One good thing about air travel and airports can be the time you have on your hands to catch up on work. One important thing about the Oregon St. - Texas match-up in the Valero Alamo Bowl Saturday night will be the time available to execute one's game plan.
Our friends at Barking Carnival have been doing their homework on how the Longhorns might attack the Beavers, having come to the conclusion that it probably won't be a 10-7 type of game (though the Beavs have proven they can win that style of game too). And we've chimed into their discussion as frankly as possible on how their ideas might mesh with how Oregon St. will defend them.
The single biggest factor in any offensive game plan is always whether you will actually get a chance to execute it. The stat that should excite Beaver Nation about this subject is the fact that the Longhorns have allowed the third most tackles for a loss this season in the country. Using deep verticals and zone floods to get the Oregon St. secondary backed off to open up underneath routes and the Texas rushing game against a Beaver back line that had a strong season in run support isn't a bad plan.
But that strategy takes time, and stats tell us sustaining blocks and picking up rushers that have escaped the first level of resistance, has been a problem for Texas.
Oregon St. DE Scott Crichton has 9 of the Beavers' 26 sacks this season, which threw opponents for 49 yards of losses. Crichton also has 17 tackles for a aggregate loss of 73 yards.
Michael Doctor, the Beavers' leading tackler, with 72, got 10.5 of them behind the opponents' line as well.
Watch for Oregon St.'s success at penetration of the Texas offensive line as one of primary keys to the game. One that ought to be a Beaver strength in San Antonio.