Today's World-Herald featured a discussion about the running game, and the need to control it on both sides of the ball. Certainly, Nebraska's defensive line grew of age last season and did a pretty good job of shutting down the run game towards the end of the season. But is that so important in the pass-happy Big XII conference we find ourselves in? Maybe it's not so important to stop the run, but some of the elements of a strong rush defense (like a strong defensive line) also lend themselves to a strong pass defense. Conversely, you can have a statistically good rushing defense because the passing defense is so porous that the offenses never get much of a chance (or need) to run the ball.
It raises one of my lingering questions about Nebraska in 2009: will we see a dominant offensive line gel this season? With a new quarterback and new receivers, but experienced I-backs, I expect the Huskers to "pound the rock" (to quote one of the "Worst. Coaches. Ever.") this fall. Phil Steele ranks the Husker o-line second best in the conference...but is that really so? I'm not sure I'm quite ready to endorse that opinion just yet.
In 2009, I look for Nebraska to continue trying to build on what they accomplished last season: building a ball-control offense to keep opposing defenses off the field. With the departures of Joe Ganz, Nate Swift, and Todd Peterson, it's going to initially fall on Roy Helu, Quentin Castille, and the offensive line to keep the chains moving. That will give Zac Lee and a young receiver corp time to develop. It'll be done in a different fashion in 2009 versus 2008, but the goal is the same: dominate the time-of-possession statistic and put points on the board since no matter how good the Blackshirts are, the high-powered offenses of the Big XII will still score.
You may have noticed a few changes around here; hopefully you like them. Spent a little time over the weekend going through old photos and picking some to feature here on the blog, and then was up a little too late last night getting everything set up here. (I'm sure some of my co-workers cringed at the idea of me pretending to be a designer, but I think I didn't do too badly.) Nothing's permanent at this point, but it's probably overdue for a little refreshing.
One of new features of this update is Twitter and Facebook integration. Updates from this blog have been sent to those "Web 2.0" (or "Social Media", as some prefer to call them) sites for some time, and it really is a convenient way to track what people are saying. And with Twitter, it really starts to become a two way conversation, if only in 140 character updates. Now, the links between Twitter and the blog are two-way, as tweets appear here as well. How useful will this all be? Hard to say, but it's much quicker and easier to send out a quick tweet than getting a full blog entry posted. With Facebook, it's simply a way to make it easier to stay updated. If you become a "fan" on Facebook, then updates from the blog will be added to your Facebook page automatically. If you haven't tried Facebook yet, I encourage you to do so; it's a great way to keep up to date from anybody and everybody you wish you had more time to talk to.
If you have any thoughts about the updates, let me know. I saved the old version in case we need to go back "the way it was"...