Oregon – Behold, Tommy Armstrong’s Evolution

Tommy Armstrong, much maligned, some of it well deserved, is currently sitting at 29th in the country in passer efficiency rating and 36th in total yards per game.  Perhaps more importantly, he’s only thrown 1 interception through his first three games to 7 TDs.  Part of that is weak competition, but I’d argue a larger part of that is Armstrong’s maturation as a quarterback along with offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf’s growing comfort with how to use him.  #4 is never going to be coldly efficient in the passing game, but he’s made much better decisions with the football this year both passing and running it.  And for his part, Langsdorf has been able to introduce Tommy’s legs not only in the running game, but also by building passing concepts that take advantage of them as well.

This week we’re going to go a little off the reservation to look at this in action.  Instead of breaking down three new plays, we’ll take a look at a single offensive concept and how it unfolds during a game.  When OCs talk about being “multiple” or “flexible,” they’re not just talking in a macro sense about being able to both run and throw the ball.  Rather in a micro sense they’re also talking about being able to run core offensive concepts across a wide variety of formations and with small tweaks on each play.  Another indicator of multiplicity, largely because of the new RPO revolution, is packaging run game concepts with passing game concepts on the same play, and again both of which you can show out of multiple formations.  When OCs can get to that level in their play calling, that’s when you start to see offenses really take off.  Tom Osborne was one of the best at this multiplicity, calling over 75% of his plays as runs but showing those core running concepts out of a ton of formations and with small deviations in the blocking schemes as well.  The end result is hesitant defenses, never sure what they’re going to see after the snap because film study doesn’t reveal too many tendencies. 

As we’ll see in this write up, Danny Langsdorf is starting to pick on defenses in the same way.  Calm down there, Run the Damn Ball Guy,  I’m not saying OCDL is Tom Osborne.  I will say though that he’s starting to climb up the chart of legit OCs in college football.  This week, let’s take a look at Langsdorf’s flare/swing screen concept and how he uses it to dupe opposing coordinators and their players.

Continue reading “Oregon – Behold, Tommy Armstrong’s Evolution”

Charting Southern Miss – Hello Jano!

Former Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck once said that fullbacks were dead in modern football.  In a year where Wisconsin rushed for 581 yards against Nebraska and finished 15 spots ahead of Beck’s unit on the yearly rushing list.  Oddly enough, Andy Janovich was also on Tim Beck’s roster that year.  True to Beck’s words, Jano didn’t get a single carry.

Thankfully for Janovich, Beck was off ruining Ohio State’s MNC run in 2016 and new coaches Riley and Langsdorf were exhuming the fullback much to the delight of Nebraska fans.  In the Southern Miss game, Jano was featured heavily in both the running and passing game.

Continue reading “Charting Southern Miss – Hello Jano!”

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:

Continue reading “QB Run Game – BYU”