Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Mid-season report card

Well, 6 games into the season means it's probably time to give the Huskers a mid-season report card. I went back and looked at my preseason thoughts, and I think they turned out pretty well. On offense, Zac Taylor started off the season about as shaky as I thought he would. However, Bill Callahan made a nice adjustment after the Pitt game to put Taylor back into the shotgun, which seems to give Taylor a better feel for making his reads and Taylor made Iowa State pay. Taylor has been playing much better the last 3 games, and is a very servicable quarterback.

RB: I said it in July: Cory Ross. Enough said. Update from Saturday night's postgame comment: it looks like Ross's injury is not serious.

WR: Frantz Hardy made a big splash against Maine, but hasn't repeated that performance since. The passing game was DOA until Nate Swift started to get some playing time. And Terrence Nunn has been solid all season.

OL: Definitely playing better the last 3 games, though they had a very shaky start to the season.

DL: The one place where recruiting has made an impact this season: Ola Dagunduro, Barry Cryer, and freshman Barry Turner have given the d-line depth. And freshman Ndamukong (A Boy Named) Suh made a splash as well before getting hurt.

LB: Steve Octavien was looking to prove me dead wrong about the newcomers until his leg broke in the first game. Corey McKeon is showing the heart that Barrett Ruud showed us last season.

Secondary: Zack Bowman hasn't lived up to the hype, but hasn't been a flop by any means. This group has played ok, though the defensive line has lifted the pressure from these guys.

Coaching: Over all, the last three games have been very positive. Callahan has a quarterback that better matches his system in Zac Taylor, and the receiver depth is improved with Nate Swift and Frantz Hardy contributing. Cosgrove has also made some big adjustments by using much more zone defense this season. I especially liked the blitzes and the defenses Cosgrove used against Texas Tech for the middle half of the game - though I didn't like his waiting for Nebraska to go down 21-0 to start using them...

As we move on, the Huskers are showing the heart that last year's team lacked. Especially on defense, it looks like last year's defense had a hard time developing the passion they enjoyed with Marvin Sanders and Bo Pelini in 2003. But it looks like this team is much more unified this season.

8-3 is still looking like a good bet, and there is still a good shot at doing better. Oklahoma is struggling this season as I suggested in July, though Colorado is better than I thought. 10-1 is still possible at this point.

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