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Nebraska Offense Idea - The Ski-Gun Offense


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#1 The Duke

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:05 AM

LONG POST WARNING!!!
If you don't want to read the whole post just scroll down to see videos of this potential offense that Nebraska could run.


Now that the off-season is officially upon us I have been doing some in-depth research over the past several weeks on different football offenses and offense philosophies to see what Nebraska could use for the 2012 season and potentially into the future.

There is no question that our offense returns a load of talent next season. The problem lately has been that either that talent hasn't seen the field nearly enough, or we are not using the talent we have to the best of each player's potential.

A few rules are true for having a successful offensive team:
1) You're only as good as your offensive line. (At the end of the day, most games are won in the trenches).
2) You're only as good as your QB's decision making & accuracy.
3) Speed kills.




In his 25 years of coaching at Nebraska, Tom Osborne & his staff developed an offensive philosophy that helped produce some of the most lethal offenses in college football. The following is the Offensive Philosophy Rules that Tom Osborne and Nebraska went by:

Tom Osborne Offensive Philosophy:

1) Multiple Sets and Motion

2) Strong Running Game
  • Option football
  • Power football
​3) Physical Football - WR's must be blockers first




4) Emphasis Execution
  • Low turnover ratio
  • Minimum mistakes
  • High reps in practice
​5) Efficient Passing Game
  • 55% + completion rate
  • 1 or less sacks per game
  • Emphasis on Play-Action Passing
​6) Control The Football




7) Have A Strong Kicking Game


The one thing that is very evident when you look at Nebraska's returning offensive roster for 2012 is that we have a lot of speed at key positions:

QB-Taylor Martinez
IB-Ameer Abdullah, Aaron Green, Braylon Heard, and even Rex Burkhead to some extent. (I would classify Rex as more of a power back.)
WR-Kenny Bell, Jamal Turner, Tim Marlowe, Taariq Allen
TE-Kyler Reed

If Nebraska can find a way to get all of this speed or mostly all of this speed on the field at the same time I think it would cause nightmares for defenses.

The other thing Nebraska needs to do if Taylor Martinez is going to continue to be the starting QB, is they need to develop a passing game that fits his skill set. The young man is a competitor, but more often than not he has trouble throwing those perfect timing routes that other offenses use. Nebraska needs to develop a strong play-action passing game to get receivers wide open into space, so that even if Taylor's throw is off just a little bit he can still have a high success rate of throwing a completion instead of forcing many of his throws which turn into interceptions.




With all of this being said I think I have found an offense that could suit Nebraska very well next year:
The Ski-Gun Offense
The Ski-Gun Offense is basically a hybrid between the Flexbone Offense and the Pistol. It is named after Muskegon, Michigan where it was first developed there by one of the local high schools. You can run power football, spread elements, and option football with this offense. The first word that came to my mind when I saw highlights of this offense was "deceptive."


Watch these short 1 minute video highlights below and see if you can envision Nebraska running such an offense. I truly think this would give Big Ten defenses headaches. I also think this offense fits very well into Taylor Martinez's skill set as an excellent runner and just an average at best passer. Please Note: I could only post 1 video in this original post, so I will try to add more videos in a reply posts below.


Ski-Gun Triple Option--Pitches
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwMInV2RyYg


Anyone who has more in-depth access to the program that wants to show these videos to Tim Beck to give him some ideas for next year by all means feel free to do so.


Anyway, I am curious to hear what you all think of this offensive philosophy, and I am curious to hear if you think this could work at Nebraska with the current talent that we have coming back next season? Enjoy the off-season Husker fans and let the discussion begin.

