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Thread: The shift to the big back

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  1. #1
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    The shift to the big back

    The article that came out about how Nebraska may be shifting to the big back, and then some of the comments that ensued about "changing the offense again" and "when will we have an identity" made me want to at least show something to let people know that if we have some big backs, it doesn't necessarily mean there is a total shift in mentality, formations, and plays...

    Since I have been having some adult beverages after a long work week, I wanted to break down a play to show what I mean. Here is a video against Michigan, and the play I am referring to starts at the 6:21 mark. I have no idea how to upload a single portion of a video, or even to upload it so you can just click on it, but someone else can do that for me....if anyone cares.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnepI46utc4

    This is the play called "power" that every team in the country runs from junior high, to the NFL. On the play side, you have people blocking down (which means the linemen on the right will block usually the first man inside them, or combo (which means help the guy inside you and move up to get your man on the second level) to their person. The backside guard pulls and is usually looking for first defender second level, but will not pass anyone up.

    For simplicity, let's just call this 'Power Zone Read Option Right'

    So for assignments sake, here we go:
    Long, Caputo and Jones
    all block down, Jones going to second level taking weakside LB.
    Hardrick seals off backside
    Choi is the one that has to think as he pulls and SHOULD get the middle linebacker, but since the playside DE did not come down on the QB, Choi can't pass up an open man and blocks him.
    Marlowe is essentially the TE in this 3 WR set, and he cracks down on the OLB.
    Bell obviously takes his corner and blocks him on the outside.

    Here is where changing to a big back may not be as big of a CHANGE as you think:
    The backfield is Burkhead, then Martinez, then Abdullah.
    Martinez reads PLAYSIDE DE and since he stays home and would tackle the QB, gives the ball to Burkhead....
    Abdullah becomes the option man from Burkhead.

    Now, if you substitute Marrow in for Abdullah (big back, like we may see this year) this play would be different. In conversations with Beck and hearing him speak, an exact quote is "we didn't recruit Abdullah and Green to block". If you go back and look at the play, they are accounting for the safety. If it were Marrow, he would be blocking the safety (#30) that they bring down to stop the run. Since they didn't have a "blocking" RB in to account for this guy, this week against Michigan who had aggressive safeties coming down to stop the run, they chose to option off of him. If it were Marrow, he would have blocked the safety and Burkhead would have kept the ball.

    I hope I didn't bore anyone, but reading the article and hearing some comments just wanted to clear the air that while you may see more under center if we have some bigger backs, it doesn't necessarily mean things will be totally revamped. It may just adjust their scheme for the week.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShortSideOption View Post
    The article that came out about how Nebraska may be shifting to the big back, and then some of the comments that ensued about "changing the offense again" and "when will we have an identity" made me want to at least show something to let people know that if we have some big backs, it doesn't necessarily mean there is a total shift in mentality, formations, and plays...

    Since I have been having some adult beverages after a long work week, I wanted to break down a play to show what I mean. Here is a video against Michigan, and the play I am referring to starts at the 6:21 mark. I have no idea how to upload a single portion of a video, or even to upload it so you can just click on it, but someone else can do that for me....if anyone cares.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnepI46utc4

    This is the play called "power" that every team in the country runs from junior high, to the NFL. On the play side, you have people blocking down (which means the linemen on the right will block usually the first man inside them, or combo (which means help the guy inside you and move up to get your man on the second level) to their person. The backside guard pulls and is usually looking for first defender second level, but will not pass anyone up.

    For simplicity, let's just call this 'Power Zone Read Option Right'

    So for assignments sake, here we go:
    Long, Caputo and Jones
    all block down, Jones going to second level taking weakside LB.
    Hardrick seals off backside
    Choi is the one that has to think as he pulls and SHOULD get the middle linebacker, but since the playside DE did not come down on the QB, Choi can't pass up an open man and blocks him.
    Marlowe is essentially the TE in this 3 WR set, and he cracks down on the OLB.
    Bell obviously takes his corner and blocks him on the outside.

    Here is where changing to a big back may not be as big of a CHANGE as you think:
    The backfield is Burkhead, then Martinez, then Abdullah.
    Martinez reads PLAYSIDE DE and since he stays home and would tackle the QB, gives the ball to Burkhead....
    Abdullah becomes the option man from Burkhead.

    Now, if you substitute Marrow in for Abdullah (big back, like we may see this year) this play would be different. In conversations with Beck and hearing him speak, an exact quote is "we didn't recruit Abdullah and Green to block". If you go back and look at the play, they are accounting for the safety. If it were Marrow, he would be blocking the safety (#30) that they bring down to stop the run. Since they didn't have a "blocking" RB in to account for this guy, this week against Michigan who had aggressive safeties coming down to stop the run, they chose to option off of him. If it were Marrow, he would have blocked the safety and Burkhead would have kept the ball.

