August 31, 2008

So What Did You Learn, Dorothy?

First off, I’m sorry this is a bit late. I was so busy putting holes in my walls and smashing items in my den that I forgot to write a column. That sort of thing happens when you beat a top 20 team by double digits.

Anyway, more on that in a bit.

As for the Hicks this weekend…I warned you before hand; I didn’t see one play of the game. Hell, I didn’t even watch the gametracker of the game. (Was a bit busy at the time.) In this business, nothing is worse than commenting on a game I didn't see (or pay attention to while it was happing), but regardless, keep that in mind as we go through some things we learned about NU:

- Without Joe Ganz you are really really screwed. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still probably in the bottom half of QB’s in the league, but he is a senior and he does have the ability to put up nice numbers. Was he zipping around the ball that well early on? Or was the "emotion" (roll eyes) of it all just too much for WMU?

- Marlon Lucky eh? 3.8 yards per carry and less than 50 total? Against a MAC team that finished in the bottom half of the country in defense last year? Weak.

- Sounds like the Husker defense is right about where most rational people thought they’d be. Improved on effort (Seriously...even me of all people knew you wouldn't mail it in during game 1), yet still not quite able to put it all together. Hiller is a pretty good QB and threw for 3000 yards last season. But come on..this is Western Michigan at HOME. Back in the old days, this was a major concern. Today, it almost seems folks are happy it was only 30-49 for 341.

- FOUR sacks? FOUR!?!? That’s like more sacks than you’ve had combined since the Maine game in 2005 no? Wow, FOUR?!? AND two turnovers? Congrats.

- Looks like Alex Henry is working out well for you guys. Having a key guy who can kick field goals when your inconsistent offense sputters out inside the 30 is key.

- Would be nice to see what would have happened if Western wouldn’t have blown their best opportunity of the game early. Wide open receiver, and the ball sips out of Hiller’s hands? I’ve told you this once, and I’ve told you this 1000 times: Teams from small conferences will always struggle in Lincoln, because it takes them a while to get their bearings after seeing THAT many middle aged rural white guys “throwing bones” to start the game. Seriously, that would throw me off too.

- Why is the tunnel walk mentioned by almost everybody as one of the best part of the game? You actually WON a game by 20+ points. I think you have way more things to worry about than a song from 1985 thrown up on the scoreboard with some pictures. So it was cool. Whoopie doo.

- Somebody must have done a decent job shutting down Jamarko Simmons. I assume he wasn’t hurt and I assumed he actually played. I’ll investigate further to see just what the hell happened, but props nonetheless. (or a big fat “nice going” to Bill Cubit for not throwing to him, although I heard a rumor he was banged up.)

- Regardless, This broke down pretty much as we expected. (I predicted 31 to 23 Huskers) Again, this is a WMU team that gave up 30+ points FIVE times last season and has almost everybody back. Regardless, Ganz appeared to put up decent numbers, but yet made a few mistakes. Not sure where the hell your running game went, but apparently it wasn’t needed. Remember also that two of Bill Callahan’s WORST seasons (2004 and 2007) were opened with big wins over Western Illinois and Nevada. We shall see how it goes.

** Other observations **

- I’m not sure why everybody is all over the Missouri defense today. Mizzou gave up 4 TD’s, a pick 6 (Dumb pass by Daniel) and an absolute scrub TD with :00 on the clock to end the game. Of those four TD’s by Juice Williams, Two of them were absolutely perfect passes that were covered completely. Not much you can do when the guy is putting the deep ball on the money like that. The one missed assignment they did have was a sub just after Gettis hurt his shoulder.

Regardless, That was the second toughest game on Mizzou’s schedule, they played average at best and still put up 52 points and won by double digits. (Against a defending BCS team). There is plenty to improve on, but I think it’s awfully early to start hitting the panic button on the defense. Seriously, watch the highlights…you couldn’t drop a ball out of the sky better than Juice Williams was doing last night. Props to him.
I thought Daniel stayed composed pretty well, and shook off some drops and some bad decisions. Nice to have a weapon like Jeremy Maclin back there as well. For 25 years, Mizzou didn't have a kickoff returned for a touchdown. Now they have 2 in the last 5 games.
Other notes: Temple who? Washington played well as did Jared Perry. When Coffman and Maclin get double covered, it's imperative for those two guys to step up. (Especially until Danario Alexander gets back on 10/4). Regardless, a win is a win..especially against a quality team. I'll take that any day of the week.

