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New-look Longhorns offense warrants attention

BY TRAVIS HANEY, Staff Writer, Published: October 3, 2011

NORMAN – The shade of orange is the same. Still got those horns on their hats. But that's about it for similarities when comparing Texas' offense, last season to this season.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, preparing for his 13th Red River Rivalry game, said it's like literally seeing two completely different teams on video.

Greg Davis – don't fight the yawn; go with it - is out as offensive coordinator. Like an injection of Red Bull, Bryan Harsin is in.

“It's like saying, ‘Is there a difference between Missouri's and Kansas State's (offenses)?'” Stoops said. “Of course. They're different offenses.”

That's why Harsin was hired, to shake up what had become stagnant. He has orange blood flowing again inside UT fans. Their Longhorns are 4-0 and ranked No. 11 entering Saturday's game against the Sooners (4-0) at the Cotton Bowl.

Harsin came from Boise State, where, yes, he was known for inserting his fair share of gimmicks into the play-calling. But the Broncos did not run the Statue of Liberty on every down.

Good quarterback play and motioning players, to confuse defenses, was requisite to BSU's success, including the 2007 Fiesta Bowl win against the Sooners that put Boise on the college football map.

“Some things are similar. Some aren't,” Stoops said, linking these Longhorns to those Broncos. “It's been a while now. Everybody has a track record of what they do. You see similarities.”

The common denominator: Chaos. It's organized for the team running it. Not so much for the team trying to defend it.

“They make you think and adjust to formations,” Stoops said. “They do a good job of moving their people around.”

The personnel set is also very different from what OU and the Big 12 saw a year ago from the 5-7 Longhorns. It didn't start that way at quarterback, with incumbent Garrett Gilbert getting the nod despite a so-so preseason camp coming off a terribly average 2010.

Soon, though, three players were working at quarterback. Now it's down to two, after Gilbert had season-ending shoulder surgery.

When David Ash and Case McCoy first started getting extended looks, in a one-point victory against BYU that required plenty of their help, Ash was the run-first guy and McCoy was something akin to his older brother, Colt.

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