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Where SSO was wrong

ShortSideOption

All American
10 Year Member
I've been wrong about multiple things on here before. I remember telling people before the 2019 season that we would see a ton of 2 TE sets because we were inexperienced at WR and we had a lot of experience with Stoll and Allen/Rafdal. We proceed to barely do it and I look foolish. Fast forward to preseason 2020, I sit on HuskerMax proclaiming that with Austin as the run game coordinator and with the most starters returning on offense in the B1G, the most starts returning on the OL in the conference, a big downhill RB returning in Mills, and again needing to groom young WRs for the second year in a row, we would be running north/south on people all day long. Our OL has had 3 years with our strength staff and they know the scheme now.

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To date, here are the guys listed as RB on the roster and their carries with yardage through five games:

Dedrick Mills 31 carries for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns
Marvin Scott 23 carries for 60 yards and 0 touchdowns
Rahmir Johnson 6 carries for 26 yards and 1 touchdown
Ronald Thompkins 5 carries for 24 yards and 0 touchdowns

I really have no idea what is going on, but to me this is the root of most our problems. I can sit here and talk penalties with you, special teams, but sticking with offense, if you are a play-caller, if you don't have a single RB over 100 yards after 5 games you are in serious trouble. Is it lack of a push and S/C? Is it lack of coaching/technique? Is it bad play calling? I don't know but we have to insert our QB as a +1 in the run game to get any sort of rushing yardage.

It seems crazy to type those things out when we quite literally at the beginning of the year could have started the exact same offensive line as we did in 2019 where Mills had success with over 5 ypc. One theme I would like to put to bed is "how young" our offensive line is, take a look with returning starts going against Ohio State:

Jaimes - 33
Wilson - 21
Jurgens - 12
Farniok - 28
Benhart - 0
TOTAL - 94
*feel free to add Hixson with 12 starts if you would like, but since he hasn't started this year I didn't want to skew the results

vs Ohio State, they only had 3 returning starters who compiled 54 returning starts
vs Northwestern they only had 3 returning starters who compiled 15 returning starts
vs Penn State they had 4 returning starters who compiled 78 returning starts
vs Illinois they had 3 returning starters who compiled 75 career starts
vs Iowa they had 3 returning starters who compiled 55 returning starts

I found this fascinating.... we had 106 starts returning that we could have used, so the "we were young on the offensive line" is a terrible excuse considering the fact that we didn't have to be young. Secondly, Illinois had one returning starter who switched over from DL in 2018 and then a new starter this year that moved to offense from defense. I understand people will say "but we ended up starting Piper" and again the counter would be that we still have 3 returning starters on the line, with returning starts still in the 70s. I also find it interesting that the team with more returning starters and the closest returning starts to us was the team we actually beat (Penn State) I also understand that Jurgens is new and that's where people would go too. But the long and short of it is we actually performed better in 2019 than we are in 2020 in the run game, and we quite literally could have every piece still here that we had in 2019. If we are young, if we are retuning less starters, if we are returning less starts, then it's based on a decision we made. We can't have the most veteran OL returning for the 2020 season then have our excuse be "but we are young."

But to summarize... what is going wrong? I still have no clue. Long thread to basically say I was wrong and have no idea where we have faltered and why we are worse now than we were last year. You literally have every single player back that started last year where we had much more success than this year.
 
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Hotlanta Husker

Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
I just have no idea how we can't figure a single aspect of the running game that works besides QB runs that constantly put our QBs in harms way. I know Mills not playing is hurting us... but surely there is a way to scheme a few RB run plays that work.

I go back to the series in 2019 early on in the game vs Ohio St.. where we went retro with the FB and some actual lead blocking, some speed/counter option etc. It seems like a completely gimmick move now since we have not gone back to any of it... but surely sprinkle in a few of those plays to just desperately try to get some offensive momentum on first and second down.

starts around the 2 minute mark... I refuse to believe that our team has forgotten how to run these gimmick plays.

 
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Uncle Buck

All American
15 Year Member
Does it seem any running play that isn't a quick hitting smash is strung out? We aren't getting to linebackers effectively?
 

wheat

Scout Team
5 Year Member
I just have no idea how we can't figure a single aspect of the running game that works besides QB runs that constantly put our QBs in harms way. I know Mills not playing is hurting us... but surely there is a way to scheme a few RB run plays that work.

