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Scripted Drives


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With Frost as coach we’ve scored on our first drive of the games high percentage of the time. Why do we do so well on our “scripted drives” but often stumble the rest of the game. To me that tells me we have athletes but other teams simply do a better job of a adjusting than we do but I’m curious how others interpret it. Just blows my mind that we can look so good on the first drive and then not sniff the end zone again. 

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9 minutes ago, Farms said:

With Frost as coach we’ve scored on our first drive of the games high percentage of the time. Why do we do so well on our “scripted drives” but often stumble the rest of the game. To me that tells me we have athletes but other teams simply do a better job of a adjusting than we do but I’m curious how others interpret it. Just blows my mind that we can look so good on the first drive and then not sniff the end zone again. 


In the end, Nebraska’s energy is easily surpassed by the talent and stability on the other sideline.

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29 minutes ago, Farms said:

With Frost as coach we’ve scored on our first drive of the games high percentage of the time. Why do we do so well on our “scripted drives” but often stumble the rest of the game. To me that tells me we have athletes but other teams simply do a better job of a adjusting than we do but I’m curious how others interpret it. Just blows my mind that we can look so good on the first drive and then not sniff the end zone again. 

Scripted drives are drawn up based on previous film, and are made up of plays that both attack the usual defensive scheme the other team uses and are complementary to each other. For example, an off tackle run coupled with an off tackle play action rollout. 

 

They're supposed to probe the defense, find weaknesses, and attempt to exploit them. 

 

And yet, when opposing defenses adjust their schemes (switching from Tampa 2 to Quarters, or from Cover 3 to Cover 6 for example) we often fail to adjust. Or worse, when we adjust, the other team adjusts again. The o-line is also easily fooled by twists, stunts, zone blitzes... Pretty much anything, really. The o-line is a large part of our inability to adjust; they can't stop the rush long enough for the QB to read rotating coverages, and can't seem to adjust their run blocking assignments whenever the defenses do anything different from what's on film. 

 

Part of that is coaching (gotta prepare the guys to go against all kinds of defenses, not just what's on film; the scout team is SPECIFICALLY supposed to run all kinds of fronts and coverages so that the first and second team knows the basics of how to attack those kinds of defenses), but part of it is a lack of football IQ across the board (but again, coaches are supposed to teach, not just drill the players). 

 

It's very frustrating to watch. 

 

9 minutes ago, Farms said:

Is it that or is it possibly the execution is that much better on the initial drive?

 

It is, because the scripted drive is probably practiced repeatedly. I suspect Frost focused far too much on scripted drives and what's been shown on film, and didn't account for hypothetical situations. Players need to know how to attack different types of fronts, alignments, and coverages; film study is supposed to cover the specific wrinkles each team mixes in to their specific scheme. Good coaches prepare their teams for many different situations, and can recognize in-game adjustments and adjust in turn. The problem is that the ability to execute those adjustments relies on players having at least a basic understanding of many types of defenses and how to attack them. 

 

Great players are both physically talented, highly skilled, and have a high football IQ. Two out of those three can be taught by the coaching staff, and two out of those three we've been struggling with. 

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8 minutes ago, EmeraldIngot said:

Scripted drives are drawn up based on previous film, and are made up of plays that both attack the usual defensive scheme the other team uses and are complementary to each other. For example, an off tackle run coupled with an off tackle play action rollout. 

 

They're supposed to probe the defense, find weaknesses, and attempt to exploit them. 

 

And yet, when opposing defenses adjust their schemes (switching from Tampa 2 to Quarters, or from Cover 3 to Cover 6 for example) we often fail to adjust. Or worse, when we adjust, the other team adjusts again. The o-line is also easily fooled by twists, stunts, zone blitzes... Pretty much anything, really. The o-line is a large part of our inability to adjust; they can't stop the rush long enough for the QB to read rotating coverages, and can't seem to adjust their run blocking assignments whenever the defenses do anything different from what's on film. 

 

Part of that is coaching (gotta prepare the guys to go against all kinds of defenses, not just what's on film; the scout team is SPECIFICALLY supposed to run all kinds of fronts and coverages so that the first and second team knows the basics of how to attack those kinds of defenses), but part of it is a lack of football IQ across the board (but again, coaches are supposed to teach, not just drill the players). 

