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  • Fri., Apr. 10, 2015 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM CDT Flashback Fridays: Jerry LeVias at Go Texan Store

    Stop by the Go Texan Store on Friday, April 10, 2015 from 12:30pm - 1:30pm to meet former Houston Oilers wide receiver and current Houston Texans Ambassador, Jerry LeVias.  Fans can also enjoy a 10% off Power Hour discount in the Go Texan Store during the event!

    Store info - http://www.houstontexans.com/gotexanstore.html

  • Sat., Apr. 11, 2015 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM CDT Play Safe Clinic presented by Houston Methodist and GE The Houston Texans are proud to partner with GE and Houston Methodist to launch the Play Safe Football Clinics! These clinics will highlight the importance of concussion awareness,  proper hydration, and nutrition.

    Special guests will include experts in related fields, Houston Texans Ambassadors, and Texans Cheerleaders!  Participants will hear from guest speakers and then take part in interactive football drills. 
     
    Play Safe Football Clinics
    9:30am: Check-in
    10:00am-12:30pm: Clinics


    March 7: Cinco Ranch High School
    March 21: James Driver Park
    April 11: Pearland Junior High West
    April 25: Capmbell Middle School


    These events are free, however registration is required. There are four different dates and locations to choose from. Space is limited, so register for a clinic near you today through this link - http://www.houstontexans.com/kids/footballclinic.html
  • Sun., Apr. 12, 2015 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM CDT First Down Dads Date with my Dad presented by ARAMARK

    Sign up now for the First Down Dads Date with my Dad event presented by ARAMARK on April 12! Dads & kids will spend the afternoon at the Houston Texans Grille with Texans Cheerleaders, Ambassadors, and TORO! Register now at http://www.houstontexans.com/fan-zone/first-down-dads.html!

  • Sun., Apr. 19, 2015 6:00 AM - 3:30 PM CDT 2015 Houston Texans Kids Triathlon

    The all new Houston Texans Kids Triathlon presented by Texas Children’s Hospital is April 19. Space is limited and this event will sell out, so register your kids today by clicking on this link - http://www.houstontexans.com/kids/triathlon/home.html

  • Thu., Apr. 23, 2015 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM CDT Texans Radio Live at Houston Texans Grille Stop by the Houston Texans Grille located at CityCentre (I-10 & Beltway 8) as Texans Radio broadcasts LIVE with special guests including Voice of the Texans, Marc Vandermeer!
  • Sat., Apr. 25, 2015 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM CDT Play Safe Clinic presented by Houston Methodist and GE The Houston Texans are proud to partner with GE and Houston Methodist to launch the Play Safe Football Clinics! These clinics will highlight the importance of concussion awareness,  proper hydration, and nutrition.

    Special guests will include experts in related fields, Houston Texans Ambassadors, and Texans Cheerleaders!  Participants will hear from guest speakers and then take part in interactive football drills. 
     
    Play Safe Football Clinics
    9:30am: Check-in
    10:00am-12:30pm: Clinics


    March 7: Cinco Ranch High School
    March 21: James Driver Park
    April 11: Pearland Junior High West
    April 25: Capmbell Middle School


    These events are free, however registration is required. There are four different dates and locations to choose from. Space is limited, so register for a clinic near you today through this link - http://www.houstontexans.com/kids/footballclinic.html
  • Fri., May. 01, 2015 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM CDT Flashback Fridays at Go Texan Store

    Stop by the Go Texan Store on Friday, April 10, 2015 from 12:30pm - 1:30pm to meet a TBD Houston Texans Ambassador.  Fans can also enjoy a 10% off Power Hour discount in the Go Texan Store during the event!

    Store info - http://www.houstontexans.com/gotexanstore.html

  • Sat., May. 02, 2015 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM CDT Texans Care Volunteer Day presented by Reliant Texans Care Volunteer Day presented by Reliant is a city-wide volunteer day on Saturday, May 2, 2015 from 8AM - noon where Texans players, Cheerleaders, Ambassadors, TORO and staff will volunteer alongside Texans fans!

    As an organization, the Texans make it a priority to give back to the Houston community. This day provides an opportunity to invite Texans fans to volunteer with the team to make a positive change. These organizations work to improve the standard of living for the young people of Houston, which aligns with the Texans mission to be Champions for Youth.

    There are plenty of locations across Houston, so sign up today at http://www.houstontexans.com/community/volunteer-day.html!
  • Tue., May. 05, 2015 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM CDT Texans Radio Live at Houston Texans Grille Stop by the Houston Texans Grille located at CityCentre, 12848 Queensbury Ln. Ste 208, Houston, TX 77024 (I-10 & Beltway 8), as Texans Radio broadcasts LIVE with special guests including Voice of the Texans, Marc Vandermeer!
  • Wed., May. 13, 2015 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM CDT Moms Clinic presented by Houston Methodist and GE

    The Houston Texans are proud to partner with GE and Houston Methodist to launch the Play Safe Moms Clinic just for football moms on May 13th!

    This free clinic will provide moms with the latest safety information in concussion awareness, proper hydration and nutrition to prepare them for the upcoming football season.  These classroom-style instructions and interactive football drills will take place in the Houston Methodist Training Center.

