April 25, 2008

Dawn of the Red

Boy time flies when you’re not paying attention.

Nice to see I can still get under some of your skin, as the hate mail has definitely picked up over the past few weeks. (It's almost as if the Zombies have risen on cue) Funny how the truth sometimes brings that out? And yeah, I realize I ask for some of it. I mean really…I know you feel the same way deep down, but are not ready to admit things like how coaching alone will not help your defense even be mediocre. Or how a career backup with a whopping THREE total starts is going to be one of the “top QB’s in the Big 12” next year.

But in the end, it all boils down to a simple cliché: The truth hurts. Whether or not you choose to accept that pain is up to you. Whether or not you choose to believe that the pain is not going to go away, well….that’s up to you as well.

And don’t get me wrong, there is definitely reason for hope. Clownahan was a huge liability, and I don’t have to tell many of you what a buffoon Steve Pederson was. (Although let the record show that I told you this LONG before you figured it out.) But in the end, it’s all about controlling your expectations.

For example, let’s take the Royals, and my hopes for this season. Now, I’m not about to go crazy and start to let myself think that they have a shot in hell at a division title. I know they have flaws, I know they have history against them. I know all the reasons they should or shouldn’t be good. It doesn’t mean I’m not hopeful, it just means I’m cautiously aware of shortcomings, while optimistic that they’ll be better.

YOU on the other hand contain no such capacity of thought. You…and I mean just about all of you…have no such ability to put your feelings aside and realize what is going on around you. I’m not sure if it’s because many of you are so emotionally attached to the team that you think you actually play for them…or if you’re just butt ass stupid. Regardless, you NEED people like me to keep you grounded. That way, if (God forbid) you were to beat realistic expectations, things will feel all the better. If not, you’re simply asking to be disappointed and despondent. And don’t say I didn’t try and warn you.

** Speaking of delusional and irrational, the Joey Ganz argument with Husker Mike has now spilled to other blogs. (Here) Now, I completely see the reasoning behind most of your completely unfounded and borderline hallucinogenic feelings regarding your 2008 starting QB. And once again, I will admit that Ganz brings a nice mobility dimension that you did not have with J.C. under center.

However, the fact remains that Joey Ganz’s stats are as distorted as Courtney Love after a 3 day bender. Granted, the TD totals are nice, but the fact that 2 of his 3 games were against some of the worst passing D’s in the conference…but that he was consistently playing from behind for ¾ of his time on the field.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that from statistics alone, it’s a hell of a lot easier to rack up big passing numbers when you’re consistently trying to get back into a game. I mean seriously…why is this so hard to understand? OK, so maybe "garbage time" wasn't the right word to use. But then again, I didn't say it was YOUR garbage time. (In this case, it was KU's)

For the last time, Joe Ganz might be a nice QB for you next year. He might be much like Zac Taylor and better help you bridge one shitty era to another. Being a Chicago guy, he might be that hard-nosed leader that is crucial when trying to re-build a program.

Or there might be a reason he was a career backup who can’t handle the 9 bizillion tons of pressure sure to be crushing his shoulders all year.

We shall see.

** Speaking of Husker issues…I’ve heard a lot about how deep NU is at running back. Now granted, Marlon Lucky now has a lot of experience, and despite the fact that he has zero ability to run between tackles, he does make a nice option out of the backfield. The myriad of backs behind him are young, but from what I can see…at least have the potential to be ½ decent.

What does not have the chance to be ½ decent is the pasty dance troupe you have at wide receiver. Now I realize that Matt Davison is a hero to you all. He has parlayed a bad route on an illegal kick into a very lucrative broadcasting and poster signing career. But unless you’ve been stockpiling freshman wide receivers and/or Chris Brooks suddenly throws that karma off his back and learns how to actually catch and run routes…you’re pretty well screwed.

It’s called being one dimensional, and it’s not something you really want to be when your #1 option at running back in injury prone and has the physical stamina of an 70 year old woman.

And to think…that’s one of your strengths.

15 Comments:

Blogger NE-Jhawk said...

Being realistic is something that some fans have trouble with. The real problem is that NU fans havn't HAD to be realistic in 2 generations.

For example, they spet 36 years beating the living piss out of KU. And if you listened to a NU fan during those years, you would no doubt believe that the big margin of victory was due to NU being superior in every way and in every game.

Now they are on the other side of a similar kind of defeat...and we hear all kinds of points being made about how playing from behind changes the nature of the game. Somehow those interceptions Ganz threw didn't count because he was trying to do so much to catch up.

To which I reply...DUH!!! I've been trying to tell you this for 36 years!!! And when I did you guys rolled your eyes!!!

In the end the only thing anyone remembers is who won the game.

So I have to admit, as a KU fan, that pointing to injuries and running out of time against MU team we had ropes makes me feel better. But MU's team was better than KU's team last year. That's the reality.