 

It's very frustrating to watch. 

 

 

It is, because the scripted drive is probably practiced repeatedly. I suspect Frost focused far too much on scripted drives and what's been shown on film, and didn't account for hypothetical situations. Players need to know how to attack different types of fronts, alignments, and coverages; film study is supposed to cover the specific wrinkles each team mixes in to their specific scheme. Good coaches prepare their teams for many different situations, and can recognize in-game adjustments and adjust in turn. The problem is that the ability to execute those adjustments relies on players having at least a basic understanding of many types of defenses and how to attack them. 

 

Great players are both physically talented, highly skilled, and have a high football IQ. Two out of those three can be taught by the coaching staff, and two out of those three we've been struggling with. 

Thank you for the answer. So would you say that despite some deficiencies along the line, that with proper coaching and preparation that we could play much better offensively? When I look at how quick Nick Gates and Farniok were able to play in the NFL after not looking that great here tells me that even though our line looks putrid that the right coach could make them look night and day better.

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4 minutes ago, Farms said:

Thank you for the answer. So would you say that despite some deficiencies along the line, that with proper coaching and preparation that we could play much better offensively? When I look at how quick Nick Gates and Farniok were able to play in the NFL after not looking that great here tells me that even though our line looks putrid that the right coach could make them look night and day better.

 

Being diplomatic, I think it's an issue of focus. Under Frost, it seemed as if the focus had been on perfecting his plays as they would have to be against the opposing team's base defense (or against whatever defensive schemes they're expected to run against Frost's offense. With 3 or 4 wide, he could expect a nickel or dime defense, not a 7-in-the-box base defense), and maybe against some of the wrinkles they'd seen on film before. 

 

The best example of this was last year, the opening game against Illinois. After we lost, Frost came out and said in the presser that he didn't expect them to come out in an odd front, and that it threw off his play calling (or something like that). It showed that he was only practicing against whatever he expected his opponent to do, and not teaching his players how to handle many different schemes. 

 

I'm not the most well versed in line play, so take what I say with a grain of salt. That said, we seem to have a very hard time adjusting to twists and stunts, and when opposing D-linemen slant away from a gap, we have a tendency to leave massive holes for blitzing linebackers to attack untouched. Our line can't seem to pass off a D-linemen to his neighbor and pick up those blitzes on their own. Furthermore, our linemen struggle with footwork and hand fighting; they can't seem to break D-linemen's leverage and regain proper leverage on their own. Once they're beaten on a play, they can't seem to regain the advantage, so the other team gets a lot of penetration. It's been getting a bit better, but OU was way too good. 

 

If, instead of ONLY focusing on what the upcoming team is likely to do, the coaching staff should teach them how to attack many different schemes. In terms of o-line play, that means learning how to handle different defensive fronts. Not all 4-down fronts are the same; the rush end might line up in a 3 technique, a 5 technique, or (if a TE is on that side of the line) a 7 technique; the tackle on that side will need to be ready to counter him, depending on if the TE is staying in to block or not, or if the DE is going to be unblocked as part of a zone read. DTs might be lined up over the center (and shaded to one side or the other) or, in some cases, as far out as between a guard and tackle. These different alignments call for adjustments in blocking assignments, both in the pass and the run game. Stunts and twists need to be accounted for, and the line needs to practice how to hand off responsibility to a neighbor if necessary. (To be fair, the o-line has been improving at this since the Northwestern game. OU was just way too athletic and skilled to stop, though).  The same goes for 3-man fronts too, but that can be just a bit more complicated. Which OLB is going to rush, or is one of the MLBs going to do it? Again, need to practice the basics against the scout team, then focus on the specific wrinkles the upcoming team uses. The basics should be laid down during spring and fall camp, leaving game prep each week to focus on the specific wrinkles the upcoming opponent uses, as well as likely wrinkles you can expect them to use, even if they haven't shown them yet. 

 

The same principles apply to the defense; learn different coverages and how to adjust to different formations (2 TE and 2 RB formations require a different alignment than a 4-wide 1 RB formation. Heavy sets should drop a safety into the box, while more wideouts need a nickel or dime formation). Learn flexibility in the off-season, then specifics during game prep. 

