“So your secondary kids are different than they were a few years back because the guys with the great hands and ability to move and catch are playing offense instead of defense.”
Nehlen believes Schembechler would have eventually accepted it.
“This new concept of throwing the ball 40 and 50 times a game would be foreign to Bo, but I think Bo would be smart enough to see there are some advantages in it. ... It’s exciting; it’s different; the fans like to see 44-28,” Nehlen said.
Then he thought of Schembechler, who coached his way into the College Football Hall of Fame at Miami of Ohio and Michigan, trying to adapt to coaching in this era.
“I’ll say this though. If Bo Schembechler’s teams ever would have given up 500 yards he would not have gotten up Sunday morning. He’d have died Saturday night,” Nehlen added with a chuckle.
The question is whether or not this game of football as it now is coming to exist is the future of the game, or will it eventually go the way of the split-T, the wishbone and all the other offensive innovations that became the rage of the game?
“I’m anxious to see because almost everything in football goes in a cycle. It’s what’s new today, so to speak, was new 50 years ago. I think really good defensive football teams will catch up with it,” Nehlen said.
And the reason is that Nehlen, like Schembechler, is a defensive coach at heart, and he knows that the good defenses will make it possible to defeat the wide-open, spread offensive game.
“Missouri does a great job with that offense. They’ve been doing a great job with it for a long time, but (Saturday) night they got 20 points because Georgia is a great defensive team,” Nehlen said. “Defenses will catch up with it.”