"Michigan's defense is like facing a knuckleball pitcher"
Nebraska and offensive coordinator Tim Beck come into this weekend's match up with Michigan leading the league in rushing offense, total offense, and scoring offense. But they don't expect to run into a Wolverine defense with a basic game plan.
“They know how people are trying to attack them. Their defensive package has grown," Beck has noticed this season. "They’re doing more things out of it. And they’re veteran players. They seem to have found a gear.”
Last season, Michigan's defense (which had improved over a hundred spots under Greg Mattison since 2010) held the Cornhuskers to just 9 completions on 23 attempts for 122 yards, and 260 total yards of offense when it was all said and done. Beck credited their offensive struggles against the Wolverines to defensive coordinator Greg Mattison's creative looks and alignments.
“It’s like facing a knuckleball pitcher, it’s weird because you haven’t seen it.” Beck explained of the looks they got last season.
To remedy that, during the offseason Beck and the staff prepared some creative looks for the offense to run against, often imitating schemes and alignments that teams, like Michigan, did throughout the 2011 season that gave them trouble.
The extra preparation seems to have helped. Compared to 2011, Nebraska has played three common conference opponents at this point through the season (Wisconsin, Ohio State, Northwestern), and have eclipsed last season's point total in two of those three contests, while also putting up more yardage against each of those opponents than they had in 2011.
Against Wisconsin last season they put up 335 yards of total offense in a 31 point loss. This year Nebraska put up over 100 more total yards (440 yards of total offense) and earned a close 30-27 victory.
Against Michigan at 8pm ET on Saturday night (on ESPN2), Beck and the offensive staff will have their guys better equipped to handle the knuckleball.
Breaking down film with Matt Barkley
In this week's addition of the "Barkley Breakdown", Woods and Barkley break down their record setting plays (Barkley's 100th career touchdown pass and Woods' 217th catch) and what their reads and adjustments were on each play.
We have a feeling that these two have spent a few hours together in the film room before...
This series from the USC program has become a great tool to give casual fans, as well as coaches, an inside look at the playbook, and their playmakers. Good move.
Thursday TV - NFL and ACC games on tonight
NFL and ACC action on tonight. Tomorrow night we'll have Cinci and Louisville and Nevada and Air Force to enjoy.
All times are eastern.
Tampa Bay at Minnesota - 8:20 - NFL Network
Clemson at Wake Forest - 7:30 - ESPN
Delaware State at Morgan State - 7:30 - ESPNU
Valdosta State at Shorter - 7:30 - CSS
John Burroughs (CA) vs Maplewood - 3 - FCS
Pre-game locker-room talk at Vandy (with special guest)
That's just a great video there from Vanderbilt. Think about how much recruits (and their families) enjoy watching that.
Stick around for the end as well. Good scene.
The three keys to beating Alabama as Les Koenning sees it
Mississippi State offensive coordinator Les Koenning will take the Bulldog offense to Tuscaloosa Saturday night to square off against Alabama in a battle of the unbeatens. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30pm ET.
According to Koenning, in order to get out with a win, they'll have to win three key phases of the game.
"The No. 1 thing you have to be aware of when you're playing Alabama is the turnover ratio. They're an opportunistic offense, a lot like ourselves. With turnovers, it's a lot easier to get in the end zone." Koenning told AL.com
Alabama ranks third nationally in turnover margin, forcing an average of two turnovers per game (+14 on the season). In their first seven games, the Tide have taken the ball away 20 times, converting an impressive 15 of those into touchdowns.
"This will be one of those patented games that we have in the SEC. Field position will be a must. Third-down conversions will be a must and taking care of the ball will be a must." Koenning explained.
Third down conversions are another area that Alabama has excelled in this season, ranking second nationally. The Crimson Tide have allowed opponents to convert on just 24 of their 96 attempts (25%). Also pretty impressive.
Write that down. Turnover ratio, field position, and third down conversions will be three areas of emphasis for the Bulldogs on Saturday night. They'll have their work cut out for them on all three sides of the ball
You'll be able to catch the game on ESPN. Should be a good one.
Dave Christensen apologized to Troy Calhoun
I spoke to Troy Calhoun today and apologized to him.Feel good about our visit.Miss my Cowboys, know I’ll be proud of them Sat.Go Pokes— Dave Christensen (@KoachC) October 24, 2012
Glad to see that Christensen called Troy Calhoun to apologize for his actions after their game.
Christensen won't be on the sideline this weekend vs Boise State as he serves a one game suspension.
Pease: "We're not going to win any statistical awards"
The only thing that matters to first year Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease is putting wins in the "W" column, an area that they've been very good at through the first seven weeks of the season (7-0, 6-0).
Pease explains that putting up 50 points or racking up gaudy yardage totals are the last thing on his mind, he's focused on playing to their strengths and doing whatever it takes to win ball games.
The Gators currently rank 114th nationally in passing offense (138 ypg), 100th in total offense (350 ypg), and 25th in rushing offense (213 ypg). In five of their seven games this season, they've ran for over 175 yards, and have at least 40 rushing attempts along with less than 22 pass attempts in six of their seven games. Pease and the offensive staff have figured it's games like that, not stats, that have made up their winning formula so far this season.
"I’m not worried about yards. We’re not going to win any statistical awards this year, and I don’t think we’re trying to. I don’t think we’re set up that way yet, especially as a coordinator in his first year with a new quarterback. We’re definitely not going to be like West Virginia and those teams where we’re throwing for all these yards.”
The development of that hard nosed, "do whatever it takes" mentality was helped by an off season motto that strength and conditioning coordinator Jeff Dillman coined over the summer. The phrase "Florida never breaks" became their battle cry during workouts and has been used plenty during crunch time on game day. That motto has helped to establish their identity, particularly within the offense.
“Jeff Dillman has kind of come up with that as far as different ways to motivate the players throughout the summer, to be able to always try to find an edge and create an edge for our football team” Will Muschamp explained.
"In the summer and when you’re sitting there in the middle of June and the middle of July, you better be creative in how to motivate some of these guys. I’ll be honest with you. I think back to when I was playing. It’s hard. It’s 150 degrees sitting outside and you’re lifting weights. You better have somebody in there that’s got a great message to motivate you, and Jeff certainly does.”
This weekend Florida will head to Athens to take on Georgia in a match up of top ten teams. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30pm ET on CBS.
Video: Texas Tech players break down their winning TD
Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege had a career day this past Saturday against TCU, throwing for seven touchdowns in their 56-53 triple overtime thriller. The win improved the Red Raiders to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the Big 12.
In the clip here, Doege and receiver Alex Torres break down the winning touchdown and their assignments and adjustments both pre and post snap.
Good look at a quality play action (and high percentage) pass.