As promised, for today’s Concept Wednesday we look at the second option variant run by Scott Frost in Lincoln. It’s only fitting that one of Nebraska’s last great option QBs is now calling them for the Huskers. Last week we looked at the Triple option from split backs. This week we look at the Speed option from shotgun and a fake inside zone variant Frost likes to run that I call Bluff option.
Outside of the fullback trap and the fumblerooski, there is no football concept Husker fans love more than the option. Even today, when you walk up to an out-of-stater and start talking Nebraska in the glory days, they’re likely to mention the option before anything else. Scott Frost did away with the fullback and the NCAA did away with the fumblerooski, but the option lives on forever in Lincoln. For the next two Concept Wednesdays, we’ll talk about three variations of option that Scott Frost runs.
For now, let’s focus on the grand prize of them all: the triple option out of split backs. The concept itself is nothing new. Oregon was running it during the Chip Kelly era, and several other teams have had it in the playbook after Chip’s initial success. And no, Tom Osborne didn’t run the triple option. But what makes it work for his protege Frost and how he’s different from Kelly is how Frost (a) uses a hybrid player as the second back and (b) marries the concept with a variety of different motions to avoid tipping the play. Today, we’ll look at a few of those variations for Concept Wednesday #2 of this season.
It’s that time of the year where we hear the old tale about “not opening up the playbook” for the non-conference schedule. Well, with a game washed out and a Power 5 opponent on deck, new head coach Scott Frost didn’t have that option. Against Colorado, he unleashed a ton of stuff en route to 329 rushing yards and 565 total yards. Ultimately, untimely turnovers kept him from getting his first coaching win in Lincoln, but the full arsenal was there. Unbalanced formations. Triple option. Multiple pulling concepts. QB runs. Various motions. Double screens. And one hell of a true freshman QB managing all of the noise that comes with a first career start.
In its return, Concept Wednesday this week takes a look at QB Wrap/Dart, one of Frost’s core run concepts that he brought from UCF and one which molds perfectly to Adrian Martinez’s game.
For the first Concept Wednesday of the Scott Frost era, we’re going to look at one of Frost’s favorite vertical passing concepts: Saints. Saints is yet another play in the Frost playbook that can be traced directly to Chip Kelly. It was Kelly’s preferred vertical concept in Philadelphia and San Francisco, and I expect it will feature heavily in UCLA’s offense as long as Kelly is in Los Angeles. Saints is also responsible for several of UCF’s explosive plays in 2016 and 2017, as Frost used his speed at the skill positions to kill defenses down the field with one-on-one matchups.
For now, let’s take a look at the core Saints concept and then a variation Frost ran in the Spring Game that led to Jaevon McQuitty’s first touchdown in a Husker uniform. Continue reading “Concept Wednesday: Saints Play Action”
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”
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.