So what to expect on Saturday? Troy runs a spread offense from the same "coaching tree" that brought Mike Leach to Texas Tech. Hopefully, Cosgrove finally learned his lesson against it and will "apply pressure consistently", otherwise they'll create matchup problems with the Husker secondary. Last week, Georiga Tech's Chan Gailey even said as much as they prepared for the Trojans:
For the Huskers on offense, yet more "pound the rock". A ball-control power football game plan should be quite effective against a smaller, yet quicker defensive line like Troy's. Last week, Georgia Tech rushed for 320 yards against Troy -- got to believe that has to be eyeopening to the Husker coaches and players.
"They've been very successful throwing the football in their first two games," Gailey said. "We'll have to change some of our matchup situations. They do create problems by spreading you out, but hopefully we create problems by bringing more than they can block."
The response to criticism of the bad, er, sorry, ultra-conservative game plan against USC has been swift and unrelenting this week, which means it's touched nerves. Again, most of the response misses the point - a conservative ball-control attack was probably Nebraska's best plan of attack, but carried to the extreme it was last Saturday night was overdoing it. Nebraska failed to call a pass play on first down until the end of the third quarter: 16 straight runs on first down. The defenders continually confuse the suggestion that Callahan should have thrown the ball a handful of times on first down to spread out the defense with a suggestion that Nebraska should have thrown the ball 40 times. The defenders are correct that the Callahan strategy might have worked if all the bounces in the game had gone the Huskers' way, but they fail to acknowledge that the game plan didn't work. And when things don't work, you always open yourself to criticism. Even the players questioned it; Tuesday, wide receiver Nate Swift said
If the players were questioning it, then why all the uproar over fans who question it?
"A lot of the guys were talking on the sideline, like, 'We should have been passing,' but we all trust Coach Callahan that he knows what he's doing," receiver Nate Swift said. "He has a game plan - I'm sure he has that planned out for a long time - and it just didn't work out for us that day."