Saturday, September 06, 2008

Does Bo Know The Way to Stop San Jose (State)?

With apologies to Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach, today's Husker game against San Jose State had Husker fans crying "Woe, woe, woe, woe, woe" most of the first three quarters. The game got off to a horrendous start for the Big Red with numerous missed tackles in the first quarter that allowed the Spartans to jump on the scoreboard first.

The tackling problem was short lived, as the defense made the appropriate adjustments. But on offense, the Huskers were mostly putrid all day. San Jose State stacked the line playing 9 in the box most of the day, and Nebraska struggled to run the ball most of the day.

Today's game was a hard one to get a handle on, as I kind of got the idea that the coaching staff wasn't as concerned as the fans in the stands were. Offensively, Shawn Watson seemed content to run screen passes to the wide receivers rather than push the ball downfield. I kind of got the idea that Nebraska was trying to not show or do too much today.

Which is essentially what fans got today. A 35-12 victory that wasn't much to think of. They were outgained by the Spartans, and might have been outscored if it weren't for an interception return by Ndamakong Suh and an 85 yard kickoff return by Niles Paul.

So it was a day of much suckage. Here are a few game notes:
  • On one first quarter run, Yonus Davis not only broke six tackles, but apparently Barry Turner's leg as well. The Omaha World-Herald reports that Turner says it's a fracture. A medical redshirt may be in order for the senior defensive end. Pierre Allen played well in relief of Turner today.
  • The offensive line was thought to be a strength of this team, but now looks like a weakness. Yes, both Western Michigan and San Jose State stacked the line, but there should be more productivity than what we're seeing. On the Husker Radio Network postgame, former all-American Brendan Stai theorized that part of the problem might be the patchwork status of the line; the players haven't reacted a comfort level with their roles. Maybe that's the case, but if so, that's a problem that needs resolution immediately.
  • OK, this defense isn't going to be one of the top defenses in the country..but make no bones about it, they are improved. This defense swarms to the ball, and gets their arms up and makes defending the pass a priority. Look at the interceptions from Ndamakong Suh and Zach Potter today.
  • Cody Glenn was a playmaker again. He's probably out of position frequently due to his inexperience, but his speed and physicality more than make up for it.
  • Don't be looking for Blackshirts to be issued anytime soon, though if they issue a few to some standouts on defense, they'll start out up front.
  • The first Blackshirt might go to the uprights at Memorial Stadium. San Jose State's kickers doinked both of them, and missed another entirely. Those seven points might have changed the complexion of today's game entirely.
  • Niles Paul is another potential playmaker on offense. His electric 85 yard kickoff return at the start of the fourth quarter gave Nebraska the spark to finish today's game strong.
  • Roy Helu, Jr. looks to be the strongest I-back at this point. With the inability of the offensive line to open up holes, Marlon Lucky has been a non-factor to this point.
  • Quentin Castille dropped an option pitch today, continuing a problem with ball security. Perhaps another I-back to linebacker conversion in the spring? Sure worked with Cody Glenn.
  • For those of you looking, there was no post-game audio blog today due to phone issues.
Bottom line is Nebraska is 2-0...but it's an unsure 2-0. You'd like to think that the next two games are winnable. (New Mexico State hasn't played yet, and Virginia Tech struggled with Furman today.) After that, all bets are off. Last year, I said after the Iowa State game that Nebraska needed to improve significantly to win again...they regressed, and lost six of their last seven games. Same thing applies in 2008; they need to improve significantly from what we've seen to win many games from here on out.


AJ said...

Now do you see why their coach wanted to come here and not Knoxville.


Anonymous said...

NU fan in TX
Well AJ a win is a win. I would prefer an ugly win to a pretty loss any day but as usuall your such a hater that it eats you up to have NU win anything.

PlusDrew said...

I've heard it said before in the past few days: the 2007 squad would have lost this game. They played awful for three quarters, but stepped up when it mattered, and that's something we didn't see much last year.

I'll take improvement where I can get it. Yesterday, Missouri would have put up 80 on us. Luckily, we didn't play them yesterday.