Nebraska Fullback Postion: A Lost Art or a Big (10) Opportunity

Badger Pete

Walk On
Dec 22, 2013
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Just a quick observation on the position:

Only a few teams ranked in the top 25 list a “Fullback” as a position on their roster this season. Two of those teams are in the Big Ten West: Wisconsin and Iowa (I don’t care how the coaches voted but Iowa will be in the top 25 when the season ends).

Wisconsin currently has three. Iowa currently has five. Both teams use the fullback to block and catch passes.

Interestingly enough, 18 out of 32 teams NFL teams field an active “Fullback” on their rosters.

Whipple used a blocking back (not listed as fullback) at Pitt last year, but based on the size of Nebraska’s current running back roster, only Yant would qualify at 235lbs.

Nightmare flashback to last year’s Minnesota game. 4th and 1. Shotgun formation with Yant alone in the backfield with no fullback. Yant stumbles and Minnesota stops the Huskers. A fullback and QB under center could have ended this game.

Any way, based on the successful history of Nebraska fullbacks, and the used of the two teams in the division, maybe its time to restore the Nebraska Fullback position to its former glory. Recruit for the position, get some strong, big backs, and start using the running game again.

Tom Rathman, Andra Franklin, Joel and Jeff Mackovica, and Corey Schlesinger come to mind.
 

HominidHusker

Senior
Jun 25, 2018
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Just a quick observation on the position:

Only a few teams ranked in the top 25 list a “Fullback” as a position on their roster this season. Two of those teams are in the Big Ten West: Wisconsin and Iowa (I don’t care how the coaches voted but Iowa will be in the top 25 when the season ends).

Wisconsin currently has three. Iowa currently has five. Both teams use the fullback to block and catch passes.

Interestingly enough, 18 out of 32 teams NFL teams field an active “Fullback” on their rosters.

Whipple used a blocking back (not listed as fullback) at Pitt last year, but based on the size of Nebraska’s current running back roster, only Yant would qualify at 235lbs.

Nightmare flashback to last year’s Minnesota game. 4th and 1. Shotgun formation with Yant alone in the backfield with no fullback. Yant stumbles and Minnesota stops the Huskers. A fullback and QB under center could have ended this game.

Any way, based on the successful history of Nebraska fullbacks, and the used of the two teams in the division, maybe its time to restore the Nebraska Fullback position to its former glory. Recruit for the position, get some strong, big backs, and start using the running game again.

Tom Rathman, Andra Franklin, Joel and Jeff Mackovica, and Corey Schlesinger come to mind.
Sometimes I have nostalgia, but not sure going back to fullback heavy scheme is what I’m looking for. However, I am definitely a fan of using an occasional fullback package and absolutely hope we can incorporate a little.

I stated several times it should have been Damian Jackson’s role.
 

mgbreis

Graduate Assistant
Dec 16, 2004
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Nightmare flashback to last year’s Minnesota game. 4th and 1. Shotgun formation with Yant alone in the backfield with no fullback. Yant stumbles and Minnesota stops the Huskers. A fullback and QB under center could have ended this game.
I really don't care whether we use a fullback or not, I think we can have a good offense either way. I'm definitely WAY WAY WAY more interested in the last thing you mentioned as an afterthought... a QB under center. Go watch that play again, the ball was literally about 6 inches from pay dirt (that's what she said). But we snap the ball 5 yards backwards and a LB (who our LT never even glanced at let alone put a hand on) had a free run at Yant. There's so much to hate about that play the issue of the FB really doesn't enter my mind.

 

Lars72

Senior
Nov 27, 2007
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I really don't care whether we use a fullback or not, I think we can have a good offense either way. I'm definitely WAY WAY WAY more interested in the last thing you mentioned as an afterthought... a QB under center. Go watch that play again, the ball was literally about 6 inches from pay dirt (that's what she said). But we snap the ball 5 yards backwards and a LB (who our LT never even glanced at let alone put a hand on) had a free run at Yant. There's so much to hate about that play the issue of the FB really doesn't enter my mind.