I go back to the series in 2019 early on in the game vs Ohio St.. where we went retro with the FB and some actual lead blocking, some speed/counter option etc. It seems like a completely gimmick move now since we have not gone back to any of it... but surely sprinkle in a few of those plays to just desperately try to get some offensive momentum on first and second down.

starts around the 2 minute mark... I refuse to believe that our team has forgotten how to run these gimmick plays.

We ran a little I formation against tOSU this year and then completely shelved the concept again. I don't get it. If it's in your arsenal, use it. It's not like we're having massive success with the other stuff we're doing.

I also don't understand getting five games in and not having used the potential for trick plays with McCaffrey and Martinez on the the field at the same time. Run LM on a fly sweep or reverse a time or two and then throw the ball downfield off of that. It might help keep defenses honest. The offense has seriously regressed and we don't even try to use the obvious change ups.
 
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canadianhusker

Red Shirt
15 Year Member
Does it seem any running play that isn't a quick hitting smash is strung out? We aren't getting to linebackers effectively?
There were plays vs Iowa where linebackers were 4 yards deep in the backfield before the rb had even turned up field. Blown assignments? Complete whiffs on blocks?
 
Does it seem any running play that isn't a quick hitting smash is strung out? We aren't getting to linebackers effectively?
I believe that would be the rationale for why Jurgens is still starting in spite of the snap issues - he's able to do that, while others on the line aren't so much.

Agree with OP that the regression this year is strange - I thought we also performed reasonably well on the line of scrimmage in the first game against OSU, given the talent discrepancy there... thought we'd see even better results against lesser talent, but it seems we've only gotten worse.
 

RMR

Walk On Hero
15 Year Member
We were under center. Backs accelerated off the snap. Why is this now taboo for us?

Per Hotlanta's video
 
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36Blast

Slow Blinker
2 Year Member
Does it seem any running play that isn't a quick hitting smash is strung out? We aren't getting to linebackers effectively?
That is certainly part of it. Our most veteran guys are also the least athletic. We have a terrible timing climbing to the second level. But there is also a ton of missed assignments and clean whiffs here too...so that is both mental and physical.
 

RedWheel

Varsity
10 Year Member
Thanks SSO. It brings to my mind a bigger question. What units are performing as well or better this year than in the past two years?

Kicking field goals has improved. Linebackers, maybe? Run defense, maybe? Not pass defense -- our coverage has not been very good except shutting down Penn State's stud receiver. It is certainly not the O line, QBs, WRs or RBs.

What would lead to regression almost across the board? Lack of practice is the only thing that I can think of. During the season it is hard to work on fundamentals when trying to prepare for the next game at the same time. Would we have seen improvement had they had spring and fall practice? I would think so, but who knows. The team seems to need reps and work on basic fundamentals.
 

ShortSideOption

All American
10 Year Member
Thanks SSO. It brings to my mind a bigger question. What units are performing as well or better this year than in the past two years?

Kicking field goals has improved. Linebackers, maybe? Run defense, maybe? Not pass defense -- our coverage has not been very good except shutting down Penn State's stud receiver. It is certainly not the O line, QBs, WRs or RBs.

What would lead to regression almost across the board? Lack of practice is the only thing that I can think of. During the season it is hard to work on fundamentals when trying to prepare for the next game at the same time. Would we have seen improvement had they had spring and fall practice? I would think so, but who knows. The team seems to need reps and work on basic fundamentals.
I would say TEs, ILB and OLB, and that's it. I'm encouraged for our DL in 2021 but we aren't better than last year right now. Ty Robinson is really beat up right now we need to make sure we protect him a bit. I love how our safeties fly to the ball but not wrapping up kills me. Bootle seems to have regressed a bit, I wonder where Braxton Clark would have us. OL, QB, and RB has regressed. Even WR has regressed from 2019 which is unbelievable to type.
 

David3464

Red Shirt
5 Year Member
Would you say that it is an indictment of Held as RB coach? Frost as playcaller? Austin as OL coach? Or just not very good RB’s at this point. It is definitely one of the weakest parts of the offense. If RBs can’t get yards, the entire offense is toast.
 

ShortSideOption

All American
10 Year Member
Would you say that it is an indictment of Held as RB coach? Frost as playcaller? Austin as OL coach? Or just not very good RB’s at this point. It is definitely one of the weakest parts of the offense. If RBs can’t get yards, the entire offense is toast.
I really don't know. I think there's a lot of finger pointing going on. The problem is, that RB is not even close to as deep as it was in 2018 when he got here even though I respect him greatly as a recruiter. Again, are we not recruiting the right guys?
 
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