July 14, 2008

Livin on a Prayer - The 2008 Husker Offense

I kind of miss the days when you people cheered for a good team.

Oh sure, I had to deal with legions of idiots lecturing me on everything from the proper way to get out of a three point stance to how “true fans” really act like. But if the Husker implosion of 2007 taught us anything, it is that no group of fans are better than anybody else. Even the most well-respected and intelligent football fan can turn into a blathering idiot with nothing more than near loss to Ball State at home and a defense that would have embarrassed Marie Emile Béthouart.

But alas, some of you fight back…not because you have any basis or meaning to your mindless barbs; but simply because you’re so used to acting like a jackass right about now…you simply have switched back into character without realizing who plays on your team and who is set to coach them.

But the beat goes on, and as I say pretty much every other year…the past is the past, and we must now look to the future. Gone are the 30+ point halftime deficits to 4th tier South Division teams. Gone are the days of west coast offenses, Super bowl experienced coaches and JC Keller. No matter how bad you appear to be next season…the NCAA will still require that the teams line up against each other and actually play the games in 2008.

So with that..we’ve reached the point in the off-season where it is no longer appropriate to mock you for your past failures. Now we’re going to mock you for your future failures.

I often say that if you want in-depth analysis and breakdowns you should read ESPN.com or one of the millions of other fine college football blogs out there. But alas, none of them know you like I do…so in that regard…when I do break you down…you should probably listen. With that being said, it’s time to laugh at the 2008 Huskers; starting with the great strength of this once mighty power…the offense.


Quarterback –
Let’s start with the position that is going to draw the most ire. For those of you who don’t hang around these parts, I’ll fill you in on something you probably didn’t know. (And yes…I’m quite serious about this) According to Husker fans…Joe Ganz had one of the finest 3-game seasons in the history of sports. Carrying an entire state on his back, (And if you’ve seen some of the slim goodbody’s who live here..that’s quite a feet) Touchdown Joe lined up against 3 down lineman some of the finest 2nd string nickel backs the Big 12 has to offer and whipped an entire state into a pass-happy frenzy.

Oh sure, two of his opponents were two of the worst passing defenses in the country…and the other was against a Kansas defense that let’s face it…didn’t exactly rack up their gaudy statistics against the New England Patriots. (Unless you think Central Michigan could win the AFC East….and if you do…I digress.)

But regardless, we’ve gone through this all before. Yes, I realize Joe Ganz racked up 16 passing TD’s in 3 games in 2007…which is probably more than you had during the entire 1980’s. And yes, Nebraska finished with the 9th rated passing offense in the country. (Golf clap) But with the help of more smoke an mirrors than a Kiss concert, lets calm ourselves here.

Ganz averaged almost fifty passes a game last season....FIFTY.

To put that in perspective, Colt Brennan threw the ball all over the field in Hawaii averaged less than forty attempts per game. Often mocked Chase Daniel even averaged just over forty. (And threw just 4 more interceptions than Ganz while playing an entire season instead of just three games.).

The point is, there is no dobut that Ganz knows how to play the position. He’s inexperienced, but he’s a senior, so he will most likely only be partially floored by hostile crowds in Norman and Manhattan. He’s got decent mechanics and god knows you have to have at least a ½ strong arm to throw 50 goddamn passes a game for three straight weeks.

But in the end it shall be interesting to see just how fun he will have dropping back with an actual pass rush for 12 straight games….in a situation where more than 3 players are rushing the QB at a given time. The fact that the first three defenses he’ll face were numbers 46, 67 and 114th in pass defense last season…means the hype machine will be in full gear prior to the back to back Lincoln beatdowns to follow against Va Tech and Mizzou.

Be sure to re-read this position breakdown carefully…because the QB position is the absolute greatest strength of this 2008 team….and if you’re wearing a red-felt hat right now…(And odds are...some of you probably are) that’s a pretty scary thought to hang your team’s strengths on a QB with all of 3 games of experience. But then again…this time last year you were telling me how Sam Keller could start for ½ of the teams in the NFL…so I don’t think you have much of a leg to stand on either.


Running Backs –
I was once asked by a Husker blogger who was the one Husker I’d take on my team from the ’07 Huskers. Of course the obvious answer was punter Dan Titchener, because I’m not even sure my own team had a punter last year. Anyhow, after thinking about it for a while…I think I’d take Marlon Lucky.

Now my criticism of Lucky has been well documented, and for good reason. Dude can’t run up the middle. Dude has the physical bounce back ability of Estelle Getty and Dude’s only big games last year were against shitty teams (233 yards vs. Nevada, 102 vs. Ball State, 108 vs. Iowa State and 103 against K-State.

