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Running Backs

Husker In Oklahoma

All Big 10
15 Year Member
Seems like NU had a bevy of RB’s just recently. Now, they give the bulk to a 160lb speedster. Has anything gone right for these guys since they got here? I mean, damn. This team looks lost and poorly coached. I so thought we were all done with that when this hire was made.
 

HuskerNash

Red Shirt
2 Year Member
Our running backs are hurt/young, yes, but these are stupidly misleading stats. You have to add Wandale, who is currently our #1 starting running back. Add his yards:

Penn State: 84
Illinois: 96
Iowa: 78

Wandale is averaging 5.6 yards per carry. I'd like for him to get about 12 carries a game. He's our best running back. He's also 185lbs, which isn't big obviously, but there's no way a 165lb back is breaking arm tackles.

Frost criticism is fair... but it's not fair if the information is incorrect. Wandale was recruited as the #1 all-purpose back in the country. That's exactly what he's doing now--a RB/WR hybrid. His carries should 100% count as running back carries.
He may be 185 in pads. He is also listed at 5'10-there is no way he is that tall.
 

Beareye

Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
I remember reading this article a few years ago and beaming that this product would be coming to Lincoln. Read the article and look at the posted videos and ask yourself if any of that looks like what you've seen over the past 3 years. Outside of 2018, there really haven't been glimpses of it since the start...

I'm still waiting to see those plays where a fast RB bursts through the line untouched and goes for big yardage. That was a hallmark of the UCF and Oregon offenses. We saw that a little bit at the end of Year 1 with Ozigbo and Washington. Basically full regression since then.
 

pitch

Red Shirt
15 Year Member
Husker offense doesn’t resemble anything Nebraska fans have come to love. I believe it’s simply a lack of experienced talent. Frost recruited two excellent running backs ( both seemed to be head cases) and they ran well even with a less than stellar line left by Riley. Both would still be playing today if things had worked out.
Ozigbo ran extremely well as a senior but there was no depth after him. Right now Mills is hurt and the depth is a redshirt freshman and a true freshman. The running game leader is now a 165 pound sophomore who was recruited to play a different position in this offense.

Here’s a list of the yards at running back per game from true ( recruited for the position) running back.

Ohio State 47
Northwestern 62
Penn State 24
Illinois 36
Iowa 36

Scott and Johnson have the bulk of those carries because there’s no Junior or Senior back up to Mills. Obviously there’s talent but very little experience at that position. I worry that #1 is going to suffer a serious injury running between the tackles.
Nebraska really misses Mills.
Get under center and run the ball. We need some big backs that slam it up between the tackles.

We are recruiting finesse style offensive talent. It doesn't bode well on 3rd and 2 in the shotgun.
 
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ShortSideOption

All American
10 Year Member
So? mid level competition. Didn't want to play at UN and just think if he would have stayed. 2 years of development and commitment and he could maybe have been a major contributor. I do want to stress 2 years of development. What did he do last year?
He was hurt last year. Secondly, what makes you think he would have been better with two years of development here? I'm really trying to be positive but can you name an offensive player that has gotten better while here?


 
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ShortSideOption

All American
10 Year Member
Ozigbo is literally the only one. Everyone else regressed/regresses yearly.
Yep, and I baited that hook nice and juicy for my follow-up question:

If our staff was truly the ones that made him better in 6 months, why is he the only one in 3 years? I think I could say that Jack Stoll has gotten better and Austin Allen has become more consistent. My point is, Ozigbo decided being a big back wasn't what he was good at so changed himself and it paid off.
 

NU_Alum

Heisman
5 Year Member
Yep, and I baited that hook nice and juicy for my follow-up question:

If our staff was truly the ones that made him better in 6 months, why is he the only one in 3 years? I think I could say that Jack Stoll has gotten better and Austin Allen has become more consistent. My point is, Ozigbo decided being a big back wasn't what he was good at so changed himself and it paid off.
That's a good point, I don't know that it was the staff and frankly, it probably wasn't.

It has to be nearly impossible to go 3 years without improving any skill player right? Otherwise I think you need a whole new staff.

Unfortunately, we can't afford to lose Held right now. He's light years ahead as our best recruiter.

I think we might see changes at 2-3 spots on the coaching staff next year. QB, OL, WR.

Maybe Keith Williams will still be available....;)
 

ShortSideOption

All American
10 Year Member
That's a good point, I don't know that it was the staff and frankly, it probably wasn't.

It has to be nearly impossible to go 3 years without improving any skill player right? Otherwise I think you need a whole new staff.

Unfortunately, we can't afford to lose Held right now. He's light years ahead as our best recruiter.

I think we might see changes at 2-3 spots on the coaching staff next year. QB, OL, WR.

Maybe Keith Williams will still be available....;)
First I want to point out that there probably is some improvement we are missing that we just can't see. For example, Rhamir Johnson probably got better but we haven't seen much of him. Dedrick Mills I assume got better but has been really hurt. But I guess I feel like we should have some visible results on the field to point to more than Ozigbo and thinking that the guys I mentioned are better.

Held and the RB room is such a head scratcher for me. Arguably our best recruiter as his spot always has talented guys inking with us on signing day, not to mention his JUCO connections to save our tail the last 7 days last year for the 2020 class (had a hand in 6 of our 12 guys we signed from December on with Joseph, Manning, Mauga-Clements, Cooper, Riley, and Payne). Those are huge hauls when you think about how we struck out but were able to grab some capable bodies that we didn't dedicate 4-5 years to but 2-3 years.

