Thursday, September 21, 2006

Return of the Trojans

Not USC, but the Men of Troy (Alabama). I felt this one was a possible trap game in July, and nothing has changed my mind here. Troy raised the eyebrows of the college football world by leading Florida State in the 4th quarter 2 weeks ago, then being tied up with Georgia Tech last Saturday. Does Troy have any gas left in their tank? Will Nebraska be in a funk after losing a game that fans (and players, I'm sure) were pointing to all year? That might be the biggest factor in this game.

So what to expect on Saturday? Troy runs a spread offense from the same "coaching tree" that brought Mike Leach to Texas Tech. Hopefully, Cosgrove finally learned his lesson against it and will "apply pressure consistently", otherwise they'll create matchup problems with the Husker secondary. Last week, Georiga Tech's Chan Gailey even said as much as they prepared for the Trojans:
"They've been very successful throwing the football in their first two games," Gailey said. "We'll have to change some of our matchup situations. They do create problems by spreading you out, but hopefully we create problems by bringing more than they can block."
For the Huskers on offense, yet more "pound the rock". A ball-control power football game plan should be quite effective against a smaller, yet quicker defensive line like Troy's. Last week, Georgia Tech rushed for 320 yards against Troy -- got to believe that has to be eyeopening to the Husker coaches and players.

The response to criticism of the bad, er, sorry, ultra-conservative game plan against USC has been swift and unrelenting this week, which means it's touched nerves. Again, most of the response misses the point - a conservative ball-control attack was probably Nebraska's best plan of attack, but carried to the extreme it was last Saturday night was overdoing it. Nebraska failed to call a pass play on first down until the end of the third quarter: 16 straight runs on first down. The defenders continually confuse the suggestion that Callahan should have thrown the ball a handful of times on first down to spread out the defense with a suggestion that Nebraska should have thrown the ball 40 times. The defenders are correct that the Callahan strategy might have worked if all the bounces in the game had gone the Huskers' way, but they fail to acknowledge that the game plan didn't work. And when things don't work, you always open yourself to criticism. Even the players questioned it; Tuesday, wide receiver Nate Swift said
"A lot of the guys were talking on the sideline, like, 'We should have been passing,' but we all trust Coach Callahan that he knows what he's doing," receiver Nate Swift said. "He has a game plan - I'm sure he has that planned out for a long time - and it just didn't work out for us that day."
If the players were questioning it, then why all the uproar over fans who question it?


Twilight_end_Zone said...

Excellent as always...

I had to give you props (as the kids say) on my site.

Keep it real!


AJ said...

You know who else runs the spread offense?


That didn't turn out to well last year did it?

;) <--- Keeping it real as well

Husker Mike said...

True, but neither Troy nor Texas Tech uses the spread to clear a path for Brad Smith to jog up and down the field.

Kalthalior said...

Obviously, we can't overlook these guys, but just as obviously, we should win. I would expect more "pound the rock" but also mixing in a little Zac to the wideouts. Maybe even on first down, but that might be a stretch for Norvell. I also expect the Blackshirts to hold them to 2 or 3 scores, which could be trouble if our corners don't play better and we don't get some pressure.

AJ said...

Jog? Looked more like a brisk walk?

Seriously...of course NU should win. But the more I read about Troy, the more dangerous they are..especially in a trap game, after USC and before the Big 12 season.

This could be the most blatant home trap game in the history of college football.

Or I could be wrong and not know what the hell I'm talking about.

oh well.

PS - Seen your blog linked all over the place Mike. Great job.

AJ said...

I'm not saying I didn't blow my pick...nor am I saying I know what's going on during this game (because the day I give AD Steve-O 30 bucks is a cold day in hell...)

but is Troy playing with 8 men on defense? Or did NU suddenly become the Indianapolis Colts?