WRECK LA. TECH, 49-10
The first thing most people wanted to see when they entered the Stadium
Saturday afternoon was the new giant video screen. So much had been
said about it, that everyone was geeked up (whatever that means) to
see it in person. As I entered the Stadium, there it was-bigger than
life. Put simply, the new screen is awesome. The images are crystal
clear, the sound system is fan (and I emphasis "fan")-tastic.
The only suggestion I have is that the Nebraska Chiropractic Association
should donate a chunk of cash because they're going to get a ton of
business from the people in the North end zone who will be straining
their necks trying to see it.
Readers, Husker Dan needs your help. All of you know that the Longhorns
have the "Godzillatron" screen that is much larger than
ours. I know, so who cares, right?
I'm asking you to put on your thinking caps and come up with jokes
about their screen or funny reasons why the Longhorns think they need
a larger video screen. I'll post the best and most creative responses
in this column. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GENTLEMEN, START YOUR OFFENSE
What difference a year makes.
If you'll recall in last year's season opener with Maine, the Husker
offense scored only one touchdown, averaged 2.9 yards per play, had
a measly 313 yards of total offense, lost the time of possession by
almost 4 minutes, was 5 for 17 in 3rd down conversions and had 5 turnovers-all
this against a Division 1-AA team that just the year before had given
up over 400 yards of offense per game.
What Husker fans witnessed Saturday may have been the official unveiling
of the West Coast Offense, the one Bill Callahan has been telling
us about ever since he arrived in Lincoln over two years ago. The
paint job ain't finished yet, but it's sure lookin' good!
Forget that it was "only" La. Tech. Forget the sluggish
first half start by the Husker offense. But do remember that once
the Huskers got going, they never looked back. The game was over on
two drives-Cody Glenn's TD that ended the first half and the other,
J.B. Phillips' touchdown with about 12 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter
that stretched the Husker lead to 28-10.
Here are my takes on the game:
He's nowhere near where he was before his injury-he's a step slow
and is still tentative, but his experience, size and big, soft hands
will be essential if the Huskers are to make a run at divisional and
conference titles. It was great to see him score.
RUNNING BACKS A-
Coach C. may have created a monster with his system of a four running
back system, any of whom could start for most D-1 teams. Each back
brings something different. The question is, how long can Callahan
keep "The Committee" happy? All but one scored, and Kenny
Wilson's was called back because of a holding penalty. Wilson will
get better with more experience-and he needs to hang on to the dadgum
ball. Oh, and what about Dane Todd's blocking!
TIGHT ENDS A-
In all my years of watching football at all levels, I don't think
I've ever seen a game in which four tight ends on the same team caught
TD passes in the same game. We may never see that again. (Had Wilson's
TD not been called back, the Huskers would have had touchdowns by
4 different running backs and 4 different tight ends score touchdowns
in the same game. Incredible!) The WCO is designed (if you have the
right players) to take advantage of whatever the defenses can't stop.
Saturday, the tight ends were open.
ZAC TAYLOR A-
This kid is just coming in to his own with this offense. Look for
him to get better with each game. Thankfully, this year, he has a
better running game and a much improved O-line to work with. Zac was
off on a couple of passes and had several "sure" passes
dropped. He wasn't sacked, but Zac was thrown hard to the turf too
many times. The line must not let this continue.
JOE GANZ B+
He looked good, but he was going up against a pretty beat up Bulldog
defense. Joe probably won't get any meaningful snaps this season unless
Taylor goes down. But Husker fans should be happy that Joe knows the
WIDE RECEIVERS B-
There were too many dropped passes that kept us from scoring more,
but some of this may have been due to this being the opener. If Franz
Hardy continues to drop passes, look for Maurice Purify to take over.
Mo' will be a great one.
DEFENSIVE LINE B+
Carriker and Moore are opposing offenses' worst nightmare. I never
realized how fast Moore was until I saw him chasing Zac Champion out
of the pocket and almost getting an intentional grounding penalty
on the play. Suh and Dagunduro did a great job of plugging the middle.
Courtney Grixby is playing with a large cast that is protecting his
broken right thumb. I don't see how he can be effective when he doesn't
have full use of both hands. When he went down and then when his backup,
Isaiah Fluellen went down on the very next play, we all wondered what
was going on. Thankfully, Griggs came back to finish the game. Fluellen
is lost for the season. Let's hope somebody else steps up-and let's
hope Griggs' cast can come off soon.
