Bye week/MN week!

I’m sure after the OSU game there is a greater sense of optimism.  Which in any case there should be some.  The huskers finally showed some moxy and some fight back after a lack-luster first 3 quarters.  Which in itself is a good sign for the future.  After the Wisconsin game, the team and the whole state could have went into a tail spin that could lead to long term disaster.  As a fan and former player I was amazed to see how one play or better yet one player ( LaVonte David) can change a game and hopefully a season.  The easy saying would be ” if we had a team full of Lavonte David’s we’d be a undefeated team.”   The reality is that we don’t and aren’t undefeated.  And to make things worse, Jared crick is out for the season.  For him personally I feel bad as he had the chance to go to the NFL early but chose to come back for his teammates and University.  A decision I can applaud but in most cases don’t agree with.  College athletics are a BUSINESS and athletes need to understand that and make decision’s based on whats best for them as most Universities do the same.

Now back to football, from a players perspective a bye week is good to get recharged and healthy but if coach Osborne was running practices you learned to dread the awful thought of a bye week because he saw it as a chance to rekindle the way we practiced during two a days in summer camp.  In the huskers case this bye week should serve as a way to work on the many weaknesses that they have.  The main one would be FUNDAMENTALS.  After watching the first part of the season, a glaring weakness is fundamentals.  Fundamentals are they key to success and what can make an average team good and a good team great.  Running, blocking, tackling and catching are all things football players learn from a very early age but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need to worked on daily.  The other weakness is football knowledge for the younger players.  Coaches can help with this by putting them into game situations in practice to help them build confidence for when they are in a game.  During the Wisconsin game the younger DB’s looked as if they knew the coverage but forgot to play the coverage or play the man.  Lastly, keep developing Taylor to a point that he can be seen as a asset as a passer and give coach Beck the option to open up the offense for the rest of the year.

This Minnesota game will be a clear indicator as to how we will finish the season and what to look forward to in the near future.  Minnesota is a team we should beat with ease and also be able to put players in the game that haven’t been getting a lot of playing time.  Brion Carnes, P.J. Smith and all the freshman RB’s should see a lot of action in my opinion.

Well after last weeks game there are plenty of questions but no answers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A game like Wisconsin reminds me a lot of when we lost 19-0 to Arizona State in 1996.  A thrashing like that exposes your weaknesses and tests your character as a player and also a team.  The following days after a loss are the longest you will ever have as a player and need to be put to rest as soon as possible.

On offense the weaknesses have been very clear all season and all the way back into late last season.  We don’t have a physical running game that can control the clock or run out a game. We live and die by the big play and if that’s not working we struggle badly on offense.  I’ve watched this team for 5 games after half time not make any adjustments to create more scoring opportunities and to keep the opposing defenses on their toes.  Now to Taylor Martinez and the passing game.  Let’s face it, he will never be a great passer, he’s a good athlete trying to play quarterback.  His mechanics aren’t up to par and that’s a big reason why his completion percentage is horrible.  i also think they limit his plays to very basic plays for him to succeed. A new offensive coordinator and a unseasoned quarterback with bad mechanics is a recipe for doom and a long season.  Moving forward the whole team needs to find and believe in a identity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Do you wanna bea bully or get bullied? Champion or Chump? Also ran or leader?

Very easy answers that aren’t easily achieved.  The difference between a avergae team anda great team is that the team, coaches and individual players will go above and beyond the call of duty and in some cases will do things that they personally dont agree with but realize that doing so is the best for the TEAM.

This game will be a clear indication of what everyone is made of in the athletic department.  I fully expect the team and especially the defense to step up and play with the passion and smarts to bounce back and turn this season around.

I chose not to post about the first game as I remember as a player how hard and tense the first game can be.  A great analogy would be a first date with a blind date.  Many of us watching the first game were a little stunned by what we saw but then we also had some hope for the season as they seemed to play a little better after they settled down.  The one thing  that is very obvious is that the huskers have a very young team and the players in leadership positions are young as well.  The only exception would be Jared Crick.  Mixed with all the potential of the move to the new Big Ten is also a HUGE dose of the reality pill that this season might be as tough a season as we’ve had in Husker land in some time.  Taylor has improved but not by the leaps and bounds that have boasted throughout camp.  I see a young player and person that needs to be pushed and worked to the max in order for him to achieve the things that the coaches see in him.  The question is, to what lengths do you jepordize Senior players last season or the short term future of the program for one player.  I know thats a lot of pressure but if you dontlike pressure dont play football or better yet dont player Quarterback and UNL.

Now to the good stuff, my evaluation of the team.

Offense: I see a new offense with more talent across the board with the young freshman and redshirt players making waves.  I see more potential in the new offense to sustain drives and maybe have the ability to close out games. This was one of the main things lacking last season.  The playbook has expanded and I was surprised to see Taylor make a check at the Line.  This is all progress!  But with that being said, this is progress that should have happened in the spring.  Expectations have to be lowered with a new offense, new OC and many young players but the expectations of an athlete to study and prepare shuld never be lowered becasue that is your duty to do so.  As an athlete you have a obligation to your teammate, coaches and fans.  The major problem with the offense is that we dont have an identity!!!!!!!!!! We say and coach like we want to be a physical team but our playbook and play calling wont allow us to do so.  Alabama, Ohio State and Wisconsin arePHYSICAL teams, they line up and come right at you and make you quit if you cant hang for 4 quarters.  A mis-direction offense isn’t a physical  and in theory can’t be.  We have all the lineman in the world with experience, size and want to but now we have to call plays that can show how physical we can be.  By no menas am I saying scrap the playbook or the OC, all I’m saying is let’s get an identity andexpand from there because if we don’t we will still be spinning our tires in the mud next season!

Defense:  Let me say this.  I will always be harder on the defense versus the offense just because I have a deep passion for the Blackshirts.  Talk about identity and you can bet Bo Pelini teams will play some defense and have some great players.  The first to games have been average to everyone’s standards and has created some concern.  The concern is that the middle of the defense is WEAK.  If you’re soft up the middle at DT, MLB, and Safety then the core of your defense and in our case of our team is gone.  Every player and team are prone to a off game or two but against our first two opponents that hsould never have happened.  And let’s not forget what Washington did to our team in the bowl game.  And I really dont care if you played them 100 timess and beat 99 in a row, you go out to detroy your opponent 100% of the time!!!! The good things that have come out of these first two games are that a lot of young players have played and gotten experience and also we will see what our Blackshirts are made of this weekend at 230 P.M.  Redeeming yourself against a team doesnt come around too often so this week, if any< should be a true indicator of whats to come for the rest of the season.  Like many of u