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History of Nebraska Offenses

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Great post ERN. +1!

I posted this in another thread a couple days ago - There are a ton of the '94 games on youtube. Younger fans should watch some of the games where Berringer started when Tommie was out. Osborne had so many weapons in the playbook and had the ability to almost toy with a defense and just crush them with play action and throws to the tight end - even against good defenses. 

It was smash mouth but it was so much more than that. It had the 'big play ability' at any given point.

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I had a hard time finding Total Defense Rankings since 1973, but I got these numbers from the NCAA archived stats (in .pdf form) on their website for some context (offensive rank followed by defensive):

 

1989: 2nd, 8th (10-2)

1990: 10th, 7th (9-3)

1991: 3rd, 49th (9-2-1)

1992: 3rd, 24th (9-3)

1993: 7th, 12th (11-1)

1994: 8th, 4th (13-0)

1995: 1st, 13th (12-0) 53.2 ppg 

1996: 3rd, 7th (11-2)

1997: 1st, 5th (13-0)

 

If anyone knows where to find 1973 - 1988 I would love to see that as well.  I think what is undeniable is that (as stated by the OP) Tom Osborne was an offensive guru.  But I do think what helped him get over the hump was a defense that significantly improved after 1992.  In 1995, I think our team was not in the top 10 defensive only because our 2nd or 3rd team would be in by the 2nd half.  If that assumption is correct then from 1994 - 1997 we had a top ten defense and offense every year. 

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Osborne built his program with great offenses for over 20 years.  What got NU over the hump in the 90s, was adding a fast and attacking defense, as JKinney points out.

1 minute ago, brophog said:

Wisconsin is boring, unimaginative football. I throw up every time someone compares our old teams to them. It's how I stay so skinny.

I agree!!!  I don't want NU to become Wisconsin.  I want NU to become better than Wisconsin.

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Yes that can be easily assumed.  Current Bama and 2001 Miami fans like to think they were great on both sides of the ball and were more balanced, but when you consider the average win margin of the 95 team - closest win I believe was 14 points - you know we had a great D to match the O.  We weren't just a high scoring team that could barely outscore the opponent like the teams do today in the Big 12 or AAC.  That scoring margin was built on a high scoring O and a stingy D. 

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2 hours ago, brophog said:

Wisconsin is boring, unimaginative football. I throw up every time someone compares our old teams to them. It's how I stay so skinny.

 

2 hours ago, ColoradoHusk said:

Osborne built his program with great offenses for over 20 years.  What got NU over the hump in the 90s, was adding a fast and attacking defense, as JKinney points out.

I agree!!!  I don't want NU to become Wisconsin.  I want NU to become better than Wisconsin.

 

Alvarez a former Husker patterned the Wisky program from top to bottom after Nebraska's. Sure it's a little more Big Tenish, but also makes the losses more painful. Being beaten by a team dressed in red that uses smash mouth football to wear down your defense. 

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34 minutes ago, RunMickeyRun02 said:

 

 

Alvarez a former Husker patterned the Wisky program from top to bottom after Nebraska's. Sure it's a little more Big Tenish, but also makes the losses more painful. Being beaten by a team dressed in red that uses smash mouth football to wear down your defense. 

I am very knowledgeable in what Alvarez has done at Wisconsin and where how he modeled it after Nebraska and him being alumni and former player under Devaney.  Yes, Wisconsin is the team we have to beat and they have an upper hand on us now.  Our first step is to get to Wisconsin's level in the division, but I don't want NU to be content on being on the level of Wisconsin. I want NU to better than what Wisconsin is.  

Edited by ColoradoHusk

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I'm with Brophog on this one.  TO was an innovator.  The power running game was certainly always there but we might pick a team apart with our WR's one week and the TE's the next (talking about the dynastic stretch).  Part of that obviously had to do with our talent level back then, to be fair.  We may have looked more like Wisconsin along the way but, at that point, most football teams did...and we just did it better.

Edited by beorach

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I guess I hadn't thought about some maybe thinking that current day Wisconsin is what the Huskers used to be. I've never thought that but I sure can understand the younger fans who might. We always had the capability of lining up and gaining a couple smash mouth yards when needed but TO's offense was so complex it is difficult to describe. Virtually every play was designed with the ability to take it to the house. The blocking schemes, linemen getting downfield to make that 2nd and 3rd level block....it was a work of art. I think the pipeline got the reputation of being powerful but boring because we could line up and impose our will but it was so much more than that. Tom was a master at working a play until the defense just knew what was going to happen and then BAM he'd take a different option on the same play. I was lucky enough to have attended UNL in the early 80's so I saw the scoring explosion and 2 of those #1 offenses firsthand. It really was a thing of beauty but you just can't fully appreciate it until you really study the line play of those teams.

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6 hours ago, TGHusker said:

Yes that can be easily assumed.  Current Bama and 2001 Miami fans like to think they were great on both sides of the ball and were more balanced, but when you consider the average win margin of the 95 team - closest win I believe was 14 points - you know we had a great D to match the O.  We weren't just a high scoring team that could barely outscore the opponent like the teams do today in the Big 12 or AAC.  That scoring margin was built on a high scoring O and a stingy D. 

Your defensive stats will be a little skewed when beat the crap out of everyone and have 2nd and 3rd stringers playing the second half

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Don't forget, the Huskers had top-ranked defenses for Osborne's entire career.  They gave up 10 - 15 points a game, tops.

 

Problem was, there was always an Oklahoma or two that had offensive speed we couldn't contain, and elite defenses of their own. In the '90s Osborne started recruiting defensive speed specially for the faster, better teams -- not necessarily in our conference at that time. There are a lot more of those teams now. 

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