New NU Offense

Discussion in 'Wildcat Football Board' started by Fitzphile, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. corbi296

    corbi296 Well-Known Member
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    My belief and general football consensus is that an offense that is solely focused on scoring the most points ends up putting its defense in precarious positions that will result in that defense giving up more points than it otherwise would. Given this, a coach needs to decide what approach he wants to take to win games based on a variety of factors including the talent he has at his disposal, the type of talent/skills one is best able to recruit, the type of teams you typically play against and the climate you play in. Fitz has decided for all these reasons as well as his own philosophical views that NU football is best served by playing a defensive dominant style of football with a complementary offense and special teams. You can chose to disagree with Fitz but it’s hard to argue with the unprecedented stretch of success he had prior to this year following this exact formula.
     
    41 corbi296, Oct 21, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  2. IGNORE

    IGNORE Well-Known Member
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    If the marshmellows return, PF better be headed out. If he has any self respect and brings back the Dark Ages - he should show himself the door.
     
  3. corbi296

    corbi296 Well-Known Member
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    I am certain that the transition from a wide open aggressive spread offense to a ball control spread offense is coming from Fitz and the transition coincided with the hiring of Fitz’s own coordinators, Hank and McCall. One thing I think needs to be said is that a ball control philosophy is not incompatible with a spread offense and not incompatible with a pass first offense. A ball control, short and intermediate passing offense is right up McCall’s alley. Of course you need the players, particularly the QB, to execute this type of offense.
     
  4. IGNORE

    IGNORE Well-Known Member
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    ball control equals time of possession. How’s that going for the O?
     
  5. Pukecat

    Pukecat Well-Known Member
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    Except we have had some good QBs lately and not much better results offensively. Either the line stunk or the receivers got no separation or both. Now we have those problems and a crappy passer. The recruiting mistakes by Fitzgerald have come back to bite us.
     
  6. corbi296

    corbi296 Well-Known Member
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    Not much better results? Come on, you’ve got to be kidding. Again, the goal of a ball control offense is not to lead the offensive statistical charts, it’s to play a style of offense that optimizes your defensive performance and to outscore opponents. NU did that to the tune of 36 wins over the four year stretch with Thorson as our starter despite not having even an average OL over during any of those years. Get a QB at least as good as Thorson, improve the performance of OL, improve special teams, and keep up the current level of defensive performance. That’s Fitz’s Formula and if he is able to put all those components together at the same time we will be Big Ten champs.
     
  7. NorthNJCatsfan

    NorthNJCatsfan Well-Known Member
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    Agree with your last point directionally, but to actually win the B1G, I would modify to add :

    1. Improve the OL performance dramatically;
    2. Ensure at least 2 good, every down RBs are on the roster, so that there is an heir and a spare. CT had the #2 all time B1G RB on the roster during his time behind center. JJTBC’s durability was as remarkable as his running ability. ( I like Anderson, but am not sure whether he has the size to be an every down back in the B1G. )
    3. Recruit a PK that performs like Jeff Budzien.

    Number 4 on this list might be Improve WR performance. Some encouraging quality in WR recruits and current commits, but it remains to be seen whether this will translate into improvement in WR performance.

    And, PS: Mike Hankwitz: may he live forever!
     
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  8. Pukecat

    Pukecat Well-Known Member
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    remind me how many times Fitz has won the conference. Oh? Not a single time. So his formula isn’t good enough.
     
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  9. corbi296

    corbi296 Well-Known Member
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    It’s not the formula that isn’t good enough, it’s the caliber of player and the execution of the formula that needs to improve. We need to continue to improve recruiting, particularly on the OL and QB, the staff needs to be better at developing this talent, and the players need to execute better. We are never going to out athlete OSU, our best shot is to be more physical, to get more out of the talent we do have and to execute better than they do.
     
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  10. evanston09

    evanston09 Well-Known Member
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    1) General consensus often has very little correlation to what is actually correct in sports. I’m not saying you are wrong, I’m saying that lots of people agreeing with you does not suggest your argument is any more correct than the contrary.