Rewatching that & other clips like that from the past several years just makes me ill.
 

otismotis08

Head Coach
Jan 5, 2012
11,524
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parts unknown
I really don't care whether we use a fullback or not, I think we can have a good offense either way. I'm definitely WAY WAY WAY more interested in the last thing you mentioned as an afterthought... a QB under center. Go watch that play again, the ball was literally about 6 inches from pay dirt (that's what she said). But we snap the ball 5 yards backwards and a LB (who our LT never even glanced at let alone put a hand on) had a free run at Yant. There's so much to hate about that play the issue of the FB really doesn't enter my mind.

QB under center. Yes. That.
 
When Scott Frost arrived in Lincoln, he signed a walk-on from the state. He was planning to go to another B1G West team. I don't believe I have seen him play or watched Nebraska us a FB.

Iowa and Wisconsin, like with some of their LBs, sign walk-ons to fill the FB room. Occasionally, a scholarship player may become on. The better ones likely can earn a scholarship, especially if their production warrants it.

It would be a good development for Nebraska, but it wouldn't be what I would expect from what Oregon, Central Florida or Scott Frost has used during his career.
 
Sep 6, 2021
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if you're too dumb to execute a very simple play it dont matter
Like that series of NU moving into the I-formation against OSU. Walking the ball down the field in chunks, then of course throw the stupid effen pass that gets picked.

I guess to be an offensive genius you have to fool people and not worry about sticking it in the endzone.
 
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drubendall

Defensive Coordinator
Apr 18, 2004
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Just a quick observation on the position:

Only a few teams ranked in the top 25 list a “Fullback” as a position on their roster this season. Two of those teams are in the Big Ten West: Wisconsin and Iowa (I don’t care how the coaches voted but Iowa will be in the top 25 when the season ends).

Wisconsin currently has three. Iowa currently has five. Both teams use the fullback to block and catch passes.

Interestingly enough, 18 out of 32 teams NFL teams field an active “Fullback” on their rosters.

Whipple used a blocking back (not listed as fullback) at Pitt last year, but based on the size of Nebraska’s current running back roster, only Yant would qualify at 235lbs.

Nightmare flashback to last year’s Minnesota game. 4th and 1. Shotgun formation with Yant alone in the backfield with no fullback. Yant stumbles and Minnesota stops the Huskers. A fullback and QB under center could have ended this game.

Any way, based on the successful history of Nebraska fullbacks, and the used of the two teams in the division, maybe its time to restore the Nebraska Fullback position to its former glory. Recruit for the position, get some strong, big backs, and start using the running game again.

Tom Rathman, Andra Franklin, Joel and Jeff Mackovica, and Corey Schlesinger come to mind.
Good post Pete. But the coaches don't listen to us.
 

cruelhalo

Recruiting Coordinator
Jun 27, 2003
6,012
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Jesus H Paul Chryst… this thread has the potential to turn into a big old “walk down memory lane“ Tom Rathman, Frank Solich, Tom Osborne circle jerk.
 
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baseball31ne

Recruiting Coordinator
Mar 8, 2002
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Find ways to win the division, then the conference. If a more traditional FB wins it, then so be it. Not convinced at this point but tends to be more successful.

If Whipple uses the hybrid effectively, then so be it, need wins.
 

redwine65

Defensive Coordinator
Jun 23, 2010
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I want the I back, back first, then the full back..

unless this pass happy thing works..
 

WHCSC

Recruiting Coordinator
Feb 4, 2002
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I really don't care whether we use a fullback or not, I think we can have a good offense either way. I'm definitely WAY WAY WAY more interested in the last thing you mentioned as an afterthought... a QB under center. Go watch that play again, the ball was literally about 6 inches from pay dirt (that's what she said). But we snap the ball 5 yards backwards and a LB (who our LT never even glanced at let alone put a hand on) had a free run at Yant. There's so much to hate about that play the issue of the FB really doesn't enter my mind.

It was close
 

drubendall

Defensive Coordinator
Apr 18, 2004
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Jesus H Paul Chryst… this thread has the potential to turn into a big old “walk down memory lane“ Tom Rathman, Frank Solich, Tom Osborne circle jerk.
Why not? You prefer the last 20 years vs. the decades of dominance?
 
I love the old school NU offense with a FB. Janovich's FB Trap a few years ago remains a thing of beauty. I do think FBs can work well in the B1G if used right.

