Now that both Monte Harrison and Damore’ea Stringfellow won’t be a part of Husker football, Tim Beck’s left in a spot no one will envy. Harrison was a Hail Mary (pun intended) and Stringfellow’s change of heart was a shock, but either would’ve started this season if they could.
While the importance of wide receivers just shot up the recruiting charts, Beck’s best chance of putting a quality product on the field in 2014 lies in a very familiar offensive style to Husker fans.
Michigan State’s Connor Cook was in a similar situation to Tommy Armstrong last season. Unproven, but he was the man. So went Cook, so went the Spartans.
He was protected and let the talent around him help reinforce confidence and became a playmaker himself in the end.
The Spartans found their offensive identity in a balanced attack with running back Jeremy Langford aiding the maturing Cook.
Pop quiz: What is Nebraska’s offensive identity?
A poster from HuskerBoard.com that goes by the handle Enhance89 takes out a hammer and firmly hits the head of a nail. “Does Nebraska know what it’s good at? Sometimes, I get the feeling they don’t think they do.”
The most common answer is that Nebraska runs a “multiple” offense. Saying your team runs a “multiple” offense means that there’s no way to describe it using the English language.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that your schemes are bad. However, when they result in not converting on third and fourth down, you’re just throwing darts at a dartboard with random plays scribbled on.
Let’s look at what Nebraska football has in its 2014 offensive arsenal: young quarterbacks, a stable of talented running backs, an above average offensive line with depth and an excellent wide receiver corps. Several of those wide receivers are very physical and know how to block a defensive back.
If the Huskers are going to get back into the national spotlight and finally win some titles, why not inch toward the offensive style that inspired decades of hardware?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely not advocating the return of “Option Left, Option Right, Iso, Punt”. However, far too little playaction passing is used by Beck, especially considering that Nebraska has the receivers and tight ends to make it incredibly effective.
Whomever’s under center for the Huskers in 2014 needs help. He’ll get it from Ameer Abdullah and occasionally the receivers, but using more playaction helps keep the training wheels on that much longer.
Would it completely negate Shilique Calhoun when Nebraska heads to East Lansing? No, that’s Alex Lewis’ job, but a split second makes all the difference between first down (or even a touchdown) and a sack.
Having so much talent must be frustrating. How do you get all of them involved to create this cheat code that rockets your team to the College Football Playoff?
Unfortunately, you don’t and, in this guy’s humble opinion, that may be where the offensive hiccups are coming from.
A foundation needs to be built and relied upon. That’s something not seen under Bo Pelini’s watch.
Interestingly, former offensive coordinator Shawn Watson moved on to Louisville and seemed to find a way to help squeeze the most juice out of the Cardinal offense’s metaphorical orange. Sure, Teddy Bridgewater helped, but the point remains.
Watson often struggled to find success when working with Pelini, just like Beck. Why is this happening?
Find the answer to that question and suddenly Nebraska’s offense may get a lot less multiple.
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Tags: Nebraska Cornhuskers