Happy day after game game people. Much like KGB in Rounders I feel so unsatisfied. Turns out uneven wins against cupcakes are not that filling. But maybe I'm being over critical, I am getting old after all.
Lots of concern out there about the O-Line, and the Martinez-centric offense. I'd add concern at linebacker, at least until I see how the Pelinis will handle a power rushing game. We didn't see the zone read once yesterday, and I can't believe they would remove that from the playbook.
Overall watching the game on BTN and not on PPV, in glorious HD was wonderful. Coming back late from commercials or filler stat pieces to miss several plays was not. Much like the game the broadcast was uneven.
Let's see what people are saying about Nebraska.
It was ok. I wished the BTN would have shown it yesterday.
Martinez, who matched his career high with 19 carries, showed no signs of the toe and ankle injuries that slowed him the second half of last season. His touchdown runs were his first in nine games, since he had a career-high four against Kansas State. It was the fourth time in his 14 career games that he had at least three TD runs.
Overall (B) The feast-or-famine offense was probably to be expected for a season opener, but it certainly won't cut it in the Big Ten. Luckily for Nebraska, that's another month away. Meanwhile, a defense that counted on many newcomers Saturday showed it can be every bit as good as last year's unit, if not better. The biggest relief of the day? Maher. (Oh, and a nice cold front).
Perhaps the most alarming thing from Nebraska's standpoint, it seemed, was the Huskers' inability to control the line of scrimmage when on offense. It's obvious from his comments that Huesman was very pleased with how his D-line stacked up. "When we came in, we didn't know if we could get off of blocks," Huesman said. "Could we even stop the power play? Can we defend the belly option? And we did.
"The best part of it was for 60 minutes we went toe-to-toe. Man, our guys fought," Huesman said. "Our kids feel like they could be a really good football team. They came off of blocks and they were able to run to the ball. For the most part, we defended the option really well."
The offensive line struggled to get much of a push up front. Nebraska started three young players up front, including true freshman Tyler Moore, walk-on sophomore Spencer Long and sophomore Andrew Rodriguez.
Pelini hinted that part of the problem was a "very inconsistent" offensive line. It featured four guys starting for the first time — senior tackle Yoshi Hardrick, sophomore guards Andrew Rodriguez and Spencer Long and true freshman tackle Tyler Moore — and although they combined for just one penalty (a false start on Moore), they couldn't plow holes for Burkhead against UTC's stuff-the-box defense. "Honestly, I don't think we came off the ball very well," Pelini said. "We didn't dominate the line of scrimmage the way I feel we need to. A lot of that's not the want-to. A lot of that is the fundamentals and technique."
Remember when the O-line was dominant? This needs to be a major point of emphasis in the Big Ten. Nebraska needs an offensive line that Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State would be proud of. "They're going to be good,'' Beck said. "They're talented. They're big. They're tough. They've just got to get out there and play and get some experience.''
So there outline the concerns, but all is not lost.
But I also get the feeling that Pelini and Tim Beck weren't terribly concerned about it, because we didn't see a lot of subsitutions. That tells me that the coaching staff wanted to see these players play through the adversity, rather than trying to find different combinations.
Nebraska generally stayed vanilla on offense. What's more, offensive coordinator Tim Beck evidently called the game with future games in mind. "I did some dumb things through the course of the game, pounding my head against the wall, saying, 'We're going to work on a certain play,' " he said. "I just kept running it. It probably wasn't very smart on my part, but I'm stubborn sometimes."
Right now, Nebraska’s offense depends way too much on Taylor Martinez. Tim Beck is taking his best shot at resurrecting the Nebraska offense of old — an admirable idea in wake of NU’s disastrous finish to 2010. But you wonder how much Nebraska can safely run Martinez without risking it all. Opponents will do all they can to take him out. It’s a quarterback-oriented running attack sprinkled in with a little option, a fullback dive here and there, rollout with Martinez, pitches and straight-ahead dives to the I back — nothing flashy.