    I hope I didn't bore anyone, but reading the article and hearing some comments just wanted to clear the air that while you may see more under center if we have some bigger backs, it doesn't necessarily mean things will be totally revamped. It may just adjust their scheme for the week.
    This post certainly doesn't bore me, SSO. I'll admit it is a little weak on commentary on social issues, though.

    Are we still allowed to talk football around here?

    In that video, the thing that strikes me is TOO MANY LATERAL RUNNING PLAYS. The pass to BK at the 1:39 mark was a thing of beauty.

    I second the need for a Big 10 Banger. The thing I hope the coaches are very conscious of is telegraphing a play every time Marrow comes in. We don't have the roadgraders of the 90's that allowed us to run plays successfully when the whole stadium knew what was coming.

    That means Marrow (if he works out, that is) will need meaningful game reps in which we run other than power. Heck, who knows, maybe that was the writing on the wall that Andrew Green read before making his decision to transfer.

    Now - back to your beverage, and I think I will as well.
    "Even hayseeds like ourselves get to put our 2 cents in now. Truthfully most of us could not coach ourselves out of a paper basket."
    ---Russian Red

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzHusker View Post
    This post certainly doesn't bore me, SSO. I'll admit it is a little weak on commentary on social issues, though.

    Are we still allowed to talk football around here?

    In that video, the thing that strikes me is TOO MANY LATERAL RUNNING PLAYS. The pass to BK at the 1:39 mark was a thing of beauty.

    I second the need for a Big 10 Banger. The thing I hope the coaches are very conscious of is telegraphing a play every time Marrow comes in. We don't have the roadgraders of the 90's that allowed us to run plays successfully when the whole stadium knew what was coming.

    That means Marrow (if he works out, that is) will need meaningful game reps in which we run other than power. Heck, who knows, maybe that was the writing on the wall that Andrew Green read before making his decision to transfer.

    Now - back to your beverage, and I think I will as well.
    I wanted to get some football discussion....I was bored and I can only watch highlights of the Michigan State game so many times. I noticed a little more why Turner wasn't on the field much after watching this video though, has some ways to go. Great with the ball in his hands in space, i'll give him that. But hope he improved when his number isn't called.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShortSideOption View Post
    I wanted to get some football discussion....I was bored and I can only watch highlights of the Michigan State game so many times. I noticed a little more why Turner wasn't on the field much after watching this video though, has some ways to go. Great with the ball in his hands in space, i'll give him that. But hope he improved when his number isn't called.
    Tmart missed a couple of semi-truck sized holes on option-keepers up the middle. Unfortunately, I don't know how many meaningful practice reps he's capable of against our #1 defense and still hold up for the season. I'm sure that Frost and Frazier got many, many reps in the day, so that hitting those holes was second nature to them. Hopefully, Rex, Marrow, and company will get numerous looks in a more vertical game this fall camp and we get ready to crack some heads. The Michigan front seven just pins their ears back and comes with no fear, knowing that we didn't have the vertical game to make them pay.
    "Even hayseeds like ourselves get to put our 2 cents in now. Truthfully most of us could not coach ourselves out of a paper basket."
    ---Russian Red

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    Quote Originally Posted by AzHusker View Post
    Tmart missed a couple of semi-truck sized holes on option-keepers up the middle. Unfortunately, I don't know how many meaningful practice reps he's capable of against our #1 defense and still hold up for the season. I'm sure that Frost and Frazier got many, many reps in the day, so that hitting those holes was second nature to them. Hopefully, Rex, Marrow, and company will get numerous looks in a more vertical game this fall camp and we get ready to crack some heads. The Michigan front seven just pins their ears back and comes with no fear, knowing that we didn't have the vertical game to make them pay.
    I know for a fact they told TMart to give it a lot towards the end of the season because he was banged up. But you are right, he kept it one time in this game on 3rd down and if he would have followed his blockers it was a first and much more. We go as far as he takes us, no denying that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShortSideOption View Post
    The article that came out about how Nebraska may be shifting to the big back, and then some of the comments that ensued about "changing the offense again" and "when will we have an identity" made me want to at least show something to let people know that if we have some big backs, it doesn't necessarily mean there is a total shift in mentality, formations, and plays...

    Since I have been having some adult beverages after a long work week, I wanted to break down a play to show what I mean. Here is a video against Michigan, and the play I am referring to starts at the 6:21 mark. I have no idea how to upload a single portion of a video, or even to upload it so you can just click on it, but someone else can do that for me....if anyone cares.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnepI46utc4

    This is the play called "power" that every team in the country runs from junior high, to the NFL. On the play side, you have people blocking down (which means the linemen on the right will block usually the first man inside them, or combo (which means help the guy inside you and move up to get your man on the second level) to their person. The backside guard pulls and is usually looking for first defender second level, but will not pass anyone up.

