I couldn’t help but notice the cover of the 2006 Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine this week.

It showed four highly-recruited Texas quarterbacks circling a smiling Earl Campbell, perhaps the greatest running back to ever come out of the state of Texas. The theme of the cover was how Texas evolved from the running game to the pass-oriented offense.

I’ve been engulfed in a world of passing the last four years at Texas Tech. Mike Leach’s pass-happy offense was all the rage, until we ran into a team like Texas or Oklahoma that had a running game. Perhaps the Red Raider defense wasn’t used to seeing enough running plays during practice to prepare them for teams that ran the ball down their opponents’ throats.

Until lately, I have forgotten what a running game looked like. The Tigers’ first three opponents have reminded me that the running game still thrives, and in many cases can trump a good defense.

The Tigers defensive move from the 4-2-5 to the 3-4 was supposed to combat the spread teams they would see throughout their schedule. The problem is that they haven’t seen a true spread team, just yet.

The closest thing to the spread the Tigers have seen was during Week 0, when the West Mesquite Wranglers ran three receiver sets. The Wranglers were pretty balanced on offense, running the ball 56 percent of the time for 166 yards.

It was in Week’s 1 and 2 that offensive balance was thrown out the window for the opposing squads.

In Week 1, the Jacksonville Indians ran the ball 55 times out of their 66 plays on offense for 337 yards. That’s devoting 83 percent of your time alloted with the ball to a rushing attack.

In Week 2, the Waco High Lions ran the ball 74 percent of the time on 53 offensive plays for 341 yards.

The Tigers have been unfortunate enough to be in the way of running backs who may see playing time on Saturday in the near future.

Now the secondary has done a great job of fending off any passers that come their way. The Tiger defense has only allowed 20 completions on 52 pass attempts. That’s to be expected, but an unexpected was the amount of rushing plays they would face in a certain amount of time.

Will future teams gauge their offensive game plan from the way the Tigers have handled these two teams? You better believe it.

Speaking with Jacksonville coach Randy Copeland before the game, he bases his whole offensive scheme on what the defense shows him. They practice multiple offensive formations to figure out what works and then execute.

In the press box Friday, I was surrounded by representatives from Carrollton Newman-Smith and Waxahachie who will be reporting back to their coaching staffs what was evident to the 7,500 present at the stadium opener: The Tigers are having trouble stopping the run. But that’s no secret.

Either was it secret that teams were going to abandon the run and make the switch to the spread offense.

Texas Football called for it and Dave Henigan prepared for it. But the way things are going, Tiger fans should be hoping for it.

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