We are just over one month away from kickoff and a big mystery remains the offense. Let's take a quick look at game footage from 2013 to see how John Reagan utilized personnel, formations and tempo.
The Rice Owls opened their 2013 campaign with a 509 yard, 31 point offensive output against Texas A&M, the #7 team in the country, in College Station. Rice maintained possession for 64% of the game on their way to 306 yards rushing while committing only two turnovers. Granted A&M's defense was not a full strength and fans increasingly lament the unit's production, but it's as good of a place to start as any.
This represents Reagan's second year at the helm of the offense. In the interest of time I have limited this review to scoring drives only.
- First things first. Tempo! We know Rice led the nation in time of possession but this first drive shows an offense that can get to the line of scrimmage quickly and get the next play off very efficiently.
- The option was called once and it paid off with a 58 yard run. The O-line blocked really well and the DB bit on the look to the RB allowing the QB to break free.
- The offense lined up with 1 RB and 1 TE on three of the five plays, each time running the ball with relative success.
2nd scoring drive:
- The offense lines up quickly however there is a delayed snap (intentionally?).
- The opening play in this series is an empty backfield, five receiver set resulting in a completion along the outside for a gain of 13 yards.
- The offense lined up with 1 RB and 0 TE on three of the five plays, each a called pass.
- *Production note: Notice how crucial it is to ensure that we get Manziel's reaction to every play.
3rd scoring drive:
- The aerial display comes out as the 2nd quarter comes to a close. Reagan called 7 passing plays out of 11 total plays with relatively impressive results.
- After a first down penalty gives the offense 1st and 15, Reagan calls an option run and follows it up perfectly with play action pass. The resulting first down came a crucial time in the drive as the starting QB was shaken up.
- The 1 RB, 1 TE formation was used on 8 of 11 plays (6 passes).
4th scoring drive:
- The drive begins late in the 3rd quarter with Rice down by 17. Rice runs a total of 15 plays, 4 passing.
- Rice lined up in the 1 RB, 1 TE formation on 9 plays, running on 7 of those.
- The drive tempo averaged one play every 26 seconds compared to one play every 18 seconds earlier in the game. This is due to the QB situation and A&M's #1 CB being on the field after serving a suspension in the first half.
Overall Reagan favored a 1 RB, 1 TE formation (23 of the 38 plays shown above). Out of this formation, limited to the sample size above, there were 13 runs (57%).
The 1 RB, 1 TE set was ran 6 times with 5 passing plays and the 3 RB, 0 TE formation was used twice, both roll out passes.