Nebraska Running Game - Part 5 (OZ Option Runs)

In addition to the two run plays discussed in the previous post on Nebraska’s outside running scheme there were three main option plays used with this blocking scheme as well. The three options mentioned by Milt Tenopir in his book “The Assembly Line” were Nebraska’s 1) base dive option, 2) speed option, and 3) trap option play. Since all three employ outside zone techniques already discussed I’ll just post sample images, post a few video clips of the plays, and also link to the plays in the old Nebraska play book for those interested in more details. In certain spots I’ll add selected comments from Coach Tenopir.

11-19 Dive Option TE Side

The basic dive option was the bread and butter option play for Nebraska over the years according to Coach Tenopir. The QB had the authority to check to this dive option any time he felt the opportunity presented itself. Line splits for this play were one foot.

The ability to run the dive option was vital according to Coach Tenopir in terms of reducing the number of blitzes Nebraska had to worry about. Most teams are hesitant to blitz good option teams as the result is often a big play when a defensive player is caught out of position. In addition he notes the good thing about option football into blitzing defenses is that the secondary is normally playing man coverage and in many cases the WR’s can merely run the defensive backs down field.

Here is a sample diagram of the play being run to the tight end side of the formation.

11-19 Dive Option Split End Side

Nebraska would also run the play to the split end side of the formation to balance tendencies. The QB would often either / or the play and decide the best direction to run the play at the line of scrimmage. Here are three sample diagrams below for running the play to the split end side of the formation

Click here for further blocking examples

Click here for additional blocking examples B

Here is a few minutes of Coach Tenopir discussing the basic dive option on tape. The image and sound quality are not the greatest but you should be able to make out most of the details.

11-19 FB Arc Option

As a minor modification to the base dive option Nebraska also ran the play with the fullback acting as a lead blocker. This version was referred to as the Arc Option due to the path of the full to the outside of the formation. Option key was still the end man on the line of scrimmage.

Here are a couple examples of the Arc Option version described by Coach Tenopir.

Arc Option Video Clip

Speed Option 2 TE Set

The second main type of option based off the outside zone scheme was the one back speed option. Nebraska ran this play out of a lot of 2 TE sets and would run the play to the most favorable side or whichever player they wished to attack. Here is a sample diagram out of the balanced 2 TE set.

Speed Option Spread Set

In order to break tendencies however Nebraska would also run the play to the split end side out of what they called their “spread formation” as well.

Click here for some blocking examples

Click here for some further blocking examples

Speed Option Video Examples

32-38 Trap Option TE Side

The third main type of option off the outside zone blocking scheme was the trap or belly option. This play did involve a pulling play side guard but it was largely still based off the pull and overtake principles in the Nebraska outside zone running scheme. Here is a sample diagram to the tight end side of the formation.

32-38 Trap Option Split End Side

Here is a sample diagram to the split end side of the formation.

32-38 Trap Option Power I Goal Line Set

This play was a Nebraska staple on the goal line according to Coach Tenopir. In these instances they often aligned in the Power I formation and utilized one more blocking back on the play.

Click here for blocking examples for 32-38 Trap Option

Click here for additional blocking examples for 32-38 Trap Option

Video clips for Trap Option

3 comments to Nebraska Running Game – Part 5 (OZ Option Runs)

  • Bill Statz

    Dear Trojan football analysis,

    On 11-19 Arc Option, the diagram (diagram 44) shows the QB doing a reverse pivot, but in the video clips of 11-19 Arc Option, the QB is opening playside. Was the diagram drawn incorrectly?

    Second, in the video for 11-19 Dive Option, there was quite a bit of Midline Option or what Nebraska called the “Wall Option.”


    Bill Statz

    Hi Coach,

    Good catches on the diagram details for the Arc Option plays. I don’t know if the diagram is incorrect or it Nebraska ran it both was and the video only shows one way? They have have changed it over the years. Or it could just be a mistake. The diagram is from an actual Nebraska playbook.

    I had the Wall option plays broken out once but the site got hit by some sort of virus and I had to shut it down. Looks like I never got the Wall option plays put back in separate from the dive option ones…At the 3:10 mark I think some of the Wall option plays start. Unlike a lot of teams though I don’t see Nebraska reading the 3 technique player so it may confuse some to call it Midline option?

    Here is an example of the Wall Option from the playbook.

  • nexxogen

    I hope it’s not too late to answer. Nebraska obviously experimented with it’s plays a lot. This playbook is from 1997 and in that period they did a reverse pivot on Arc Option. If you find some games from that period, you’ll see Tommy Frazier doing it although I believe they didn’t run this play very often. I also have an instructional video where the Nebraska QB coach from that time explains the Arc Option technique and it is done with a reverse pivot. Later on, it seems that they ran this play with the QB opening to the playside although I don’t know whether they referred to it as ‘Arc Option’ because it’s more of a speed option with a fullback as a lead blocker. I believe they ran it a lot with Eric Crouch.

    As for Wall Option, I’m pretty sure they were not reading the 3 tech. Actually I believe Nebraska never had a triple option type of play. The Wall Option key was the end men on the LOS. They probably used this play just to try and mislead the defense into thinking that the Base Option play is coming. I really didn’t see it run that much. They also used to run a FB trap from the same action.

  • John Butler

    nexxogen, does your video of that era show their 42-48 Counter Sweep? Thank you.