LINCOLN, Neb. - While the Nebraska Cornhuskers scored 42 points on Saturday afternoon against Rutgers, offensive coordinator Tim Beck would be the first to say his squad didn’t have their best game of the season in the win.
The casual observer will look at the box score on Sunday morning and think Nebraska’s offense played well. The Huskers put a lot of points up on the board, their Heisman trophy candidate Ameer Abdullah went over 200 yards rushing, and senior receiver Kenny Bell set a school record for receptions in a career.
In reality, the Huskers offense were marred with bad snaps, false starts, and holding penalties. Today they were good enough to overcome it – down the line, they might not be.
“It’s going to kill you,” said Beck regarding the offense’s mistakes and the future schedule. “We are just fortunate today we overcame those things. That stuff kills you.”
Chatelain inquired if Beck gets tired of hearing the notion, just “run the damn ball."
“Yeah, I do. I think we run it about as much or more as anybody in the country,” said Beck. “He’s (Abdullah) has more touches than anybody in the country over the last two years, and we are pretty good at doing it. But, teams know you do it and scheme to stop you.”
The post game audio from Beck, in which Big Red Report was present, can be heard below:
Beck was also asked if it’s hard to not just ride Ameer Abdullah when the senior is running as well as he was today?
“Guys, you can’t just always hand off the ball to Ameer. Everyone is going to know. You can’t just do that,” said Beck. “You have to spread the field and keep teams unbalanced – that’s what you try to do.
“Eventually they know and are blitzing everyone body up there. You can’t block them, I don’t care how good you are, you usually can’t block if there is ten guys in there.”
During one point in the second quarter, minutes after seeing Abdullah bust off multiple runs of 40 plus yards on the previous two series, the Nebraska offensive went to the air three straight times, the last being intercepted. The other two were incompletions. Beck was asked if he understood fan’s frustration of not seeing a running play sprinkled in to the series after success on the ground.
“(Pause) No,” said Beck. “You think every time we give him the ball he’s going to run for 50? What if he runs for two? Should they get frustrated too because he didn’t for 50? Is that the line’s fault then? Or is it his – did he miss it? Or is it a bad play call because you should have run the other way?”
Beck’s teams runs a lot. Today the margin was 61 percent. It’s not the Nebraska of old, but still more than 90 percent of college football. They have the offensive line to do it. They have the running back to do it. But sometimes we have to remember, Ameer isn’t always Superman - no I’m not talking about Rex Burkhead.
“You could say, just get the ball to Ameer and he will make them miss. But some games, like Michigan State, we didn’t make the miss,” said Beck. “Then what? Then I should throw it more? You are always wrong, it’s what comes with the job – it’s okay. That’s what it is.”
Beck might always be wrong, but his team ranks in the top in scoring, total offense, and rushing yards. So it’s obvious, he’s also doing something right.