 

And above all, by learning so much, you can take concepts from different coverages and plays, and apply them as in-game adjustments. 

 

For example, if the opposing defense usually uses a Cover 2, you can run two fades and a post rout down the seam in between the two safeties to attack that coverage. If a safety (on either side) closes the post route down the middle, you will have one-on-one coverage on one of the fades. If you trust your QB and WR, you'll take that chance. However, that play is easy to counter simply by rotating into a Cover 3. The Dagger concept (TE or split end streak and WR 15-yard in route on the same side of the field) attacks the space between the deepest LB and the center safety; that area will be cleared out by the TE on a streak route. 

 

If you don't know which coverage they're going to run, you can run a fade and post on one side of the field, and a dagger concept on the other side of the field. That way, either coverage they shift into will be exploited. (Cover 6 is, effectively, a cover 3 in one side of the field and a cover 2 on the other; specifically developed to counter this exact offensive adjustment). 

 

In short, while I don't think we have world-beaters at any position, I do think that coaching has been deficient. Our players are more physically talented than most other teams we will face all year. Skill drills seem to have been mostly adequate, but not exceptional. The biggest deficiency had been in teaching our players football theory. We need to teach them how to attack many different styles of defense, how to adjust to unusual situations, and how to adapt to the opponents' adjustments. 

 

If Mickey Joseph and the remaining staff can use the bye week to do some intensive film study (not just on upcoming opponents but on other highly-ranked matchups and NFL games) and a lot of reps against the scout team (who would run different alignments and coverages in defense, and different formations and offensive styles on offense) to give them the next best thing to 'live reps', I think there's a chance we'll see a decent jump in execution against Indiana, and likely further improvements as the season progresses. Don't expect miracles; this is the kind of thing that takes more than a single bye week to fix. I doubt even a single off-season would be enough. That said, if MJ can get the team to a bowl game this year, I think he'd be the right kind of coach to get us at least back to the 9-win threshold either next year or the year after. As we've seen over the past few years, a lot of the problems have been mental mistakes (especially missed assignments) and a lack of adjustments by the coaches and the inability to execute those adjustments. These are time-consuming, but ultimately correctable issues. 

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8 hours ago, EmeraldIngot said:

 

Being diplomatic, I think it's an issue of focus. Under Frost, it seemed as if the focus had been on perfecting his plays as they would have to be against the opposing team's base defense (or against whatever defensive schemes they're expected to run against Frost's offense. With 3 or 4 wide, he could expect a nickel or dime defense, not a 7-in-the-box base defense), and maybe against some of the wrinkles they'd seen on film before. 

 

The best example of this was last year, the opening game against Illinois. After we lost, Frost came out and said in the presser that he didn't expect them to come out in an odd front, and that it threw off his play calling (or something like that). It showed that he was only practicing against whatever he expected his opponent to do, and not teaching his players how to handle many different schemes. 

 

I'm not the most well versed in line play, so take what I say with a grain of salt. That said, we seem to have a very hard time adjusting to twists and stunts, and when opposing D-linemen slant away from a gap, we have a tendency to leave massive holes for blitzing linebackers to attack untouched. Our line can't seem to pass off a D-linemen to his neighbor and pick up those blitzes on their own. Furthermore, our linemen struggle with footwork and hand fighting; they can't seem to break D-linemen's leverage and regain proper leverage on their own. Once they're beaten on a play, they can't seem to regain the advantage, so the other team gets a lot of penetration. It's been getting a bit better, but OU was way too good. 

 

If, instead of ONLY focusing on what the upcoming team is likely to do, the coaching staff should teach them how to attack many different schemes. In terms of o-line play, that means learning how to handle different defensive fronts. Not all 4-down fronts are the same; the rush end might line up in a 3 technique, a 5 technique, or (if a TE is on that side of the line) a 7 technique; the tackle on that side will need to be ready to counter him, depending on if the TE is staying in to block or not, or if the DE is going to be unblocked as part of a zone read. DTs might be lined up over the center (and shaded to one side or the other) or, in some cases, as far out as between a guard and tackle. These different alignments call for adjustments in blocking assignments, both in the pass and the run game. Stunts and twists need to be accounted for, and the line needs to practice how to hand off responsibility to a neighbor if necessary. (To be fair, the o-line has been improving at this since the Northwestern game. OU was just way too athletic and skilled to stop, though).  The same goes for 3-man fronts too, but that can be just a bit more complicated. Which OLB is going to rush, or is one of the MLBs going to do it? Again, need to practice the basics against the scout team, then focus on the specific wrinkles the upcoming team uses. The basics should be laid down during spring and fall camp, leaving game prep each week to focus on the specific wrinkles the upcoming opponent uses, as well as likely wrinkles you can expect them to use, even if they haven't shown them yet. 

