Scouting Indiana – Defense

It used to be that you could count on Indiana being a one-trick pony, with a potent offense and a defense somewhere between Bo Pelini meets Melvin Gordon and John Papuchis meets Baylor’s bowl game single wing offense.  Now, however, the Hoosiers have stepped up their defense in 2016, though by no means are they an elite unit yet.  49th in total defense and 51st in scoring defense.  The good news is that while their passing defense has been solid, at 73rd in the country their run defense still tilts toward poor.

Let’s take a look at what has changed for Indiana in 2016 and why the Huskers’ offense can’t sleep on them in this game.
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Scouting Indiana – Offense

After a bye week hiatus, we’re back with the scouting report.  Up next, the Indiana Hoosiers.  This is the first time the Huskers and Hoosiers have matched up in the Big 10, and though the Blackshirts may have liked the match up a few years ago, that’s far less true today.  In a statistical oddity, Indiana’s offense is ranked 39th in total offense but only 84th in scoring offense.  As can be expected, that is largely due to a putrid red zone offense, sitting at 124th (out of 128) in the country.

In other words, this is the perfect type of game to get Nebraska fans needlessly riled up, and not in a good way.  The Blackshirts have shown a tendency to give up yards before ultimately tightening up inside the 20.  If that holds against Kevin Wilson’s Indiana offense, it’ll make for some serious heartburn for total yardage watchers.  Let’s take a look at how Indiana likely puts up those yards.

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Scouting Illinois – Defense

With Lovie Smith stepping into the head coaching role and a defensive line full of athletes that most coaches dream of having, the Illini defense was supposed to be the strength of the team.  Smith is, after all, a Tampa 2 legend, having served as the LB coach in Tampa Bay for 5 years after coaching LBs and DBs at various college stops for the 13 years before that.  And while the Illini defense has been adequate, ranking 40th in total defense, they’ve given up too many points and currently sit at 79th in scoring defense.  Let’s try and figure out why.  
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Scouting Illinois – Offense

Scouting report is back this week.  Though Illinois is a conference foe, they’ve undergone a coaching change, with Bill Cubit out and Lovie Smith in.  With that, the man of the hour is Garrick McGee, the piece of shit fine offensive coordinator who stole Desmond Fitzpatrick from wide receivers coach Keith Williams late in last year’s recruiting cycle.  I suspect there will be no pleasantries exchanged pregame between McGee and Williams, though the #w4l signal might get thrown across the field a few times.

But we’re here to talk about McGee ON the football field, not about him wooing sketchy fathers off of it.  So let’s take a look at what his first-year Illini offense has to offer.

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Scouting Oregon – Defense and Special Teams

Oregon’s offense is really, really good.  Their defense is almost a perfect inverse of that, as they’ve been largely poor over the first two games against putatively overmanned opponents.  When you’re 82nd in total defense and you’ve played UC Davis and Virginia, things aren’t going too well for you.  That’s not altogether surprising, as the Ducks finished last year 117th in the country in total defense, though they were slightly better in the pace-adjusted YPP allowed (98th).

The new man in charge of the unit is a familiar face to Husker fans:

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I suspect by the end of this year Oregon fans may wish he had stayed where he was.  As for what the Ducks defense will bring into Lincoln for Nebraska, the short answer is not much.  But because we’ve got to fake a meaningful scouting report this week, let’s take a closer look at Hoke’s squad.  Let’s also throw in Oregon’s special teams, as they’re an exceptional group that deserves to make the rare special teams appearance in our scouting report.
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Scouting Oregon – Offense

And here I am rolling my calendar to the week of September 12 . . . and it’s Oregon week!  It’s perhaps Nebraska’s first true pressure test in the Mike Riley Era, as last year few national pundits paid attention to our BYU game and the season was already dead meat by the time Michigan State rolled into Lincoln.  This time, it’s an undefeated Nebraska team versus what Nebraska used to be, when 9-win seasons like Oregon’s 2015 campaign were considered miserable failures.  The road back to the top starts by showing up and delivering in these types of games.  

Okay, so Oregon.  Holy f*%^, that means their pace and space offense.  This one isn’t going to be easy.  Despite my attempts over the summer to curse Oregon’s QBs, it appears I’ve failed miserably.  Dakota Prukop won the job after fall camp and the early returns are favorable.  That said, Nebraska is a team with a pulse, unlike football cadavers Virginia (who lost to Richmond by 17 points) and UC Davis.  And Oregon in 2016 isn’t peak Oregon of the Chip Kelly/Marcus Mariota years.  

Turn the page for what the Ducks will bring into Lincoln this Saturday afternoon.  And as usual, hit the hyperlinks  if you want cut ups of Oregon’s scouted games.

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Scouting Wyoming – Defense

For as many wrinkles as Wyoming’s offense throws at teams, its defense takes a more straightforward approach.  It’s not simple by any means, but the Cowboys don’t beat teams on defense by rolling safeties after the snaps, playing exotic coverages, or dialing up pressure all game.  Instead, it’s a what you see is what you get approach, founded on a solid unit full of guys who know their assignments and try to beat blocks to execute them.  Let’s take a look at what Wyoming likes to do conceptually.

(My apologies for the video distortion in some of the clips.  With the weather in Laramie that night, the video feed was less than ideal.) Continue reading “Scouting Wyoming – Defense”

Scouting Wyoming – Offense

Now that we’re in real time during the season, I’ll be posting a weekly scouting write up where I take a look at Nebraska’s upcoming opponent.  For the non-conference opponents and those from the Big 10 East, we’ll take a broader look at what to expect schematically from their offense and defense.  For division opponents who we see every year, we’ll take a deeper dive into that year’s particular personnel and the strengths and weaknesses of those players.

This week we start with Wyoming, a Craig Bohl team coming off a triple overtime win against Northern Illinois.  I’ve embedded gifs of Wyoming’s offense against Northern Illinois, but many of the hyperlinks in the post will also take you to additional cutups of the Cowboys offense .  Let’s see what the Fighting Bohls have to offer. Continue reading “Scouting Wyoming – Offense”