RETURNS, SHAKE AND BAKE WAKE, 31-3
(CAUTION: YOU ARE ABOUT TO ENTER A SPIN ZONE THAT FEATURES BRIEF GLIMPSES OF FULL FRONTAL SATIRE AND PARODY, WITH OCCASIONAL LAME ATTEMPTS AT HUMOR. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK.)
Wake Forest brought what they thought was a good game plan coming into Saturday night's contest with the Huskers in Lincoln-run the football right at 'em.
Not a good idea.
So when that didn't work, Wake Forest decided they'd try passing. Another not so good idea.
The Blackshirts used a school record three returns for touchdowns to help the Huskers send the Double Ds back home to Winston-Salem with a 31-3 thrashing.
Is it too early to start to calling Kevin Cosgrove's style of attack, the West Coast Defense?
I know it's way too early to tell, but watching this year's Blackshirts is kind of like watching the Blackshirts of the mid-90s. What stands out are the backers-Corey MeKeon, Bo Ruud, Stewart Bradley and free safety Blake Tiedtke and strong safety Danny Bullocks.
I mean, KC's boys are flying to the ball-they are playing with an attitude I haven't seen since Bo was in charge. I know it's only Wake Forest and Maine, but you have to like this nasty group, their intensity, the way they fly to the ball and the way they gang tackle on almost every play.
The Huskers have developed a level of intensity and passion that is bound to help Nebraska as the season moves along. Certainly games with the 'Clones (big winners Saturday over the Iowa Hawkeyes) and the Wed Waders from Lubbock will tell more about how good this unit is, but dad gummit, these players are fun to watch.
Another thing that's been MIA since '03, is a pass rush! The Huskers have seemed to have found one this year. What's impressive is the front four's ability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Throw in rush ends Adam Carriker and Wali Muhammad, our linebackers and secondary, and there are the makings of a pretty lethal bunch of Blackshirts. I know, Wake and Maine are not to be confused with Miami, USC or Texas, but Kevin Cosgrove has a lot to be proud of so far this year. Way to go, coach!
Hopefully this year, the Huskers will have an offense the Blackshirts can be proud of...
WHERE'S THE BEEF?
Okay, the obvious: Our offensive production has been disappointing. Here are some things that have affected this season's weak offensive numbers:
1.) There is a new quarterback who is still feeling his way around.
2.) There is a new quarterback who is still feeling his way around.
3.) There is a new quarterback who is still feeling his way around.
4.) The line has two players this year who have never started a game.
5.) The much improved Husker return game has helped to create anemic offensive stats. When you get the ball on your opponent's 10 yard line, it's hard to rack up much yardage, first downs and time of possession.
6.) When your defense scores 4 TDs in two games, your offense gets fewer snaps.
7.) Does anyone doubt the impact the loss of Matt Herian has had on this year's offense?
8.) And did I mention that there is a new quarterback who is still feeling his way around?
Wags' boys were last year's lone bright spot and hopefully the O-line will continue to get better as the year unfolds.
ON THE OTHER HAND
Speaking of bright spots, here are some good things about the offense:
1.) Zac is a much better QB than last year's guy-and the guy before him.
2.) Zac doesn't have "happy feet". He stays in the pocket even when he knows he's going to get clobbered. He gets up, takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'.
3.) Pork Chop's 57 yard run Saturday night was a thing of beauty. He's averaging over 100 yards rushing per game. (Yes I know, it's Maine and Wake Forest.)
4.) Frantz Hardy. He runs good patterns-he just needs to catch the ball before he decides to run.
5.) Marlon Lucky. We still don't know much about him, but Marlon will likely get more snaps as the season progresses.
6.) And last, but not least, Grant Mulkey. His catch Saturday in the WF game was outstanding. I don't know how he managed to hang on to the ball while getting beheaded. The dude did that last year, too. He's as tough as Chinese arithmetic.
Hopefully, all the offensive defects can be corrected soon. If not, the Huskers may look back nostalgically to the days of 7-7 and 5-6 seasons. Sigh...
HUSKER DAN'S ARMY (continued)
As many of you know, Husker Dan has started an army whose duty is for Husker fans to help provide letters, care packages, football tapes/DVDs etc. to our men and women in uniform who are serving their country throughout the world.
Husker fans and alumni groups, are you listening? To learn more about how to join Husker Dan's Army, please click:
Last week, I posted a letter sent to me by Sgt. Nick Hornig who is stationed in Iraq. He requested some game tapes/DVDs. Here are some responses to his letter.
Just wanted to send greetings from Southern California where we have a great representation for the Huskers. I know that Husker Dan will do everything possible to get copies of the game to you folks.
Knowing that we have fine Nebraska young men and women serving our country in far off Iraq, our prayers and continued best wishes go out to you. I'm proud to have been born in Nebraska and truly believe that you and your buddies make up one of the finest HUSKER teams to ever take the field. In my eyes, each and everyone of you are a true ALL AMERICANS and when you hear the 80,000 Cornhusker fans yelling each Saturday, they are definitely cheering for you.
God Bless each and everyone and may your tour be over soon. Thanks for all that you are doing for us at home. Go Big Red.
San Juan Capistrano, Ca.
Comment: Husker fans who wish to help, need to send their letters, care packages etc. directly to the soldier who is requesting the assistance.
I am with an alumni chapter--NE Kansans for Nebraska. What types of things can we do for you and your crew? We will be having our first game watch this Saturday for the Wake Forest game. There will probably be 50 to 75 members there for the game. We will see what we can do to assist your group in any way we can.
Thanks for what you are doing to help us and the people of Iraq.