- Texas A&M….seriously. I mean, I know CU struggled with Montana State in Dan Hawkins’ first game…and I know Rich Rodriguez struggled in his first game. (I told you Utah was pretty good)…but Arkansas State at Kyle Field? Come on now.

- I think people are completely under-estimating just how bad Florida International is. Granted, KU led 30-10 at the half and Sod Reesing had 256. But if you’re going to be the BCS juggernaut you have built in your own need to be putting the wood to borderline high school teams like Florida International. That South Florida game just got more interesting.

- Good wins for KSU and ISU…if against other high school teams as well.

- Graham Harrell threw for only 536 against a 1AA team. What the hell is wrong with the Red Raiders? Yeesh, he is slipping.

- Great win for Okie State that has flown under the radar overnight. Wazzu is a decent team with some serious weapons. Pretty good for 5th best team in the south ( or so people say).
So what DID we learn over the weekend? Pretty much nothing we didn't already know. Oh sure, Virginia Tech and Michigan suck, and the teams we thought would be good are good. But alas...even for a jaded Husker Hater, it was great to sit down and enjoy college football on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I think we can all agree on that.
(Photo Credit: Associated Press and St. Louis Post-Dispatch)


Blogger KSTATER said...

Yesterday just shows that:

1. KU was a one year wonder, 52 throws for Reesing against the worst team in college football last year! Crawford sure doesn't look like 2000 yard back to me!
2. Missouri is scary talented, they just need to put a team away early before the Defense wears down.
3. Okie State is at worst the 4th best team in the south, clearly better then Baylor and A&M. That was just pathetic to see a team like that beat the Aggies at home!
4. Texas doesn't wow me, they lose four games this year.
5. OU is loaded, Big 12 is theirs to lose.
6. KSU took a positive step in game one, and with all the new juco players getting some time in before the conference should sneak back into a bowl game this year!

7. Nub.... I am guessing that by the end of the year, your defense will go down as the worst in the history of your program. Playing KSU, KU, MU, CU, Tech, OU that all have outstanding passing attacks, will average giving up 400 yards in the air in conference. Your defense has so many holes in it, and the big 12 has never been this deep in the passing game.

You will score a lot yourself, as you did against my cats last year, but you are going to get lit up this year. Over 100 yards and 9 catches to a no name TE? Wow, get used to seeing shootouts. You may be catching a break playing VT this year, they are down! But if you lose to VaTech, wow, expect a LONG LONG season!

2:42 PM  
Blogger daddyact said...

I still can't understand why you insist on including KSU among that grouping. The cats are just not very good, and Freeman (the self-styled best QB in the conference) isn't even as good as Joe Ganz, which admittedly isn't saying that much.

You will score a ot yourself, but you are still going to lose more games than you win.

3:15 PM  
Blogger daddyact said...

Hey, AJ. Just thought I'd let you know that Joe Queenan did not write The True Believer.

It was Eric Hoffer, you moron.

3:38 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Ummmm, perhaps before you call me names, you should read the title again. "True BelieverS" (NOTE THE SSSSSSSSSS) Not "True Believer"

You just got pwned.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kstater: Can I remind you that FIU went 1-11 last year, yet that only victory was when the kicked the shit out of North Texas. Mangino's job isn't on the line (unlike Scary Smart's). Why would he show every play in the book against a team we could beat with our eyes closed? I wouldn't look too far into that game. Would KU have liked to scored more TD's? Sure, just ask Angus Quigley who was stopped on the 1 yard line as time expired. Wonder why Crawford won't reach 2000? Ask Quigley AND Jake Sharp.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Husker_Engineer said...

I was in Lincoln almost all day and did not get back until late, so I saw very little football besides the NU game.

* Jamarko Simmons is a freak of nature. Dude looks like a LB or FB, but has WR speed. NU stuck on him all night and he was almost never open.

* Our safeties need some work, which is why a freaking TE gashed up for 128 yards.

* The defense has work to do on assignments. They had a lot of yards, but a lot of big plays on breakdowns. They never had long sustained drives....

* It was not Hiller on that passing slip, it was a WR...some kind of WR screen then try to pass down the was wide open, but dude did not have the handles.

* They stacked the LOS all night and dared us to pass it.....we did, they lost.

My prediction was 45-20....

Outcome was 47-24....kudos to me.

