Leddie continues to pace the team in opportunities due to his monopoly on our rushing attempts, but with 17 receptions on 23 targets he’s played a big role in the passing game, as well. The yards per touch number is a bit concerning and there are other numbers such as forced missed tackles that suggest that Leddie’s actually regressed a bit this year, but he should continue to see a high volume of opportunities.
The Jet’s role has thankfully recovered with 26 targets over the last three games after his touches dipped against Long Island and Virginia Tech. Wright is comfortably our most explosive player and has been one of the few bright spots on our offense, and if I'm Neal Brown I'm spending a bunch of time over the next two weeks brainstorming creative ways to continue feeding him touches in the second half of the year (LET HIM RUN THE BALL PLEASE AND THANK YOU).
Greene ran the ball 10 more times for 55 yards and a touchdown against Baylor and very obviously gives our offense a bit of electricity that it doesn’t have otherwise. He's been arguably our most explosive offensive player this side of Winston Wright this year and is another guy that Neal Brown has to figure out how to get the best out of if we're going to turn this thing around in the back half of the season.
All three of these guys are averaging between 5.3 and 5.5 targets per game, and all are probably deserving of more than that on a given Saturday. Esdale and James’ opportunities have been a bit more consistent from week-to-week than BFW’s, but it's been great to watch all of them bounce back this year after a lackluster 2020. The only criticism here is the lack of explosive plays in the vertical passing game, but it’s difficult to say how much of the blame they should really shoulder for that.
Ryan’s role has fallen off a bit over the last month with just 4 targets in our last three games. He's never been much of a playmaker down the field, but has generally been solid enough that the only reason I can figure for this regression is simply that Esdale has been outstanding.
This is one I can’t rationalize - we’ve struggled to attack teams vertically in the passing game, but refuse to throw to or even play the 6’4 4-star who built his reputation on winning contested catches down the field. Hopefully the fact that he saw 15 snaps against Baylor last weekend is a sign that his role is going to expand in the second half of the season.
Another one that’s weird - it’s not quite clear to me why we’re the only team in the Big 12 that seems to be incapable of utilizing a tight end. O’Laughlin certainly hasn’t been spectacular but was productive enough against Texas Tech that I expected his role to continue to grow, especially considering our red zone struggles. However, he only saw a single target against Baylor and seems to be regarded primarily as a blocker. I’m not saying that we need to force-feed him the ball, but I do think there’s value in establishing him as somebody that team’s have to cover.
Justin Johnson Jr.
Johnson's 9 touches against Baylor indicate that he's cemented himself into the backup running role after playing third fiddle to Tony Mathis for the first month of the season. He has to improve his pass pro before we can really trust him with significant playing time, but I actually thought he looked half-dece on a couple of his runs.