Austin and Lubick should provide new flavor to the offensive play-calling
Nebraska's play-calling will have a whole new flavor in 2020.
Yes, head coach Scott Frost will still ultimately make the play calls, but both run game coordinator Greg Austin and offensive coordinator Matt Lubick will have a big voice in the process as well.
Lubick and Austin take over the coordinator duties for Troy Walters, who departed NU for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Lubick said he's really looking forward to working closely with Austin this season.
“Well, first off, Greg's amazing. I knew him as just as a friend and an admirer over the years, but just to be able to be in the room with him and having him, because some of this, a lot of the stuff still is new to me,” Lubick said. “I’ve come in and had to learn the system. The calls have changed a little bit since Oregon and watching him teach it and then watching him work with his players, just in the offseason has blown me away. Not only is he a great coach, he's a great person. He’s got thoroughness and great attention to detail. It's helped me learn. I've been very impressed with him. Then, our thing has been just like we were talking earlier is, ‘Hey, to get up to speed, I need your help and vice versa. If I can help you, let me know.’ Just kind of a mutual working relationship where again, he can say, ‘Hey coach, would you care if we do this today or vice versa.’
“The biggest thing is working together and making sure we're on the same page, because he has a different area of expertise than I do. I do have to lean onto him for a lot and hopefully, he feels the same way with myself.”
Taking on the run game coordinator duties is something Austin doesn't take lightly either. Both he and Lubick will make $500,000, and that alone should tell you how big Austin is in the play-calling process now.
He will have a strong voice, particularly in how and what they do in the run game.
“Being here is a big deal to me,” Austin said. “Just generally being here, but more being a run game coordinator, it's big for me because it gives me an opportunity to speak on some of more what I believe philosophy wise. It tells me, ‘Okay, this is your baby, you got it. It's on your shoulders.’ Works, great. Don't work? You better make sure it works. That's why it's a big deal to me. It has nothing to do with ego or anything else like that.
“It's like, I want to get the run game right so let's make sure that you listen to the guy that wants to get right. Just from a structure standpoint, those guys defer to me a lot now. When I say-- it's not like they didn't in the past, but now it's more or less when we think about the run game it's, ‘All right, what does (Coach Austin) have for us first?’ versus, ‘All right, let's do this, let's do that, let's do this.’ Now, if something comes up, ‘Do you like this?’ ‘No, I don't’, ‘All right, let's throw it out’, or ‘Why don't you like it?’ ‘Okay, here's the reason why.’ Whereas, in years past it was, ‘We really want to do this’, ‘Well, you guys can do it I just don't think it was sound?’”
When Austin looks at what NU does overall, he wants to be more defined going forward. Especially when it comes to running the football.
“We are going to run zone, we are going to run power, and then there's an element about us that we are going to run our old-school stuff that we did last year,” Austin said. “We are going to be a little bit more structured in how we are doing it. The implementation of it, the structure of it is going to be more sound. We are going to be really good at a few things and not average at a whole bunch of things
“That's the overall top-down view of it. We are going to be really good at a few things and not trying to do everything else under the sun.”
And Austin will be the first to tell you he wasn't happy at times with how they ran the ball or the approach they took in 2019 at times.
“It's not necessarily we need to run the ball more,” Austin said. “It more or less, what are we going to go to? Not to talk about the past, but in the past, I'm like, ‘Hey, we need to do this. We need to do this. We need to go to this. We need to go to that.’ Sometimes it was taken. Sometimes not so much. Right? You look at the Iowa game and like, ‘Hey, we need to run the ball at them and not try to run around. Let's attack them. Let's get vertical.’ No? ‘Okay, cool.’ This is what we need to do.
“It's not that I didn't have a voice in the past, it's more or less like now the onus is '(Coach Austin), what are we calling? Let's go,’ and then, ‘You all better be prepared to have that call on the end of my lips ready to go.’ Just from a coordinator, from a top view standpoint as to what they're doing, the adjustments we need to make, what we feel to feel confident in what we're running. Obviously, in the preparation side of it, what we need to be working on more than other things.
“There's a million things to work on. There's a million ways to run the ball. What are you really good at? That's what you have to determine. You got to determine what you're really good at, what your kids are really good at, what they understand, what you can practice effectively and then make that your bread and butter.
"Last year we got into the habit of kind of doing this and doing that and doing-- No, no, no. Let's just really get really good at doing these few things. Then we can have little things off of that, but let's get really good at this core."