:bigredn: Go Big Red!!! :bigredn:
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#2 The Duke

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:06 AM

Ski-Gun Triple Option--Give Reads

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#3 The Duke

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:07 AM

Ski-Gun Triple Option--QB Keeps

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#4 The Duke

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:08 AM

Ski-Gun Play Action Passing Game
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K-QfVqiPAA
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#5 The Duke

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:10 AM

Ski-Gun Quick Passing Game

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#6 majech

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:21 AM

I actually like that a lot. I never saw the RB taking snaps from under center, though. Can you find a video that leads with that and then if followed by the ski-gun so it would get Becks attention?
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#7 The Dude

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:48 AM

On a related note, the Biathlon is my favorite Olympic sport.


As for starting over with another offensive system for like the 5th year in a row? No. Hell no.
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#8 Redtillimdead

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:08 PM

Wow this is high school. This year? We need to offer #2! look how fast and far down the field he gets on a 3 step drop straigt go route!
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#9 Nexus

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:11 PM

Once Beck finds his "mojo" as a playcaller, I suspect he will do quite well. I'm led to believe there are some plays Beck has in the play book that we haven't run simply because TM isn't comfortable with it. I can't recall the exact quote or which newspaper it was from, but it was about a month ago Beck was quoted to the effect of: "I only dial-up plays that TM is comfortable running. Sometimes I might suggest this play or that play and TM will shoot it down. But I'm glad he's honest with me about it."
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#10 HuskerShark

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:16 PM

I think we should stick with what we are doing. Once the O-Line is more consistent and the receivers catch the ball better, it will be pretty potent with the weapons that we have up and coming. But that is a cool formation. I love how it gets to the edge super quick. I could definitely see it giving opposing defenses fits.
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#11 The Duke

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:34 PM

I don't think this is all that different from what he have been doing. It still uses some of the Pistol and Zone-Read concepts that we ran this year. Where it is different is in how it brings the receiver in motion to where he then becomes the triple option threat.

Transitioning to this would not be as drastic as when we went from option football to the west coast. I honestly think that based off of what we ran last year that we could easily transition into this offense.

The thing that I really like about this offense is how we could potentially have Martinez, Turner, Burkhead, Abdullah & or Green, or Heard, all on the field at the same time.
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#12 CornHOLIO

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:41 PM

I think we should stick with what we are doing. Once the O-Line is more consistent and the receivers catch the ball better, it will be pretty potent with the weapons that we have up and coming. But that is a cool formation. I love how it gets to the edge super quick. I could definitely see it giving opposing defenses fits.


Actually, this offense (that looks somehow familiar) would probably help the O-Line achieve better angles for their blocks.
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#13 HuskerShark

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:42 PM

I don't think this is all that different from what he have been doing. It still uses some of the Pistol and Zone-Read concepts that we ran this year. Where it is different is in how it brings the receiver in motion to where he then becomes the triple option threat.

Transitioning to this would not be as drastic as when we went from option football to the west coast. I honestly think that based off of what we ran last year that we could easily transition into this offense.

The thing that I really like about this offense is how we could potentially have Martinez, Turner, Burkhead, Abdullah & or Green, or Heard, all on the field at the same time.


That's true. It's really similar to what we have been doing, and I think it does a lot of the same thing that the diamond formation does that we have all fallen in love with. I'm definitely not opposed to any variation of the pistol/triple option/zone read offense as long as it works.
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#14 HotGrillonGrillAction

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:45 PM

the play in the first video at :34 in....we ran that against S.C. and I thought it was AWESOME at the time. I think it was either Bell or Marlowe who motioned back toward the QB from the left side of the field, then was the pitch man with option going back to the left. There is already some of this in NU's offense....but more would be sweet!
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#15 roundegotrip

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:01 PM

What strikes me most about those highlight videos is the way the O-line is knocking the defense off the ball. They are getting to the 2nd level quickly and throwing some hellacious blocks. Scheme isn't so important... fix our o-line and you fix our offense.
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#16 roundegotrip

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:03 PM

the play in the first video at :34 in....we ran that against S.C. and I thought it was AWESOME at the time. I think it was either Bell or Marlowe who motioned back toward the QB from the left side of the field, then was the pitch man with option going back to the left. There is already some of this in NU's offense....but more would be sweet!