    2) My argument applies to scheme, not necessarily decisions. I am not advocating throwing a Hail Mary on the last play of the first half from your own ten; I am advocating that a scheme be designed to maximize the (points/possessions) expression. The utilization of such is at the coach’s discretion. See second sentence of this bullet.

    3) A defense giving up more points than it otherwise would is not inherently bad. Since I don’t have efficiency numbers for football I’ll illustrate the point using basketball; In 2006 NU allowed 58.5 ppg. Last season, they allowed 65.1. In 2006 their defensive efficiency (pts/possession) was ranked 84th in the nation, last season it was 19th. Despite allowing more points, they had a substantially better defense. Point:allowing more points is worse only if possessions remain constant.

    4) Fitz has had success doing this his way and I’m not going to try to suggest he hasn’t. We don’t know that he couldn’t have had more success though. Having more success is what is required to win championships, not having the same amount of success. It is also possible that he’s had success in spite of his style.
     
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  11. IGNORE

    IGNORE Well-Known Member
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    It’s interesting to listen people tout how great a recruiter PF, praise the recruits we sign based on other offers, stars, tape. The talk about the heights of our recruiting, that the recruit rankings being only a reflection of the small classes we take.

    Then they arrive and it’s not the coaches fault that these great recruits don’t develop, don’t execute, don’t play well. Yet, the two deep never changes either.

    Of course, it’s also not the coaches fault if the players don’t dedicate themselves - seemingly only a problem on one side of the ball. The leadership and discipline of the coaches is never questioned.

    Nope. It’s the recruits - from greatest to terrible in five years or less at NU.
     
  12. IGNORE

    IGNORE Well-Known Member
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    Didnt somebody note the interceptions increased each year for the qbs in the system?
     
  13. Pukecat

    Pukecat Well-Known Member
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    Oh but I thought our recruiting is better than ever? That the facility would deliver. That a bowl win would deliver. That Fitz’s big contract would deliver. We have heard these false starts over and over. Going to the conference title game was great except losing it by 3 TDs was not so great. Turning around and going 3-9, 2-10 isn’t going to improve things.
     
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  14. corbi296

    corbi296 Well-Known Member
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    Could we have had more success using the opposite approach? Possibly but the anecdotal evidence does not support that theory. What you are advocating is essentially the approach we took under Randy Walker post spread inplemention. While there was a great deal of success during that era, I would argue not as much as we’ve had in this last 4 year stretch under Fitz. Walker’s teams also benefitted from the first mover advantage with the spread and a top end of the conference that was not as strong as what you have now. OSU is in a different league now as compared to back then.
     
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  15. corbi296

    corbi296 Well-Known Member
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    It is and that is why our recent success is better than it has ever been. The competition is also better than it’s ever been. The Big Ten is better too to bottom than it’s ever been. OSU, in the Meyer era, has been at a completely different level than at any point in the last 40 years. NU will never get to the point where it is completely immune from experiencing a down season. If that is your expectation, then I think you will continue to be disappointed.
     
    55 corbi296, Oct 21, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  16. evanston09

    evanston09 Well-Known Member
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    It would be the same if those teams had an actually good defense. What I’m suggesting is simply taking what we have on defense and trying to like attack teams.

    I don’t think we have anecdotal evidence for that.
     
  17. corbi296

    corbi296 Well-Known Member
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    The point is that those defenses struggled, at least in part, because of the type of offense we ran. The two were interconnected then just as they are now. You cannot separate the two.
     
    57 corbi296, Oct 21, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  18. Catreporter

    Catreporter Well-Known Member
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    Your commentary is ridiculous! Barnett won conference twice, but didn't have to play Ohio State either time, and Walker tied for a title, again without playing Ohio State. Fitz won the division last year and that is certainly equivalent to Walker's accomplishment. And a 15-1 two year BIG record matched Gary's two miracle seasons, and let us not forget Barnett went 0-8 in the Big Ten two years later. I'm not at all happy with this year either. The offense has been unwatchable, but we are coming off an unprecedented four year run of success, so I'm going to be a little more foregiving before I start calling for a new head coach. Illinois, with their lower academic standards, ability to take jaycees and just about any transfer they want, has been woeful for a half dozen years before pulling a big upset Saturday. Kansas, likewise, with their improvement this season, doesn't have to worry about those pesky academics. Comparing apples and oranges doesn't work.
     
