Friday, October 03, 2008

Mike Ekeler is Pumped Up About Husker Gameplan For Missouri

At this morning's Big Red Breakfast in Omaha, linebackers coach Mike Ekeler made it clear he might be even more pumped up than usual with the Huskers defensive plans against Missouri:
"I won't say too much because I don't want it out there, but I'm very, very, very excited about this game," Ekeler said. "Very excited. And I know our kids are chomping at the bit. We were probably ready to play on Tuesday."
The crowd laughed.
"No, I'm serious," Ekeler said.
Certainly more excited than many Husker fans, many of who are simply hoping that the Huskers don't embarrass themselves like last year, much like Republicans did over Governor Sarah Palin's prospects in last night's Vice Presidential Debate.

So what does Ekeler have in mind? Of course, he's not going to tell us now. But Carl Pelini gave us a few hints:
  • Pressure the Quarterback
  • Mix it up defensively
  • Stay sharp and recognize the Tigers' formations.
Not exactly what I suggested earlier this summer, but not far off either. Beergut from Texas A&M's I am The 12th Man blog helped create a great three part series on defending the spread over at CornNation. If you read nothing else before tomorrow night's game, read this. It's good stuff.

Of course, it doesn't matter how great the scheme is if the Huskers continue to have as many blown coverages as they've had this season. That's where much of the skepticism of the Huskers chances comes from. Virginia Tech didn't always capitalize on last weekend's mistakes, but Chase Daniel and the Tigers can - and will.

Offensively, the Huskers need to play keep away with a balanced attack. Nebraska can't get into a track meet, but will need to show more downfield passing than they've shown so far this season. I've made no secret that I want to see more Roy Helu; if Nebraska is going to do it, it's tomorrow or never.

Tomorrow night's game is going to be a challenge, to be sure. Hopeless? Well, to listen to AJ the Huskerh8r, of course it is. But one of my favorite rankings makes it not only possible, it might actually be somewhat likely. Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings has Nebraska #33...and Missouri only #30. (Needless to say, Sagarin is NOT impressed with the Tigers. I'd argue that this opinion is in the minority.) Factor in the home field advantage, and no matter which version of Sagarin's predictors you use, the Huskers are the favorite in Lincoln tomorrow night.

As I told my soon-to-be-wife in Columbia, Missouri 11 years ago as the Huskers took the field with a minute to go: "You gotta believe!"

1 comment:

AJ said...

Jeff Sagrin has never kissed a girl