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Thursday, October 19, 2006

What About Nebraska's Gameplan at Home?

Much has been made of Nebraska’s version of the WCO and how little it has reflected the true West Coast Offense roots. At this point we know Callahan has been conservative in road games, but how might his gameplans have differed if we had been within the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium? I decided to look back at some of the tougher Big 12 home games of Callahan’s tenure. My thought was maybe it would give us some insight into what to expect on Saturday. Which game do you think this week’s Texas match up most resembles?

2005 Iowa State (#23)
2005 Texas Tech (#15)
2005 Oklahoma (unranked)
2006 Kansas (unranked)

Iowa State

Final Score: Nebraska 27 – Iowa State 20
Rushing: 23 carries – 36 yards
Passing: 36-55-0, 431 yards

Scripted Plays (First 20 plays):
5 Runs/15 Passes
Total Yards: 109
First Downs: 7
Points: 3

1st Down Run/Pass Balance:
8 runs/22 passes

Texas Tech

Final Score: Texas Tech 34 – Nebraska 31
Rushing: 35 carries – 135 yards
Passing: 21-35-2, 229 yards

Scripted Plays:
7 Runs/13 Passes
Total Yards: 135
First Downs: 4
Points: 0

1st Down Run/Pass Balance:
18 runs/15 passes


Final Score: Oklahoma 31 – Nebraska 24
Rushing: 34 carries – 16 yards (I-Backs: 18 carries – 31 yards)
Passing: 26-46-2, 267 yards

Scripted Plays:
7 Runs/13 Passes (First 5 drives were all 3 and out)
Total Yards: 49
First Downs: 2
Points: 3

1st Down Run/Pass Balance:
9 runs/24 passes


Final Score: Nebraska 39 – Kansas 32 (OT)
Rushing: 32 carries – 116 yards
Passing:15-33-0, 395 yards

Scripted Plays:
10 Runs/10 Passes
Total Yards: 205
First Downs: 5
Points: 17

1st Down Run/Pass Balance:
13 runs/15 passes


Clearly a few things stick out:

· First, we were absolutely inept at running the ball in 2005. So the pass heavy gameplans of a year ago may be more a function of playing toward our strength, rather than a sign of Callahan’s willingness to take chances at home.

· In this sample Nebraska averaged 27.8 points, but gave up 29.3 (ouch!)

· We’ve looked really effective in our scripted plays the last few weeks. I doubt, however, that we can replicate the success of the KU game.

· For some reason the UT game reminds the most of last year’s OU game. I know UT is clearly more talented overall than last year’s Oklahoma team, but OU’s defense best reflects the speed and strength we will see from the Longhorns.

· That being said, a quick start while clearly beneficial, may not be necessary. Our first ten drives against OU resulted in: six punts, two interceptions, a turnover on downs and a FG. We trailed at one point 24-3, before losing 31-24.

· So, if I had my way we would see the overall run/pass balance of the KU game but I’d be happy with two sustained drives and 7 points from our scripted plays.

· I also expect one trick play sometime in the first quarter. Unless Chizik is asleep at the wheel, UT will expect this too.