Each week I'll be grading the team and other interesting topics from the world of College Football. Here's my take on week 1 from the upper reaches of the south end zone:
Offensive Line: A 70 rushes for 413 yards? That's offensive line dominance. From the south end zone, there were some big holes being opened up and a lot of rushes into the line that didn't look all that impressive from that perspective until you realize the O-line plowed 5-7 yards downfield.
Running Backs: A Marlon Lucky put up good numbers in the first half, though most of the credit went to the line. In the second half, he took his game to the next level, making the reads and showing the speed that great backs have. Quentin Castille was very impressive in his first game. Major Culbert had the best moves of the day on his touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback: C+ Sam Keller threw several balls into traffic that shouldn't have been thrown, including one returned 80 yards for a touchdown. Nebraska didn't ask him to do much against Nevada, mostly because they didn't need to. Keller's best passes were when he took a little off and showed some touch.
Wide Receivers: C- Dropped passes are not only a problem, it may be becoming worse. Is Keller throwing the ball too hard for these guys? This grade would have been a D, if not for some fine downfield blocking. Nate Swift made a couple of nice catches.
Defensive Line: A We'll find out how badly injured Ty Steinkuhler is hurt, but the top two D-lines were rather interchangable all day and dominant after the first quarter.
Linebackers: A Steve Octavien blew up several plays, and all were solid.
Secondary: B+ Larry Asante got a few big hits in, but Armando Murillo got beat a couple of times.
Kicking: A Alex Henery had a couple of awkward PAT's. Dan Tichener punted twice for a 44.5 yard average. But the story of the game was freshman Adi Kunalic who booted several kickoffs deep into the endzone. With kickoffs moved back to the 30, that's a huge difference maker right there.
Coaching: A- Did I see right...Bill Callahan just used a fullback as more than a blocker? Then had Joey Ganz running options? Guess he watched some old Husker films. Callahan still has a problem with tipping off playcalls with his freshmen backs, handing the ball off to Quentin Castille everytime he was in the game. You could get away with that against Nevada. You won't later in the season. Also, need to work on getting plays in faster with the new clock rules. On defense, Kevin Cosgrove mixed and matched his looks more on Saturday than he did all of last season. A dominant effort lead to a 2-to-1 advantage in time of possession.
Overall: B+ A very solid effort for week 1.
Elsewhere in college football:
Oklahoma: A 79-10? Ouch.
Texas: D+ Beating Arkansas State by one score? Hmmm...
Michigan: F Appalachian Frickin State? Bahahaha!!! I thought the Weasels were exposed at the end of last season as a fraud, but apparently many voters decided to ignore it.
USC: C Got off to a fast start, but put it into neutral too soon.
Missouri: C+ Got off to a big lead against Illinois, then let them back into the game.
Iowa State: D At least they didn't lose to a 1-AA team.
Kansas State: B- Went to Auburn and lead most of the way. Could make an argument they are the second best team in the Big XII North.
Kansas: A 52-7 over a MAC team is nothing to sneeze at.
Oklahoma State: C- Didn't get to see it, but had hoped they could do better than that.
Husker Tunnel Walk: F The worst production yet combined with a malfunctioning sound system.