Listening to some Husker "fans" over the last couple of days, you could have sworn that Nebraska had just won the national championship. Yes, the West Coast Offense is improved. Yes, it was an exciting game. But it was just that: one game. Let's keep it in perspective.
If someone had told you that Zac Taylor was going to go 36 for 55 and 431 yards last week, what would your response be? I'd bet that most fans would respond in one of the following fashion:
(a) What drug are you on? (alternative: can I have some of that?)
(b) Woo hoo! We killed Iowa State! The Big Red is BACK!
(c) All of the above.
But, remember this game went to double overtime. We didn't kill them. Heck, if Nick Leaders holds onto that Taylor pass in the first OT, they are still partying in Ames.
Nebraska needs to find a way to punch the ball into the end zone from the red zone. That was the good news from the overtimes; we were 2 for 2 with the ball on the 25. Good sign for the future.
This week's game against Texas Tech is another gut check for the program. Nebraska will need to show as much improvement between games 4 and 5 as they showed between games 3 and 4. This time, the improvement needs to be shown on defense. Saturday, Nebraska failed to get much pressure against Iowa State's offensive line unless they were blitzing. Last year, we saw just how efficient Mike Leach's offense could be when you give their quarterback time to survey the field. And that was with 2 guys in our secondary who got drafted early in the NFL draft.
Last Saturday night in Lubbock, Kansas was able to give the Red Raiders a tougher game than most expected by putting pressure on QB Cody Hodges. This game plan reminded me of last year's throttling down last year. In the second half, I could announce the results of the play within 2 seconds of the snap by simply counting the number of players rushing. 3 or 4 men rushing, it usually meant a 10+ yard gain. 6 rushing on a blitz, and the pass usually was incomplete. Unfortunately, we spend most of the game rushing 3 rather than 6, and so our defense spent most of the evening chasing down receivers after the catch rather than hitting their quarterback.
Contrast that to the 2000 game in Lubbock, when the Blackshirts blitzed Kliff Kingsbury into submission in a 56-3 thrashing.