Nebraska fans got their first look at the Scott Frost offense in Husker red yesterday during the 2018 Red-White Spring Game. Although Frost called the game “vanilla” from a scheme perspective, we got to see several of Frost’s running game concepts along with a nice mix of passing plays. We’ll take a look at individual schemes over the summer, but for now let’s focus on how Frost protects the back side of his running plays, a couple of which featured heavily in the Red-White Game. Continue reading “The Frost Effect: Protecting the Backside on Runs”
In Part 1, we nibbled around the corners of the Scott Frost offense. Now it’s time to take a deep dive into it, examining not only the Oregon parts that will always be present, but also the additional wrinkles he’s thrown in since leaving Eugene. This is a lot of film, and I can’t embed it all into one post without locking up your mobile devices.
Accordingly, I’ve linked a lot of what I’m going to discuss, so when you see a hyperlink, it’ll open up a new tab showing you the concept I’m discussing. In other words, this is probably a post you want to view on a computer rather than a mobile device. If not, it’s going to take a while to load and you’re forever going to be opening and closing new tabs. You’ve be warned, so let’s get to it. Continue reading “Talking Scott Frost . . . Part II”
I promised last week I’d get something up during the bye week on Scott Frost’s UCF offense, so here we go. A couple of disclaimers first. One, I’m not advocating for a coaching change at this point. If we do make one, though, Frost wouldn’t be in my first tier of coaches. Doesn’t mean I don’t like him a lot, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want him at Nebraska if we struck out at the first tier level. But after a 15-year freeze on the program, it’s time to start acting like a blue blood in how we hire head coaches. Shoot for the moon. The Big 10 has given us 51 million reasons to try and hire an established head coach with a half decade or more of relevant success. If we miss, then Frost would be in my second tier, and I’d certainly be optimistic he could succeed in Lincoln IF GIVEN THE APPROPRIATE TIME to do so. I capitalize that last part because any coach in 2018, whether Mike Riley, Scott Frost, or anyone in between, will need time to turn over this roster before we can come close to consistently competing with the Ohio States of the world.
The second disclaimer is that I’m assuming Frost would run the same, or a substantially similar offense, in Lincoln. I think that’s a pretty fair assumption given that coaches rarely make a sea change in their offense or defense during their careers, but then again Frost did play under a head coach in Lincoln who did very much that over his 29 years calling plays in Lincoln. Perhaps Frost would do the same, but for now, we’ll take a look at what he’s running down in UCF and assume it’s pretty close to what we’d see in Lincoln.
Because this is a hot topic right now, I’m going to make this a two-part series on UCF. Here is Part I. Continue reading “Let’s Talk Scott Frost . . .”
After a week off, I’m back in action with another Concept Wednesday. This week it’s Nebraska’s Mesh concept. Or as some like to call it and the name portends, those crossing routes. Mesh has been a Riley/Langsdorf passing game staple since they arrived in Lincoln. Oddly enough though, it hadn’t made many appearances in 2017.
With Tanner Lee struggling with his decision making early in the season, that changed against Illinois as the Husker coaches looked to get him easy, short throws. Mesh came through in the clutch when Nebraska needed it against Illinois, and they also featured it against Wisconsin twice for 21 yards. Continue reading “Concept Wednesday: Mesh”
The Ohio State game was such an ass beating that there really is no need for a recap because the short version is the defense sucked and the offense couldn’t run the ball. The end.
So with that, let’s get to something a little less macabre. Charting Checkup at the 7-game mark. Again, standard disclaimer. When you play two games being down 4 touchdowns a substantial majority of the second half, things are going to get distorted. With that, let’s go. Continue reading “Charting Checkup – Halfway Through +1”
For Concept Wednesday this week, we get our second guest post on Husker Chalk Talk. This is one is brought to you by an offensive line coach/offensive coordinator extraordinaire from the great state of Kansas. He’ll be talking Duo, the Huskers’ go to running concept when they need to pick up yards in the fourth quarter. It may be the single best post we’ve had up on Husker Chalk Talk and it’s got lots of stuff for you to digest, so I’ll let him take it away.
Well that blew. For almost three quarters, Nebraska looked like it belonged on the field with a top 10 team. And then for one quarter, it was a flashback to several beatings the Badgers have handed out since the Huskers have been in the Big 10. The teams have met 7 times in Big 10 play. Wisconsin has won 4 of them by 21 points or more.
Is it the coaching staffs? Tough to say. Pelini got housed 3 of those times, including one to a five-loss Wisconsin team in the conference title game. Riley ate that defeat pizza for the first time on Saturday. On the other side, Wisconsin has had three coaches dole out that domination: Bret Bielema, Gary Andersen, and now Paul Chryst. Despite changing faces, the results tend to stay the same. Wisconsin either destroys Nebraska or it ends up being a barn burner.
So what is it that allows Wisconsin to thump the Huskers most of the time? Institutional inertia, consistency of system, player development, take your pick. When you watch Wisconsin play, you see a ruthless efficiency on both sides of the ball forged over years of running similar systems on both sides of the ball. Paul Chryst has called his offense in Madison 10 out of the last 13 years. On the other side, they’ve been running the 3-4 since 2013, when Dave Aranda took over, and they had two elite defensive coordinators running 4-3s before that. Everything is meticulously recruited to fit both systems, and players know exactly how they’re supposed to do things on any given play. Add it up and you get a Wisconsin team that frequently punches above its recruiting weight. Very few missed steps and communication breakdowns, everyone working together to achieve the unit’s goal.
That’s what we saw on Saturday night, and unfortunately it’s all too common these days in the Huskers-Badgers match up. In any event, let’s take a quick recap of some things that stood out to me.
Perhaps no play is more divisive than the RB Draw series that Nebraska runs. Much of that is the play design itself. When it works, it results in a Nebraska back scampering into the open field with very little resistance. When it doesn’t, it tends to end up with a cavalcade of defenders in the Huskers’ backfield, guaranteeing a loss of yards and putting the offense behind the down-and-distance schedule.
What most miss is that the Huskers don’t just run Draw for the running game, but also package it with play action passes that are designed to create one on one match ups down the field for the Savage Professionals. It’s that passing element that makes Draw this week’s featured concept in Concept Wednesday.
On a week where the athletic director gets sacked on Thursday, leading to speculation as to when, not whether, the head coach is next, a win is a win is a win. Nobody is playing the national poll beauty queen contest in those circumstances.
Rutgers isn’t a good team, but they tested Nebraska in the first half. 11 play, 75-yard opening drive from Rutgers to go up 7-0. I imagine there were a few eye rolls in the stadium, and given the circumstances, you wouldn’t blame the fans if they folded it in. But they didn’t, nor did the team, and somehow the Huskers pulled a way for a 27-17 win that seemed closer than it was because of a clock killing 4th quarter featuring a monochromatic offense straight out of central casting for the Solich Era.
Here are some quick thoughts on the survival week win against Rutgers.
Our first Charting post of the year. If you weren’t around last year, Charting posts look at the big picture of the Huskers offense. What percentage of the time are we under center? Do we have a favorite personnel group? How often are we running motion with our plays? Any particularly explosive offensive concepts?
Last year it was weekly feature. This year, because I’ve already incorporated some of the numbers in regular posts, we’ll look at Charting Checkups every 3 games. So with that, let’s see what looks different this year.