Cincinnati Bearcats Offense Plagued By Slow Starts

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 15: Zach Collaros #12 of the Cincinnati Bearcats runs with the ball during the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Paul Brown Stadium at Paul Brown Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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The narrative in the immediate aftermath of the Louisville game was all about the defense, and more accurately about just how much the group has progressed from last year. While that is without a doubt a big story this year, and a positive one. It has largely overshadowed a very important fact, that the offense has been terrible in the last two first halves. Here are the drive by drive results comparing the first halves and the second halves of the last two games starting with the Miami game.

Quarter Plays Yards Result Quarter Plays Yards Result
1 5 1 punt 3 4 80 Run TD
1 14 43 INT 3 3 -1 punt
1 6 31 punt 3 12 80 Run TD
2 3 19 fumble 4 5 52 INT
2 3 -2 punt 4 3 9 punt
2 2 41 Pass TD 4 6 16 punt
2 4 19 punt Total 33 236 7.15 per play
Total 37 152 4.1 per play

The Louisville chart and the remainder of the post are available after the jump.

Quarter Plays Yards Result Quarter Plays Yards Result
1 3 8 punt 3 3 -2 punt
1 6 13 punt 3 7 54 Run TD
1 3 0 punt 3 3 -1 punt
2 8 38 punt 4 2 50 Run TD
2 4 37 Pass TD 4 8 33 punt
2 9 47 INT (TD) 4 6 40 FG
2 1 -2 end half Total 29 170 6 per play
Total 32 141 4.4 per play

The numbers speak for themselves. UC is averaging almost 2 yards per snap more in the second half compared to the first half over the last two games. The question is what would account for that discrepancy? And the answer might just that these kind of mini slumps are the nature of the beast for this offense. This offense isn't designed to make big plays. Jones has said that the zone blocking scheme used in the running if blocked perfectly is designed top get between 7 and 9 yards and as we all know by now the offense doesn't employ a ton of passing concepts that stretch defenses vertically.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Butch Jones and his staff might actually be quite good making halftime adjustments. That's a shocking idea for some UC fans, but is probably nearer the mark than any other reason. I still find this to be something of a going concern for me. UC has played well in the second half the last two weeks, particularly the 3rd quarters. But two games is far too small a sample size for me to state anything definitively, but it is definitely something that you should keep an eye on this week against South Florida, a team with a well earned reputation for fading down the stretches of games, and really seasons as well.

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