Charting Indiana – Back In Black

Jerald Foster.  Cethan Carter.  Jordan Westerkamp.  David Knevel.  By the second play against Indiana, those preseason Husker starters, which include two of its top five offensive players, were no longer a factor.  It didn’t get any better when All Everything offensive tackle Nick Gates rolled his ankle shortly thereafter.  

As we discussed last week, at that point, it becomes a “by any means” necessary game.  And when that happens, unless you have elite talent waiting on the sidelines, you need a defense ready to show up and slow the opponent down.  Right on cue, the Blackshirts answered the bell, holding Indiana to 333 yards and a pedestrian 4.83 YPP.  In case you’re still sleeping on Mark Banker’s crew in 2016, they’re now 29th in total defense, 16th in scoring defense and 13th pass efficiency defense.  That’s a monster change from 2015, and it’s something we’ll look at in our next write up.

For now, though, let’s take a look at how offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf tried to ride out a hard regression to the mean from Tommy Armstrong and a MASH unit up front that made getting into a rhythm difficult.

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Charting the South Alabama Game

The South Alabama game was all about inside zone runs and a ton of different motions.  Nebraska showed 4 different inside zone variants, 1 option, 6 outside zone plays, 1 QB Power Sweep, 4 Power/Counter plays, and 3 jet sweeps.  Within those, let’s take a look at how Langsdorf and Riley established the run to the tune of 37 carries for 258 yards. Continue reading “Charting the South Alabama Game”

Taking Requests – 2015 Season Edition

First, as you’ll note the address for the site has changed to huskerchalktalk.com.  You should automatically be forwarded from the old URL, but if anybody is having issues, let me know and I’ll look into it.

Second, while I work through the 2015 film over the next couple of months, let me know if you have any requested areas you’d like me to focus on.  With the base stuff soon-to-be-complete from the BYU, South Alabama, Miami and Southern Miss games, my plan is to hit each game from that point on with any new looks that we showed, offensively and defensively.  That said, if you want to take a look at specific players or revisit offensive or defensive concepts (QB run game, zone pressure coverages, etc.), drop a comment in one of the posts and I’ll get some tape up.

Finally, I’ve spoken to a couple of you offline about this, but I’m always open to guest posts from Nebraska high school coaches or others in that region.  Could be about schemes you use, could be drills, hell, it could be how you go about managing your practices to get the most out of them.  I envision this whole project as a resource not just for Nebraska fans to learn about the Huskers, but also as a coaching resource to pool the collective knowledge of those coaches who will hopefully send kids to Nebraska down the line.  If you have something you’d like to discuss or share, drop your email in with a comment and I’ll follow up with you.

Opening press conference for Spring Ball.  What a great time of the year. 

Nebraska’s Outside Zone and Variants – South Alabama

Because inside zone targets the interior DL and LBs, defenses will start to overreact to it after a few times of being gashed in the middle.  Once Riley and Langsdorf see this happening, they mix it up with outside zone (“OZ”).  OZ is also known as the “stretch” play.  Unlike the vertically hitting inside zone play, OZ is about horizontal displacement: move the defensive line and linebackers toward the sideline and make them maintain their gap integrity.  Once a hole opens up in their front, stick your foot in the ground and get vertical.  This type of blocking isn’t new to Nebraska; Osborne and Tenopir frequently blocked their option runs with it, and of course Bill Callahan loved that god damn stretch play against USC.

Nebraska runs a couple of different versions of OZ depending on the game plan for the week and the fronts they see from the defense.  In this post, let’s look at two of them: (1) standard OZ; and (2) the Pin and Pull.

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Inside Zone, the Mike Riley/Danny Langsdorf Staple

If you’ve ever seen a Mike Riley/Danny Langsdorf game, whether in Lincoln, Corvallis or anywhere in between, you’ve no doubt seen the inside zone.  When Riley and Langsdorf have had productive interior offensive linemen, they’ve often based much of their run game around the inside zone play.  Inside zone is a downhill, vertical displacement play, designed to get you at least one double team on the DL to knock them back off the line of scrimmage.  Once the double team is secured, one of the OL will slide off and attack the next playside LB.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the Huskers’ bread-and-butter running play, as well as some common variants that you’ll see the Huskers run.

Continue reading “Inside Zone, the Mike Riley/Danny Langsdorf Staple”

QB Run Game – BYU

Coming into the year, the largest question on offense was how Riley and Langsdorf would use Tommy Armstrong’s legs.  At Oregon State, they never had the luxury of a QB who could get into open space and make plays with his feet.  In Lincoln, that’s exactly what they had in spades with Armstrong, AJ Bush and Zack Darlington.  With the offensive coaches talking in the spring about incorporating the QB run game, the BYU game featured a handful of designed QB runs outside of the standard zone read variety.  Here are a few of them:

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Nebraska Screen Game – BYU

Beyond Nebraska fans’ introduction to jet motion and the sweep, Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf’s robust screen package was also another major change from 2014 and Tim Beck’s offense.  By my count, Nebraska ran 6 different variations of the screen against BYU.  After learning early that inside zone wasn’t going to work against Travis Tuiloma, BYU’s monster nose tackle, Langsdorf began to heavily work the screen game to help remove defenders from the box and get Tommy Armstrong comfortable with easy throws.  Let’s take a look at a couple of his core concepts in the screen game.

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Nebraska’s Introduction to the Jet Sweep – BYU

Nebraska’s first game of the year against BYU introduced fans to the basic tenets that appear throughout Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf’s offense.  Inside and outside zone, a lot of motion (jet, H, Y return, etc.), shotgun, under center, tight end and fullback wings, detached  and flexed tight ends.  This was a lot of variety for BYU to deal with, and to their credit, they handled it pretty well.

A team’s first drive often gives you a good glimpse into the offense’s core principles, largely because offensive coordinators want to see how defenses plan to answer those principles before opening up more of the playbook.  I’m not sure whether Langsdorf is a script play caller, but the first drive showed a lot of things that Nebraska leaned on throughout the year.  Perhaps most importantly, it was Nebraska fans’ first real introduction to something they had heard about in spring and fall camp: the jet sweep.  Or as Riley likes to call it, the “fly” sweep.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at Nebraska’s first drive against BYU, which featured two plays with jet motion.

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