UH seems to cycle. We lit up college football with the Run n Shoot. Got a Heisman also. The problem then was Jenkins was a great OC but not a good HC. No defense either. Jenkins’ philosophy was simply to outscore the other team, not unlike run and gun basketball.
So we bring in Kim Helton with his SEC/Miami mindset. Helton throws away everything that had taken UH to the top. We go back to what he referred to as “Big Boy” football. Pound the football. Use the run to set up the pass, blah, blah, blah. Result?
So we stay that course until Art Briles comes in with his hybrid Veer meets Run n Shoot. But it works and the forward pass is once again in favor. Briles gets UH back on the football map.
At least we stay the course with Sumlin, with a modest shift to the Air Raid. The AR is wildly successful and with Case Keenum at QB UH is once again back on the national map. 12-1 will do that for you.
So Levine comes in and makes a stab at the Air Raid but for too many reasons to mention here, can’t pull it off.
So we bring in the hottest OC around. But he comes in with a philosophy of running the ball to set up the pass. He’s lucky. He has Greg Ward who time and again saves his bacon. It almost looks like his offense is working. Problem is the bump in running stats has a large number of escape yards as Ward’s scrambling saves the day, over and over.
So now we have Applewhite, who, following in the finest tradition in college football, knows that really good teams run the ball to set up the pass. The record speaks for itself.
From my perspective it’s pretty clear that UH’s best teams over the past 30 years have been built around the forward pass. And that’s not Helton’s pro set drop back passing offense. It’s the option spreads starting with the Run n Shoot up through the Air Raid. Applewhite and Herman succeeded, but they were lucky. Without Ward Herman might not be coaching UT today.
So where do we go from here. I’ve skipped over a ton of information, but it’s pretty clear we need to turn the offense upside down and go back to what worked for UH over the past 30 years. There’s all the difference in the world between a run-first offense that passes a lot and an offense built around the passing game. Which, by the way can then have a strong running game because the defense can’t stack 6 defenders in the box on every down. Except maybe 3rd down because on 3rd and long now we HAVE to pass.