times have changed, though. I don't want to get into the argument about whether the option/power run offense can be successful at an elite level again, but I think the biggest issue today is recruiting.
top recruits have dreams to play in the NFL, and many have been told and believe that they have a shot to do so, and many want to go to a college that will help get them there.
high school kids see better weight training and nutrition and schemes and camps and 7on7 leagues, etc, etc there aren't many diamonds in the rough anymore, and with so many games being available on TV exposure isn't as much of an issue as it was before, so teams like Kentucky and Louisville will pull in their fair share of talent especially if they can offer a kid early playing time.
to play close to home
to play early
to play in a system that gets them to the NFL
to play for a winner
jmpo but even OL recruits these days want to play in a system that gets them NFL-ready, and they don't view the option offense as something that will help them, quite the opposite. without a dominate OL that offense isn't going to work. not to mention top RBs want to play in a passing or pro style offense these days since that's what would prepare them best for the NFL and no way a top WR is going to come to an option or non-pro or non-spread system
85 schollies is 42 per side of the ball, that's enough for a 3 deep across the board, the problem comes when you have too many busts at one position or miss on recruiting or whatever over a two year period. this past year, NU had Knevel, Hannon, Johnson, Whitaker as Jr/Sr original scholarship OL recruits. your juniors and seniors are supposed to be the backbone of your OL and those guys had barely played before, and barely played this past year.
like it or not, the pro style offense is going to help get top recruits to Lincoln not only at the skill positions but also the OL. there might be a little more stress on the numbers to go around, but it's better than hearing recruits say they aren't considering Neb because the offense wont get them ready for the NFL...
word was that one of the reasons Tyjon Lindsey decommitted from OSU and choose NU is because he felt NU's offense would better prepare him for the NFL...