It's a tough time to be a fullback. Alabama famously positions Terrence Cody at fullback in short yardage and goal line situations. Texas did the same with Lamarr Houston. What the two lacked in precision and effectiveness, they made up in...novelty? I guess.
Through two Longhorns and two Crimson Tide drives, Houston saw nine snaps at defensive tackle, including a false start, and an additional four at fullback. He didn't sit a defensive snap. He didn't impact an offensive snap. Maybe his value as a fresh defensive tackle outweighs his value as a novelty fullback? Whatever his value over an actual fullback, those snaps gave me a little something else to watch.
1. Turns Javier Arenas with a glancing block.
2. Hits hole. Lost.
3. Misses assignment.
4. Cut blocks.
Novelty is the beating heart of the internet. It can be a foolish way to construct a playbook. Novelty is quickly strained and deprived of meaning. Right, I Can Haz Yo Dawg Keyboard Cat? Eat your heart out, Pet Rock.
1. 1st and 10 at ALA 33 Mark Ingram rush for no gain to the Alab 33.
RDT, 3-tech, but in a 3-4 look. Sergio Kindle is a "standing defensive end". Houston does not possess Brian Price's burst off the snap. He's comparatively slower, more measured. He stands up left tackle James Carpenter, fights to his inside shoulder and stuffs if maybe not tackles Mark Ingram. It's a pile.
2. 2nd and 10 at ALA 33 ALABAMA penalty 5 yard false start accepted.
Houston aligns at 3 but moves to the 5-tech before the false start.
2a. 2nd and 15 at ALA 28 Greg McElroy sacked by Lamarr Houston for a loss of 8 yards to the Alab 20.
RDT, 3-tech, 3 down linemen. This play flashed at first, but a more careful inspection reveals a quarterback sacking himself. Houston uncoils, strikes top pro-prospect Mike Johnson, moves to his inside shoulder and then is released. It's a screen pass, a botched screen pass. Texas sits underneath the blockers, and McElroy doesn't have the awareness to fire the ball in the dirt. Instead, Houston charges through, swings about McElroy's hips in an ugly, ugly tackle attempt, yet still has time to pick himself up and drop McElroy from behind. Ugly play all around.
3. 3rd and 23 at ALA 20 Greg McElroy pass incomplete to Marquis Maze.
RDT, 1-tech but moves to 3-tech before the snap, 3 down linemen. Houston gets an ok jump, swims, but does not factor further before Kindle forces a throw away.
(Nick Saban attempts a foolish fake punt. Blake Gideon costs his team 17 yards by intercepting it rather than batting it down.)
(A promising drive is derailed when Colt McCoy is severely injured on what looks like a normal tackle.)
(On-side kick is recovered by Texas)
(Following four snaps at fullback, Houston is again allowed to play defensive tackle.)
1. 1st and 10 at ALA 40 Greg McElroy sacked by Sam Acho for a loss of 3 yards to the Alab 37.
LDT, 3-tech, 3 down linemen. Three man rush, with Kindle roving. Houston slices through and forces McElroy to step up and into a sack. Kid's no Jake Locker.
2. 2nd and 13 at ALA 37 Mark Ingram rush for 18 yards to the Texas 45 out-of-bounds for a 1ST down.
LDE, 5-tech, 3 down linemen. Houston is bent over like an accordion by a powerful interior surge. The rush runs left and away from Houston.
3. 1st and 10 at TEX 45 Greg McElroy sacked by Keenan Robinson and Sergio Kindle for a loss of 5 yards to the 50 yard line.
ROLB, 7-tech in a 2-3 formation. Houston fakes pass rush, surveys and drops into coverage. Remarkably, he then functions as more than a decoy, expertly aligning in McElroy's throwing lane and forcing the quarterback to pull down and accept the sack.
4. 2nd and 15 at ALA 50 Trent Richardson rush for 9 yards to the Texas 41.
LDT, 1-tech. Houston stands up center William Vlachos. Right guard Barrett Jones pulls. Houston holds, moves into the backfield but is blocked out by right tackle Drew Davis. Richardson runs left.
5. 3rd and 6 at TEX 41 Greg McElroy rush for no gain to the Texas 41.
LDT, 3-tech, 3 down linemen. Kindle starts off Houston's left hip, showing rush. Instead, he drops into a roving position, not cover really, but just around the line, ready to strike. Houston compensates by taking a wide angle that initially draws the right tackle and right guard's attention. The double team is dropped. Davis has effectively single blocked Houston. The overload left does its job, and McElroy scrambles into a tackle. Houston factors only as a decoy.