We ran that play to the right with Turner way back in one of the noncon games and I've been wanting to see it again ever since.
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#17 HotGrillonGrillAction

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:27 PM


the play in the first video at :34 in....we ran that against S.C. and I thought it was AWESOME at the time. I think it was either Bell or Marlowe who motioned back toward the QB from the left side of the field, then was the pitch man with option going back to the left. There is already some of this in NU's offense....but more would be sweet!


We ran that play to the right with Turner way back in one of the noncon games and I've been wanting to see it again ever since.


Yea...I remember that too. One of the best plays we have. Works out of the diamond, pistol, you name it.
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#18 ZRod

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:21 PM

Like everybody has said that does look pretty similar to what we were doing this year. But the one thing that you could take away is the passing style, especially the short passing game. I think Beck (or it could be Taylor's choices) tends to get to vertical with the passing game when 5 or 10 yards would do just fine. What we need to do is recruit those receivers, every catch they make I can see our guy making the drop in my head from this season. And the QB reminds me of Frazier or Crouch with the way he runs the option.

Something I just thought of would be to run the triple option with Rex as the FB and Ameer or Green as the man in motion, talk about a headache there.
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#19 SnowBigRed

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:11 PM

In high school, this is an "offense". In college, this is a "package". NU ran a little bit of this this year at times, and if i recall correctly, it worked fairly well. Running this kind of stuff a few plays per game would be worth while, but by no means should Nebraska try to run this somewhat exclusively (not sure if this was the OP's intent, but just wanted to get that out there).
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#20 MasterPulverizer

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:20 PM


the play in the first video at :34 in....we ran that against S.C. and I thought it was AWESOME at the time. I think it was either Bell or Marlowe who motioned back toward the QB from the left side of the field, then was the pitch man with option going back to the left. There is already some of this in NU's offense....but more would be sweet!


We ran that play to the right with Turner way back in one of the noncon games and I've been wanting to see it again ever since.


I remember that. It made me think that we have 4 big time playmakers potentially involved on 1 play.
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#21 Hercules

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:20 PM

This "ski-gun offense" and with the diamond formation both seem pretty similar to Osborne's old double wing package. Look at 3:23.


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#22 BaytownHusker

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:39 PM

Can we get # 2 and # 3 to come to Neb.
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#23 JJHusker1

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 06:07 PM

I like the offense in theory and see some similarities to things we are already doing. But, the defensive play in these videos is atrocious and would make what we currently do look high-powered too. They wouldn't get away with that many highlights against the likes of SC's or B1G defenses.
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#24 JJHusker1

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 06:28 PM

This "ski-gun offense" and with the diamond formation both seem pretty similar to Osborne's old double wing package. Look at 3:23.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iNOhKXloXw

This is a little off subject but, does anybody see one player on this 97 team that you would not take in a heartbeat over anyone we suited up this season? Fonzie and David could hang with these guys and I thin Rex would be alright (prob not gonna replace Ahman tho) but anyone else? No, me either. And people wonder why some of us live with one foot in the past. this little clip didn't even highlight the beating our D put on Manning. .........................Sorry, I'm back to reality now.
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#25 The Duke

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 06:54 PM

What strikes me most about those highlight videos is the way the O-line is knocking the defense off the ball. They are getting to the 2nd level quickly and throwing some hellacious blocks. Scheme isn't so important... fix our o-line and you fix our offense.

I agree with you about our offensive line. That is why I mentioned in my original post three rules must be in place to have a successful offensive team:

1) You're only as good as your offensive line. (At the end of the day, most games are won in the trenches).
2) You're only as good as your QB's decision making & accuracy.
3) Speed kills.

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#26 The Duke

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 06:59 PM

In high school, this is an "offense". In college, this is a "package". NU ran a little bit of this this year at times, and if i recall correctly, it worked fairly well. Running this kind of stuff a few plays per game would be worth while, but by no means should Nebraska try to run this somewhat exclusively (not sure if this was the OP's intent, but just wanted to get that out there).

