What Will The 2009 Nebraska Offense Look Like?

I keep trying to get a handle on what this year's Husker offense might look like.  It's troublesome because the assets that we have - running backs and tight ends - lead one to believe that we should move into double tight end sets and run the ball. Putting the offense into this type of formation also requires that you have a great offensive line that can run the ball when they need to. 

And that's the other quandary. I mean no offense to our current group of  linemen, the fact is that Nebraska's offensive line is nowhere near the powerhouse lines we had in the Osborne era. (Well, the fact is that no one has the offensive lines that Osborne had, largely because the defensive players have gotten that much better just like the six million dollar man - stronger and faster.) 

Barney Cotton is still looking for someone to fill the right guard position, and losing both Lydon Murtha and Jaivorio Burkes at the right tackle position leaves that right side suspect. It doesn't give much confidence that we can rely on a  tight set-based run game, but then there are the tight ends, Mike McNeillDreu YoungBen Cotton and Kyler Reed. Surely there's a boost of confidence with such good depth and athleticism. Maybe get the running game going and then play-action to them like in the old days.  McNeill and Reed have the speed to get behind defenses, while Young and Cotton have the size and strength to muscle up for the ball. 

That's it, right? That's the offense we can expect to see. Right? Right? 

Unfortunately, tight sets are diametrically opposed to the one theme that's made offenses in the Big 12 as explosive as they are right now - the spread formations. Regardless of the offensive philosophy - spread to run or pass -  it seems that an offense must incorporate some elements of the spread to be successful. 

If we spread to pass, we'll have to find more than one playmaker amongst our group of receivers. If we spread to run, will Shawn Watson allow Zac Lee to keep the ball knowing full well that if Lee is injured the next two quarterbacks have never taken a snap in a college game? 

One of last year's bread and butter plays was the wide receiver screen because Todd Peterson and Nate Swift complemented each other so well. With both of them gone, will we see much of the play this season? Can Menelik Holt and Niles Paul complement each other in the same way? 

I'm curious as to what other Husker fans have to say about our offense this season. What will this year's offense look like? What do you think will work? What will be the bread and butter plays off which we feast? 

So many questions. Husker football fans are the best football geeks I know, so what say ye? 

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