Normally, we'd be doing a "keys to the game" article on Fridays, but let's be honest, the Mocs shouldn't present that much of a challenge. That won't keep Husker fans from wanting to see their favorite team, especially when we're entering a season that offers so much hope and potential.
There's still a lot to look for, so consider this your guide to the game... and surroundings.
The Sidetrack Band:
The Sidetrack bar was never repaired after a fire destroyed part of the building so the Sidetrack band has moved to a new home, the Single Barrel, located at 130 N 10th Street. Doors open at 6:00 pm Friday and 8:00 am Saturday.
Roundabouts of DOOM
New roundabouts have been installed northwest of Memorial Stadium. These should prove confusing to those who are new driving through them, but they're actually very effective at reducing accidents while improving traffic flow. Key to driving through a roundabout - the car in the circle has the right away. If there's no one in the circle, don't stop.
That's the no nonsense version.
Reality - those same old people who poke you in the back with a cane for standing during the game are going to stop for 15 minutes and stare, wondering what kind of evil scheme the commies have cooked up this time. I'd avoid the area... no, wait... I'd probably go and watch, with a video camera and some beer.
Perhaps the biggest question of the weekend will be whether the number of accidents on the first weekend will be greater than the score output by both teams. I'll be interested to hear any feedback fans have about the new additions, you know, like a video of an old man waving his cane out his car window at that "infernal damned thing in the middle of the road".
You know they're expanding the stadium on the east side, right, so don't be surprised by the construction. From the Huskers.com Fan Information Page:
A new set of steps has been built on the northeast corner at Gate 16. Construction will continue during the season so some areas will be off limits to fans, but a large opening has been created in the middle portion of the East Stadium for fans to enter and then proceed to their respective gates. The pathway to gates 23 and 24 has been reduced, so fans who enter other gates are encouraged to avoid that area. Signage has been erected to help fans find the best way to their gate and seats.
FURTHER CHANGE AT MEMORIAL STADIUM, BY GOD, THE COMMIES HAVE TAKEN OVER.
We've heard all about Tim Beck's offense, yet we know next to nothing about what it's supposed to look like (hint: Pistol formation? probably). If there's one thing that hasn't been kept a secret, it's the desire to be up-tempo - the team gets to the line quickly, runs plays quickly, resets, and does it again.
That only works if there aren't many mistakes. That means eliminating the false starts and holding calls that have plagued Nebraska's offense since Bo Pelini came back to Lincoln. Mistakes kill up tempo, kill momentum, kill drives, and ultimately the offense. If the offense can't eliminate mistakes, they'll have to revert to huddling. This isn't a horrible offset, but it kills an advantage (lots of potential killing here, isn't there?).
Ball security is key to a successful season. Like the elimination of penalties, this one is a no-brainer. Nebraska was 117th in the nation last season in fumbles lost. I don't have to explain that any further.
Explosive plays are the difference between being an average and a great offense. Nebraska will need to find some playmakers out of the youth that will be playing. True freshmen running backs Ameer Abdullah, Braylon Heard and Aaron Green will be heavily scrutinized as will receivers Jamal Turner, Kenny Bell and Stanley Jean-Baptiste.
Defensive ends - Cameron Meredith is a proven starter, and while Jason Ankrah has been named the other Blackshirt defensive end starter, watch for Josh Williams, Joe Carter and Eric Martin to get some time. Each will be wanting to make some big plays and get noticed. The key here - making the big play while maintaining your responsibilities.
Defensive backfield - Superstar cornerback Alfonzo Dennard will not be playing. Instead, Ciante Evans and Andrew Green will get the start. Safeties should be Courtney Osborne and Austin Cassady, but expect that new players like Daimion Stafford and Corey Cooper get their shots. The Mocs will feature consensus All-American receiver (at the FCS level) Joel Bradford and an experienced quarterback in B.J. Coleman. Key here - not giving up big plays because of defensive breakdowns.
Offensive Line - I've already covered mistakes, but I want to mention the offensive line anyway. The offensive line should be capable of having their way with the Moc defensive line, so don't read too much into their success based on this game. Wisconsin looked incredible against UNLV's defense. Consider the shoe on the other foot in this game.
If all y'all want me to post the game notes for each week from now on, please let me know in the comments section.
Those are the things I'll be watching for. What about you?