I think it's clear that over the last three years the biggest problem with this team is the offense (or lack thereof). What I find really frustrating is that every time I get my hopes up about the offense as just recently with Richard Breuhaut looking pretty good the last two games and the apparent emergence of a balanced offense it turns out to be a mirage. So here we are again back at square one with poor quarterback play, poor play from the receivers, and still inadequate pass blocking.
I don't agree with the notion that the problem is too conservative play calling. What would less conservative play calling consist of? It would have to consist of more passing or more passing when it's not expected. But this game makes clear that this simply would not work for one simple reason. This team simply does not execute the passing game well enough to generate any passing offense. Breuhaut looked way off tonight, and the backup quarterbacks were even worse. When we pass it's usually an incomplete along with a too high risk of interception. The receivers looked bad, and the offensive line still is not giving the quarterbacks enough time to throw. It's not the play calling. It's the utter lack of competence in the passing game. You can't play a more wide open less conservative offense unless you have the players who can execute the passing game, and it's quite apparent that at this point we don't. The only way this team has consistently moved the ball has been with the run, but the run game can be keyed on when there is no passing threat, and that's what happened tonight.
So the question then becomes why is it that this team cannot develop a competent passing offense and what can be done about it? Is it coaching, or is it personnel, or is it lack of execution? I'm not sure. My guess is that it has a lot to do with personnel specifically with the offensive line and quarterback. The offensive line just hasn't gotten it done when it comes to pass blocking, and I think we need better players there, and next year should hopefully bring some significant improvement. And we have yet to see a quarterback who can pass the ball with any consistency. That is a huge factor which is confounded by the mediocre pass blocking. Look at Texas who went from Colt McCoy and national championship contender to Greg Gilbert and a losing record. There are probably other factors involved there, but that's likely the biggest. Maybe Breuhaut or Prince will develop into the quarterback we need given more experience and an offensive line that provides better pass protection. That is probably our best hope.
(One big drawback that concerns me about the Pistol is that for it to be effective the quarterback has to run the ball and the risk of injury goes up. We lost Kevin Prince for the season and Richard Breuhaut for the game because they were injured running the ball. This is really a concern given how thin we are at quarterback to begin with. )