How did he do against the toughest defenses he faced? Try …..

33 against USC
67 against Mizzou
66 against OSU
15 against Kansas
69 against Colorado

(And before you start…spare me the receptions out of the backfield crap. Anybody can catch a 5 yard swing pass if they want. If you’re an I-Back at Nebraska, you better have more skills than that.)

Anybody see a pattern here?

Now look, I know he has skills (Rivals told me so) and I know he has experience. From what I can see he’s also a good kid who has fought off some serious daemons. But if you’re going to try and pull out of a tailspin, you’re going to have to find a way to get it done against defenses who don’t suck.

Quentin Castille had a few nice games, including a real nice 2nd half against Oklahoma State’s 4th string linebackers. (Some of whom actually had game experience) But I ask you again….if you’re going to scrap the West Coast offense and start running between the tackles more…aren’t you going to need at a bit more production out of your #1 power threat? It’s amusing to me to hear such hype about a kid who had all of one good game. (unless you count 78 yard and 2 TD’s against a horrible Nevada defense a “good game”)


Wide Receivers –
Remember the hype and hysteria coming out of the pie-holes of Husker fans last year regarding their “killer” set of receivers? Yeah, that was funny.

Anyway, a whopping SIXTY receptions and 986 yards return for NU at wideout in 2008, as future All-Pro speed daemons Todd Pederson and Nate Swift return as top threats. To put that in perspective…realize that KU’s #2 wide receiver had 63 catches for 834 yards last season. Jeremy Maclin had 80 catches for 1055.

Not a big deal really, because it is a new year. But remember all that hype about Joe Ganz I was talking about? Uhhhh..who is he going to throw to? Do you think William Moore or Justin Thornton are shaking in their boots to see Nate fucking Swift line up against them?

For the upcoming miraculous legacy of Joe Ganz to even have a PRAYER in hell of coming true…somebody from that wide receiving corps is going to have to step up. Either that or Nate Swift or Todd Peterson are going to have to step up to become the electric deep threats that we all know they can be. (And yes, that sounded just as idiotic to me writing it as I’m sure it did for you to read it.)

Menelick Holt and Will Henry may also be an outside prayer at some sort of production by younger players…but if the skyrocketing career of Benedict Chris Brooks is any indication so far…look for more talent, speed and mis-ran routes to fall out of the sky and into the lap of Shawn Watson and his staff this season.


Offensive Line –
I will give you this….I do think your offensive line will be at least a little bit better than last year. And yes….I’m just as surprised as most of you are when you look and see that the Huskers tied for 31st in the nation in sacks allowed at 1 and ½ per game. However, I’m pretty sure we saw this whole “Improved” label thrown on the Huskers offensive line last year…and that didn’t exactly stop you from looking like a Pop Warner team at times.

To me…the key here is new coach and “tough nosed” dynamo Barney Cotton in charge. With Barney’s new and exciting ways to hurt himself every week jumping around like an spastic idiot…look for the Huskers offensive line to slip further and further into obscurity. Then again, if they can keep Joe Ganz’s skull from leaving his body…and keep Marlon Lucky from falling down over their legs on 3 yard plunges…they’ll be just fine.

Unless that roid ring crops back up in North Lincoln, look for more of the ho-hum same out of a once legendary unit.

Coming up next…Cold hard reality: The Blackskirts.


(Photo Thanks - Lincoln Journal Star)

18 Comments:

Blogger bornred said...

Well, we made it on the back cover of NCAA Football 09, so that's gotta be worth something, right?

Randy

PS. Let's not go into any detail on how we are depicted in that back cover, let's just leave it superficial and call it a day...

PPS. Why the hell aren't there any comments yet?

1:28 PM  
Blogger jeffro144 said...

AJ,
Trying to get the point accross that its pretty easy to put up huge numbers when you are trailing by 20+ points is like pulling teeth. Husker fan will never give in on that point. They will look at the 15 TD's and ignore the 7 ints. Husker fans will in the same sentence say they will focus with Lucky and run 25-30 times and mix in other runners. But then say Ganz will do the same thing he did last year. Well if you are throwing it 50+ plus times, its pretty hard to run it 30+ times.
Not only were the defenses lack luster but they we playing off in deep zones and only rushing 3 men. BTW even given all day to throw he was under 60% completion.
Given the fact that I think Bo will hide his D for as long as possible. NU will run the ball ALOT in their first 3 games for sure.
Giving Lucky his yearly first 2-3 weeks of Heisman talk before he falls off and killing Ganz's numbers.
I think you are looking at a good Offense, but not great. Gnaz with around 3000 yards and a 2-1 ratio on tds/ints

4:11 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

There are no comments, because people are scared by the truth.