Dear Husker Dan:
I want to enlist in your army. I am a native Nebraskan, UNL graduate and Vietnam Vet. Oh yeah, I am a rabid Husker fan too. We can't do enough for our troops, whether you believe the U.S. should be in Iraq or not. I currently live in Casper, Wyo. Unfortunately I am unemployed at the present time but being out of work is nothing compared to the sacrifices our men and women are doing for me overseas. Give me my orders, sir!
As an Air Force officer that has been stationed "in theater" in the past, I just want you to know how much your call to arms on Huskerpedia means to all of us that serve.
Currently, I am serving at STRATCOM here in Omaha. However, I know what it's like to be a world away and not know what is going on back here.
Thanks again for your support of our men and women in uniform.
TODD S. SCHUG, Capt, USAF
Dear Husker Dan:
I just sent a note to Nick (from his e-mail you posted. I offered to send him a DVD...or a number of DVDs with last Saturday's game with Maine. Not sure if you need to know that, but in the interest of not overloading Nick with DVDs of the same thing, I am also letting you know.
Thanks, Dan, for what you are doing for these great folks...and for your contribution to Husker football...
Captive in Arizona, but looking to get back to Nebraska...
Husker fan for over 50 years...
MORE LETTERS FROM SOLDIERS:
Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2005 1:19 AM
Subject: A HUSKER FAN
Dear Husker Dan:
Hey Dan what's up. My name is John Janssen and I am in the United States Navy and I have been a Husker fan for as long as I can remember. I am stationed on a ship called the USS BATAAN based out of Norfolk,VA and I have not been able to watch a husker game since I joined the service and since there are not any games shown on TV in Virginia. The 2003 and 2004 seasons I was in Iraq and I am not able to watch the beginning of this season because we are setting in the Gulf of Mexico for the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. I would like to know if someone could send me DVDs of the
season so that I know how our new QB is doing and how my Huskers are doing. I would greatly appreciate it and thank you for your time.
my address is 220 Oak Leaf Court Apt F
Chesapeake, VA 23320
THE SNAKE PITT
Okay, let's hear it! Frank Solich's Ohio Bobcats did the unthinkable on national TV Friday night. They beat the favored Pitt Panthers 16-10 in OT. Unbelievable! Congratulations, coach!! It was a great win for you, your players and for the Bobcat football program.
RAISING THE BAR
But as a result of Ohio's upset of the Pitt, Solich raised the bar for the Huskers this week as Nebraska hosts the Panthers this Saturday in Lincoln. Solich's victory has set up what just might be the most intriguing game in Husker history.
Talk about pressure on Steve Pederson and Bill Callahan. Holy cow! Do you suppose Frank Solich will be keeping an eye on the Husker-Pitt score this Saturday? Do you think he wouldn't delight in a Husker loss? Do you think the "Bring Back Frank Solich" movement would be in full swing if Nebraska were to lose?
Does the Pope "bleep" in the woods?
LETTERS, WE GET LETTERS
What do you suppose the fallout would be if the Huskers fall to the Panthers? Do you think Husker head coach Bill Callahan and NU A.D. Steve Pederson aren't aware of what a Husker loss would mean to them, especially to Steve Pederson? Can you imagine the hate mail and the "I told you so" letters SP would receive if the Huskers lose?
You can't write a script like that. It's too Hollywood. No one would buy it. Too contrived.
And what about Dave Wannstedt? Do you think that dude is under a bit of pressure, starting the season 0-2 with the prospects of going 0-3? Do you suppose he's been working on Nebraska since spring practice? Do you think he's not going to pull out all the stops to win this game?
If anyone thinks this Saturday's game is just another game on the schedule, he must be smoking a little Betty Furness.
I'm telling you this, if the Husker lose this one or even if the game is close, the letters to the editor, the email letters, the calls to sports talk shows across the nation, will be ripping Steve Pederson, Bill Callahan and anyone else who has ever supported the new regime. The noise will be deafening.
Okay, so you don't think BC knows all this? Do you think BC is treating this game as just another on the schedule? Do you suppose Callahan knows the Panthers are led by an ex-NFL head coach? Do you think BC has some game plan wrinkles of his own this Saturday?
I'm telling you here and now, this is going to be great game. This will be the biggest game of Bill Callahan's short Husker career. He wants this game. He needs this game-even more than Wannstedt needs it. Why?
A MUST WIN
Time. BC has less of it than DW. This will be the most pressure packed game ol' Billy C has had at Nebraska.
Lose this one Coach, and your program slides down the pole a bit. With the meat of your schedule coming up, there will be fewer opportunities for redemption. Lose this one and maybe your young team will start to doubt itself.
HOME, SWEET HOME
But the Huskers have a few things on their side. This is a home game, with 80,000 red-clad screaming Husker fans willing their team to victory. The Husker also are developing a defense that is going to be difficult for opposing teams to score on, especially if the offense can play a steady, ball control type of game. If the Husker O-line can block, Cory can run and ZT can pass. If the Husker receivers can hang on to the ball, the Huskers will prevail.
WHAT'S MY LINEMAN?
Last week, the Panthers lost several key offensive linemen to injuries. If these players can't play this week, Pitt will have a difficult time contending with the Husker pass rush (gee, it's nice to hear those words), it could be a long afternoon for Tyler Palko and Company.
The joint will be rockin'. This game could go down to the wire, but if the Husker D shows up and ZT & Company can click, the Huskers will be 3-0.
Remember, any win this year is something to be savored.
If you'd like to have Husker Dan speak at your event, or you just want to send him an annoying letter click here. For past Husker Dan columns click here.