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THE RUN GAME

HuskerFaith

Recruit
We're never going back to an offense featuring an I-back 7 yards deep in the backfield as our base offense, but I think that folks on this page will be very pleased, possibly even surprised, by what Austin has been trying to change with the offense. If you haven't already, listen to his interview after the first practice of spring and pay close attention to the examples he uses and the times when he's the most animated.


Be sure to catch the part where he talks about running "zone, power, and some old stuff." He's a Nebraska alum, a former Nebraska O-linemen, sitting in a Nebraska cafeteria, talking with Nebraska media about doing some "old stuff" that they used to do. He's specifically addressing questions about the running game, so what could he possibly mean by that except something like the old-school I-formation that we broke out against Ohio State for a series or two? Folks, that didn't just happen by accident or without thought or an investment of time and resources. Because both Osborne's Power-I offense and Frost's spread offense are based on zone blocking principles, it's actually not that huge of a shift for the players who most struggle with jumping back and forth between offensive schemes: the O-linemen. I'm pretty sure that Austin is saying that he wanted to run more of that I-formation offense last year, and nobody was listening to him. He gave specific examples of wanting to lean on the run when he referenced the Purdue and Iowa games, and that could be related or not, but it wouldn't change what he said. Folks, we're going to see some old-school Nebraska offense.

Here's what's interesting: How many people remember Frank Solich's base offense? We all remember Crouch running a lot of option out of the I-formation, but going as far back as Frazier and Lawrence Phillips, Nebraska had been running increasingly more of the Ace Offense with a QB under center and a single RB (Ace-Back) behind the QB. Frost ran this a lot as QB, including a lot of option plays where Shevin Wiggins was the pitch-man coming from the backside Wing (often it was a Slot) position, very similar to the heart of Paul Johnson's option offense. Fast forward to the Jammal Lord years under Solich, and I think that we ran almost as much Ace as Power-I, possibly more. Not only that, way back with Crouch we were already running some shotgun with a single RB, similar to almost all spread offenses now. Why does that matter? Austin started out in that Solich offense. He would have had to have learned the blocking techniques, principles, and calls for all of those Solich offensive looks, and I think that they were designed to be as interchangeable as possible for the people who most mattered: the O-linemen. Austin started playing at Nebraska under the Frank Solich offense, and it was actually quite complicated and quite multiple as it still contained pretty much all of Osborne's 90s offense, plus every wrinkle that Solich had added. Frost has been around ALL of the above, and he's even run almost all of this as a QB, and the O-line principles and techniques aren't significantly different from one scheme to the next.

I think that that's what Austin wants to do--change offensive formations to run the same plays with the same O-line blocking rules--and it's completely in line with what Frost (and Lubick) envision as a huge part of their ideal offense. That would mean more of what we saw briefly against Ohio State, when we switched up to run I-Formation offensive plays for a couple of series while still running our regular offense for most of that game. Austin wants more of that. Schematically, that would be an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses to replicate in practice, and it almost requires entirely different defensive schemes for the vastly different formations. Meanwhile, with guys like Wan'Dale, Rahmir, Mills, Chris Hickman, and an army of good TEs, the same personnel can line up in everything from Osborne's Power-I to Chip Kelly's Spread to anything in-between without having to change personnel. They can go goal-line with 2 TEs in line (like normal TEs), another set up like a Wingback/H-Back, Hickman at FB, and Wan'Dale at I-Back, then shift out of it to an empty backfield without changing personnel. I can't say that that's specifically what they're thinking about doing--I've been dreaming of it for 2+ years now, and it's all within the coaches' grasp if they want it--but that would be in line with what I'm pretty sure the offensive staff is trying to do.
Excellent stuff
 

Middle-aged_Ball_Coach

Scout Team
2 Year Member
I share your dreams. Why do you believe we didn’t see that offense at all after one series against Ohio State?
Great question. I don't have the answer. It was clearly meant to be a change of pace rather than something foundational, but the fact that it was working against Ohio State, and we never went back to it? It left a lot of questions out there.
 

goodnterribles

Regulators! Let's mount up.
5 Year Member
Don't expect the return of a dominant running game with SF in charge. He's totally bought into the Oregon fu-fu stuff. I'll be happy if we just get a couple of really good RB's and we use them effectively.
I think we'd all be happy if NU's offense ever gets to the level Oregon's offenses did, fu fu or not.
 

goodnterribles

Regulators! Let's mount up.
5 Year Member
Most will be happy. One loss and someone, maybe the OP, will say we need to run power football again.
2013: 11-2 record, 291 yds passing, 273 rushing, 45.5 points per game
2014: 13-2 record, 312 yds passing, 234 rushing, 45.4 points per game
2015: 9-4 record, 258 yd passing, 280 rushing, 43 points per game

Give me that fu fu any day of the week.
 

CrabHusker

It rubs the lotion on its skin.
5 Year Member
2013: 11-2 record, 291 yds passing, 273 rushing, 45.5 points per game
2014: 13-2 record, 312 yds passing, 234 rushing, 45.4 points per game
2015: 9-4 record, 258 yd passing, 280 rushing, 43 points per game

Give me that fu fu any day of the week.
Agreed. Not all will agree.
 

CrabHusker

It rubs the lotion on its skin.
5 Year Member
That is confusing to me. Over 250 yards rushing a game is not running the ball enough????
If you’re not the undefeated MNC and lead D1 in rushing yardage, you’re not doing it right. Or something.