    For simplicity, let's just call this 'Power Zone Read Option Right'

    So for assignments sake, here we go:
    Long, Caputo and Jones
    all block down, Jones going to second level taking weakside LB.
    Hardrick seals off backside
    Choi is the one that has to think as he pulls and SHOULD get the middle linebacker, but since the playside DE did not come down on the QB, Choi can't pass up an open man and blocks him.
    Marlowe is essentially the TE in this 3 WR set, and he cracks down on the OLB.
    Bell obviously takes his corner and blocks him on the outside.

    Here is where changing to a big back may not be as big of a CHANGE as you think:
    The backfield is Burkhead, then Martinez, then Abdullah.
    Martinez reads PLAYSIDE DE and since he stays home and would tackle the QB, gives the ball to Burkhead....
    Abdullah becomes the option man from Burkhead.

    Now, if you substitute Marrow in for Abdullah (big back, like we may see this year) this play would be different. In conversations with Beck and hearing him speak, an exact quote is "we didn't recruit Abdullah and Green to block". If you go back and look at the play, they are accounting for the safety. If it were Marrow, he would be blocking the safety (#30) that they bring down to stop the run. Since they didn't have a "blocking" RB in to account for this guy, this week against Michigan who had aggressive safeties coming down to stop the run, they chose to option off of him. If it were Marrow, he would have blocked the safety and Burkhead would have kept the ball.

    I hope I didn't bore anyone, but reading the article and hearing some comments just wanted to clear the air that while you may see more under center if we have some bigger backs, it doesn't necessarily mean things will be totally revamped. It may just adjust their scheme for the week.
    So Burkhead will get even more carries? Lol, and I thought that was a trick play. Didn't know it was one we run all the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greatest Fan of All View Post
    So Burkhead will get even more carries? Lol, and I thought that was a trick play. Didn't know it was one we run all the time.
    First of all, damn you.....

    But, we can run other variations, you can run it the other way and make Burkhead block, you could throw out of it if the safeties come up. I would hope Burkhead's carries go down this year, but we could also have Abdullah and Marrow be back there, or this same formation and do the same thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShortSideOption View Post
    First of all, damn you.....

    But, we can run other variations, you can run it the other way and make Burkhead block, you could throw out of it if the safeties come up. I would hope Burkhead's carries go down this year, but we could also have Abdullah and Marrow be back there, or this same formation and do the same thing.
    Thanks for the damnation. I do think it is odd to pick a trick play to analyze, rather than a more conventional play, to illustrate the "lack of change" that will come from this supposed move to big backs. But, then again, I don't buy into this thought that we are moving to a big back philosophy. If you can't fit speedy average sized backs into your offense, your offense belongs in the scrap heap. I think we'll see normal sized backs at Dear Old Nebraska University for quite some time yet. Even I don't think Pelini is headed that far astray.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greatest Fan of All View Post
    Thanks for the damnation. I do think it is odd to pick a trick play to analyze, rather than a more conventional play, to illustrate the "lack of change" that will come from this supposed move to big backs. But, then again, I don't buy into this thought that we are moving to a big back philosophy. If you can't fit speedy average sized backs into your offense, your offense belongs in the scrap heap. I think we'll see normal sized backs at Dear Old Nebraska University for quite some time yet. Even I don't think Pelini is headed that far astray.
    Come on man, I was joking with that comment, I didn't seriously mean that....

    But it's not really a trick play, just a variation of a play we run 10 times a game usually.

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    Also, 4:15 is the exact same play ran the other way. Where Burkhead is a guy that was recruited to block, he picks up the safety and is not the option man. Again, not a trick play.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShortSideOption View Post
    Come on man, I was joking with that comment, I didn't seriously mean that....

    But it's not really a trick play, just a variation of a play we run 10 times a game usually.
    Good! I was worried...I do enough on my own to bring it about...don't need anyone else helping me get there. I'm sure you are right that it's a variation and it may be that the big back concept is more for additional blocking than to run the ball--not sure everyone views it that way. I would tend to agree with you, if there is ANY change at all.

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    For example, the 1:19 mark isn't a trick play, is it? Because that's a play action out of power...

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    Legate was not a great blocker, IMO. We can use some improvement at that position.
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    doesn't mean he's right for us here at Nebraska." -Bo Pelini, 2/3/10


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    Quote Originally Posted by FeelLikeAStranger View Post
    Legate was not a great blocker, IMO. We can use some improvement at that position.
    He did well with what god gave him. I played softball against him and if he was 5'10" I would be surprised. I don't know what he is listed at, but he is short. That is good for leverage, but tough to get a lot of "good weight" on. Marrow is a beast if he can get consecutive plays in, should be able to run some people over blocking and carrying the ball.

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    Marrow is a great runner too....just blows guys away and over....
    Notre Dame only had one Rudy but Nebraska gets a new crop of Rudys every season







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