What’s the Right Tempo Versus ISU?
Nebraska has practiced and run their offense at a high tempo this year. By running plays quickly, they can pressure defenses. It makes it difficult for the D to substitute, to call defenses, and to stay mentally sharp. It also extends the game by increasing the number of plays run. The Husker offense should have success against Idaho State this week regardless of tempo. That being the case, is it better to stay full throttle or to slow it down?
The first goal is always victory. It just doesn't seem that tempo will be too important in making that happen for Nebraska. There's an argument that the underdog might want to shorten the game by milking the clock to make it fewer possessions. That would mean they might need fewer scores and fewer stops to pull the upset. In that case, a slow tempo by Nebraska might help Idaho State. If a longer game helps the better team, then NU should seek to extend it with a quicker tempo.
A secondary goal might be to put up an acceptable score. A 17-3 victory would probably cost the Huskers esteem nationally which could translate into poll votes and even post-season opportunities. If Nebraska needs 50 points, the best way to get it would likely be to increase the tempo. An extra few possessions will make it that much easier to light up the scoreboard.
A more important goal might be to prepare for Wisconsin and other Big Ten teams. If NU plans to play up-tempo against the Badgers, would it be better to get some more practice at that speed? A counter-argument would be to show something very different versus ISU than what you want to run against U-Dub.
One of the more important goals this week though might be to avoid injury. If the Huskers decide to slow the game down so that there are fewer total snaps, they'll also reduce the risk of injury to key personnel. A 150-snap outing has fewer opportunities than an 180-snap game. That's just simple math. It's a long season, so why add wear and tear?
Also, if the Huskers are still concerned about their confidence on the defensive side of the ball (particularly with a starting linebacker now out for the season), wouldn't you rather keep the defense rested before each series. If the Huskers win by 40 but the defense plays 40 minutes, is that wise?
As you can see, there are good arguments on both sides. What would you like to see?