Bob Stoops experienced an a-ha coaching moment five years ago as he tried to figure out the best, most efficient way to mash defenses with his high-powered offense.
He looked at quarterback Sam Bradford and talents. Bradford was as accurate on the short routes as he was on the deep throws. He was unshakable under pressure. Third-down conversions rarely were a concern.
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What’s the speediest conference in the country? A look at the biggest leagues’ average snaps per game this season:
Note: Through games of Sept. 28
THEN AND NOW
Seven notable college teams running the up-tempo had some big questions offensively to answer heading into the season. How are things working out?
Oregon: No Chip Kelly? No problem. The Ducks have scored 50 or more points in four straight games for the first time in school history, and 26 of their 31 drives have taken less than 2 minutes. How quick is their tempo? They rank 122nd in the country in time of possession, yet still are putting up 599.3 yards a game.
Texas A&M: The Aggies lost two of their top receivers from 2012 and had a quarterback with swirling eligibility issues. But no worries. A&M has topped 500 yards in its last four games, including Alabama, and have scored 40 or more points in each of the first five games to start a season for the first time in school history.
West Virginia: Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey all left for the NFL, and the Mountaineers are feeling the effects. Three different quarterbacks have started a game and West Virginia was shut out for the first time since 2001.
Baylor: Another year, another quarterback, another prolific offense. The Bears are scoring nearly 70 points a game —- that’s tops in the nation —- and 751 yards of total offense, which also leads the country by a good 152 yards to its nearest competitor.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys lost their offensive coordinator and have fallen off statistically. OSU is using two different quarterbacks and rank 35th nationally in total offense. The Cowboys ranked fourth in the country last year by averaging 547 yards a game, but that has dropped to 474 yards in 2013. And they’re scoring 39.3 points a game, down from 45.7 last year, which ranked third.
Louisiana Tech: Head coach Sonny Dykes left for Cal, which is now averaging 95 plays a game. Louisiana Tech led the country in total offense last year (578 yards per game) but now rank only 90th.
Texas: The Longhorns, with new play caller Major Applewhite, have gone up-tempo this year. Their average of 459 yards a game is the most since 2007 (462.9) and 2008 (475.8), back when Colt McCoy was quarterbacking them to BCS games. Scoring is down from last year, though, by about 3 points a game.
A look at Texas’ offenses over the past 10 seasons. The Longhorns have switched to an up-tempo offense this year.
* Through Thursday’s Texas-Iowa State game