    Space is limited, so register today at http://www.houstontexans.com/kids/momclinic.html!

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Q&A: Benton discusses running game resurgence

Posted Jan 19, 2011

Offensive line coach John Benton details some new wrinkles to the offense as he explains the success of the Texans' running game in 2010.


In an otherwise disappointing season, the Texans’ running game reached unprecedented heights in 2010.

Running back Arian Foster and fullback Vonta Leach did most of the legwork. The offensive line, with the help of a few new wrinkles from the coaching staff, laid the groundwork.

In a sit-down interview with HoustonTexans.com, offensive line coach John Benton explained how the Texans went from averaging 3.5 yards per carry in 2009 to 4.8 yards per carry in 2010, and how his linemen paved the way for Foster and Leach to make the Pro Bowl and for Foster to win the league rushing title.

After the struggles the running game had last season, what was the big difference this year? What changed up front?

“That’s a lot of what we’re looking at right now watching cut-ups, but I think all along, just staying a little healthier. Mike Brisiel and Antoine Caldwell kind of went back and forth at the one position (right guard), but other than that we were pretty solid all the way through as opposed to last year, losing both guards early in the year and going from there. Obviously, Arian and Derrick (Ward) both have a lot to do with that, but I think coming out pretty committed, changing some things. Of course, (offensive coordinator) Rick (Dennison) brought some things, and I think we were able to take the best of what we’d done over the years and kind of amalgamate a viable run game that really attacked in a lot ways.”

What kind of tweaks did you implement?

“We call them gap-scheme runs and counters and pulling guards and that type of things. It was never a huge part of any game plan, but it needed to be part of every game plan. It wasn’t just that, either. It was getting in some man-scheme type things, and really just having a group of change-ups that really played off how we perceived teams would defend us. Knowing what they see, they see a large number of zone scheme (plays), and thinking how would they attack us and how could we take advantage of that. And I think it made teams play a lot more honest, made them play across the board. It’s a credit to the players. It’s a lot more they have to put on their plate from a preparation standpoint, and they did a good job of it.”

So, just to recap, there was a concerted effort to sprinkle in some man-blocking elements and other variants to the zone scheme?

“Right. We’re always going to be primarily a zone scheme, and even in that a wide-zone team, but to have those change-ups and those things, I think becomes very hard for a defense to defend against.”

How often did you implement those change-up plays in each game?

“Obviously, in some games, you guess more right than you do other games, so you lean on them more. It varied game-to-game, but we tried to make a big point every week to have those in, test them out, test the water with them early in the process. And a lot of times, maybe they don’t go over so well, but they make that defense over on their sideline say, ‘Well, we better stop this, we better prepare for this.’ And I think just making them a little more honest than they’d had to play us in the past really helped.”

You mentioned being a wide-zone team. From an X's and O's standpoint, what made that scheme so successful for the Texans this season?

“It’s very sound. One of the reasons I really like it is it doesn’t matter what personnel group you’re in, whatever, you can use a zone scheme to help you. You’re not trying to necessarily build a hole for the back to run through here or here or here, but making the defense stretch. The canned answer is not only are you pushing the defense back, the classic ‘knock ‘em off the ball,’ but you’re also dispersing them horizontally across the field so every defender has a lot more ground that they have to cover. And then the back has the freedom, as opposed to some other schemes, to attack the defense wherever they show their weakness after the ball is snapped as opposed to before it. So it’s much harder to scheme against and just truly say you’re going to stop, and it seems to be sound against base defense, substitution defenses like nickel, if they want to try and zone dog you or pressure you somehow in the run game. You see it all, but the zone schemes tend to pick that up the best, in my opinion.”

How important is the athleticism of your linemen in being able to execute that?

“That’s really big. First and foremost, they have to be good. At some point, you might have a very good lineman who it might not be their forte to be a true wide-zone scheme offensive lineman. It’s very important to us, like I said, stretching them horizontally. You have to be able to stay with them over that time period, really beat them to a spot on the snap of the ball, to force them to have to play wide.”

How good was the chemistry among the offensive linemen this season?

“It was excellent all year. It really has been all along since I’ve been here. We had seven guys play, and actually Kasey Studdard got in the game, so he’s probably the eighth guy. But the chemistry’s real good. I think they showed even going back to training camp last year that they were pretty committed to making sure they did everything to make this thing go. Wade Smith coming in from the free agent deal was a very, very positive addition both from his talents, but also his kind of quiet leadership in the room was very good for us.”

You’ve got four coaches working to some degree with the running game and offensive line – you, Dennison, assistant offensive line coach Frank Pollack and offensive assistant Bruce Matthews. How do you divvy everything up?

“I think that’s one of the great things here. We’re all on the same page. No one has an ego. You just jump in and do everything you can to go, and it’s a bunch of good guys to work with. Between Frank Pollack and I, we’ll alternate which groups of the line we’re working together with, but we really make a point that it’s with all of them. Obviously, Bruce does a lot of our prep work and that type of thing in the office, and Rick’s involved with running the whole offense. So in terms of the minutiae and that type of thing, we’ll do it that way in terms of drills and even how we watch the line. It kind of follows a little theme, and it seems to work pretty well.”

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