Photo Credit: John Peterson

Passing Touchdowns Point of Emphasis For Huskers with More Depth at Wide Receiver

August 04, 2021

The Huskers need to take a jump on offense this season. Coach Scott Frost has led powerful offenses as a coach, typically stressing defenses in the running and passing game. During the 2020 season, however, the passing element was lacking. Particularly passing touchdowns. The Huskers only had five passing touchdowns during the 2020 football season. That number was the fewest in the Big Ten last season.

That number has to improve in 2021. It would be helpful if Nebraska’s offense generated those touchdowns through the air on chunk plays. The team also needs to improve on red zone passing too. That’s something that offensive coordinator Matt Lubick says the team is working hard at but he recognizes the team needs to score more touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.

“Part of being in the red zone, just like in the open field is executing and not beating ourselves,” Lubick said. “It seems like last year we had a penalty, turnover at inopportune times. That has nothing to do with our opponent. That’s us, so the biggest thing is execute and take care of ourselves. No penalties, protecting the football, doing the right assignment.”

Executing those things will keep the offense ahead of the sticks. Then the offense can take more shots downfield. Pushing the ball downfield during the spring and now fall has been a priority for Nebraska, as well as making the opponent respect and defend the entire field.

Once inside the red zone taking care of the things you can control becomes even more important.

“The red zone is harder. The defense has less space to cover,” Lubick said. “So it really forces you to execute. Part of it is just, it’s a mindset. ‘I’m not going to have as much room so I have to win my one on one battle at whatever position I am.’ The defense they want to stop you from scoring touchdowns in the red zone.”

Players and coaches have spoken this fall on the increased depth at wide receiver. That will play a role in the passing game taking a step forward in the 2021 season for Nebraska. Lubick wants to have as many game-ready players as possible this fall. The more guys that can go in and function at a high-level in the offense the better it will make everyone. Keeping players fresh during games will allow them to be more productive.

“I think we have at least six guys that we can play,” Lubick said. “I think we have more than that. Our depth this year at receiver compared to last year is night and day. Last year a lot of those guys were first year guys. Now they’ve all been a year in this system. We actually feel like we have a good three-deep that can go in there and function and play and compete in football games and have success.”

That level of competition in practice will make everyone better. If the Huskers have that amount of depth it will keep everyone focused and sharp during practices. That will make the team better on Saturday during games. The Huskers have a lot of pass catchers doing good things at the start of fall camp. Carrying that through to find consistency on game day is the next step for the program.

Then we’ll see the team find the end zone through the air at a higher rate.

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