And Husker fans need to admit that as good as you want Ganz to be...he turnes into a turnover machine when the pressure's on. That's who he showed himself to be last year.

You can ignore it if you want. We all have our little denials. Hell I have a friend who cliamed every year to be 'KU's year', even in the middle of the Terry Allen years. Now he's completey insufferable. And if you want to ignore reality...you can be right once in a century too, just like him.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AJ,

Pretty fair assessment. I don't think Ganz is anywhere near all conference material and I'm not sold on his performances last year either, but it's also worth noting that when you are behind and trying to catch up, the defense knows you have to throw, and can focus on one dimension of your offense. Putting up big numbers there is not completely irrelevant. Thing is, he's going to be our QB so we have to live with it and hope he plays well enough at critical times.

I'm surprised you didn't mention our newest, bestest LB... We already have major concerns on that side of the ball and the fact that our former backup 3rd down back is one of our top candidates to start at LB shouldn't make any Husker fan feel warm and fuzzy.

Hopefully Bo can get them to play harder and not quit. Not all Husker fans have overblown expectations. This is year one under Bo, and anytime you have a rookie HC in a BCS league, you have to expect to take some lumps. If he gets them to play hard every down or every series of every game, I'll be a happy fan, regardless of the record.

PS. The last several times I've noticed that the word "Bo" has been in the word verfication phrase that's presented by blogger when you post. Is this an omen or akin to seeing an image of the Virgin Mary appear in your bathtub scum?

1:09 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Heh, probably the latter, but good observation. NE makes a decent point as well regarding Ganz. Racking up those yards are a bit easier when the defense is sitting back...especially in a dink and dunk passing game like the WCO.

However, put some pressure on him, and he makes mistakes. That's an experience factor there if you ask me. He could be the best QB in the world, but 3 career games is still 3 career games.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It doesn’t mean I’m not hopeful, it just means I’m cautiously aware of shortcomings, while optimistic that they’ll be better."

This essentially has been the majority of husker fan's mantra during the past 6 or 7 years despite what you believe, especially the first part about being hopeful for the team. This also is a good indication on what most Husker fans feel like now when we are basically starting from scratch and build up to what we once were.

Now, are you going to run into douchebags in our fan base who spout on constantly about Husker dominance even though it's not even remotely true? Yes, but don't for a second think that's the majority of us. We have always been hopeful for our team whether it was 40 years, 40 months, 40 weeks or 40 minutes ago we still want the best for the team and program.

1:57 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

I admit, I probably run into more than my fair share of douchebags in my daily life, and yes...I admit there are a large number of Husker fans who are more rational than others.

but the ratio of whackass fans to "normal" fans in this state is as unbalanced as anywhere on earth.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I admit, I probably run into more than my fair share of douchebags in my daily life

How much of that is because they know who you are?

Seriously, are you are meeting that many strangers that are just completely unrealistic and irrational fans? And I'm not talking about in the comments section here or in any virtual conversation, but actual face to face.

I don't really expect you to answer that if it's not as bad as you suggest, but I know alot of Husker fans and most are pretty damn realistic. Oh, they do bitch and complain when things aren't going well, but that's true of any fanbase.

On-line? Shit, nobody knows who you are so you can be a complete jackass without any fear of repercussion. Dr. Buffenstien, anyone?

3:06 PM  
Blogger Sammy Vegas said...

AJ-
what is shocking about your poll there is that most of your readers (like 49%?) thought the most memorable play of the game was the first play option fumble. god i hope nebraska fans didnt vote for that. and if it wasnt nebraska fans doing most of the voting, everyone should all know that future starting walk-on linebacker Wortman with a 4.0 GPA made that fumble happen despite the coaches request to make the play work. I have to admit i am getting scared. really, really scared about this defense's talent.

12:41 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

"Most of the Husker fans I know are pretty damn realistic"

Oh really?

Kind of hard to pick out the myopic ones when you're right in there with them. Many times you need to step away to get the full picture of the absurd nature of those around you.

I don't expect you to get it.

THat's the point.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AJ--There is no way most Nebraska fans are realistic--or even sane.

This is the fan base that celebrated firing a coach after a ten-win season. They said it showed that they wouldn't tolerate anything less than championships. They honestly thought that would make the job the most attractive in the country.

The insanity doesn't stop at the gridiron. About ten years ago, I was in Lincoln when Kansas was playing them. I was on the very edge of the section with the KU fans. None of us in that section thought Kansas would win. Sure enough, some time in the third quarter or so with the 'Hawks down by about 40, I said to my neighbor, "Just wait until we're playing on wood. Then they'll be sorry they were mean to us." All the Kansas fans in earshot shared a chuckle at the thought that basketball season was about to start. The "gentleman" of about 60 sitting next to me launched into a loud tirade about how Kansas hadn't beaten Nebraska in basketball for many years. He went on to talk about how everybody around the country knows that Nebraska basketball is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than Kansas basketball.

