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The J.W. Walsh Problem



NCAA Football: Texas at Mississippi

Photo Attribution: US Presswire

This is not a quandary inherent to OSU specifically, but rather an issue created by the fact that Texas is backing up 5-stars with 4-stars on defense[1. You know, the side of the ball where stars based on athleticism and freakishness actually matter.].

The Texas defense is good, you know that, it’s had three top 12 defenses in the last three years. It hasn’t allowed more than 25 ppg since 2007.

It is fast, it is skilled, its defensive ends double as draft day staples and it has really been the only thing keeping them afloat while Mack tried to find a quarterback that was somehow capable of handing off and throwing to the fastest, biggest guys in the country.

OSU’s offense has been equally good, OKC Dave reminded you of that yesterday. And it has had recent success against Texas. 38 points last year, 33 the year before. That’s going to win you some games with the incompetence UT has been trotting out behind center as of late.

I’m worried though, because those OSU teams were passing teams. Weeden opened up two-lane highways for Randle and Smith to run through and they took advantage…

But now, for this week, we’re going to rely on the run and we’re going to rely on a running quarterback, Zac 2.0 is the descriptor being tossed around[2. Personally I’m going to have to see a little more than a Louisiana W to start tossing around comparisons to the second most productive QB in school history.]. Texas does not treat those types with much courtesy.

Here’s how the Texas defense has performed when facing a QB in the top 100[3. Walsh would be on the fringe if he had enough carries to qualify but I think we can all agree he’s a running QB, no?] for rushing yards per game in the last five years.

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As you can see it’s not pretty. Collin Klein rushed for four yards last year, 5% of his usual output. The only players who had better outings than normal were Terrelle Pryor in the ’09 Fiesta Bowl and Bob Griffin in the ’08 regular season.

Here’s the kicker though, those two guys combined to go 11 for 32 for 137 yards and 1 TD when passing. Texas completely stifled any inkling of balance against Pryor and Griffin.

Zac might have actually the best success in ’07 against Texas but ’08 and ’09 were much (MUCH) uglier.

It doesn’t take a Holgorsen[4. My term for “football genius.”] to tell you that it’s tough to move the ball on Texas. Brandon Weeden had two of his more average games against them in Austin.

What’s going to make it even tougher is the fact that they’re going to be keyed in on Walsh as a scrambler (a “playmaker”) just as they were against the QBs in the chart above. That’s not going to change unless he opens it up with a couple of deep balls, something I’m not sure he’s capable of against Texas’ safeties.

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