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October 18, 2009

This Just-In...


“Sticks” and stones break our “Bones”, but the offense really hurts us.
Huskers get raided 31-10.

Player(s) of the Game: Phillip Dillard, 12 Tkls, 4 TFL

Want an offensive identity? How about “Scoring Implosion”...
Much has been said recently about this Nebraska offense needing to find an identity. I believe we found an answer on Saturday. I read a funny post the other day about scientists postulating a theoretical down before first down. It was meant as a joke but maybe Watson should consider investing some money in this theory to give our offense a fifth or sixth down. I don’t think it would matter. We are still early in the season but the QB and O-line play has been inconsistent at best (and flat awful at times). Coming into this season we were led to believe that Zac Lee will be one of the best QB’s that we have ever had. He was faster and had a better arm than Ganz. They may have been correct, but through six games he has not shown any indication that he will be able to live up to the hype. As it was pointed out to me earlier this week, hype is just that-hype. Until a player lives up to his potential then it is just coach speak. I know the receivers (if you can call them that) are not helping his case. Brooks is the only one that has shown any ability to hold on to the ball on a consistent basis, yet rarely gets on the field. Right now, I would put Zac somewhere between Sam Keller and a first year Zac Taylor without the toughness. As for the comparisons to Ganz, well, give me Ganz in a heartbeat. Zac is not losing the games for us, but he is playing scared. Not scared of the defense necessarily but scared that he will lose his starting job. On the other hand, Green showed he isn’t scared-forcing some balls trying to make a play-he doesn’t have anything to lose and everything to win. Zac is reluctant to take any kind of chance throwing the ball downfield in fear of getting picked. He can feel Green breathing down his neck and probably thinks that the coaches are looking for any reason to replace him-he may be correct. The biggest problem with that is we have serious issues with our O-Line and banged up running game. The QB HAS to step up and make some plays especially if you are down by 21 in the third quarter. If you get picked trying to make a play-so be it. Throwing the ball away on 4th and goal? You should be benched for that play-you would have thought we were protecting a 4 point lead. Maybe he pulled a Tony Romo and thought it was 3rd down, regardless something will need to change in a hurry if we are to win the north.

Wanted: Big 12 North Champion. 5-3 OBO...
Looks like the North Division title contenders are in for another wacky year. After this week, can we even say there are any clear favorites? Take a look at these puzzling results.
Colorado 34, Kansas 30
Oklahoma St. 33, Missouri 17
Kansas St 62, Texas A&M 14 (Huh? Misprint?)
We all know the outcome of our game. So what does it all mean? It means that the north winner is still only the third or fourth best team in the Big 12. Right now Kansas State (What?!?) is the leader in the clubhouse at 2-1, followed by a three way tie for second at 1-1 with Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado. Iowa State is 1-2 and Missouri is 0-2 with the likely possibility of dropping to 0-3 after next week. Kansas tried to mimic our game plan last night spotting Colorado 21 points only to have their comeback bid spoiled. The biggest difference between their game and ours was QB/Receiver play. They have a proven, effective (yet undersized) QB that is not afraid to try to make a play and experienced receivers that won’t let him down. He almost got picked a few times, but he put his team in a position to win it by the end of the game. We currently don’t have that luxury. We still control our own destiny. We win the remainder of our games, we are in. Right now that seems a bit unlikely — I wonder if they would take 4-4?...

In Conclusion...
The defense gave us a chance to win limiting Tech to -1 yard in the third quarter only to see our offense do much of the same. Holding Tech to 259 total yards with only 234 through the air is a very encouraging stat. Our defense is championship caliber. Wish we could say the same for our offense. Any bit of national respect we earned on Thursday against Mizzou was sucked out of Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Has the pendulum swung too far to the other side? Don’t get me wrong I would prefer a stellar defense and an average to above average offense but I wonder if the intense focus on fixing the defense the last two years has this Nebraska team going through a polar shift. If we had last year’s offense with this year’s defense we would be borderline NC contenders. So where do we go from here? Last year our coaching staff did a great job of turning things around after a tough loss. Fortunately we have Iowa State and a Griffin-less Baylor* up next, although no game is a gimmie anymore. Will Bo and Watson have the courage to open up the QB competition and start Green this week if he is deserving? Osborne was in a similar situation in 1981 and again to a lesser extent in 1992. Maybe Bo should ask the old coach for some advice. I don’t know the answer but right now Zac isn’t getting the job done. Our receivers are not holding on to the ball. Our offensive line can’t seem keep the yellow hankies from littering the air on game day. Decisions need to be made now. We can’t wait until the end of the season to make a change-now is the time to do it with somewhat manageable games on the horizon. If Zac is the guy he needs to stay the guy the rest of the year. It is not time to over-react after one game; however, these coaches must react. Watson can help the effort against global warming by going Green this week. No, not by driving a hybrid Lexus to the stadium on Saturday, but rather taking a chance on the 6-4 220lb freshman, who may very well run faster than the Lexus. The offense needs to find a “Green”, I mean “Mean” streak for us to compete for a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship Game. It probably wouldn’t hurt if they played with a Velcro covered football either
*I will be attending my first Live Husker game in Waco on Halloween. It’s about twenty years overdue. Go Huskers


Justin Prestidge is a new contributor to this website. Born and raised in Scottsbluff, Justin is currently holding a low profile deep in the heart of Texas. A die hard Husker fan, Justin has been following Big Red Football for over 20 years, and has been a member of the North Texas Nebraskans for the last 10. You can e-mail him here.