  19. Pukecat

    Pukecat Well-Known Member
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    A down season in the west division should be 6-6.
     
  20. Pukecat

    Pukecat Well-Known Member
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    And Fitz hasn’t had OSU on the schedule many times and couldn’t win the conference. You can only beat the teams on your schedule.

    And you really think any of Fitz’s teams could have beaten the 1995 or the 1996 teams? I’m not sure last year’s squad would have beaten the ‘00 group— certainly the ‘00 team couldn’t stop anybody and the ‘18 team couldn’t score much so you have a battle of strength vs. strength with ‘00 offense and ‘18 defense. I favor ‘00 because they actually beat Michigan.

    Didnt the 1995 and ‘96 Cats have to deal with state schools? You’re whining about advantages that Illinois has always had. (Not sure why Kansas is relevant.)
     
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  21. Fitzphile

    Fitzphile Well-Known Member
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    Lord knows no one wants to see it happen, but NU could go 0-9 in the B1G this season if the offense doesn't get fixed.......
     
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  22. Pukecat

    Pukecat Well-Known Member
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    Yeah but we won the west division once and that’s means a lot... to Fitz.
     
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  23. Catreporter

    Catreporter Well-Known Member
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    You mean the teams that both lost their bowl games? Barnett had a pretty similar conservative offense to Fitz and won lots of close games in those two years. As for Walker's 2000 team? You mean the one that lost 63-17 at the Alamo Bowl? I loved all of those teams, but it's also hard to compare eras. Big Ten has no weak teams now compared to then(excluding Rutgers who we've only played once!)
     
  24. IGNORE

    IGNORE Well-Known Member
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    I believe we have had seasons under PF w no OSU and no championship either.
     
  25. IGNORE

    IGNORE Well-Known Member
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    Really? How bowls has PF lost? How many Rose Bowls has he coached?
     
  26. evanston09

    evanston09 Well-Known Member
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    I don’t think we can say that all. We can say that they gave up more points because of the type of offense we ran, but as I showed above that does not make them worse.

    In the spirit of intellectual honesty I will concede that it is likely at some level they may have been made slightly worse because of more time on the field and knowledge that they have more margin for error, (aim small miss small) but that is sheer speculation.
     
  27. corbi296

    corbi296 Well-Known Member
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    This debate has a lot to do with definition. I don’t judge an offense’s effectiveness solely by its statistical production viewed in isolation. I think it’s Indisputable that how a team plays on one side of the ball impacts the performance of its unit on the other side of the ball. That’s a two way street. Ultimately though, I judge a TEAM by its wins and losses. There are a lot of combinations a coach can use to win a game but ultimately a win is the result of complementary football played by all three units. Anybody who points to statistics to argue that a team can consistently win games solely because of the efforts of one unit and despite the performance of the other two units really has no no clue about the game of football.
     
  28. evanston09

    evanston09 Well-Known Member
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    I think we all agree that having the ball for as long as possible is ideal.

    I suppose my biggest issue here is that the best form of ball control is long drives with a lot of plays.

    It’s really hard to sustain long drives without an offense that’s designed to *beat* a defense, and I don’t know enough about football to understand the schematic intricacies of what we run, but I watch what we run, and I watch what other teams do, and it doesn’t look like we’re nearly as interested as putting pressure on a defense as others.

    I have no issues whatsoever with a spread to run offense, but you need to be able to throw the ball too and I don’t think our quarterbacks really get that chance. We have an absurd amount of passes that are de facto runs. I’m fine with those plays, but they work a lot better when there’s a threat of literally anything else. We fault our receivers all the time for not being able to get open, and maybe it doesn’t matter what routes they run, but if you run all routes shorter than 12 yards downfield you become a lot easier to defend.

    Basically I want us to have the ball a lot too, but I view that as a product of an effective offense. When your goal is to not make mistakes and to hold the ball-you get the garbage we’ve seen on offense the last x years. I’m not asking for us to be Oregon under Chip Kelly, I agree that doesn’t make sense, but maybe Northwestern under Mike Kafka or Dan Persa?
     
