Husker Dan: Wisconsin loss: The same, only different?
When you pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud.
Late last fall, most Husker fans were hoping (praying?) that Scott Frost would accept the head coaching job at Nebraska after Mike Riley was fired in November. And luckily, everyone got his wish.
Frost was deemed to be the savior of a Husker football program that had been in a death spiral for years. And most thought Frost was the only one who could get the job done at Nebraska.
“If we can’t get Tom Osborne, the next thing closest to him is Scott Frost,” they reasoned. And, of course they were right and still are. Not only did Frost accept the Nebraska job, but he brought his entire coaching staff with him. They all left a UCF program that last year, at 13-0, was one of the best college football programs in the nation. They left all that to take over a program that just lost its fifth consecutive game (41-24 at Wisconsin).
And to make matters worse, when the four losses that ended last year’s season are added to this year’s record, the Husker program is on a nine game losing streak.
I won’t dwell on all the current deficiencies. Anyone who saw Nebraska play Saturday night at Camp Randall knows full well what needs to be fixed. And as I’ve said before, most everything wrong with the Husker football program can be fixed enough so that Nebraska should be able to start winning some games.
An elimination or significant reduction of the unforced errors Nebraska has been making could have been good enough to beat the likes of Colorado, Troy and Purdue. And with better play Saturday night, the Huskers may have had a chance to make it a closer game in the fourth quarter.
But Saturday’s loss seemed as if the Huskers are making strides, even though the net result was the Huskers’ fifth consecutive loss of the season.
But make no mistake: things will get better. Much better. The Huskers have wallowed in the mud far too long. It’s time to win some games.
If you’re a Husker fan, you may have heard the circulating on the Internet. It goes like this:
Ouch! Okay, nobody said it was going to be easy.
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
And if losing weren’t bad enough, Nebraska had two more players quit the team just last week. WR Tyjon Lindsey was the first to go and then RB Greg Bell – one of Frost’s own recruits – decided to seek greener pastures late last week.
I’m not sure why they left, but one can assume that playing time and/or lack of starting roles had something to do with it. Lindsey is headed to Oregon State, while it’s not certain at this time where Bell will go. He’s a juco transfer who will likely have to sit out next year. Not a very smart move, I would say. It was thought that Frost’s offense was suited ideally for the skill sets of both these players. Maybe there’s more that lies below the surface. Maybe they were culture destroyers and not culture makers.
Suffice it to say, if any player doesn’t want to be at Nebraska, he’d better go somewhere else. A former Husker assistant once told me, “Football is tough enough even if you really want to be here.”
I predict Nebraska will move on and not miss a beat. The problem is that some football players all too often get really bad advice from people who don’t have the players’ best interests at hand.
DON’T LOOK NOW
The five Husker losses have been to teams that have a combined record of 21-6. With Colorado at 5-0, Troy at 5-1, Michigan at 5-1, Purdue at 2-3 and Wisconsin at 4-1. Those records show that Nebraska has played some pretty good football teams.
CAN THE HUSKERS TAME THE WILDCATS?
And what about this week’s match up at Northwestern? The Wildcats stand at 2-3 for the season with wins over Michigan State and Purdue and losses to Akron (!) 39-34, Duke, 21-7 and Michigan, 20-17. No shame in losing to Michigan, but NW actually led the Wolverines 17-0 in the first half before losing.
So what’s one to think of this week’s match-up? Both teams have problems with consistency. The two common opponents, Purdue and Michigan, Northwestern went 1-1, while the Huskers went 0-2.
THE DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT?
Maybe this is the week the Huskers awaken from their long sleep. Is the dawn about to appear for Nebraska? Or is it just past midnight? Can the Huskers get out of their own way long enough to give Scott Frost his first win as the Husker head coach? It goes without saying, a win this weekend-any weekend-would be HUGE for this young Husker team that is trying to dig its way out of the deep morass of losing.
You may contact the writer at HuskerDan@cox.net