So I don't post nearly as much as I used to (duh) but believe me, I watch EVERY game and sometimes, kind of miss the old report cards I used to do from 2004-2015. I also regularly read this awesome website that Matt does a GREAT job with.
Anyway, I've been absolutely BLOWN AWAY by how good of a FLOOR COACH (especially situationally) Fred Hoiberg is.
Sure, we all know he can recruit... we all know he played in the NBA 10 years... we all know he was in the T-Wolves front office... We all know he built ISU into a winner, regularly put guys into the NBA and coached the Bulls... we also all know he can recruit.
But nobody really seems to comment on his floor coaching much.
Here are six instances I've noticed that I've been yearning for out of a Nebrasketball coach for YEARS and YEARS and NEVER SEEN. These are little things that will make a HUGE difference when we upgrade the talent and are competing for postseason. They are as important as free throws.
1. TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE RUNNING CLOCK INSIDE 1:00 LEFT AT THE END OF THE FIRST HALF
The first time I noticed this was against Southern Utah, and it ALSO manifested itself the very next game. It hasn't presented an opportunity since then, but two straight games, I saw Hoiberg do the following.
In the first half, our bench is right in front of us on defense, obviously. The opposing team made a shot with around 36 seconds left and our guys were running out of bounds and about to pass it in with 36 seconds left. He YELLED and told them to WAIT - the clock is running - run it down to at least 32 before you in bound (you get 5 seconds, after all). This completely eliminates one possession (which can be huge) and it's something NO COACHES EVER DO. EVER. He did it twice in a row. I've never seen anyone mention this. How many one possession games are there in conference when you are where you need to be? Why do no other coaches do this? (I promise you, they don't)
2. BRINGING IN PLAYERS WHO DON'T PLAY TO FOUL AT THE END
He's done this in one game for sure, but it seems like two. Maybe at Indiana? I don't know how many times I see dumbass coaches leave their starters with 3 and 4 fouls in there to foul at the end. ESPECIALLY OUT OF A TIMEOUT. Drives me insane.
I get that you want a steal and keep your best guys in, but when there's a 5% chance of that, it makes more sense to bring in Arop or Charlie or Kavas or whomever to use their fouls and then bring back in your key players with 3 and 4 fouls during the free throws. This might sound ho hum but name me one other college coach who does this.
3. WILLINGNESS/LACK OF STUBBORNNESS TO MIX UP DEFENSES AND EVEN PLAY (GASP) A LOT OF ZONE
We haven't had a coach willing to play semi consistent zone since...... well I go back to Danny Nee and I don't remember it (outside of some of Danny's teams). I don't believe Doc ever did much when he was here - ditto on Miles (outside of small stretches). Same with Barry. I can't tell you how many times I yelled at the TV "switch out of the damn man" and my good friend Dustin who also watches every game would say, "He doesn't believe in it. We don't play zone." Hoiberg has shown that he will adapt defenses based on opponent and game situation MUCH MORE than any of our coaches throughout the last 25 years. He has his team prepared for EVERYTHING.
4. CALLED PLAYS/SETS OUT OF TIMEOUTS GETTING EASY SHOTS
I'm willing to bet if you went back out of a timeout when we had possession, we run a set or play that gets us a good look 4 out of 5 times. And that's with (no knock on our guys) semi inferior talent.
5. ADJUSTING AT HALFTIME
A coach who actually (Gasps) adjusts at halftime??? We've seen this many times this year.
6. LITERALLY NOBODY EXCEPT FRED AND THOR’S FAMILY THOUGHT THOR WAS A BIG TEN PLAYER.
I don’t think this gets brought up enough. Fred was literally the only one who spotted Thor’s strength and upside to want to keep him around. None of us saw upside or ability with Thor. Fred did and we see Thor becoming a better player each game. The shooting ability from three point land out of Thor from last year to this year is one of the most remarkable year to year improvements I’ve ever seen at the college level.
These are just six of many examples - #1 and #2 and #6 are the ones I REALLY wanted to point out because I haven't seen anyone ever talk about them. These are HUGE THINGS that coaches just don't do and that will win us games down the line.
Fred is a freaking winner. He's all class. He's a name. He's a recruiter. He's a "wow" factor.
But let's not forget he's a HELL. OF. A. FLOOR. COACH.
If he can't get it done here, we literally are screwed.