Kam Jones brought in 15 yards on his sole carry.

Let’s break down the day’s biggest carry to see where UTSA found success:

All screenshots via ESPN3

Following a William Ritter fumble recovery of a botched snap to C.J. Bennett and an ill-advised pass attempt to a covered Brandon Freeman, the Roadrunners come out of the huddle with split backs out of a spread shotgun look– Okotcha acts as the halfback, making the Runners strong on the left side, while Glasco becomes the tailback on the backside.

As Soza reads the defense before the snap, we see the Jaguars run up in their typical 3-3-5 look with the free safety shaded to the strong left side where UTSA has two receivers and a blocking threat in Okotcha. The defensive line looks normal –7 and 1 techniques– with the weak side linebacker shaded out and up a little bit more than usual.

As Soza receives the snap from Leonard, the defensive line attempts to fire up the field while all three linebackers begin to read their keys. Slot receiver Kam Jones looks in for a screen, causing South’s nickleback to sprint up to cover him. If Kevin Brown is as good of an OC as I think he is, Jones should be a legit option for a screen pass if South Alabama threatens with a blitz here. Fortunately for Glasco, they do not. Hoog seals off the strongside end with a perfect hook block. Leonard and Harris combo block the noseguard while Walker leaves the weakside end for Soza to read off of. Okotcha releases in front of Soza and Glasco to take out the weakside linebacker. No decoy or fake necessary. Thankfully Hoog has blocked off the strongside end so well that Soza has two good options on the play (again, three being a screen to Kam if Brown is smart).

Here’s where the Roadrunner’s luck on the play begins to turn. Both the middle linebacker and weak side linebacker play up to the line of scrimmage after seeing the end left open. At this point in the play, Glasco already has the ball and a half yard of separation from Soza, yet the two Jaguar defenders are looking and standing elsewhere. Afraid of the play action threat, the Jaguar secondary is slow to react.

Oh baby. South Alabama’s defense has totally taken themselves out of this play to the point where poor Cody Harris doesn’t even have anyone to hit, nor does Josh Walker have anyone to kick out on. Leonard manages to pancake the noseguard after receiving an assist from Harris. Soza does a great job of faking a keep, which leads to the linebackers biting away from the ball. Hoog has his defensive end three steps away from Glasco and Inskeep makes sure to seal off the strongside backer on his right shoulder, ensuring he won’t be able to sneak by to blow the play up. Weakside end Romelle Jones tries to chase after David, but 275 pound guys aren’t very good at that.

And with that, it’s off to the races. USA’s free safety takes a horrible, lazy angle on Glasco, who wisely cuts away. The Jaguars will finally catch up to El Magnifico 51 yards later.

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About jared

A UTSA alumnus that has been cast away to Austin, Jared enjoys live music and a craft beer. He thinks four verts is the best play in football but loves a QB sneak on fourth and inches. Twitter