Pass-happy Rockets look to find better balance in attack


Like most college football coaches, the University of Toledo's Tim Beckman preaches the importance of a balanced attack on offense.

But three games into the season, the Rockets (1-2) have attempted 137 passes and just 78 runs. And of those 78 rushes, 43 came two weeks ago in a 54-38 win over Colorado at the Glass Bowl.

"I want to be 50-50 [run-pass ratio]," Beckman said yesterday. "I think the Colorado game is more of what we would like to be. Two of those games, we fell behind, and that's why the ball was in the air more so that we could pick up big yardage plays quicker."

In a 38-0 loss to Ohio State on Saturday, UT ran six consecutive pass plays to start the game before senior running back DaJuane Collins rushed for a five-yard gain on the first play of the Rockets' third possession with 5:44 remaining in the first quarter.

UT was already down 14-0 at that point and ran the ball just once more in the quarter - a two-yard gain by Collins.

The Rockets finished with 13 carries - two of which were sacks - for just 13 yards against the Buckeyes.

"We probably abandoned the run a little bit too early against Ohio State," Beckman said. "We were doing a decent job of getting three or four yards [per carry] on that first down [early in the game], and then we kind of self-destructed after that. We need to run the ball better and more often for us to be successful. We know that as a [coaching] staff, and this team knows that."

Collins totaled 22 yards on seven carries as UT's leading rusher against the Buckeyes.

"It was a little bit tough," Collins said. "You always want to get the ball to be able to help out your team. But at the same time we were down, so I knew we had to do whatever we could do to get back into the game."

Without much of a rushing attack, the Rockets had the ball in Ohio State territory just three times all game and were forced to punt 11 times.

For UT to have success at Florida International, senior tight end Tom Burzine said the offensive game plan must be tweaked.

"We didn't really get the run game going, which is pretty important for them to respect our passing game," Burzine said. "For FIU, we're going to have to get it rolling early and not abandon it like we did against Ohio State."

CROWD CRITICISM: Beckman and a few of his players expressed some dismay with the sparse number of UT fans in the crowd of 71,727 Saturday at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

"It was kind of a shocker at first seeing that," Burzine said. "I thought it could have been a better turnout with the [UT] fans."

Although it was a "home" game for the Rockets, the vast majority in attendance were Ohio State fans.

"I think there were a few more [people] in scarlet and gray than we expected, but it was a great atmosphere for our players to play in," Beckman said.

BALLARD OUT: Sophomore safety and Rogers graduate Isaiah Ballard suffered a broken hand against Ohio State and will miss the game against Florida International, Beckman said.

"When you're playing Ohio State and Colorado and [Purdue], there's going to be some dings going on," Beckman said.

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