Husker Report Card: Baylor

Some week's, I go back and forth as to whether it's better to watch games in person (from my high end zone perspective) or on television.  TV gives me many more replays, a bigger picture of the game, and the benefit of statistics.  In person gives me the perspective of watching the entire field and the ability to watch key matchups through my binoculars.  Yesterday's game was one of those games where watchig in person would have been clearly superior, because the Versus coverage was so bad.  Most of the game action was shown from a high camera showing the entire field.  That's great for identifying coverages early on, but it was nearly impossible to figure out who was who out there without the aid of replay.  On my television, all I could make out was the color of jersey and where they lined up originally.  So I feel somewhat uncomfortable grading action away from the ball this week, because I don't feel that I got as good of a read of the game.

QB:  One thing is clear; Nebraska's offensive struggles weren't solved by changing quarterbacks.  Cody Green brings positives (strong running) and negatives (inexperience and a more erratic arm) to the position.  Green looked OK in the first half, but less though in the second half.  His pick-6 interception will be a "teaching moment" for Shawn Watson.  Grade:  D-

IB:  Once again, Roy Helu tried to go...and simply can't.  I'm not sure I understand the point in putting an obviously limited Helu into the game and risk reaggravating his shoulder, rather than shutting Helu down for a week or two and get him back sooner.  Dontrayevous Robinson did fine for the most part while he was in the game...but then joined the cast of injured I-backs on the sideline.  Nebraska tried to scour the bottom of the depth chart to find an I-back..and couldn't.  Lester Ward wasn't terribly productive and Austin Jones even less so.  Grade: C

WR:  In 2004, it was understandable that Nebraska didn't have the receivers to be really successful in a passing offense.  So Bill Callahan recruited receiver after receiver to Nebraska.  Five years later, other than Maurice Purify, those Callahan receivers are turning out to be a waste of good scholarships.  Yesterday, the Huskers' starting wide receivers were Niles Paul, nephew of Ahman Green, Khiry Cooper, redshirt freshman outfielder for the baseball team, and Brandon Kinnie, a sophomore who just transfered from junior college.  To be sure, that inexperience didn't help playcalling at all, but we also didn't see nearly the same mistakes made by the more experienced receivers.  Whether giving Menelik Holt and Curenski Gilleylen the Phillip Dillard treatment is going to improve things down the line  But yesterday, that gives the receivers a C-.

OL:  It all starts up front when it comes to offense, and as the game wore on, Baylor's defense stacked the line recognizing that the Huskers were green at all of the skill positions.  While that's not entirely the line's fault, the line was Nebraska's best chance to break out of the offensive funk they found themselves in.  And they couldn't.  Grade:  D+

DL:  Spend too much time worrying about Ndamukong Suh, and you've got Jared Crick to worry about instead.  If you want to find something positive to think about yesterday's game, keep in mind that Crick is just a sophomore and still has plenty of time to improve his game under the Pelini brothers.  Grade:  A-

LB:  This is where the Versus coverage did me wrong, as I simply didn't get a good feel for linebacker play from the coverage.  I did see a few good things from Sean Fisher, and Phillip Dillard was involved as well.  I'll weasel out and put down a B, though I really can't defend it very well.

Secondary:  Alfonzo Dennard and Dejon Gomes have really upgraded this unit over the last month...but sadly, Dennard reinjured his shoulder.  When Anthony West replaced Dennard, you realized just how good Dennard has been this season.  Gomes had an interception, but also a somewhat questionable (in my eye) roughing call when he came on a blitz.  Prince Amukamara had a beautiful interception, making a break as soon as the ball was in the air.  Grade:  B-

Overall:  C  Defense had another good performance, but needs help from the offense. If 273 yards is all that this offense can produce against Baylor, what can we expect this week against Oklahoma?  Wait, don't answer that question.

Elsewhere in College Football

Missouri:  B- First half showed that Missouri is much better than their 0-3 start in the Big XII...but the second half has to raise concerns about the Tigers.  Or maybe it's just the general suckage that is the Big XII North.

Kansas State:  B Took the kids out trick-or-treating with the Sooners rolling...so imagine my surprise to find the Wildcats fighting back in the second half.  Maybe Bill Snyder has another miracle left in him after all...

USC:  D-  The only thing funnier than watching Southern Cal implode will be listening to ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd try to blow off this one.

BCS Voters:  F  Funny how suddenly you forget how dominant Alabama has been all season once Florida and Texas finally play a complete game.  Fer shame.

Iowa:  First three quarters: F  4th quarter: A+  The first three quarters it looked like Iowa was finally going to get it's just desserts...then suddenly they come to life.  I still think that eventually the Hawkeyes will get knocked off, but that fourth quarter is the type of quarter that a BCS title contender puts on the board.  Usually not after total suckage for the first 45 minutes of the game, however.

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