Monday, January 03, 2011

Monday Night Vodka: Still Trying to Recover from the Lost Weekend

This weekend's sports action required something stronger than beer.  I'm still trying to wrap my hands around what all went wrong, and it's just mind blowing what went wrong. It wasn't just the play of the Husker quarterbacks, but the entire offense. The thing that has me most despondent is that I simply don't know where to start (and please, I don't want to hear "fire Watson/Cotton/etc." either). The more I think about it, I don't think there is a single, simple solution to what went wrong.

I do know that this offense was putting up yards and points a plenty in the first half of the season (albeit against inferior competition), so I don't think it's all a loss at this point.  Somewhere along the line, things went haywire, and changes may have been made that were counterproductive. Seeing a few replays, it appears that there were open receivers, which is a sign of the solution. Problem is having a quarterback who's able to exploit that defense and an offensive line that could give that quarterback enough time to do just that.

When I say that I don't want to hear "fire Watson/Cotton/etc.", it's not that I'm endorsing those men. I just don't think you can make much of a campaign to do just that after a 10-4 season. I do think that deep down, Bo Pelini has an idea of where things went offtrack, and things will change.

Sometime over the next month, likely over at CornNation, I'll dig into what we've got returning and try to either find signs of optimism or despair over the future.

It wasn't just the Huskers that had me down in the dumps this New Years weekend.  UNO hockey got swept at Quinnipiac, losing both on late goals after the Mavs had fought back to tie the game in the third period. That led UNO to fall out of the top ten to 12th in the USCHO rankings.

One thing that did make me chuckle is watching Steve Pederson get a "vote of confidence" after his "character" and "integrity" selection flamed out in just 17 days.  The man just gets better and better.  It took him 40 days to hire Bill Callahan in 2003-04, but this time, it took less than that to hire and fire Mike Haywood. Maybe folks around Pitt will forgive Pederson for not forseeing this from Haywood, but I dare say that Pederson isn't getting much leash on the next hire. It seems that Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg is taking the lead away from Pederson on the next search.

Even Pitt color commentator Bill Fralic took on Pederson today
"This is all about Steve Pederson trying to make a mark, and he's made a black eye," Fralic said. "I would take a long, hard look at how we come to make this decision. I think there's a lot of people who have supported that program who are very disillusioned. I just don't know how we could be so wrong."
Even though the names and situations and details seem to change, this all has a very real sense of deja vu. Today, Cardiac Hill has the story of how Pederson neglected to talk to the remaining coaching staff in the three-plus weeks since he forced Dave Wannstedt to resign. I get the feeling that once a new head coach is found, Pederson will fade off into the sunset at Pitt. The urgency to find a football coach at Pitt is very real, as a staff needs to be assembled and a recruiting class needs to be set. They have a week or so to accomplish all of this, and this is no time to also begin a search for a new athletic director.

I also was somewhat amused by the idea of Blaine Gabbert declaring early for the NFL draft. I know that Gabbert put up some video-game like statistics in the Insight Bowl (minus the brain-dead interception that won the game for Iowa), but from my perspective, he's not ready for the NFL. Of course, I also didn't think that Josh Freeman was ready for the NFL, but it turns out that he's become a better quarterback in Tampa Bay than he was in Manhattan. What does that mean? Simple, it depends on who drafts him and how he gets developed. It all depends on where he goes, and whether there actually is an NFL season this fall, what with all the talk of a lockout.  If there is a season and he ends up in the right situation, it'll all work out for him just fine.  Maybe the Vikings will draft him; I'm sure a certain former Nebraska defensive lineman wouldn't mind meeting up again with him frequently.


A J said...

I think the fact that you are a Husker fan and completely delusional automatically disqualifies you of judging QB talent.

Nice to see you aren't bitter though.

Nate said...

Gabbert's a stud. Made all the tough throws against the Nebby D.

Now a thing with the doesn't seem to have the same discipline or standards of the defense. The defense has to be almost perfect or Bo freaks out. The offense can screw up all they want and what players are pulled? There seems to be hardly any consequences for poor play.