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  29. corbi296

    corbi296 Well-Known Member
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    If you can find a way for either those two to regain eligibility, I am sure Fitz/McCall would be happy to oblige. As Fitz said, it’s hard to do anything when your QBR is in the 30s. Add to that an offensive line that is still subpar and that combination of two things is impossible to overcome.
     
  30. evanston09

    evanston09 Well-Known Member
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    We have a qb who is amongst the most talented in the nation who can’t find success. Sure there is more to playing qb than talent, but our backup qb who supposedly knows the offense and has replaced our more talented qb has not only struggled with the same things, he’s been reigned in even more!

    Even with two NFL quarterbacks our offenses have been objectively bad for nearly a decade.

    it’s a systemic issue. Plain and simple.
     
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  31. corbi296

    corbi296 Well-Known Member
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    Your whole premise and expectation for this team is based on HJ’s star rankings. That is a huge assumption that in this case was flawed. What we have is a player who has no experience playing college football who is reputed to have elite physical skills. That doesn’t always translate on the field and even when the it does it usually takes time.
     
  32. evanston09

    evanston09 Well-Known Member
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    Its possible that you are correct but my question is that why, when we put other quarterbacks out there, do things look exactly the same? If you have an independent variable that produces the same outcome regardless of dependent variable, you have pretty good scientific proof that the independent variable is impacting the interaction.

    Even when we had NFL qb’s and NFL rb’s we had a bad offense.

    So maybe Hunter’s rating was wrong, but the only thing to suggest that is the way he’s looked this year. Which happens to be the same system that produced poor to nominally above average offenses for the entirety of 7 straight years of NFL qb’s.

    So maybe it’s HJ. Maybe the ratings were wrong. Maybe the talent doesn’t translate. But that doesn’t negate the fact that we have about as much evidence as possible to suggest that our offensive system is ineffective at scoring.
     
  33. corbi296

    corbi296 Well-Known Member
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    I disagree with your assumptions. First, you attribute all the problems to QB play when my contention is that it is the result of long term underperformance on the OL combined with this year’s problems at QB. Secondly, you define a “bad offense” differently than I do. Your view is based solely on a statistical assessment made in a vacuum independent of the overall success of the team and the importance of the complementary football considerations that have been already discussed thoroughly in this thread. When viewed through that prism, I don’t agree that our offensive play has been “bad” prior to this year.
     
  34. evanston09

    evanston09 Well-Known Member
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    We are going down a bit of a rabbit hole and getting circuitous but I think that saying I attribute it to QB play is a bit off center. I would say more that I view it as how well we maximize our offensive player’s potential.

    While you’re perfectly entitled to view offense in the way you described, at an extreme it would mean that you would view an offense that punts on first down as an effective offense as long as the team scores one more point. I think we all would take that outcome, but we are discussing “good or bad offenses.”

    More reasonably I would compare your perspective to the school of thought in baseball that measures pitchers by their won loss record. Of course there is interaction between how well a pitcher pitches and his likelihood of getting a win, but getting a win, or a loss, does not indicate how well they pitched. If a pitcher throws 1/3 of an inning, blows a 7 run lead, and his team reclaims the lead and walks it off in the bottom of the inning, surely we wouldn’t want to try to repeat that lead solely because our team won and that pitcher gets credit with a win. We won despite him and looking at him getting the win ignores the entire formula that led to that point. I think viewing our offense is being not bad prior to this year is saying our pitcher got the win, who cares he had a 5 era?
     
  35. corbi296

    corbi296 Well-Known Member
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    We are going down that rabbit hole and clearly your examples are extreme but let me indulge you a bit. I would consider an offense that punts three times more complementary and a better offense for a defensive centric team than an offense that goes scores a TD on one long pass completion on one drive and turns the ball over in its territory the other two times. If you have a great defense, i’d rather take my chances asking that defense to defend the field for three drives starting deep in the opponents territory than asking them to defend two short fields even with seven points on the board. If you subject your defense to those circumstances repeatedly over the course of a game, you will lose.
     
  36. evanston09

    evanston09 Well-Known Member
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    Id agree with your preference. I think we all get each other’s perspective and it’s fine to have different ones.
     

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