Northwestern – It’s Time to Break Some Stuff

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.

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Southern Miss – Return of the Fullback

As we discussed in the last post, Southern Miss was the game where Nebraska fans (and coaches) really discovered what they had been missing the last three years with Andy Janovich.  Langsdorf featured Jano in all facets of the Southern Miss game, as a ball carrier, lead blocker and a receiver on play action.  When NFL Scouts cued up Andy Janovich’s game film before the draft, there is no doubt that the Southern Miss game played a large part in their evaluations.

Let’s take a look at two key plays featuring Jano, including a shout out to the old 34/36 Trap from TO’s day, as well one of Nebraska’s many special plays. Continue reading “Southern Miss – Return of the Fullback”

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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