“Allen Webb has been made to look
like an all-American today,” was the radio announcer’s comment
after LeKevin Smith—he of pre-game trash talkin’—blew
a tackle in the backfield leading to a 4th quarter KSU touchdown.
Alas, the defense that held Kansas without
a TD has given up more than 47 points a game over the past three contests.
Truth be told, the way this defense is playing there isn’t a team
left on the schedule that can’t make us look bad. Kansas St. lost
to Kansas, but made us look silly. Road games obviously aren’t a
Dailey couldn’t seem to complete
a pass in the second half. The offensive approach was to run twice to
set up a Dailey incompletion on 3rd and long. When the chips are down,
Dailey is a turnover waiting to happen—see three straight turnovers
late in the game. Whenever we’d get close score-wise, Dailey would
go in the tank and not be able to complete a pass. He went from breaking
the school passing record last week to 3 of 12 with a pick.
Field position certainly put Dailey and
our offense in a hole, because our defense couldn’t stop anything.
The defense was on the field a lot, which never helps any team, but they
kinda did things to keep themselves on the field. They’re playing
like a team that can’t get over 70-10. Our offense had two big plays,
but managed little else. Zero passes to Fluellen, Pilkington, LeFlore,
or Herian. It’s hard to imagine these guys not being open all game.
Washington still can’t seem to cover
most opponents very well, Lornell McPherson’s interference flag
was big. Overall, this defense is playing impotently. Several times we’d
have only two defenders on the side of the field where KSU had three receivers.
Then, when we did get a third defender on the correct side, Sievers lined
up in coverage on their guy who runs a 4.2 40.
Much has been made of Cosgrove and what’s
going on at Wisconsin now with their D being pretty stellar. It’s
hard not to agree. At the same time I recall Charlie McBride being on
a lot of people’s caca list for many years. Then he started getting
better players to work with and began to look like a genius. Kansas St.
didn’t exactly make Pelini’s D look that great last year,
Unless Callahan cans Cosgrove after only
one year (a rarity in college football, especially at Nebraska), I think
we’re stuck with hoping better talent comes in and overcomes coaching
shortcomings. Whatever the problems are, it’s disappointing to see
this year’s coaching staff be unable to coach this team to a better
performance than the talent level would otherwise achieve. Instead, we
appear to be playing down a notch. This has been the case in every game
but the opener.
Bottom line: We didn’t get any real
breakthrough performance from anyone on the defense, nor a turnover-free
performance from Dailey (not even close). Hence, another loss.
Two years ago, in the middle of a listless
season (and a lot of bad defense), the Huskers managed to come up big
against Brad Smith and Missouri. It’s hard to envision how we are
going to beat them this year. The Tigers, too, are coming off a loss—I’m
not sure if that’s a good thing or bad. At least it’s actually
going to be televised.
I’ll watch…and hope the home
crowd can somehow do something Cosgrove and Callahan seem unable to: Get
this defense to play well.
The voice of Scarlet Commentary is Jeffrey A. Leever, a Nebraska native also stuck behind enemy lines in Jefferson County, Colo. He is a 1994 graduate of the University of Nebraska (Kearney) and a freelance writer and author. Some of Jeff’s writings of the nonfootball kind can be found online at Barnes & Noble (1, 2), Amazon.com (1, 2), and MenofIntegrity.net (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org.