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.
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.