Now that the dust has settled on the Matt Rhule hiring, we can turn our focus to what the on field product may look like. Specifically, the offense. While there have been no practices or specific talks about the offensive scheme, there are a few things that we know that allow us to speculate on what we may see.
In preparation I watched games from Matt Rhule’s last year at Temple, his last season at Baylor and some South Carolina games from this season. Here are my observations and how it could shape Nebraska’s offense under Matt Rhule’s control.
Matt Rhule’s most recent college stop was at Baylor, where the Bears ran a single back offense that relied heavily on Run/Pass Option plays. Admittedly Rhule said he went to that offense largely to fit within the style in the Big 12 that often led to high-scoring games.
It is important to note that Rhule was willing to adjust to the conference he played in, and had success doing so as the Bears won 11 games in Rhule’s third season with the program.
Based on what Matt Rhule said at his press conference about having to adjust to the Big Ten and wanting a strong offensive line, I have a feeling that Nebraska’s offense is going to most resemble what we saw at Temple.
While at Temple the Owls ran a lot of two back formations that included a fullback. Yes Husker fans, a fullback! The Owls had two talented running backs in Ryquell Armstead and Jahad Thomas, who both rushed for over 900 yards. Temple ran downhill quite a bit and used multiple tight end sets on a frequent basis.
Now this didn’t mean that Temple didn’t throw the ball. Phillip Walker threw the ball for over 3,000 yards and receiver Ventell Bryant was a big play receiver. But Rhule and his offensive staff would use some spread concepts and even used both running backs on the field at the same time.
On Thursday, Nebraska officially announced the hiring of Marcus Satterfield as the offensive coordinator as he comes to Nebraska after spending the past two years as South Carolina’s offensive coordinator. Satterfield was Rhule’s offensive coordinator at Temple but also was a part of his staff at Baylor and with the Carolina Panthers.
At South Carolina, Satterfield lead an offense that upset both Tennessee and Clemson. The Gamecocks ran more of a spread look with a lot of single back formations, however one thing that I loved was how Satterfield used tight ends.
In the above image you can see two tight ends at the bottom of the formation, but what you may not understand is that the player lined up next to the quarterback is also a tight end. That’s Jaheim Bell who may end up being a top 50 pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Bell was South Carolina’s best weapon and Satterfield used him all over the field.
Nebraska has a long history of talented tight ends and it’s a position that I feel Nebraska can really take advantage of. There is an abundance of 6’4-6’6 athletic kids in the Midwest that Nebraska can get and use to their advantage. If Fidone can be healthy, he could thrive under this type of role.
While I think Nebraska under Rhule will lean towards the Temple style offense, I think they’ll have a blending of all three offenses. I love that Matt Rhule has said that Nebraska needs to adjust to the Big Ten, which Nebraska has never done. Pelini tried to play small, Riley was too finesse and Frost was a combination of both. Rhule knows what it takes to win in the conference and will build a team to compete.
I’ve attached a video that I made that includes clips and plays from Temple, Baylor and South Carolina. In that video, I’m able to break down the offense even further while providing better visuals. It’s a great companion piece for this article.