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Changes Coming To Bearcats Offense

It is not often you hear a head coach admit to his staff making mistakes, far less often that they mean it when they do. But Tommy Tuberville did that in his press conference yesterday. He hinted at changes to come in the weeks ahead, but what changes, and involving who?

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

"We'll make some position changes this week; obviously we won't make them known. But we're still trying to get the pieces of the puzzle in the right spot to make this a better team. Each week we are finding out more and more about players that are starters, backups, or even third string guys. That's the focus, we have two non-conference games left, and we have to get better in both of those. We have to get much better.  We found out last week we didn't handle success very well in the first week. And we played a better football team this week, and we didn't adjust very well as coaches or as players as the game went on. We knew that we were going to have problems, we just weren't able to work our way out of those on either side of the ball or on special teams. But, it was a very aggressive first two games for us, in terms of new staff and players and filling in a lot of holes.

Tommy Tuberville

That much was clear to anyone who watched Ralph David Abernathy IV try to run power against Illinois. No bueno. So the question automatically shifts to the who is moving, and where? For a start, I would guess that RDA4 is no longer going to be deployed only in traditional running backs looks. RDA4 is at his best when he has space and time, he was afforded neither in the running game. Through two games Abernathy has been targeted 5 times in the passing game, but has carried the ball 27 times in the running game. To put that into perspective, in his freshman and sophomore seasons RDA4 logged 83 carries, total. If the current pace continued he would end the season with 176 carries. In the run up to the Illinois game I said that Eddie Gran needs to find better ways to use RDA4, that has to start in earnest this week.

RDA4 is the move, or potential move, that will get the most headlines, as it should. What Gran did in taking his most volatile and explosive athlete and making him easy to defend was a mistake, and he has to know that. But there are surely others to be made that we won't find out about until gameday.

Through two games we don't know a whole lot about the offense. The offensive line is obviously talented, but is also obviously struggling to master the myriad of protection schemes that are being thrown their way. One snap they run power to perfection, the next the guard can't even get to the hole before the play is blown up. Gran is certainly pouring over film from the first two games taking stock of what he has offensively.

What he has, or rather what I think he has, is a bunch of interesting pieces to play with. I think Shaq Washington has been revelatory in his first extended run with the first team. Hosey Williams and Tion Green are far from complete backs, but they are the kind of backs UC will need with the offense that is likely to take shape around the skills of Brendon Kay. I maintain that there are enough weapons on the Bearcats to produce a potent, efficient offense, but the coaches have to get the players in the right positions for that to happen. Through two games as an offensive coordinator Eddie Gran is one for two on that count, let’s see how he does with his third at bat.

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