I think you have some merit with that statement. But at the same time look at what Oregon has been doing over the past several years. At other schools Oregon's offense would just be "a package," but at Oregon it is their offense....and it works.

The same was true with Nebraska and Tom Osborne during the 80's & 90's. We primarily ran out of different I-Formations. At other schools these would just be "a package," but at Nebraska Osborne turned into an offense that was almost unstoppable.

So can this "Ski-Gun" offense or package work at Nebraska? I don't know? But I do think it presents a lot of potential when you think about the talent that we have coming back next year.
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#27 The Duke

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 07:05 PM

This "ski-gun offense" and with the diamond formation both seem pretty similar to Osborne's old double wing package. Look at 3:23.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iNOhKXloXw

The double wing formation at 3:23 in this video is basically the Flexbone-Normal formation. It is exactly one of the main formations that Paul Johnson uses at Georgia Tech. I couldn't tell from that video, but I think the one difference in the way Osborne used the double wing and how Paul Johnson uses it is that Johnson quickly brings one of the wing players in motion before the ball is snapped, essentially creating an I-Formation.

The Ski-Gun offense that I introduced above has elements of the flexbone or double wing formation with the difference being the QB is at a Pistol depth or 2-3 yards behind the Center.
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#28 huskerjack23

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 07:07 PM

Malzahn and the guy at Clemson basically do this kind of stuff as well.
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#29 dutch91701

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:48 PM

I like offenses like these, but they tend to end up as more of a gimmick than a winning offensive system. The option works when it is utilized like it was by Nebraska under TO. The option does not work well, however, when an option look, or option PA look, is the foundation of nearly every play like it is at Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech is one of those teams that runs the Flexbone-style option offense, but they cant make it work consistently. I understand the OP's suggested offense is technically the "Ski-Gun" offense, not the Flexbone, but for all intents and purposes, it is the Flexbone run out of the Pistol. The idea of getting all our speed involved every play is good in theory, but I don't think the athletes we have now could pull it off, especially with our sorry O-Line play. Going to this style of offense would temporarily win a couple more games for a season or two, but we would ultimately fall off after that (see Georgia Tech). Not to mention that we would be nothing more than a gimmick team that some a-hole (my friend) would use in NCAA Football 20__ just to screw with people, just because nobody uses them.
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#30 Goal-line

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:56 PM

Option football requires offensive line blocking, which in turn requires athletes that can actually have the talent to do that, speed, agility, smart, and agressive. I recently watched some clips with the teams of the 90's. The simple difference between this current Husker offensive line and the line in the 90's is light years apart. None of the current players could have started on those teams. Football is a rather simple game. If you cannot block and you cannot tackle, you cannot win no matter what kind of super stars you have at the skill positions.
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#31 bshirt

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 05:01 AM

Option football requires offensive line blocking, which in turn requires athletes that can actually have the talent to do that, speed, agility, smart, and agressive. I recently watched some clips with the teams of the 90's. The simple difference between this current Husker offensive line and the line in the 90's is light years apart. None of the current players could have started on those teams. Football is a rather simple game. If you cannot block and you cannot tackle, you cannot win no matter what kind of super stars you have at the skill positions.


Yeah, I agree that's the real bottom line. You can talk skill players until the cows comes home but at the end of the day the game is won or lost by the big uglies. It's also a real stretch to imagine Reed, Turner or Bell ever blocking anybody which puts even more pressure on the Oline dominating.

The upside is that we've been recruiting road-graders the last two years so we should start getting a push from them soon.
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#32 SkerChicago

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:46 AM

This is very similar to what we currently run with one major difference. The trap play! I feel like that's biggest thing our current offense doesn't do. Even if we run outside, the little misdirection of the rb/fb going up the gut means the LBs are 1 step slower getting to the edge.

