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?