I recognize that everybody has delusional fans. I knew some Kansas idiots who wanted Roy Williams fired every year for the last ten he was in Lawrence because he hadn't won a national championship. The difference between Nebraska and everywhere else is that Nebraska listens to their idiots and celebrates them.

Bo Pelini may end up being a fine coach. It's way too early to tell. What I can guarantee right now is that he won't prove it next year and that in three years, the cries to get rid of him will begin to coalesce into another coalition determined to crash the program onto the rocks to prove how devoted they are.

Have a nice week, AJ.

Bob

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AJ,
I know this is total off point, but while watching the NFL draft today I noticed that any player who's team played against NU, either offense or defense, had those highlights shown. Defensive lineman, running over NU linemen. Offensive linemen pancaking NU defensive players. Skill players running over or past NU players. After about the 4th or 5th players highlights were shown, i couldnt help but smile. It just shows how far NU has fallen. They are now on the wrong side of all the big highlights

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A.J.,

As a Husker fan myself, I truly enjoy your blog. I don't take offense to it. In fact, I laugh and agree with about 98% of what you write.

I've read through the last few entries and want to give a couple of thoughts about the coaching change, the expectations for next year and the future. Like you, A.J., I agree that most Husker fans are delusional and stubborn about the team. I try to take a more realistic approach when examining the team.

First, Callahan had to go. Totally square peg in a round hole situation. Callahan is a flashy, big city, coastal living kind of guy while Nebraska is hard working, small town, Heartland living type of place. It was a bad fit on all counts. Callahan isn't head coaching material. He will make an excellent assistant in the NFL and will probably have a great career doing that. I wish him the best with the New York Jets. They are a young team that can only go up from here.

That said, fans who think Bo Pelini is going to come in and automatically turn the team into a BCS contender are just crazy. I went to the spring game (free tickets from work) and was quite disappointed in everything. Pelini seemed detached from the guys, the guys didn't look very talented, it was sub-par football on all counts. It shows me Nebraska is in for a long season.

Now, I'll give Pelini a chance. I didn't jump on the bandwagon when he got hired like everyone else and S.I. (look at their article on Nebraska football a few issues back... schmaltzy and sugary that made me want to throw up.) I think the guy lacks experience, has temper issues and has himself admitted that he hates recruiting. However, he is more hard working, blue collared type of a guy, just want Nebraska wants.

My prediction is one of the three things is going to happen:

1. The team will improve, but won't compete in a BCS game. Eventually, fans will get annoyed by this and Pelini will be canned.

2. Pelini starts receiving coaching offers in the NFL. After stating that he's not interested, he eventually starts talking to teams and after about 4-5 seasons with Nebraska, announces that he is accepting a head coaching position with an NFL team.

3. Pelini throws a fit during a game, tarnishes his reputation, leaves Nebraska and goes back into the sunset as a relatively unknown figure.

My point is, I don't see him lasting very long on any account. I feel Pelini's real desire is to coach at the NFL level. It makes sense: he hates babysitting people, he hates recruiting, he has prior NFL experience, it just sounds like the right fit. Plus Nebraska isn't going to do so well, and the cycle will continue where a coach leaves, coach comes in and the team stays pretty much at the same level. I don't see the glory days of Nebraska coming back for a long time unfortunately.

Also, why is Tom Osborne not getting any kind of flack at all? Wasn't he the one who hired Frank Solich and recommended Steve Pederson for the job? I guess winning championships gets you a pass from ridicule...

Keep up the good work, A.J.

-Tom

6:18 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Thanks Tom.

Some good points. Thanks for posting.

7:25 PM  
Blogger NE-Jhawk said...

Good points all around. Another thought I had about 'realism' and what that means for any given person.

Last year, before the season started, I heard the following question asked by a caller on Unsportsman Like Conduct (1620)...

"I know we probably won't win against USC, they're going to be too good. But if we can manage a win, how long before we can expect to hear about Heisman talk on Keller?"

Now to thier credit some fun was made about the entire premise of the call. But what sticks with me is the fact that the caller THINKS he's being realistic. As if all you have to do is say something realistic (that NU won't beat USC) in order to say something batshit crazy (that Keller should even be allowed to watch them present the Heisman to the winner while sitting in his boxers at home).

4:10 PM  
Anonymous barbs bush said...

Hey AJ....we got Pelini and you got Pinky Pinkel...LMAO.

Seems this worries you huh???

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey AJ...we got Pelini and you got Pinky Pinkel, LMAO.

Seems that worries you huh??


BO
BIG
RED

8:07 PM  

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