 

The same principles apply to the defense; learn different coverages and how to adjust to different formations (2 TE and 2 RB formations require a different alignment than a 4-wide 1 RB formation. Heavy sets should drop a safety into the box, while more wideouts need a nickel or dime formation). Learn flexibility in the off-season, then specifics during game prep. 

 

And above all, by learning so much, you can take concepts from different coverages and plays, and apply them as in-game adjustments. 

 

For example, if the opposing defense usually uses a Cover 2, you can run two fades and a post rout down the seam in between the two safeties to attack that coverage. If a safety (on either side) closes the post route down the middle, you will have one-on-one coverage on one of the fades. If you trust your QB and WR, you'll take that chance. However, that play is easy to counter simply by rotating into a Cover 3. The Dagger concept (TE or split end streak and WR 15-yard in route on the same side of the field) attacks the space between the deepest LB and the center safety; that area will be cleared out by the TE on a streak route. 

 

If you don't know which coverage they're going to run, you can run a fade and post on one side of the field, and a dagger concept on the other side of the field. That way, either coverage they shift into will be exploited. (Cover 6 is, effectively, a cover 3 in one side of the field and a cover 2 on the other; specifically developed to counter this exact offensive adjustment). 

 

In short, while I don't think we have world-beaters at any position, I do think that coaching has been deficient. Our players are more physically talented than most other teams we will face all year. Skill drills seem to have been mostly adequate, but not exceptional. The biggest deficiency had been in teaching our players football theory. We need to teach them how to attack many different styles of defense, how to adjust to unusual situations, and how to adapt to the opponents' adjustments. 

 

If Mickey Joseph and the remaining staff can use the bye week to do some intensive film study (not just on upcoming opponents but on other highly-ranked matchups and NFL games) and a lot of reps against the scout team (who would run different alignments and coverages in defense, and different formations and offensive styles on offense) to give them the next best thing to 'live reps', I think there's a chance we'll see a decent jump in execution against Indiana, and likely further improvements as the season progresses. Don't expect miracles; this is the kind of thing that takes more than a single bye week to fix. I doubt even a single off-season would be enough. That said, if MJ can get the team to a bowl game this year, I think he'd be the right kind of coach to get us at least back to the 9-win threshold either next year or the year after. As we've seen over the past few years, a lot of the problems have been mental mistakes (especially missed assignments) and a lack of adjustments by the coaches and the inability to execute those adjustments. These are time-consuming, but ultimately correctable issues. 

You get a +1 solely based on word count.

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4 minutes ago, EmeraldIngot said:

 

I have a tendency to go into excruciating detail when talking about subjects I love. I hope the content was just as valuable as the word count. Lol. 

So who scripts the first series?  The analysts?  What do all these new analysts do during a game?  I know that can’t have contact with players, but not sure what their in game role is. 

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23 minutes ago, krc1995 said:

So who scripts the first series?  The analysts?  What do all these new analysts do during a game?  I know that can’t have contact with players, but not sure what their in game role is. 

 

I don't know for sure, but I think the analysts are responsible for cutting film to point out mistakes and wrinkles, probably 'analyzing' the opposing team's schemes on O and D, pointing out coverage, alignment, blocking schemes, pass routes, and so on. They likely also go over film of practice; it was mentioned that Frost likes to run a lot of reps in practice, then correct player's mistakes in the film room later. The analysts are probably responsible for that. If they have any role in games, it's only to sit in the box and tell the coordinators what the opponents are doing. 

 

Edit; The coordinators are usually responsible for the scripted series. Since before this year Frost was calling the plays, he was probably responsible for scripting the first series. 

 

But I've never been a part of a big time football team, so I don't know for sure. 

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