I’ll admit watching the old offenses roll through opposing defenses is my favorite kind of football. It’s been gone for years and it’s not coming back. Even the good offenses with Crouch under center are now nearly 20 years in the rear view mirror.

I’m fine with the offense we’re ‘trying’ to run if we can A) Stop leaving so many points on the field and B) Win football games with it.
 

Bleed Red

Red Shirt
5 Year Member
We're never going back to an offense featuring an I-back 7 yards deep in the backfield as our base offense, but I think that folks on this page will be very pleased, possibly even surprised, by what Austin has been trying to change with the offense. If you haven't already, listen to his interview after the first practice of spring and pay close attention to the examples he uses and the times when he's the most animated.


Be sure to catch the part where he talks about running "zone, power, and some old stuff." He's a Nebraska alum, a former Nebraska O-linemen, sitting in a Nebraska cafeteria, talking with Nebraska media about doing some "old stuff" that they used to do. He's specifically addressing questions about the running game, so what could he possibly mean by that except something like the old-school I-formation that we broke out against Ohio State for a series or two? Folks, that didn't just happen by accident or without thought or an investment of time and resources. Because both Osborne's Power-I offense and Frost's spread offense are based on zone blocking principles, it's actually not that huge of a shift for the players who most struggle with jumping back and forth between offensive schemes: the O-linemen. I'm pretty sure that Austin is saying that he wanted to run more of that I-formation offense last year, and nobody was listening to him. He gave specific examples of wanting to lean on the run when he referenced the Purdue and Iowa games, and that could be related or not, but it wouldn't change what he said. Folks, we're going to see some old-school Nebraska offense.

Here's what's interesting: How many people remember Frank Solich's base offense? We all remember Crouch running a lot of option out of the I-formation, but going as far back as Frazier and Lawrence Phillips, Nebraska had been running increasingly more of the Ace Offense with a QB under center and a single RB (Ace-Back) behind the QB. Frost ran this a lot as QB, including a lot of option plays where Shevin Wiggins was the pitch-man coming from the backside Wing (often it was a Slot) position, very similar to the heart of Paul Johnson's option offense. Fast forward to the Jammal Lord years under Solich, and I think that we ran almost as much Ace as Power-I, possibly more. Not only that, way back with Crouch we were already running some shotgun with a single RB, similar to almost all spread offenses now. Why does that matter? Austin started out in that Solich offense. He would have had to have learned the blocking techniques, principles, and calls for all of those Solich offensive looks, and I think that they were designed to be as interchangeable as possible for the people who most mattered: the O-linemen. Austin started playing at Nebraska under the Frank Solich offense, and it was actually quite complicated and quite multiple as it still contained pretty much all of Osborne's 90s offense, plus every wrinkle that Solich had added. Frost has been around ALL of the above, and he's even run almost all of this as a QB, and the O-line principles and techniques aren't significantly different from one scheme to the next.

I think that that's what Austin wants to do--change offensive formations to run the same plays with the same O-line blocking rules--and it's completely in line with what Frost (and Lubick) envision as a huge part of their ideal offense. That would mean more of what we saw briefly against Ohio State, when we switched up to run I-Formation offensive plays for a couple of series while still running our regular offense for most of that game. Austin wants more of that. Schematically, that would be an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses to replicate in practice, and it almost requires entirely different defensive schemes for the vastly different formations. Meanwhile, with guys like Wan'Dale, Rahmir, Mills, Chris Hickman, and an army of good TEs, the same personnel can line up in everything from Osborne's Power-I to Chip Kelly's Spread to anything in-between without having to change personnel. They can go goal-line with 2 TEs in line (like normal TEs), another set up like a Wingback/H-Back, Hickman at FB, and Wan'Dale at I-Back, then shift out of it to an empty backfield without changing personnel. I can't say that that's specifically what they're thinking about doing--I've been dreaming of it for 2+ years now, and it's all within the coaches' grasp if they want it--but that would be in line with what I'm pretty sure the offensive staff is trying to do.
People tend to forget that the FS offense had become much more one dimensional and that dimension was QB run game. Lord and Crouch ran it a ton, with different levels of success. The TO offense was slowly fading, however i won't argue that SP ended it much more abruptly than it would have ended otherwise.
 

Show Me State Red

Red Shirt
2 Year Member
2013: 11-2 record, 291 yds passing, 273 rushing, 45.5 points per game
2014: 13-2 record, 312 yds passing, 234 rushing, 45.4 points per game
2015: 9-4 record, 258 yd passing, 280 rushing, 43 points per game

Give me that fu fu any day of the week.
1 Pac-10 conf championship and a 42-20 arse whooping by Ohio State to end the year.
 

Middle-aged_Ball_Coach

Scout Team
2 Year Member
I love how Oregon losing the first ever championship game in the playoff era is no big deal. A school that never won a mythical NC (and had never played for one until Chip Kelly arrived) and had won a grand total of 7 conference championships in a century of football (only two of which were not shared), suddenly won 3 in a row in Kelly's first three years. Nothing to see here, folks. Carry on. It's nothing.

Imagine if Les Miles retires in a couple of years after bringing the program up to mediocrity, then the next coach at Kansas wins the Big 12 in his first 3 seasons while playing for a NC that he loses on a last-second field goal, all while running a revolutionary offense that teams all over the country immediately begin to copy. That would be roughly analogous to what happened at Oregon during the Chip Kelly years.

Nothing to see here, folks. Not worth mentioning. Who cares what THAT GUY did there?!?
 
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