A Couple of Camp Appetizers as Blackshirts Eagerly Await 'Entrées'
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Hot Reads: ‘We’ve Got to Keep the Points Down’

April 04, 2017

No Husker fans needs to hear that Bob Diaco is intense at this point, that he’s a dervish of positivity and defense on the practice field. That was well established after Diaco’s first practice at Nebraska.

But if you haven’t seen it for yourself yet, that can still be somewhat instructive. Roll the tape:


While the wrestling and Roy Jones Jr. references in that video give you a sense of how Diaco teaches, the most interesting part of it probably comes in the first 20 seconds.

I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to look at as many elements of defense as I can to try to get at what makes Diaco’s defenses go. There are some traits that emerged during my first attempt at this when Diaco was hired, but I felt like there was probably more insight to be gained with more detailed analysis.

Maybe I was looking at it the wrong way, however. Instead of zooming in, maybe I should zoom out. At least that’s what this quote from the video made me think.

“To me, you design everything as it relates to points,” Diaco said. “There’s this defensive coordinator conversation about what you have to do in the game where a guy will sit here and say ‘we’ve got to stop the run’ or ‘we’ve got to take the football away.’ But really what we’re doing is we’ve got to keep the points down.”

Now, that might not immediately strike you as particularly revelatory. It might even remind you of Bo Pelini’s “it’s not about yards, it’s about points” postgame quip. Of course the primary objective is to prevent points.

But there’s something to be said for stating something plainly. I also honestly wonder how many defensive coordinators use it as the starting point for constructing their defenses, something Diaco implies maybe isn’t as common as you might think in the quote above.

A quick look at the numbers back up the philosophy, however. Between 2010 and 2016, five of Diaco’s seven defenses (at Notre Dame, then Connecticut) ranked in the top 30 in scoring defense. The two that didn’t: 2014 UConn (Diaco’s first year as head coach) and his 2016 defense.

I have an idea how his defenses have been so successful in this regard, but it’s going to take a little more research. This time, I’ll structure everything “as it relates to points.”

Thanks for the tip.

The Grab Bag

  • De’Mornay Pierson-El walked in on his house being burgled on Sunday. That probably prevented the burglars from making off with more, but they still got more than $3,000 worth of property from Pierson-El and a few other members of the team.
  • Nebraska volleyball’s Sydney Townsend was recognized for her academic performance at the national championship game last night.
  • Tim Miles told a couple of outlets on Monday that he’s had no contact with New Mexico about its coaching vacancy.
  • Northwestern pushed back on the Big Ten’s no effort to play Friday-night games and the conference moved two 2017 games scheduled for Friday back to Saturday.
  • ICYMI: Mike Babcock previews Nebraska’s upcoming games with Creighton and Omaha.

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