I would like Beck to incorporate more misdirection into his offense. That's really my only complaint...I like the direction we are headed.
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#33 nhuskers5

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 10:10 AM

I think this might be a pretty good package, but I don't think you could design an entire college offense around it. I would think you would need to have some more variation, or else it would be too predictable.
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#34 The Duke

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 12:45 PM

As the OP who started this conversation I wanted to say that after reading all of your comments, many of you have swayed me. I am in agreement with most of you now that while this "ski-gun offense" has a lot of potential in attacking a defense, I agree that you probably cannot focus a whole offensive philosophy around it. Could Nebraska incorporate many of these "ski-gun" ideas into our current offense? Yes, absolutely, but I don't think we should design our whole offense off of it. So to the people like SnowBigRed & dutch91701, and the others that I am forgetting to mention...Congratulations...you changed my mind!

With that being said, let's continue the discussion a bit further. What elements to our offense do you want to see added going into next season?

SkerChicago has said he wants to see more trap plays and misdirections. I think we did run a small amount of trap plays this year with Tyler Legate, but I agree more trap plays, and counter misdirections would be nice to see next year. This video is for you SkerChicago:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v3t_kqH3GE

So to continue the discussion:
1) What elements to our offense do you want to see added/ or fixed going into next season?
2) Are there any schemes out there that other teams are using that you wish Nebraska was?

....share some video examples if you have them.

This is an honest & fun discussion. I will stand aside for a while and see what you other Husker fans have to add. Thanks everyone!
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#35 SkerChicago

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 03:23 PM

Man I miss that soooo much!

I really think utilizing misdirection with trap style plays takes Beck's offense over the top. I like the direction of both our option offense (execution needs to be better) and our play action game.

More misdirection and counters outside of what we do in the zone read will completely eff with defenses.
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#36 True2tRA

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:10 PM

In my opinion, Nebraska's biggest downfall will be to continue running offenses like this. The elite players in the country want to play for more pro style offense. Balanced attacks, with the ability to line up and run the ball, as well as throw the ball from under center and shotgun. If Nebraska wants to recruit top talent and contend with the big boys we will atleast have to develop that part of our game. Not saying that we can't mix in some pistol formation and option football but Beck would gain from bringing his knowledge from his time as a passing game coordinator. Which leads to my most important point and that involves recruiting Quarterbacks. When is Nebraska going to figure out that the best teams in the country have QB's that can pass first and run second. You don't go the other way. Looking at some of the guys we seem to go after, it looks like they are run first throw second guys. You don't recruit like that. You go after guys that throw great and if they can run too, that's a bonus.
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#37 MLB 51

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:13 PM

In my opinion, Nebraska's biggest downfall will be to continue running offenses like this. The elite players in the country want to play for more pro style offense. Balanced attacks, with the ability to line up and run the ball, as well as throw the ball from under center and shotgun. If Nebraska wants to recruit top talent and contend with the big boys we will atleast have to develop that part of our game. Not saying that we can't mix in some pistol formation and option football but Beck would gain from bringing his knowledge from his time as a passing game coordinator. Which leads to my most important point and that involves recruiting Quarterbacks. When is Nebraska going to figure out that the best teams in the country have QB's that can pass first and run second. You don't go the other way. Looking at some of the guys we seem to go after, it looks like they are run first throw second guys. You don't recruit like that. You go after guys that throw great and if they can run too, that's a bonus.

See I thought this was the reason for the fall off in recruiting. More school's were going pro style and we were still running the option.
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#38 tschu

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:13 PM

I'm going to propose Der Weiner Schlinger offense.

We just hot dog it right by everyone
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#39 ZRod

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 12:23 AM

Man I miss that soooo much!

I really think utilizing misdirection with trap style plays takes Beck's offense over the top. I like the direction of both our option offense (execution needs to be better) and our play action game.

More misdirection and counters outside of what we do in the zone read will completely eff with defenses.

