Welcome to the Big Red Roundtable - Pre-Spring Edition.
Husker Mike is hosting this time. We've added one to the usual suspects - Midwestcoastbias joins us this Roundtable on their podcast. Then you've got Jeffie Husker from Double Extra Point and the gang from Big Red Network joining in. Last is that Husker H8ter guy - now that he's been invited to the party, probably won't show up.
Ah, spring football. Yet another area amplified beyond it's normal proportions because everyone wants more football and all of the other sports suck by comparison. Remember when spring was supposed to be about track and then baseball? Well, those days are gone. Nowadays people are so football crazy they're willing to fork out $45 bucks to see a fake football game in April. It's amazing. I suppose there's nothing really wrong with it because the money should go to the University to pay for something worthwhile, like a book or two.
I think most fans will watch spring football to get an idea of what the team will be about in the fall and to give themselves something to talk about for the next few months. Spring ball should be about entertainment, not analysis. It's a chance for the guys to get more work-outs in, play some more chess, and for the coaches to determine what everyone needs to work on over the summer when they're not around.
And therefore, I blaspheme by refusing to take Spring Ball with the same level of seriousness that a "TRUE" Husker fan.
The coaching staff says the quarterback race is wide open between Sam Keller, Joe Ganz, Beau Davis, and Patrick Witt. What is your expectation as how this will turn out next season?
I am 100% convinced that the starter will be Sam Keller/Joe Ganz. Why pick one just because everyone thinks that some guy has to be a 'starter'? I'd be cautious here. Look what happened when Keller was named a starter and then not named a starter later. You'd have to take this into account if you're Bill Callahan because the last guy that did that isn't back at his coaching job this year. It could be some kind of bizarre synchronicity-based event that once you've named the Keller the starter he can't not be starter later or you lose your job. Maybe it'll be a Community Chest card in the Game of Life someday - "You Name A Starting QB, then Demote Him. You're Fired. Move Back Five Spaces".
Take a note from me, Bill! Don't name Keller the starter unless you're sure he's the starter and is always going to be the starter! Keep saying that stuff about "Co No. 1's" and things like that. Confuse people. Mix their names up. Who's the Starter, Bill?
"Sammie Ganz". "Joe Keller". Mumble a lot.
Or take another approach.
Look at how Bill Callahan runs his offense. We had four backs split time last year. About 28-32 different receivers. Why not just run a whole separate team in after every play, including a quarterback?
Then there's what I like to call the "French Resistance" method of quarterbacking.
Have Joe Ganz learn one half the play book, and Sam Keller the other. That way, if those desperate bastards from Baylor (Or Colorado, Kansas State, well, just about everyone else in the Big 12) would want to kidnap a quarterback and torture him for knowledge, they'd only get half the information and we'd still have a starter! Take that you Big 12 eviidoers!
Besides quarterback, what positions will have the biggest battles and how do you expect them to work out?
Ndamukong Suh has the biggest battle ahead of him as broadcasters everywhere will be challenged to correctly pronounce his name as he becomes a star next season. Instead they'll attempt to come up with cute nicknames that won't stick, things like "King" Kong Suh, or maybe "Tsun" Suh, and then there's the obligatory "A Boy Named Suh".
Quick, name four defensive lineman. Can't? You're not alone. Neither can I and I'm supposed to be a self-declared expert. Neither can Bill Callahan for that matter, so there's clearly a problem here. There's been nothing said about us moving to a 3-4 or a 3-3-5, or even a 1-3-3-7 defensive alignment so someone must step into these positions.
With Chris Patrick leaving on the offensive line we're left with less experience so there will be a good fight to get on the rotation. You can't have too much depth at these positions because 6'5" 300 pound plus guys tend to beat the hell out of each other.
The other big battle will be between Cortney Grixby and Cornhusker fans. Too many of us don't like the guy when he's done as much as he's been asked. He was asked to play primary corner last year in a secondary with little experience and didn't get much help from his safeties. He got burned a few times, but when's the last time you tried to cover Dwayne Jarrett?
Receivers - who cares? We're going to throw the ball to about 15 of them throughout the season, so even if you aren't the starter, you're going to be in on some set sooner or later.
2 years ago, the 2005 recruiting class was touted as one of the nation's best. Only a few players from this group have made an impact thus far; who do you expect to emerge this spring?
"A year from now, everyone will be talking about this Nebraska class as their greatest in the last 25 years," Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming told the Associated Press.
I'm sure Tom Lemming meant this as a nice testament to Bill Callahan's recruiting prowess, but with statements like this was there any other outcome for this class but failure?
We've already mentioned Suh who will be a force, but he's no surprise. We're mostly guessing on who's going to show up, but I'll say Bryan Wilson in the defensive secondary. No one talks about him much, they're always talking about Thenarse or Asante. How can you not like a guy who's namesake (although spelled different) was the freaky Beach Boy?
In the 1990's, Coach Osborne started matching up the #1 offense against the #1 defense in the spring game. Bill Callahan switched this around and put the #1 offense and defense on the same team, playing against the reserves. Do you prefer a format?
There you go again. Still caught up in this whole #1 versus #2. In fact, the way the question is worded, if you're not #1 you're a reserve! That's not true on Bill Callahan's team. They rotate so many guys they have 27 water boys! No one is #1 or #2, it's all about the set you're in against the specific opponent you're playing. Game plan, man! GAME PLAN! Have you learned nothing the last few years?
Now that I've gotten that off my chest, who doesn't want to see something resembling real football when the #1's play each other? You don't, that's who. Given that Suh is the biggest force on the defensive line and there's only one of him, you don't want him getting injured in a near-meaningless spring game, do you? No! Save it for fall!
Besides that, there's nothing like Maurice Purify catching a 68 yard bomb thrown by Sam Keller over the top of a third string defensive back to make you feel better about the Huskers chances come this fall. For a brief while, it'll seem like old times, when we crushed everyone in the Big 12 except Oklahoma. I can pretend for a while, and I'm sure you can to.
The correct answer to this question is - whichever format gets us most ready for the next football season, but that's a rather boring, coach-speak like response. However, that is my final answer. I win the $200,000? Oh, thank you. What will I use it for? By the time my children get to college, I'm sure that $200,000 might by them books for a year.
Thanks for coming. All y'all been real swell. Now, what has happened to the baseball team?????