Mizzou's offense sounds pretty good....what happened to Maclin?

aTm? Arkansas St? Sad.

6:38 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Maclin sprained a ligament in his ankle and will be fine. He may not play this weekend out of caution against Blue Springs South or whomever it is they have on the schedule.

That was dumb on WMU's part if true. Lucky runs well side to side, not up the middle. If you want to stop the NU running game, keep just 2 LB's in the middle and stick everybody else on the outside playing zone.

Ganz has such happy feet that he'll get antsy and make mistakes.

Mizzou's offense didn't even play that well and put up 5 TD's. (not counting Maclin's freak-of-nature kickoff return and Weatherspoon's int for a touchdown.)

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AJ--I'm glad to hear Maclin is OK. He's fun to watch. I was hoping he'd be able to come back. There were a ton of hurt feet in college ball yesterday. Every game I had on, somebody hurt a foot.

I'm so glad that football is finally here. I can't wait for next Saturday to see what happens next.

Don't be surprised that kstater can't read. Most of them have difficulty with that. It sounded like the jucos worked out well last week. I'm looking forward to them being on TV in Denver so I can get a look at the 'Cats.

Missouri looked good--except for some weird stuff that happened to them on defense. I'm sure they'll get that fixed.

Anyway, have a great Labor Day. I'm hoping to get a look at the 'Huskers soon.


9:17 PM  
Blogger Husker_Engineer said...

I am not sure what WMU was thinking. Stacking the box was a good defense against 10 years ago. They basically left everything open for Ganz.

Good to hear Maclin is okay. I would hate to beat Mizzou without him being on the field.

I hear that Mizzou's offense looked scary good at times.

I would love to have seen what Glenn would have been like had he been a LB for more than 8 mos. Dude was pretty damn good for his first game. Got beat a few times....also made some outstanding plays....I think he finished with 12 tackles or something. Just ball hawked all night.

10:03 PM  
Blogger bornred said...

Well, it was only WMU, but Ganz wasn't sporting a case of happy feet and played with confidence and patience. He did force a couple of throws (Dru Young saved his ass) into double coverage, and he's definitely not in the same class as Daniel, Bradford, etc, but he's good enough to be our playmaker and his mobility can help extend plays and he throws pretty well on the move. We still can't pound the rock and that's not good news for a defense without alot of depth..

Not sure if Simmons was hurt, but he didn't play well. He dropped a TD ( I think it was Hagg that popped him, but he should have made that grab) and didn't get much separation. Our secondary played ok, but I'm not going to read anything into them shutting him down.

I was highly skeptical of Cody Glenn at LB, but he showed surprisingly well. We'll see against some better offenses, but he covered and tackled much better than I expected...

As I said before, people can poke all the fun they want about effort, but Pelini has them playing to the whistle and hitting and wrapping up much better. I can handle losing (and they will) if they play hard, which I think they will.

I watched some of the Mizzou game (tuned in right before the pick 6) and the North is still theirs to lose, but I want them to have to at least spend some effort in Lincoln. Unfortunately, OU looks even stronger.


PS. husker_engineer, it was Hiller on that botched play... it was a pass back and it just slipped out of his hands (I think he couldn't believe how open Nunez was and rushed it ;-) )

PPS. kstater No way in hell this defense is worse than last year's edition. Besides, a vacuum powered public toilet won't suck as much ass as your tamecats and you are jacked up over a win over a bottom dweller in the fucking Sun Belt? Do they still have that 40 year old QB and Sinbad on their roster?

11:00 PM  
Blogger NE-Jhawk said...

I was at the KU game. I agree with Kstater...Crawford needs to shut his mouth and just work on his game. He's got plenty of talent but he's not there yet.

However, Mangino was only running short routes all day. As soon as FIU figured this out they stacked up on us and our short game became more laboured. This is why there were almost no points in the second half (but we did end the game on thier 1 yd line).

KU's problems are o-line and special teams. Personaly (although you have to temper your expectations/observations after just seeing the first game) they remind me of the 2005 team but with a competent offense.

You're going to have a field day after watching KU on TV next week if special teams don't improve greatly. We have a kicker who's kick-offs are recieved on the 7 yard line on a dead sprint (not only no height). FIU started many drives on thier 40 and had a punt returned for a TD (although we brough one back too).

Last year we threw deep and scored huge against all our non-confrence opponents. This game Mangino seemed to be running it like a practice where he only wanted to work on certian things or didn't want to show other things.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Husker_Engineer said...


