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J U S T I N   P R E S T I D G E
Sept. 5, 2011
This Just-In...

How To Kill (another) Mockingbird, by Taylor Martinez.
Huskers run a-Moc 40-7

Player(s) of the Game: Taylor Martinez
11-22, 116 yds,
19 car, 135 yds, 3TD’s


Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blew…

Legions of eager fans gathered to see the shiny new offense that has been largely kept under wraps this entire offseason. The transfer of Cody Green seemed to indicate there would be increased emphasis on the power running game, despite the insistence from our ever-cryptic coaching staff that we would be featuring a balanced attack.

From the first play of the game, our first fullback carry since 2004, to the fumble by fresh-faced Brion Carnes, please raise your hand if you have a good idea of what this offense will be this year. Not many hands – just as I suspected. To be sure, T-Mart showed some dazzle, as he did his best rendition of the Moc-arana on his way to scoring three TDs Saturday. The problem figures to once again be consistency, especially from our receiving corps – a problem we have had for the better part of three years.

While the game was really never in doubt – our Jekyll/Hyde defense largely dominated the game, save for a few mistakes and some runs up the middle – it never seemed that the offense got into any sort of rhythm. It warmed my heart to see the return of the power option game, but there seemed to be too much confusion, and while we featured many different formations, there did not seem to be any consistent theme and resulted in twelve negative plays in the game – not where we need to be against an FCS school.

All that being said, if this offense is going retro and will feature a reliance on the option, we will have to live with the negative plays and patiently wait for T-Mart and Co. to break something big. We have the right QB and feature back in Burkhead for this attack to work, but will need much more repetition and no more midseason offensive identity crisis. We can only hope this marriage of option/pistol/spread/WCO will be a case of opposites attract, and not end up divorce court. Surely Bo signed a prenup, right??…

Kickstart my heart featuring Brett Maher…

With Alex Henery living the NFL dream, NU was faced with not only replacing a legendary kicker – but who the heck was going to punt for this team? Enter Brett Maher. Not only did the junior out of Kearney impress with his 52-yard punting average, but took it a step further going a perfect 4 for 4 on field goals, including a 50-yarder – Tommy Lee is sure to be jealous.

Lining up for his first punt of the game, Maher boomed a 55-yarder to bail the Huskers out of trouble and prevent giving the Mocs momentum and great field position. The added accuracy he displayed on field goals will be good for at least 6 points a game this year – maybe more. He may not be be able to fill the huge shoes left by Henery, but at least early on, it appears to be the Same Ol’ Situation…

In Conclusion…

One exhibition game down, two more to go. Throw in a showdown against Washington – a game the Huskers should win easily judging by the way UW squeaked by an upstart Eastern Washington team led by SMU defector Bo Levi Mitchell. Wonder if June Jones wants a do-over there … hmmm.

Regardless, the Huskers clearly have work to do. The defense looked dominant at times, led by another great game out of David. Meredith added two sacks, and Crick had another day at the office with 1½ TFL. Hopefully the return of Dennard will help shore up some of the problems, albeit minor, with our secondary.

We will need to have one of our young backs step up to help spell Rex along the way. We all know he is superman, but I don’t want to find out what happens if he somehow falls and trips over some kryptonite. Turner looks to be explosive in his limited playing time and it will be interesting if Beck and Co. experiment with him in the starting lineup if we continue to have problems within our receiving corps.

To be fair, we were told that the game plan was expectedly vanilla, and our “A” game was not necessary to defeat T-Chat. Next week should be step up in competition with Fresno State, but on paper, NU should be able to substitute liberally into the fourth quarter. Look for improved O-line play and maybe the option pass (gasp!). Hopes continue to be high, and with a top-notch “D” and an offense that can provide 27 to 30 points a game, we could well have dreams of our first ever Big Ten title … and possibly more. Hold on – something tells me we are in for a wild ride …

On a personal note, it was nice to see the great turnout for the North Texas Nebraskans in Fort Worth on Saturday. Even though I arrived an hour before kickoff, there was still no place to sit. People were milling about talking and snatching up merchandise left and right, and I did not hesitate to partake in the action, snatching up a few hats and other assorted articles of clothing. I encourage anyone in the DFW area who has not had the opportunity to attend a game at one of the watch sites to do so – you will not be disappointed. For a list of locations, please visit www.northtexasnebraskans.com. GO BIG RED!!

Born and raised in Scottsbluff, Justin Prestidge is currently holding a low profile deep in the heart of Texas. A die hard Husker fan, he 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.