Monday Recap: Win and Survive

On a week where the athletic director gets sacked on Thursday, leading to speculation as to when, not whether, the head coach is next, a win is a win is a win.  Nobody is playing the national poll beauty queen contest in those circumstances.

Rutgers isn’t a good team, but they tested Nebraska in the first half.  11 play, 75-yard opening drive from Rutgers to go up 7-0.  I imagine there were a few eye rolls in the stadium, and given the circumstances, you wouldn’t blame the fans if they folded it in.  But they didn’t, nor did the team, and somehow the Huskers pulled a way for a 27-17 win that seemed closer than it was because of a clock killing 4th quarter featuring a monochromatic offense straight out of central casting for the Solich Era.

Here are some quick thoughts on the survival week win against Rutgers.

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Concept Wednesday: Slant Bubble RPO

Well, that sucked.  Nothing like going down four touchdowns at half, coming all the way back to within a touchdown in a two-minute situation, and then blowing a protection for your fourth interception of the day.  I’ve watched and watched and watched that game, and I’m still not sure how to characterize it.  So for this week, I may be taking a pass on a game recap post.

Instead, for Concept Wednesday, let’s take a look at something that kind of worked for the Huskers on Saturday: the Slant Bubble RPO.  This has been one of Nebraska’s core passing concepts the past two years, and it has produced some of Nebraska’s biggest plays.  Think De’Mornay Pierson-El’s 40-yard house call against Purdue last year, and you’ve got the Slant Bubble RPO.  Against Oregon, offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf dialed it up once early only to see Tanner Lee overthrow Pierson-El breaking open.  But Langsdorf was on it, and he came back to it immediately in the second half to get the rally started.  So Slant Bubble RPO it is today.
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Wyoming – One for the Record Books

I know some people have been bothered by fans griping about the Wyoming game, but I kind of like it.  It means bigger expectations are still around for a team that far too often settled into that 9-4 life the past few years.  Wyoming wasn’t a perfect game by any means, but when you can force 6 turnovers and put up 550 total yards to cover the spread, you’re doing something right.  It also saw Tommy Armstrong become Nebraska’s career passing TD leader, an outstanding accomplishment that perhaps throws a cold bucket of water on him not being named captain this year. 

Wyoming was content to stop the run by quickly dropping extra safety help to the box on any run action, so Nebraska and coordinator Danny Langsdorf did exactly what he should have done in that situation: RPO the hell out of them and put edge defenders in a bind while also taking advantage of those aggressive safeties dropping in run support.  We’ve talked about the running game quite a bit so far, so let’s change it up and look at Tommy Armstrong and his band of Gorilla Wideouts, two of whom broke through the 100-yard mark this game.   And since Run the Damn Ball guy was no doubt peeved seeing Armstrong chucking it all around the yard early in the game, I’ve also got a new formation in there for him at the end.

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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”

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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