Offense: Where is it?

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Somebody came up with this phrase, God knows how long ago, but it still holds true today.

When the Huskies had it going right against Indiana last Saturday, everything seemed to be moving like clockwork.

Then it seemed as if NIU decided that they didn’t like the ways of success, scrapped their play book and ran themselves into the ground.

The Huskies engineered a beautiful 70-yard drive and mixed up the play-calling perfectly.

Scott Crabtree completed four third-down passes over the middle to his wide-outs to continuously keep the drive alive.

When the Huskies scored, on a 12-yard end around by Otha Brooks, it appeared that NIU should be able to confuse the Hoosiers for the remainder of the afternoon.

It was not to be.

Something went wrong for head coach Charlie Sadler’s team.

My question is, ‘what happened?’

Crabtree rarely, if ever, threw the ball over the middle to his receivers after that initial drive. Inevitably, he would simply dump the ball off to LeShon Johnson who would scamper off towards the sidelines for about seven or eight yards.

This is all good and fine—on first and second down. However, on third and 10+ yards to go, Vaurice Patterson, Otha Brooks or Steve Rodgers seems to be the logical choice to pick up the first down.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not blaming Crabtree. Maybe his receivers weren’t getting open. Maybe the coaches were sending in plays that were just not designed to pick up the necessary yardage.

Or maybe, just maybe, Indiana adjusted to what NIU was doing and had our receivers covered like a blanket.

On third and long I saw way too many running formations as opposed to a typical three or four receiver setup that many teams use.

I suggest this:

Use it!

Crabtree is throwing better than ever, completing in excess of 60 percent of his throws on the year. If a receiver is running a 13-yard pass pattern on third and 12, my bet is that Crabtree is going to put the ball between his numbers and get that first down.

If our quarterback has the confidence to throw into a tight zone or tough man-to-man coverage, NIU will fare much better against the tougher schools that remain on the schedule.

Arkansas State, who the Huskies take on this weekend won’t be a good way to measure any improvement in this phase of the game. The true tests will be against Nevada, Iowa and Ole‘ Miss.

In these games, NIU can not afford to fail in this area.

Otherwise we’ll continue to listen to that broken record.