Film Review: Nebraska at Michigan State, 2021

I breakdown interesting plays - schematically, technically, and from an execution standpoint - from the 2021 Nebrasa at Michigan State football game.

Some general thoughts first:

Nebraska Positives

  • Defense has turned a corner. Very disciplined throughout this game, from front to back. Allowed very few explosive plays
  • DL, especially the DTs, are very good. Disruptive, strong, athletic. 
  • LBs understand scheme and what offense is showing. Athletic enough to make plays, but most important is that they play within the defense
  • Offense really starting to show diversity of schemes and sequencing
Nebraska Negatives

  • The OL is really problematic. Right side got whooped, but as a whole, the OL struggled. Very hard to scheme success despite an OL
  • Martinez has an ability to make plays outside the frame of the play, but still too consistently doesn't make the play that is schemed up 
  • From a defensive standpoint, they are pretty static. Some late safety rotation and cloud not-withstanding, you know what you are generally getting from them defensively (this is likely a simplification to improve early season busts)
Michigan State Positives
  • Skill position guys continue to make plays outside the frame of the play, creating an explosive element that hasn't existed before this year.
  • Really, really like this DL. Ends, while not super athletic, are very disciplined in their pass rush, with dip and rip, bull rush, and inside moves to beat the tackles. DTs disruptive vs the run.
  • Now have two players in the backend that are potential difference makers at Safety and Ni. Really helps the front dedicate to the run

Michigan State Negatives
  • As competition has ramped up, OL has struggled to consistently block. Really struggled on the interior in this game, especially at Center. Some technique issues, as well as targetting issues.
  • I do think the running game can have efficiency issues. This is mostly on the OL, but Nebraska adapted a bit of what they saw from Miami on film (to fit within their scheme), but ran it more disciplined, and the run game was mostly shut down until OT. The explosive element remains if Walker can make a man miss, but there is a chance that the run game becomes very hit-or-miss, especially with limited diversity
  • I think this was just an off game for the QB after getting hit, but something to look for going forward.
  • Back 7 still has some coverage issues, on the outside an at LB. Nebraska had a lot of success with their TEs vs the LB level.



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