I may be a relatively young feller (37 still qualifies as young, I hope), but I'm quite old-school in my approach to football. In college football, I hold firm to the belief that championships are won by running the ball and playing stout defense.
For the better part of 100+ years, including the past 20 even with the proliferation of the spread and 4-5 wideout sets, this basic formula has held true - certainly in Nebraska's history it has.
In this regard (and yes, I know it's a cliche` and I'm not exactly breaking down the physics of splitting the atom), the most important part of a team can be found in the trenches among the big uglies. If you can open holes, chances are you will have someone at least adequate to run through them. If you can stuff the run in a base 4-3 or 3-4 defense and pressure the QB with only 4 rushers, chances are your LB's and DB's will look awfully good. This is a bit off the top of my head, but my recipe for football success in order of importance:
1. Big uglies
4. QB play
5. Grit-n-Balls (some people may call this "heart" (think Wistrom and this could quite possibly be #1 or #2)
So, where are our beloved Cornhuskers at in the trenches? Do we really know at this point? The d-line underperformed last year. The o-line was inconsistent (again).
There seems to be good to great talent on both lines, but can they up their game this year from mediocre/good to great? (I still contend Baker Steinkuhler would have been one helluva offensive tackle, but Pelini may know a tad bit more about football than I do).
Perhaps I will do a series of articles based on the above 5 ingredients as they pertain to the 2012 Cornhuskers prior to kickoff on September 1st. I would of course welcome any input. Additions to the ingredients? Deletions? Agree? Disagree?
If there is interest, I'll start with a more detailed examination of the Big Uglies and go from there. -Cornhead