What is it with our linebackers? Last year, we lost Octavien in the
opening game, later it was Stewart Bradley and Bo Ruud. Now it's Phillip
Dillard. Yikes. It just shows that you can never have too many good
players at any position.
THE KICKING GAME B+
Maybe with the new rule that shortens the kicking tee, we have seen
the last of the touchbacks. The rule essentially penalizes good kicking.
Sigh. Dan Titchener, Sam Koch's replacement, punted well and Jordan
Congdon hit all his PATs.
PLAY CALLING A+
The Husker offensive play calling was the best I've ever seen in the
Callahan Era. Jay Norvell and Coach C. called a brilliant game. If
the execution had been better, we could have easily hung 70 on the
THE NEW RULES D+
The new rules designed to shorten the game didn't seem to cause too
many problems Saturday. However, I never thought the games were too
long. The changes don't seem to make good sense.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
One of the plays that really got me going was a 4-yard run by Cody
Glenn that saw him level the linebacker who was about to tackle him.
You could hear the hit clear up to the rafters.
Play number two: On Joe Ganz's TD pass to Hunter Teafatiller, Brandon
Jackson decked the defender who was closing in on Ganz. Jackson's
crushing block gave Ganz another couple of seconds to find a wide
open Teafatiller for an "easy" touchdown.
THE NEW TUNNEL WALK C+
Having two medal winning soldiers guarding the door through which
the Huskers enter the Stadium, was a nice touch, but, in my view,
the Tunnel Walk seemed to be a little hokey and staged a little too
much. I really think less is more in this case. Call me old fashioned,
but I prefer the old Tunnel Walk. The Tunnel Walk is more than big
enough to stand on its own. I hope the powers that be will re-examine
the new version.
PRE-GAME CEREMONY B+
Lee Greenwood's singing "I'm Proud To Be An American" was
stirring, especially when 85,000 Husker fans joined in on the chorus.
I'm not a big fan of Keith Jackson ("Woah, Nellie!") so
I could have done without him, but the crowd didn't seem to mind.
A couple of weeks ago, KETV in Omaha showed a replay of the 1978 Husker-Sooner
game- the one that Tom Osborne got his first win over Barry Switzer.
I shivered in the frigid South end zone that day in November '78 (a
little peppermint schnapps helped warm me up). The rebroadcast included
interviews with some of the Huskers who played in that game. Thanks,
moocho. You can go to their web site at: www.theomahachannel.com
And while I'm on the subject, KETV's Matt Schick is a welcomed addition
to their sports department. Matt's sense of humor and his ability
to not take himself too seriously is refreshing. Last year, Matt did
some very funny segments with Husker football players. Maybe he should
call his segment, "Matt's Schtick"?
Uma Cum Laude
Is there a cooler name than Uma Pemmaraju with Fox News?
HUSKER DAN'S ARMY
Remember, you can help send Husker Care packages to our men and women
who are serving in the military overseas. To see how you can help
the cause, go to: http://www.neks4nebraska.org/
I overheard two middle age ladies who were tailgating before the La.
Tech game last Saturday. One lady said to the other, "What did
you do to your hair? It looks like a wig."
"It IS a wig," replied the second.
"You'd never know it."
FOREVER THE RED CLAD LOON
One of the books I read over the summer was Steve Smith's "Forever
Red". Steve, aka "The Red Clad Loon" of Huskerpedia
fame, could have named his book "Confessions of a Husker Fan",
or "Diary of a Husker Fan". If you are looking for the knee-slapping
humor of his "Pond" days, you might be disappointed. But
if you are a diehard, Big-Red-is-in-your-DNA kind of Husker fan, then
this book is for you. Steve writes in a Garrison Keillor style, making
it seem as though he is visiting with you in your family room. He
ties famous (and in some cases, infamous) Husker games with events
in his life.
The only question I have of the book is why he didn't mention anything
about his "Steve The Red Clad" days on Huskerpedia.
Never mind, "Forever" is a must for every true Husker fan.
And no, I didn't get a free copy of his book.
HUSKER DAN SEZ:
I'm not going to devote much space to Nicholls State. If the Husker
were able to lay 49 on the Bulldogs, they should be able to be in
the 50s for this one. The only problem is that the Huskers may be
looking ahead to the Trojans on the 16th. Either way, the Huskers
have way too much firepower for Nicholls State. The Huskers will pop
the Colonels (groan).
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