USC's "West Coast" works, NU's doesn't....for now?
You only have to look at USC to find the standard in college football. Two time defending national champs and attempting to win a third in a row, something never before achieved at this level of play. For Nebraska players, especially on offense, there’s another reason they are the standard: They are apparently running the offense Nebraska has now. For senior running back Cory Ross, he sees USC as the bar and that’s what this offense is trying to achieve.
You don’t have to ask anyone out there that has even a
rudimentary understanding of division 1-A college football who the best team in
the country is right now. The USC Trojans have won the national title two times
in a row now, exhibiting an all around prowess at the game.
Much of the
praise they get nowadays, though, is the fact that amongst offenses, theirs is
the gold standard of the game.
Of the “West Coast” Variety, perfected by
former San Francisco 49er head coach Bill Walsh, this offense can hit you quick,
utilizes running backs that are just as good as receivers, plus enough pass
routes to make a person go dizzy.
And, if the right people are at the
helm, both on the field and in the booth coordinating the process during the
game, well, it’s one of the most sleek and deadly offenses you will
Players from Nebraska see the Trojans, but not as an opponent
that will be hosting the Huskers next year as Nebraska heads to USC for the
first half of a home-and-home series. They see them rather as where they are
trying to get. Senior running back Cory Ross is one of those that watches the
seemingly unbeatable west coast team, running their close to unstoppable version
of the west coast offense and says that could be us.
“They run the same
offense we do, but they are running it right,” Ross said of the Trojans.
“Everyone is doing their job and that’s all you need; guys doing their job and
the offense will work.”
Thus far this season, USC’s offense has clearly
worked while the Huskers’ has clearly not. But, just to give you an idea of just
how far away Nebraska could be, take a look at the current
Perhaps one of the more modest statistics for USC is in
rushing, but they still rank 13th in the country, averaging over 248 yards per
game. Nebraska averages just over 138 yards per game, good enough for a ranking
of 62nd in the country.
In passing, Southern Cal ranks 5th in the
country, averaging 367 yards per game. Nebraska averages 133 yards per game,
good enough for a ranking of 108th out of 117 division 1-A teams.
scoring, the Huskers rank 87th in the country with an average of 13 points per
game. USC ranks 2nd, the Trojans averaging each game just over 59.
add a little more salt to the open wound, in passing efficiency, USC ranks 3rd
in the country in division 1-A, while Nebraska also ranks 3rd……………………….from the
You know what they say about the bottom, though, and Ross feels
that from where they started, especially with the bye-week to work on anything
and everything, the Huskers might not remind anyone of USC this weekend, but
they could surprise some people in the end. “Watching what we did all last week
and what we are doing this week, I feel we have a great game ahead of us,” Ross
“Hopefully, we can make the people proud and have some yards and
points on the board.”
There’s been many reasons cited as to just why the
offense isn’t working. Many think that it’s the offensive line, the unit already
having given up seven sacks this year and struggling against teams like division
1-AA Maine and Wake Forest and Pitt, both teams sporting losing records at this
Probably just as many feel it’s the quarterback position that’s
lacking, Zac Taylor throwing the ball complete less than 44% of the time.
Ross said that it isn’t any one unit or even one person that’s the
problem and you can’t look at adding a west coast savvy QB like Matt Leinhart as
the fix-all to NU’s current issues. “We don’t need a Matt Leinhart,” Ross said.
“We just need everyone working together. It’s a team effort. You don’t need just
“I feel that if everyone does their job, everything will
definitely be fine.”
So, Nebraska will take to the field this week to try
and do just what Ross indicated was his expectation or at least, hope for their
execution when Iowa State comes to town.
More sustained drives, a higher
completion percentage and the running game as a compliment, rather than the only
weapon this NU offense has.
That’s the goal, the overriding desire, so
that the Huskers can get a little closer to being almost Trojanesque. The good
news is that Nebraska does have something in common with USC in that both teams
are undefeated going into the weekend. And if Ross does get his way and the
offense works as one, chances are, they will both be undefeated coming out.
For now, though, that’s where the comparisons will probably
The rest is as they say, a work in progress.