Continuing with my confusion with our RB spot and Held, I made this post elsewhere this week, but look at our room when he got here:

Ozigbo - stud
Bell - stud
Washington - stud head case
Bryant - Averaged 150 yards per game before hurting his leg in 2017, injury retired
Wilbon - four star but just got a little too big
Jones - four star

Now I get that Bryant injury isn't his fault, you are going to miss on a guy like Jones, Wilbon was a four star that didn't do a ton except in 2017 rushed for over 4 ypc, Washington you take a chance on that talent all day, etc., but that was a pretty good room of veteran guys mixed with your recruits you just brought in. We had the ability to sit the #1 JUCO RB in the country (Bell) and put in a guy you inherited and get better (Ozigbo).

We now have Mills and a bunch of youngsters. It's just a confusing situation there for me because I think Held is an unreal recruiter and a really good coach.
 
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NU_Alum

Heisman
5 Year Member
First I want to point out that there probably is some improvement we are missing that we just can't see. For example, Rhamir Johnson probably got better but we haven't seen much of him. Dedrick Mills I assume got better but has been really hurt. But I guess I feel like we should have some visible results on the field to point to more than Ozigbo and thinking that the guys I mentioned are better.

Held and the RB room is such a head scratcher for me. Arguably our best recruiter as his spot always has talented guys inking with us on signing day, not to mention his JUCO connections to save our tail the last 7 days last year for the 2020 class (had a hand in 6 of our 12 guys we signed from December on with Joseph, Manning, Mauga-Clements, Cooper, Riley, and Payne). Those are huge hauls when you think about how we struck out but were able to grab some capable bodies that we didn't dedicate 4-5 years to but 2-3 years.

Continuing with my confusion with our RB spot and Held, I made this post elsewhere this week, but look at our room when he got here:

Ozigbo - stud
Bell - stud
Washington - stud head case
Bryant - Averaged 150 yards per game before hurting his leg in 2017, injury retired
Wilbon - four star but just got a little too big
Jones - four star

Now I get that Bryant injury isn't his fault, you are going to miss on a guy like Jones, Wilbon was a four star that didn't do a ton except in 2017 rushed for over 4 ypc, Washington you take a chance on that talent all day, etc., but that was a pretty good room of veteran guys mixed with your recruits you just brought in. We had the ability to sit the #1 JUCO RB in the country (Bell) and put in a guy you inherited and get better (Ozigbo).

We now have Mills and a bunch of youngsters. It's just a confusing situation there for me because I think Held is an unreal recruiter and a really good coach.
He's had some bad luck with an injury here and there and guys leaving. I don't think guys are leaving because of Held. We cannot replace him at this point in time, IMO. Move him I guess to a recruiting coordinator only position? I'd give him another year.

All that said, Verduzco seems to be able to recruit his one guy a year. I don't know how much is him, Frost, Held, or whomever but we are getting a really good guy every year. I think that production though can be easily replaced. I'm not sold on his teaching either.

I'm not sure I have to address WR, that's a disgusting joke.

OL is tricky because I don't know if Austin is literally stuck with the lineup because Frost won't allow a change. You heard him about Cam. Would Austin make that same statement? We have a few guys that play well but then we have several that just don't and continue playing.
 

canadianhusker

Red Shirt
15 Year Member
Wow I forgot all about Bryant. There's an Athletic article that I could only read the first few paragraphs of that says he's still with the program in some capacity. Good for him being able to move on from playing and contribute.
 

ShortSideOption

All American
10 Year Member
He's had some bad luck with an injury here and there and guys leaving. I don't think guys are leaving because of Held. We cannot replace him at this point in time, IMO. Move him I guess to a recruiting coordinator only position? I'd give him another year.

All that said, Verduzco seems to be able to recruit his one guy a year. I don't know how much is him, Frost, Held, or whomever but we are getting a really good guy every year. I think that production though can be easily replaced. I'm not sold on his teaching either.

I'm not sure I have to address WR, that's a disgusting joke.

OL is tricky because I don't know if Austin is literally stuck with the lineup because Frost won't allow a change. You heard him about Cam. Would Austin make that same statement? We have a few guys that play well but then we have several that just don't and continue playing.
I am by no means saying move on from Held. I think he's had bad luck with injuries, some head cases, but there's one or two we need to see better from (like Bell). Again, I think he's a must keep, I just don't understand what's going on. You should be able to have Mills as your bell cow, have Thompkins/Johnson spell him, throw Robinson back there for a series or two, then one of your freshmen should be capable of 5 carries a game. We just seem to be a revolving door there. One freshmen one week then another the next. I'm sure it's just consistency issues but RB/WR we should be able to get guys on the field early, those are the easiest spots to play right away.

I'm not on a "fire this coach" train, I think Frost knows what's working and what isn't. But if he got rid of Verduzco I wouldn't be mad. He was the OC/QB coach at Oregon with Mariota and he's more than capable of pulling in one QB recruit a year. That would be an easy transition.

Lubick is a bit hampered by not having a spring at all, I get that. But the fact we are in the exact same situation as we were in 2019 and will probably be there for 2021 is unacceptable. Again, not sure I just put Lubick in front of the firing squad, but we returned 9 starters on offense and our offense has regressed so much it is ranking lower than the 2009 Nebraska offense.

Austin i'm right there with you. Our OL isn't getting it done, but how much is him? Is it Frost/Lubick play calling? Is it Austin technique? Is it Duval S/C? When Riley was struggling I was privy to the fact that it wasn't all him, so when people blew him up, I defended the guy. But I really don't know how much autonomy the guy had. I can tell you last year he was not happy with the run play calling, and it's theoretically him this year.
 
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