A few more counter plays would have been nice to see, get the defenses guessing where they should be going. And definitely get the FB trap going. I remember actually seeing it once early in the season and we probably ran it a couple more times, but never agains stiffer competition. With a guy like Legate it could have been deadly with the amount of option that we sprinkled in. That is one guy who I think was underutilized in his career, excellent blocker but was a pretty versatile FB catching and running too.
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#40 robsker

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 12:26 PM

That offense is really fun to watch. Who is the QB in that system (#3)? He runs that system really well. He is a fine runner too. He has a slow wind-up delivery throwing the ball, but is accurate, has touch, and leads the receiver well. I wish NU had a QB who could pass that well.

I very much appreciate the OP in putting this stuff forward. NU could adopt some of this well with the people we have available (Turner, Abdullah, Green, Rex). Our QB might struggle with this though. Still... fun offense to watch.
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#41 majech

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 03:54 PM

I don't think this is all that different from what he have been doing. It still uses some of the Pistol and Zone-Read concepts that we ran this year. Where it is different is in how it brings the receiver in motion to where he then becomes the triple option threat.

Transitioning to this would not be as drastic as when we went from option football to the west coast. I honestly think that based off of what we ran last year that we could easily transition into this offense.

The thing that I really like about this offense is how we could potentially have Martinez, Turner, Burkhead, Abdullah & or Green, or Heard, all on the field at the same time.


Agree. This is actually a lot closer to "what we do" than is some of the stuff that we do...if that makes any sense, lol. It is closer to our "standard" offense than when we have our RB take snaps under center and pitch the ball to our QB.
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#42 chamrocck

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 11:04 PM

The thing that I really like about this offense is how we could potentially have Martinez, Turner, Burkhead, Abdullah & or Green, or Heard, all on the field at the same time.

I would be for some of these packages for this reason alone. Offenses with heavy fire power have their best players on the field most of the game...they get enough player rotation to keep high energy and wear the defenses down. Recruits are attracted to get on field time and play in offenses that can break off exciting plays at anytime. We are not Oregon on offense but we certainly have some talent in the backfield and some speed at WR in Turner and Bell to make things exciting. Defenses have figured TMart out...if we open it up a bit more then you'll start to see some big runs by TMart again. Rex can be a decoy on a lot of these plays and let Green, Abdullah, and Turner do some burning too.
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#43 2ndNnine

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 09:19 PM


This "ski-gun offense" and with the diamond formation both seem pretty similar to Osborne's old double wing package. Look at 3:23.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iNOhKXloXw

This is a little off subject but, does anybody see one player on this 97 team that you would not take in a heartbeat over anyone we suited up this season? Fonzie and David could hang with these guys and I thin Rex would be alright (prob not gonna replace Ahman tho) but anyone else? No, me either. And people wonder why some of us live with one foot in the past. this little clip didn't even highlight the beating our D put on Manning. .........................Sorry, I'm back to reality now.



this right here

give us that line again and you can run whatever kind of offense you want, ain't nobody stopping it
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#44 The Duke

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:32 PM

That offense is really fun to watch. Who is the QB in that system (#3)? He runs that system really well. He is a fine runner too. He has a slow wind-up delivery throwing the ball, but is accurate, has touch, and leads the receiver well. I wish NU had a QB who could pass that well.

I very much appreciate the OP in putting this stuff forward. NU could adopt some of this well with the people we have available (Turner, Abdullah, Green, Rex). Our QB might struggle with this though. Still... fun offense to watch.

Thanks for the compliment robsker! I do think this is a fun offense to watch, just as Tom Osborne's offense was fun to watch. I think what many have said on here is true, at the end of the day no matter what we decide to run next year and into the future, it will all depend on how well our QB plays and how strong our offensive line is. But I really do hope we see some wrinkles next year like this Ski-Gun offense or formations to get our speed guys on the field a little bit more than what we saw this past season.
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#45 The Duke

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:38 PM

I found another video on this Ski-Gun offense or formation style.

Ski-Gun Counter Runs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl9NFx9r7TQ
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