Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ummm . . . . Yeaaaahh

Uh, oh.

The Nebraska football team won today 17-3. If I told you just that information, Nebraska fans would jump up and down and cheer and say, 'Sears Trophy/ADT Trophy/Whatever Company Trophy, here come to get you.'

But in the words of Lee Corso, 'Not so fast, my friend!'

Let's fill in the rest of the picture. Nebraska beat South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits. Nebraska beat the daunted South Dakota State Jackrabbits 17-3.

Give SDSU a ton of credit. They came into this game EXPECTING to win. And you know what, they almost did!

Taylor Martinez, who looked like one of the top QB's in the country the first two weeks of the season including a hostile trip to Washington last week, threw 6-14 for 140 yards, 1 TD and two interceptions. And the interceptions were not tips that fell in the wrong teams hands. The interceptions were rookie mistakes. Taylor owed the interceptions in his post game press conference and said that they were his fault. In the first three games, Martinez had three 100+ yard games and every time he ran the ball, you were expecting a 50 yard TD run. SDSU looked like they knew the play that was coming stuffed it. Taylor ended his 100+ yd/gm streak tonight only gaining 75 yards on 13 carries.

Martinez didn't get any help either. It seemed like the whole team was off the whole game. Head coach Bo Pelini took blame for the game saying that the team was out coached, out played and all of that was on his shoulders. The defense wasn't clicking like it was last week. The amazing secondary that we saw in Washington that only allowed four completions for Jake Locker, gave up 12 catches for Thomas O'Brien.

All around, it was not a good game. It was a win, but not a good game.

What will we see next week? That is the question. Will we see a team that is pumped for the Big 12 season and their last time they will ever have to face Kansas State? I would think so. But I also thought that tonight's game would have been a 30 or 40 point victory . . . not a 17-3 win over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

One Hell Of A Debut!!!

Well, Omaha. You all heard the buzz and excitement all summer Pro football in Omaha.
Did it live up to the hype? You bet your ass it did!

That was a crazy game, a crazy halftime show, a crazy environment and that was game #1. We still have four more home games including some high profile names coming to Rosenblatt Stadium.

Highlights of the night:

  • I don't know if it was a highlight, but the reception that the crowd gave when Mayor Suttle was introduced for the opening coin toss. That has to suck to hear a 23,000+ of your citizens booing.
  • In contrast, it was nice to see the booing that the Husker fans in the crowd gave to Colonials DB Ryan Palmer when his name was announced and the fact that he played at the University of Texas.
  • The electricity in the air from the very first kick off. People have never seen a Nighthawks game before. There is no history for this team. But people embraced the team as their own right away. The Nighthawks became Omaha's football team.
  • The level of play on the field was awesome. This was not a college football game. This was a professional football game and it looked like it. These guys were a little faster, a little bigger and a little better than even the Huskers down I-80.
  • The new traditions. Since this is a new team and a new fan base, traditions can pop here and there. During the game PA announcer Matt Schick had the crowd yelling 'FIRST DOWN' every time the Nighthawks got one. And the fans loved it and got into it.
  • Nelly. Nelly fans got a jam packed 10 minute show at halftime filled with a bunch of songs. I looked around and I saw people back behind what was home plate and the farthest away from the stage dancing and getting into the performance.
  • The ending. The Nighthawks organization could not have asked for a better ending to their opening night. People left the stadium on a high and were ready to buy tickets to the next game. And they were going to go home and on Facebook and tell their friends about how great of a time that they had and the buzz will continue.
What a night. We'll see you next Saturday at Rosenblatt Stadium when we see Jeff Garcia going head to head with Daunte Culpepper.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Can You See Us Now?

You know those stupid Verizon commercials with the huge group of techies following behind him while he repeats the line, "Can you hear me now?" I see Taylor Martinez with with the whole Nebraska team behind him and telling the country, "Can you see us now?"

Nebraska beat Washington 56-21 on Saturday and that was one hell of a performance for their first game on the national stage. People across the country go a chance to see what Nebraska fans saw the first two weeks of the year. But this time, it wasn't against Western Kentucky or Idaho. It was on the road against a PAC-10 team, at one of the loudest stadiums in the country.

The sound didn't appear to faze the young QB one bit. Like the first two games of the year, he looked like a veteran who's gone on the road before and played in hostile environments before.


He looks like seasoned veteran quarterback leading an upper level D-1 program.

This was the first big measuring stick game for this Husker team. Sure they could be 'Nobody State' in a stadium full of their own fans. But can they beat a BCS on the road in enemy territory. Yep. And they looked good doing it, too.

Next up, a tune up homecoming game. Last weekend was the perfect game for Coach Pelini. Look good on the national stage and come away with an impressive victory, BUT show some kinks (Cody Green fumbling his first two snaps) that you can use it as a teaching game as well. 'Guys, nice job. That was one hell of a victory, BUT here are couple things that we can work on to take it to the next level.'

The South Dakota State game is a clean up game where you can clean up your mistakes, work on the fundamentals and get your head on right for the Big 12 season.

After that, another big time stage with a Thursday night game against Kansas State. The stage will be yours again. Martinez will get to shine and the secondary will have a chance to do their thing. And EVERYBODY will be watching. Make a statement against K-State and then comes THE GAME.

The first two seasons of Bo Pelini's reign at Nebraska got off to a shaky start at the beginning of the season and then things turned around at the end. It looks like those days are behind him. Make the statement early and turn some heads in September and October.

