Monday, July 25, 2016

The Good Lord Calls Sam Foltz Home

There are no words to do justice when tragedy strikes. Words can try to calm, words can try to sooth...but words cannot completely ease the pain. But several people have tried to do just that with Sam Foltz, and came pretty close.  First up is KOLN-TV weekend sports anchor Kevin Sjuts, who tells the story of how Foltz talked to his son's first grade class earlier this year.
How he said this without breaking down in tears, I have no idea. Or how he explained what happened to his son. My son also was a first grader this past year, and I can only appreciate how difficult that discussion must have been.

Next is ESPN's Joe Tessitore, who was with Foltz last night at that kickers camp in Wisconsin. The weather forced the camp to cancel the evening session, and Foltz filled the time by talking to young people with his own inspirational message.
As one of the very last things he did on this earth.

Sometimes you never truly appreciate people until they are gone.
Thank you Sam, and God bless you, your family, your teammates and friends. In due time, we'll worry about who might possibly try to fill Foltz's shoes on the football field. But for now, Nebraskans and college football fans everywhere will take a moment to mourn the loss suffered by the Foltz family.

And then, maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to live up to the challenge Sam Foltz left us.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Will the Huskers Really "Run the Ball" in 2016?

To me, it's the big question going into 2016: Will Nebraska actually commit to running the ball in 2016? We saw what happened last year; the Huskers lost seven games, sometimes in mind-numbing fashion, in forcing the passing game. I'd argue that Nebraska lost at least four games (Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue and Iowa) last year because of excessive use of the passing game. Yes, Nebraska has some dynamic receivers...but overdependence on a passing attack led to far too many turnovers, and thus, too many losses in 2015.

In the Foster Farms Bowl, Nebraska unleashed a furious ground game and pulled off the upset of UCLA. But was that a change of philosophy by this coaching staff, or simply the coaches recognizing that UCLA had been vulnerable all season on the ground? Immediately after the game, I thought it was more of the former.

As this year has gone on, I'm starting to worry that it's the latter. In a March news conference, I read that Mike Riley hoped not to run the ball more, but rather merely run the ball better. I have no problem with trying to run the ball better, but I believe that in order to do that, the Huskers will need to run more in 2016 than they did in 2015. I  firmly believe that Nebraska needs to run the ball 60-65 percent of the time with this personnel.  That doesn't mean 50 rushes, like against UCLA...but it does suggest that the Huskers need to be pushing to be over 40 a game on a regular basis.

Evidence is lacking as to what direction Mike Riley will go this season...but what little I've seen suggests that Riley isn't willing to change his stripes offensively. He might have been forced to if he wanted to stay at Oregon State, but now I get the feeling that he's hoping he can recruit players to effectively run his scheme more successfully to Lincoln than he could in Corvallis.

Problem is that he doesn't have that sort of quarterback in 2016. And frankly, I don't see a lot of evidence that he's doing it for future seasons either. 

Yes, that's premature to say at this point. Certainly blasphemous for a Husker fan to say. And arguably hypocritical for a known non-believer in recruiting hype today at this point. So call it more of a hunch at this point than anything else.

So you tell me: do you think Mike Riley will run the ball more in 2016? Or do you even care?