Saturday, October 30, 2004

Husker Fooball - Nebraska 24 Missouri 3

Husker Fooball - Nebraska 24 Missouri 3

There was an omen before this game when the Mizzou charter plane went slightly off the runway in Columbia, Missouri while taxiing into position to take the Missouri players to the away game in Lincoln, Nebraska.

As can be seen at the ESPN boxscore for the Nebraska Cornhuskers defeat of Missouri 24-3, it is rather improbable that Nebraska won this football game.

In what must be some kind of a pathetic record for offense, NU failed to convert ANY 3rd-down attempt - out of 14 attempts (0 for 14 !) - and went 0 for 1 in 4th-down attempts. Indeed, NU made only a total of 8 first downs the entire game as Husker quarterback Joe Dailey went 4 for 18 pass attempts for a grand total of 25 yards. Even so, Dailey played a significant part in winning the game by not turning the ball over - and all Husker fans can be glad for that unexpected event. Cory Ross had a very good day rushing, although almost half the yardage came in an 86-yard scamper at the end of the game. The junior from Denver had 193 yards on the ground, his best day ever.

Otherwise, the defense won the game - the only possible way that Nebraska will win any games the rest of the year - by blocking a punt for a touchdown (the game turning point), being tough in their own territory and holding Missouri to 57 rushing yards on 35 rushing attempts. Mizzou also missed several field goal attempts which might have made a difference in the game if they had been converted.

What is more amazing, NU now has sole possession of the lead in the North Conference of the Big 12, with a team that lost 70-10 to Texas Tech and was recently trounced by Kansas State 45-21. Hard to believe.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Huskers 2005 Football Recruiting Class Looks Good

Huskers 2005 Football Recruiting Class Looks Good

As reported by Steven M. Sipple of the Lincoln Journal Star at, the Huskers recruiting class for 2005 under new head coach Callahan ranks among the top in the nation, something which could not be said for the Solich recruiting seasons.

As for the current football year 2004, the fans can just mark off a poor year as certain, since the Huskers simply do not have the players to do better than they are doing. We can all just hope that Oklahoma does not beat them 100-0 later on in the season.

Starting next year, Nebraska will begin to look like the Huskers of old, except that they will have the West Coast offense rather than the traditional option orientation.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Mt. Union Purple Raiders Continue their Winning Ways

Mt. Union Purple Raiders Continue their Winning Ways, the unofficial home of Purple Raider Football, reports that the Raiders beat the Marietta Pioneers 57-0 to run their record to 6-0 this year.

Nebraska, to our great suprise, moved the football against a weak Baylor team and won 59-27 with Joe Dailey passing for five touchdowns. Perhaps Dailey is learning to pass the football after all. The game was a relief for the Huskers after being clobbered by Texas Tech the previous Saturday.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

NCAA College Football - Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas Tech

College Football - Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas Tech

Due to my disgust with and lack of confidence in Nebraska Cornhuskers football, I have not been giving college football much attention this year.

Yesterday's 70-10 disaster against Texas Tech - the worst loss in Husker history - was already forecast through the NU loss to Southern Miss.

As the headline reads:

"LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Nebraska has never looked this bad.

Texas Tech handed the Cornhuskers the worst loss in their storied 114-year history Saturday night, with Sonny Cumbie throwing for 436 yards and five touchdowns in a 70-10 win."

Such a 70-10 loss is not very encouraging about the future of U of Nebraska football fortunes. The team fell apart systematically, giving up 7-14-21-28 points respectively each quarter, i.e. not by learning from its mistakes but by getting progressively worse in this ignominious loss. Nebraska committed SEVEN turnovers.

If a 70-10 loss is new head coach Callahan's idea of bringing modern football to NU, then bring back the option offense, quick.

Apparently, you have a team of men now in charge of Nebraska athletic fortunes - I would include here the Chancellor and Athletic Director (who he chose) and new football coach Callahan (who he chose) - who have lost the winning touch.

Last year, I was amazed that they allowed a superb man like Bo Pellini to leave the team - how could they allow Pellini to go to Oklahoma?

