Well, it took a few days, but an attempt to rethink the expected coaching change at Nebraska finally emerged. Steve over at BigRedNetwork asks whether Husker fans really want to "toss out an offense that’s producing the most points we’ve seen since Tom Osborne was the head man?" Or more simply, is the Bill Callahan offense finally ready to explode? Shouldn't we wait and see what Joe Ganz can do in a full season as the starter?
It's an interesting idea, but we've heard these arguments before. After running up the score on Kansas State, it's true that the offensive numbers have improved. So why not giving Bill Callahan another chance?
For starters, while Joe Ganz has looked good in his two starts, the Huskers have serious questions to answer on offense in 2008. Quarterback looks promising with a now experienced Joe Ganz and an intriguing Patrick Witt. (And let's not close the door on Zac Lee either...) Running back looks to be solid with Roy Helu and Quentin Castille having another year of experience. Marlon Lucky, despite his shortcomings at I-back, could flourish if used more as an all-purpose back to showcase his talents in the passing game as well as on kick returns. But who else will catch passes in 2008? Maurice Purify, Sean Hill, Terrence Nunn, Todd Peterson, Frantz Hardy, and Dan Erickson are all seniors. Here are the returning receivers: Nate Swift, Menelik Holt (2 career catches), Chris Brooks (1 career catch), Niles Paul (1 career catch). Sense an issue here? Lack of experience at receiver is going to present an issue in 2008, and when combined with the steep learning curve in this offense, would serve to temper expectations for 2008.
Looking at Joe Ganz, he looks to be the type of player that could adapt to many systems. He ran several option plays against Kansas. He threw for 500 yards last weekend. While Bill Callahan can certainly take some pride in the development of Ganz, Ganz appears to be a more than capable quarterback.
Finally, four years ago we were told that a change in the direction of the program was needed. Nebraska fired a 75% (career and final season both) winning percentage coach, and replaced him with a coach that has lost 6, 4, 5, and 6 (and counting) games each year. Recruiting services generally like the incoming players, but few young players see playing time. Questions about talent development have become huge issues. This roster has question marks for next season at wide receiver and linebacker. Even the commitment by the head coach towards the program can be questioned, as he no longer wears Husker apparel except when required by contract to.
73 points and 702 yards are great numbers, but it was just one game in a season filled with sub-par performances in all aspects of the game. Husker fans should be pleased for the players who had a big game, but sadly enough, the burden of evidence is already clear as to where this program is headed.