I must have missed the handoff that made it a throwback, I just saw the throw to the sideline, saw him set up to throw, then looked downfield and saw dude wide freaking open.

Overall I thought it was a decent start to the season. This performance was not that dissimilar to Mizzou's performance against them last year.

8:03 AM  
Blogger Nowledge said...

I agree with bornred; first year, I'm just hoping for improved efforts and some consistency on offense. Lucky needs to find some holes (if any) and establish more of a running game. On the same coin, the O-line needs to provide some holes and better pass protection (the jury's still out on that one).

Defense will probably be all over the place this year. Better effort, but blown assignments will be the norm. New defensive system = a couple of seasons to get the fundamentals down right.

Mizzou looked good on offense, AJ. Kudos to them. Defense looks like it could use some tweaking before conference play. Yeah, it was Illinois, but if Mizzou wants to go ATW this year, both sides of the ball have to be consistent. I would've been happy with Illinois capped at 20-30 pts. Congrats on the win though.

We'll see by October if all of our predictions (and patience) holds up for Husker nation. Here's hoping it does.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Grand Island Mark said...

Your defense is so fucked. Joey G is going to pass for 900 yards against that overrated POS unit you call a defense.

1978 jackass.


6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to be a died in the wool Nebraska fan. Of course, like most who live in Nebraska I was born and raised and never left Nebraska for almost 50 years. Then this summer I moved to a major metropolitan city. Wow. I now feel like I just woke up from a 50 year nap. A real newspaper instead of the OWH. Major sports, all of them, lots of furniture stores instead of NFM, and better quality, an amazing array of restaurant choices instead of Applebees, Chilis, etc.
I truely believe I have been paroled.
So what was the name of the minor league football team in Lincoln? The bugeaters? Or did they change it?

8:53 AM  
Blogger broker0625 said...

1st. Grand Island Mark is what gives Nebraska fans a bad name. Shut the fuck up.

Ok there really isn't a second. The best thing I took away from that game was the fact we kicked field goals from outside the 20 yard line. Callypuss would've thrown to the endzone on all four of those. Thus costing the team 12 points.

Ganz looked a little timid on zone read runs when he handed off. Not very fluid. That will get better. Long passes I give him an A+. Short passes over the middle, he was throwing at the receiver instead of where they were gonna be when the ball got there. Hence a lot were waaayyy behind the receiver. That too will get better.

Congrats to Mizzou. I told everybody at work they were going to blow up Illinois. I thought Illinois was the most over rated team in the top 25. Score was not indicative of what really happened in that game. Hopefully they will have some major breakdowns when Neb plays them.

Overall, having 5 days of college football was about as good as my birthday week earlier this year. I love this time of year!!!


10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In this business, nothing is worse than commenting on a game I didn't see"


You're calling your blog a business?

I suspect you can't afford a freakin' vacation and your wife shops at Walmart. Loser Missouri hick!

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Eric said...

900 yards huh? Because your passing game is so much better than IUs, right? You threw for 345 against a MAC team, but you'll almost triple that against a team that held you to 10 points last year and returns 10 starters on defense? At least you're not utterly irrational, that would almost be as bad as talking smack on a game that was played 30 years ago.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Husker_Engineer said...

Anonymous 8:53

I have heard they have a lot of 'fabulous' restaurants in the Castro district. Hope you enjoy them all.

You are probably one of those douche nozzles that complained about building the Qwest -- and then complains that there is nothing to do in Omaha...ass clown.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Fro said...

Anonymous 12:34 pm

"I suspect you can't afford a freakin' vacation and your wife shops at Walmart. Loser Missouri hick!"

This is the shit I will never get. I live in Omaha. I am a transplant from MO. I came from a metro area that has more fucking people than this entire state. What the fuck man?! You have to be one inbred motherfucker to say shit like that if you reside in NE. Have you seen this state? For all its beauty, they are more cows then people. So go put on you "Big Red" coverall's and your dumpy little straw hat. Jump in that jacked up 1980's pickup truck with the plastic testicles hanging off your hitch and fuck off. Douche.

11:26 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Fro, that was the most angry and bitter exchange I've heard here in quite some time.

Kudos. That was awesome.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Husker_Engineer said...

Missourians and Nebraskans arguing over who is more 'hick' is a lot like Clay Aiken and George Michael arguing over who is more the end of the day, both are pretty gay.

9:32 AM  

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