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Northwestern has trouble adjusting to new motion offense

Updated: November 6, 2013 11:06PM

Learning coach Chris Collins’ motion offense is like moving to a foreign country for a Northwestern team so used to the Princeton offense. It needs time to assimilate.

A 57-46 exhibition victory over Lewis on Wednesday was Day 1. And the host Wildcats played as if they weren’t too familiar with their surroundings.

Adjusting from the regimented Princeton offense, in which you were always told where to go, Northwestern sometimes looked lost playing an offense that isn’t as structured. The Wildcats are allowed and encouraged to freelance a little bit.

“Our guys were a little nervous offensively and I’m OK with that,” Collins said. “These guys care and because of that I thought they were a little anxious on the offensive end. What I thought was our defense was solid.”

Compounding the issue, three of Northwestern’s five starters redshirted last season.

At times, the players looked as uncomfortable with each other as they were with the offense.

The team had the most success when JerShon Cobb, one of the redshirts, handled the ball. In the months leading up to the season, Collins has touted Cobb as another ball handler besides Dave Sobolewski, who entered the game having played point guard the last two seasons under Bill Carmody.

Collins quickly went to Cobb at the point, taking Sobolewski out less than four minutes in.

Playing multiple roles seemed to suit Cobb.

“It just felt like playing basketball,” he said.

Cobb twice exited in the second half with cramps. He rode the bike and was able to re-enter the game. In his opening statement, Collins made a point to say he thought Cobb’s brief absences in the second half hurt the offense.


Twitter: @SethGruen

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