Early season is when you run your core plays, working on their timing and the personnel running them so that you know what’s going to work when you get to conference play. We saw much of that over the first three weeks, as offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf worked both 11 and 12 personnel, leaned heavily on inside zone and QB runs, and generally pared down the passing game to manageable concepts for Tommy Armstrong. We also saw some new stuff emerge, as Langsdorf continued to expand on his Split Back Guns look, including the flare screen and the QB Draw off of it.
Eventually, though, those core plays start to form offensive tendencies that defenses pick up on as the year goes on. A certain formation paired with particular motion means outside zone. A back lined up opposite a tight end off the line of scrimmage means QB Counter OH is coming. Sending your RB in Rip/Liz motion tips off the flare screen and triggers safeties to fly down.
When that happens, it’s time to break those tendencies and dial up conflict plays to keep defenses honest. And that’s what happened in the Northwestern game, as OCDL continually broke tendency to give Northwestern new plays we haven’t seen this year. We’ll take a look at two of them, and we’ll also discuss a “new” formation that Nebraska rolled out to set up the mismatch that is Cethan Carter.