Shawn Watson is out and Tim Beck is in as Nebraska's offensive coordinator. But what does that mean for the Huskers' offensive schemes?
Beck's not saying just yet, but it sounds like some big changes are poised to be rung in:
"I can't give away all my secrets," the new Husker offensive coordinator said Tuesday night during the Sports Nightly radio program.Two questions Beck's statement begs:
However, he did indicate Nebraska essentially plans to start from scratch on offense."You can't be afraid to start over and get a system in place, so the system is consistent throughout," said Beck.
1. What does starting over mean exactly? In 2010, the Huskers were predominantly a spread-option team in the mold of Oregon or Rich Rodriguez's West Virginia teams, and for about half a season, had a similar amount of success; the scheme turned Taylor Martinez from an unknown redshirt freshman into a Heisman candidate in the space of about six weeks.
But the offense flagged badly down the stretch, resulting in a late-season slide and Watson's departure-slash-Beck's promotion. If Beck lives up to his threat to start entirely from scratch, the offense may look more like the pass-first aerial attacks that Beck coordinated at Missouri State way back in the late '90s and helped Mark Mangino develop at Kansas a few years later.
Going from last year's run-first-run-second offense to that kind of scheme would close a 180-degree shift, meaning that Beck may try and maintain some of the zone read looks from 2010 to help ease the transition. But then again, if what he really wants is a single-identity offense that's "consistent throughout" the playbook, Beck may go whole hog with the change and simply deal with the inevitable growing pains. And as for the player that might experience the bulk of those pains, the other question is ...
2. How would "starting over" affect Martinez? Not kindly, one wouldn't think. Though efficient when called upon though the first half of the season, Martinez only averaged 125 yards passing per-game and struggled late in the year when trying to throw the Huskers out of deficits. Even given Martinez's unquestioned status as the Husker's most explosive playmaker and highest-profile offensive talent, a move to a pass-centric offense might still open the door for 6'4" junior Cody Green to take over the offense.
This is another reason to think Beck won't entirely fulfill his "start over" mandate; like Al Borges at Michigan with Denard Robinson, to do so would be to intentionally minimize the strengths of his offense's greatest weapon. With so much doubt surrounding precisely how Beck plans on moving the Huskers forward, few spring camps are likely to be more scrutinized ... and Beck's comments have only made the mystery that much more intriguing.