IMO... this is THE most important thing you need to do to win football games. Run the ball effectively. Even Coach Mess stated going into the season that we were going to run the football. We were going to be a run dominant team. Well... so much for that. We haven't been real successful in running the ball since the Davis brothers left. But IMO, we MUST bet able to run the ball in order to have success. Just look at the National Championship game this year as a prime example. Both teams wanted to come into that game and establish their running games. Well, Alabama was able to do it, and ND wasn't, and we all saw what happened. ND could not stop Alabama's run game, and so they had to start bringing their safeties up to help out. Once they started doing that, the play action passes just burned them and were wide open down the field. And ND was finished. There was absolutely NOTHING they could do to stop Alabama at that point.... none. Want another example that hits closer to home.... how about our bowl game against Tulsa? They ran for 300+ yds and we ran for under 100 yds.... and they beat us like a rented step mule. We had no answer for them defensively when we couldn't stop their run game. None. And for them, defense was easy since we couldn't run it on them. Even in the pass happy NFL, you still need an effective running game to be successful. My favorite team, the Packers, are MUCH more effective when they can run the ball. They don't have to run it for a ton of yards, but it at least has to be a threat. And lately they have been running it much better, which has led to better performances from their offense. So, we MUST be able to run the ball. And no, that doesn't mean we have to go to some kind of pro-style offense either in order to do so. We don't have to go to Alabama's style of offense in order to run the ball. If you don't agree, look at Oregon. They are the farthest thing from a pro-style offense, yet they run for a TON of yards. They run 60+% of the time. They are a pre-dominantly run oriented offense... yet put of a ton of yards and score a ton of points. So the question then becomes, what do we need to do to become a lot better at running the ball? Obviously it all starts with the O-line. Our O-line was borderline horrible this year IMO. I don't understand all the people that sugarcoat it and try to say our O-line is ok because it's not. It's far from it IMO. We can't get the push needed to run the ball, and we don't give our QB's time to pass either. But I'm far from an O-line expert. So what needs to be done in order to improve our run blocking? New coach? Different strategy? Just plain better players? What? Next you look at RBs. I think our RB's have been somewhat overrated too. James White is a serviceable Big 12 RB, and he's the best we have right now. Shontrelle IMO, has not lived up to what I thought he would be. But he's had injuries too. But he also runs east-west too much and not enough north-south IMO. He dances around too much IMO. Woody is pretty effective when given the chance, but he's pretty limited at making people miss in space. And then you look at our entire offensive system. I don't like it. Never have since Herman got here. I can't stand this zone read option stuff that we run all the time. It's fine to mix it in once in a while, but it seems that it's all we do? We don't run enough mis-direction IMO. I would also like to see us go under center at times as well. There are plenty of teams that do both shotgun and under center both... so why can't we? It's not like you have to be just one or the other. Anyway, sorry for the rant, but IMO, we MUST be able to run the ball next year if we want to have any success at all. So how do we do that? One thing I forgot to mention as well is our TE and WR blocking is horrible as well. Ernst Brun is our best pass catching TE, but is poor at run blocking. And our WR's don't block well at all IMO. You watch teams like Alabama, and their WRs are blocking like crazy. It is demanded of them. If we aren't running a pass play our WR's look dis-interested and don't care about blocking it seems?