Under Pellini's tutelage last year NU had a +24 advantage in turnover ratio, best in the nation. Against Texas Tech, they turned the ball over 7 times - that must be some kind of a reverse record. Only poor coaching can explain that kind of a sudden reversal of fortunes.

Look at Oklahoma's defense under Pellini and its 12-0 win against Texas in the Cotton Bowl. A shutout. Those are two different defensive worlds.

And here is the strategy used by Oklahoma under Pellini against Texas Tech this year to win 28-13 as reported by SportsBlog:

"On defense, Brent Venables and Bo Pellini appeared to employ a 'bend but don't break' philosophy against Sonny Cumbie and the Red Raiders. Although that philosophy allowed the Red Raiders to amass 425 yards of total offense, it did allow the Sooners to limit the Red Raiders to just 13 points and one rushing TD. Not to mention, the Sooners registered their first three interceptions of the season."

The actual Oklahoma defense used is best described in this article by Steven M. Sipple of the Lincoln Journal and Star Huskerextra prior to the NU-Texas Tech game:

Oklahoma changed its look on defense on virtually every snap. The Sooners would rush four defenders and drop seven into coverage on some downs. Then, boom, they'd do the exact opposite. Look for Nebraska to throw similar changeups Tech's way.

Nebraska did not vary its defense sufficiently, starting in a zone defense and generally only rushing three men - not enough (only one sack the entire night) - a defense which Cumbie picked apart with ease.
So, obviously the NU defensive coaches made serious errors in strategy.

That Joe Dailey is the first-string quarterback for Callahan's alleged "short pass" West Coast Offense - is already indicative. Dailey is a mediocre passer at best. Even as a sub he was often good for several game-disastrous intercepetions, stifling what has been an already inept offense. He has no business being NU Nr. 1 quarterback. How is it possible that Callahan was unable to find a freshman QB or JC transfer capable of running this important position? Obviously the quarterbacks that he did recruit are worse than Dailey, as backup quarterback Beau Davis was brought into the Texas Tech game in the third quarter and committed four straight turnovers, helping to lead to the disastrous end score.

It used to be that Nebraska always had quarterbacks that ran extremely well but could not pass. Now they have quarterbacks that can do neither.

Indeed, the Nebraska total of only 95 yards rushing must also be some kind of a negative record for NU over the decades.

ESPN quotes Callahan as follows following the 70-10 NU loss:

"Nebraska scored to make it 21-10 after halftime, and Callahan thought his team still had a chance.
"I thought we had Tech right where we wanted them," he said. "I also felt the game was in reach as we made it a two-possession game and we had a chance to come back, but it just turned into a catch-up game.""

When a coach is trailing 21-10 and states that he thinks he has the opponent "just where we want him", you have a substantial reality problem.

In any case, I will not be posting much about NU football this year - and I would advise all to be prepared for NU football fortunes to reach new lows, although it will be hard to top this loss.

Some years ago - indeed, during the season that Solich went 6-6 and when a replacement was clearly necessary, my suggested choice for a new NU football coach as Solich's successor was Urban Meyer, who went from Bowling Green to Utah instead because Huskerland was asleep in a dreamland of its ownmaking.

This year Utah is 5-0, ranked 11th in the nation, and is heading toward the elite ranks of college football as Meyer's gifted coaching and surely improved recruiting will make the Utes ever stronger down the road.

And by season end, with Pellini on the defensive coaching staff, Oklahoma should be unbeatable, even though their player material may not be as good this year as last.

Last year, when it was clear that Solich would have to go, I recommended Larry Kehres of Mount Union as the NU coach, an idea not accepted at NU because they were looking for "big league" experience and thus got Callahan. One thing is sure, the teams of Larry Kehres would never lose 70-10, never.

But first, you have to instill a "climate of excellence" at NU, such as Kehres promotes at Mount Union. See our posting here. Secondly, you have to adapt your system of football play to the players you have available, not vice versa. If you do not have the players to run the West Coast Offense then you have to wait until you have them.

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