Two more games to get through and then it will be time for THE GAME!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On The Road Again . . .

This week the Nebraska football take to the road for the first time this year when they go the Pacific Northwest and take on the Washington Huskies at 2:30.

Is it a big deal? I think so.

There will not be the familiarities that you are used to at home. You won't have your bed. You won't have your friends and family (I know, I know . . . your teammates are your like family, but you know what I mean). You won't have your usual pre and post game routine. You won't have 86,000 people yelling for you.

You will have 70,000+ people yelling against you.

The veterans have done this before. They know what they're doing. But the freshman might have a rude awakening. This isn't like playing your cross city rival in high school football. It can be intimidating and daunting.

This is where the coaches come in. One of the best sports movies of all time is Hoosiers. Do you remember the scene where Gene Hackman pulls out the tape measure and they measure the height of the basket? 10 feet. Just like at home. They should do that on Friday. Get the whole team (or just the freshman) out on the field and get a long tape measure and measure from goal line to goal line. 100 yards. Just like at Memorial Stadium. Just like on the practice field. It's football. That is essentially what Carl Pelini said in today's press conference. The field looks the same as it does at home. The only thing that changes is the stands and the color in the seats.

It's football.

Playing on the road can be intimidating, but it also could be motivation. You want people on your team who will feed off of the crowd, both the positive crowd at home and the negative crowd on the road. You want those people who will thrive in those situations.

Will Taylor Martinez shine on Saturday? I don't know, but he'll get his chance to if he can handle the crowd and realize that it's just football.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Labor Day!

I forgot to post his yesterday, but I wanted to say Happy Labor Day, to the entire work force out there. This country would not be the country that it is without the laborers.

Thank you!!

In Or Out?

Does Boise State deserve to be in the BCS Championship game?

It depends.

It depends are the remaining 11 plus games of the season for every team in college football. I want to congratulate the Bronco's for winning their FIRST game of the year. You know who else won their first game of the year? Half of the football teams playing college football!!! After the game last night where beat Virginia Tech 33-30 in thrilling game in Washington DC, Boise State was celebrating like they had just won it all.

IF they were to run the table and win the rest of their games this season, do they deserve a spot in the BCS Championship game? It depends on what the other teams in the country do. I believe that a 1 loss Alabama or a 1 loss Ohio State or a 1 loss Texas or (wishful thinking) a 1 loss Nebraska has just as much of a case to play for it all as Boise State.

I agree that you shouldn't penalize Boise State for the conference that they play in or the schedule that they have, but you also can not penalize Alabama if they were to lose 1 game with the grueling schedule they face in the SEC.

Monday night was an instant classic. It was an amazing game that people will be talking about all season. But, IT WAS THE FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON!!!

Let it all play out. We have a couple of months to argue. Just take a breathe and let's watch some football!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

What A First Impression!

All I can say is 'WOW'!

Taylor Martinez gets the start at quarterback for the opening game as a freshman. That doesn't happen very often. In fact, it hasn't ever happened before. And the way he looked in the opening drive, you can tell that he has earned that spot.

On the third play of the day for the Huskers, Martinez keeps the ball and makes a 46 yard run for the end zone to get his first of 3 touchdowns of the night. He has an explosiveness that is impressive. Before you know it, he's past the defensive line and is shaking a linebacker or two.


7 runs for 127 yards and 3 TD's. 9-15 passing for 136 yards. That's 263 of total offense.

But, it's more than the numbers. He just looked like a big time college quarterback out there. He showed confidence. He showed poise. He looked like a leader on the offense. Taking nothing from Zac Lee and what he did with the team last year, but Martinez looked like he fit the roll of starting quarterback better than Zac.

Keep in mind that this is all against Western Kentucky. This is all in game one. This is a long season. We've got a long way to go. But 85,555 plus a pay-per-view audience may have just took a peek at the future of Nebraska football. That is a lot to put on one kid, but the future does look good at the quarterback position.

The Good:
  • Yeeaaahhh, that's a no brainer. Taylor Martinez.
  • Rex Burkhead looked good with 5 rushes for 57 yards and a TD.
  • The offensive looked like it was well balanced and it was clicking in the air and on the ground (for game #1 against Western Kentucky). 536 total yards with 289 yards coming on the ground and 247 yards coming in the air. Not bad. In the post game interview room, offensive coordinator Shawn Watson looked as happy as could be.
The Bad (or rather things that need some work):
  • The defense wasn't bad, but they're weren't the best and head coach Bo Pelini agreed with that in his post game press conference. Western Kentucky was able to rack up 299 of total offense with 5 foot 8 inch running back Bobby Rainey counting 155 yards of that. The backfield got beat on a few plays. Overall, not the best and not Cosgrove-like. But they will sure hear it from Bo next week. Suh is gone (he as actually on the sidelines for this game), but Crick showed signs of being the beast that takes his place!
This was Western Kentucky. They've got a lot of work to do until Texas comes rolling into Lincoln. Bo Pelini said that this is not the polished product, yet. Next week comes Idaho and then you get your first real test of the season with a road trip to Washington. Taylor Martinez was able to shine in front 85,000+ friendly patrons, but what about 70,000+ people against you. That's the next measuring stick.

But, one thing is for sure . . . after watching the first game of the year, screw the Big Ten (for now) . . . let's play some football this year!!!!