Longhorns not ready to commit to up-tempo offense

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While the power run-game hasn’t worked for the Longhorns this season, an up-tempo offense, led by sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoops, helped them get back in the game against Oklahoma.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Through its first six games, Texas has had trouble establishing a consistent offensive identity. 

At times, it has excelled with moving the ball in the huddle, but, seemingly more often than not, the offense has found success by playing up-tempo.

“That [up-tempo] helps definitely,” sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes said. “Because the defense doesn’t have time to get — I guess some of the calls they get before when we huddle up — they don’t have time to set things up, so they give us real simple looks, and it’s easy to go out there and just play.”

With a quicker offense, the Longhorns feel they are able to gain an advantage over opposing defenses, giving the defenses less time to get set and recover after each snap. 

“It’s just easier to operate with simple looks that the defense gives,” Swoopes said. “It’s easier just because they are static and not moving around a lot.”

After falling behind 31-13 in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma in last week’s loss, the Lonhorns decided to move up-tempo to try and spur a comeback against the Sooners.

“We went up-tempo just because we saw the score, and the clock was running down,” Swoopes said. “So we knew we had to get the ball, get on the ball and get plays run to put ourselves in a position to win.”

And it nearly worked for the Longhorns. Texas’ two up-tempo series in the fourth quarter resulted in two touchdowns and brought the Longhorns within striking distance.

But while the Longhorns ended up coming short against Oklahoma, many players, such as senior running back Malcolm Brown, saw the benefit of playing at a faster pace. 

“From what it seems like, we have been moving the ball a whole lot better through the no-huddle offense,” Brown said. 

However, despite the feelings of his team, assistant head coach for the offense Shawn Watson is not ready to commit to playing up-tempo more often.

“It goes back to our style,” Watson said. “You know, what we are trying to do. We’ve been putting together a whole plan [and] helping our defense too; the time of possession is always important to us. There are certain things that we want to run [and] certain styles of play that you can’t run from the no-huddle. We’ve played well in it, but we’ve also had speed bumps in it.”

Texas is expected to use both styles of offense as it approaches the midpoint of its season. But as Swoopes and his offense continue to improve inside and out of the huddle, the team believes it will be able to improve on all aspects of its offensive game. 

“I feel like we execute in up-tempo, but we also have to execute in just our normal huddle stuff,” Swoopes said. “So I feel like we will get better with that as the season goes on, just because it’s a new system. We are still learning as we go, so we’ll get better.”