Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Fallout over the Husker Meltdown Continues

Reaction is coming down hard on the performance of the Huskers yesterday...or should I say, lack of performance. Suffice it to say that with the possible exception of people employed in positions of responsibility at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, nobody has a warm feeling about the direction of the program.

Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star:
Make no mistake, Steve Pederson’s bold proclamations four years ago are haunting him now more than ever. Gravitating toward mediocrity? Scratch the “gravitating.” Nebraska just might be staring mediocrity squarely in the face. I’ve never heard boos ring so loudly at Memorial Stadium. It was the sound of mediocrity.

Weeks before Pederson hired Bill Callahan four years ago, the athletic director told us Nebraska should be playing for or gaining on the national championship on a consistent basis. At this point, the Huskers appear to be losing ground in the lackluster Big 12 North Division. Need any more examples of mediocrity?

Anybody dare to guess how many points Missouri’s high-octane spread offense might hang on Nebraska in two weeks? Bidding begins at 45.
Darren Carlson from BigRedNetwork.com:
I spent most of my time last week seeking patience when it came to the "Blackshirts" and Kevin Cosgrove. This most recent performance won't do anything to silence people, and may have even soured me.

Jeffie from DoubleExtraPoint:
Humor as a Defense Mechanism

Let's stop for a second for a sanity check. It's rather unlikely that anybody is going to be fired this week, though Texas Tech did replace their defensive coordinator today after yesterday's track meet in Stillwater. Heck, with the ink still wet on Callahan's contract extension (talk about getting THAT done just in the nick of time), nobody is at risk of immediate firing.

That being said, all is not well in Husker Nation. We are basically right back where we were in November 2005 after getting blasted by Kansas. All that talk about "resurgence"? Gone. Can it be recovered? Of course, but time is running short.

First thing is to figure out SOMETHING with the defense. I really don't care about Kevin Cosgrove's feelings at this point, but I do worry about the psyche of the players in his charge. They look slow, underpowered, and completely befuddled. They lack confidence in what they are doing, and for good reason. Giving up 80 points and nearly 1100 yards the last two weeks will do that to you.

I'd start by reviewing video and figuring out what, if any aspects, of the defense are working. Find something that these players can master and let's master just that aspect. Pick something, and let's try to be good at that. Stopping the run? Rushing the quarterback? Covering receivers? We'd like to be good at all of them, but we've found that we're awful at all three. So let's focus on one item and see if we can get ok at that one aspect. Get some confidence, and maybe we'll figure out the rest.

I'd also throw open competition for all spots. Maybe a younger inexperienced player will make a mistake, but I'd rather have a mistake come from a young player because of inexperience rather than have a senior player make a mistake because of confusion or lack of confidence.

This thing could get better, and we certainly hope so. We cannot let fear of making the problem worse stop us because it's difficult to make it any worse than it already is. (Let's face it, my worst case scenario is that we have to replace most of our coaching staff and restart recruiting with a new staff. I'm not so sure we're that far off from that point, so I'd argue that HuskerNation doesn't have much to lose at this point.)

Finally, a lot is being said about the booing at yesterday's game. I didn't boo, and have never boo-ed a player. (I have boo-ed an athletic director, however...) That doesn't mean I haven't groaned and moaned a few times, though. Personally, my take is that people shouldn't be offended by the boos. People should be offended by the performance of the defense.

3 comments:

AJ said...

Mizzou vs. Nebraska was just announced as an 8:15pm kickoff.

See ya there.

bigredfred said...

For those who think the Husker offense is doing great, they either aren't looking at who we've played so far, or they haven't taken a close look around the rest of the Big 12.

So far what has Sam Keller done? He has only played about 2 quarters against a decent defense before USC started shuffling in 3rd string folks. The rest of this year's play were against Nevada, Ball State, Wake Forest, all teams unranked and going nowhere. Anyone from the Big 12 could pad their numbers in games like that. Those are garbage stats.

What did Keller do against a decent defense for those specific 2 quarters?? A few dozen yards and a couple interceptions that went back for touchdowns!! When he abandoned his own teammates in ASU after being demoted , should have sent red flags up everywhere. But then again, how many good folks in Nebraska were sold on the Steve Pederson / Bill Callahan version of the Huskers?

Anonymous said...

I always think it's dumb that people hold it against college players who transfer rather than stick around as a backup. You only get 1 chance to play in college. I can't hold it against someone for wanting to spend that time actually playing.