:)

4:59 PM  
Blogger bornred said...

Fuck it.. just face it head on.

I'm still looking forward to this season as much as I do any and I'll still watch every minute of every game. And yes, I'll still wonder every half time why the hell the coaching staff doesn't call me and ask my opinion on what we should do to adjust...

Randy

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AJ, Once again you prove you are a RACIST by bashing our WR's because of their race. You bashed Purify because he was black last year too. Bigot.

GOOOOOOO
BIIIIIIIG
REEEEEEEED

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Buffalo Phil said...

I'm not skerred. I'm loving it. Great breakdown.

Buffalo Phil -- A huge fan of the Big XI!

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that was not entirely without merit - definitely your best effort in a while.

Although, I disagree a bit that Ganz will be our strength. Count me among the few (if not only one)who still has doubts..I believe that his lack of exceptional (or even very good) arm strength will allow him success against the weaker, slower secondaries while leaving plenty of interception opptys for teams like Oklahoma.

I actually think that the NU O-line and running backs will be a strength - not dominant, but a strength. While Lucky is clearly not a physical back, he does many things well and NU does have some other talented players at the position that if used effectively, could provide a solid, albeit not spectacular running game.

And as much as I hate to admit it, the running game had better be more of a strength, because the NU defense (didn't you hear?...there are no Blackshirts on the squad as of now) will need all the help they can get.

JH

P.S. This whole accepting the truth thing really sucks giant donkey dick.

P.P.S. However, I am consoled by knowing that you do as well.

12:54 PM  
Blogger colo4nu said...

We can't HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crickets...

3:28 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

One of my favorite things EVER on this blog is one some dumbass goes..."crickets" or something smartass of that nature.

All the while not being smart enough to know that I have to actaully APPROVE the comments in order for him to see them.

Then again, I can see how it would be difficult to follow. It does say, "Waiting for author to approve" after you reply.

Brilliant readers I have sometimes.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aj, how are your royals doing? last i saw they were getting ready to swallow another big salty load from the sox this weekend.

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome break down again AJ.
The one time I actually saw Gnadz play he looked little scared, and clearly lacked confidence, not that he had a lot to be confident about last year.

Are we really this bored 8 weeks out?

Yes..

"I'll still wonder every half time why the hell the coaching staff doesn't call me and ask my opinion on what we should do to adjust..."

Randy, despite all of the shit I've tossed your way, this made me laugh. You might be one of them decent holer fans after all.

-Dr. Buffenstien.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exception effort! Thanks for a highly entertaining few minutes. Spfldtiger

10:58 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

Royals are playing much better, but still have some serious holes. THey need to figure out who out of their big 3 young guys is going to drive in runs.

David DeJesus isn't supposed to be leading your team in RBI's and OBP.

But alas, much better than years past.

5:51 PM  
Blogger bornred said...

Buff,

It's all in good clean fun. What the hell else are we supposed to do in the off season?

Randy

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of those Husker fans you hate so much here. I share your reservations on Ganz, but with just 3 games of live snaps under his belt he can still improve some, too, eh? Let's not write him off just yet. OL and WR, both will be better, primarily due to simpler schemes and ease of execution under Watson. How good, we will know for sure when the whistles blow after VT. The whole team was solid on talent, but lacked the proper direction and motivation these past years. I think we will see the new staff bring some of it back, biggest change will be on defense. Just to have Bo bring the hate and discontent for the B12 pussies on the other side of the line back to our Blackshirts will be progress enough for me this year. Reality says its a 3 or 4 year build to return to the success that causes you so much wasted envy. Looking forward to then - when you have a better reason to be such a whiny bitch about our great football program. GBR!

TommyG in MO

2:37 PM  
Blogger NE-Jhawk said...

Okay I have to vent. Those ass-hats at Unsportsmanlike Conduct were talking about long term goals...

And they postulated that while NU's long term goals include the National Championship, CU's goals were to be, "A consistently competative team."

Now I joke alot about MU's BB team playing a one game season (the MU/KU game in Columbia) but I would be the worlds biggest moron if I actually believed the MU BB long term goals were to just be 'competative'.

NU fan has such an inflated view of themselves they cannot conceptualize a team with less history having the same goals as them.

And I understand you have certain goals you have to hit first....but they used the term 'long term goals'. As if CU was just going to stop there once the got consistent. You know....because winning is something you find inside and they will never find it. They best they can hope for is 'consistent'.

What a bunch of assholes.

5:44 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Nice to see "whiney bitch" is the slang du jour of Hick nation this year.

F for originality to you all.

(Thanks for stopping by though)

8:35 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Listed on BlogShares