So, does Nebraska need to be a developmental football program and when we think back to Dr. Tom Osborne, his walkon culture and the Nebraska FB tradition that predates his quarter century as a head coach❓️


Those days have never been seen elsewhere.
 
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huskerfan1414

Recruiting Coordinator
Oct 25, 2014
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Theres no reason, wth our multitude of walk ons, to not find the fastest/toughest 190-200 pound rb/fb with a big frame in the state of nebraska every 2-3 years and offer him a walk on at fullback. Cut back on walk ons of other positions. Put some pounds on him and he spends 4 years working on nothing but lead blocking. Have a few simple plays…iso, fb kick/power, sweep, etc.

But I doubt we’ll do that under frost. Its just not in the cards. We’re too smart for the fb.
 
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Sep 6, 2021
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Theres no reason, wth our multitude of walk ons, to not find the fastest/toughest 190-200 pound rb/fb with a big frame in the state of nebraska every 2-3 years and offer him a walk on at fullback. Cut back on walk ons of other positions. Put some pounds on him and he spends 4 years working on nothing but lead blocking. Have a few simple plays…iso, fb kick/power, sweep, etc.

But I doubt we’ll do that under frost. Its just not in the cards. We’re too smart for the fb.
Before last year, I thought Garrett Nelson was a perfect candidate to line up in the backfield or the slot opposite the TE, put him in motion and become a lead blocker. That was before he became so valuable as a DE/Edge. What NU needs is a hammerhead who loves contact.

Someone suggested Damian Jackson, but I always thought he was too slow and lacked quickness. I never questioned his desire to hit somebody and do whatever he could to help the team win a game.
 
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huskerfan1414

Recruiting Coordinator
Oct 25, 2014
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Before last year, I thought Garrett Nelson was a perfect candidate to line up in the backfield or the slot opposite the TE, put him in motion and become a lead blocker. That was before he became so valuable as a DE/Edge. What NU needs is a hammerhead who loves contact.

Someone suggested Damian Jackson, but I always thought he was too slow and lacked quickness. I never questioned his desire to hit somebody and do whatever he could to help the team win a game.
Why on earth would garrett nelson be a perfect candidate?
Hes kind of busy working at defense.
You either have a fullback or you dont.
 
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Why on earth would garrett nelson be a perfect candidate?
Hes kind of busy working at defense.
You either have a fullback or you dont.
BEFORE LAST YEAR is what I said. ALSO SAID, before he became so valuable as a DE/Edge.

In 2019 he was the 18th leading tackler on defense, with 4 tackles and 11 assists. 0 sacks, 0 QB hurries.

In 2020 he was the 7th leading tackler on defense, 1.5 sacks, 1 QB hurry.

His production wasn't exactly off the charts.

By your plan, NU can begin having a FB in only 4 years.

By the way, NU doesn't have a FB.
 

huskerfan1414

Recruiting Coordinator
Oct 25, 2014
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BEFORE LAST YEAR is what I said. ALSO SAID, before he became so valuable as a DE/Edge.

In 2019 he was the 18th leading tackler on defense, with 4 tackles and 11 assists. 0 sacks, 0 QB hurries.

In 2020 he was the 7th leading tackler on defense, 1.5 sacks, 1 QB hurry.

His production wasn't exactly off the charts.

By your plan, NU can begin having a FB in only 4 years.

By the way, NU doesn't have a FB.
What do stats have to do with it? Hes a defender

Nothing in your post tells me why he would have been a good fullback candidate.
 
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What do stats have to do with it? Hes a defender

Nothing in your post tells me why he would have been a good fullback candidate.
So Nelson's a defender, huh? No shit. Name your phantom 190/200# fullback trainee? I named a player that actually exists.

Your theory is no more likely than mine.

Why take a 190/200# kid and take 2-3-4 years to beef him up and teach him to be a lead blocker, when the squad has a half dozen guys every year who already have enough size and ability to play that position.

My point was, Nelson already had enough size even as a true freshman to fit "your" requirement, and his contribution on defense wasn't major at that time.

You realize you're trying to win a theoretical argument for a position that doesn't exist in the program?

Nothing in your post tells me filling the squad with a 2-3-4 year "trainee" to become a fullback is likely to happen either.
 
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