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Shooting Pointe Blank: Virginia Tech…and Bo Pelini?

Well that sucked. San Jose State was this year’s Wake Forest I do believe but the good news is I don’t think that the 2008 Cornhuskers are going to tank completely. At least their coach won’t be fired. I hope. That being said, after a game sloppier than a bowl of grits that spent a night out in the rain, hand me the keys and I’ve got to warn you, I’m a mean drunk

1.) Get Ganz Time: Joe’s head got messed with big time against VaTech. The high snaps from Hickman didn’t help him to start things off and with poor blocking on the outside by Nebraska’s tackles he starts taking hits and getting sacked. Then he starts getting panicky and taking about a second too long. He stared down receivers, overlooked open ones…well, it was a bad night for Ganz.

One thing was clear, though. It didn’t matter if your name was Joe Ganz, Marlon Lucky or Roy Helu, Nebraska’s offensive line is not consistent. Coach Pelini said it after the game about the team as a whole but if I had to pick a unit that goes Jekyll and Hyde on this squad, it’s the OL. That makes the next key very difficult unfortunately.

2.) Mix it up!: Nebraska accounted for 17 rushes against the Hokies. The interesting thing is that few LOST yardage. This seems odd. Something smells funny and I’m not talking about Lydon’s gym bag. Many of you who have read my stuff over the years know I’m a “Just win baby” kinda guy when it comes to playcalling, but Watson confused the heck out of me Saturday. His QB was getting bumped and banged and while admittedly he made some solid choices the good clearly outweighed the bad.

Lucky and Helu both provided some sparks, but the fire never got lit. Joe did, however. I think Watson needs to come down from the booth and have Beck remain. Ganz is in a situation where he needs his psyche intact during times like those and you can’t properly do that a ways up in a coach’s box. We’ll see if this changes in the next week or two. Couldn’t hurt, could it?

3.) Marketing time is over: To all of the Nebraska retailers I issue the following statement: well played. Bo-mania was hot, hot, hot and ideally will be again but some of those T-shirts are looking sillier than the Smack Apparel Virginia Tech game day ones at this point. 35 points to an ACC team that was beatable and very well could have been beaten even with Ndamukong Suh’s 15-yarder for piling (and I mean piling) on were bad enough, but what happened after that really made me raise my eyebrow.

Don’t worry guys, I get it. Bo’s a firey guy, he’s blue-collar, he’ll fight for his team. I can appreciate that. I really can. When it comes to practices and, you know, places where you won’t be flagged and penalized for insinuating that a referee fornicates with the matriarch of a nuclear family, I’m all for it. I didn’t see Frank Beamer telling a ref his mother wears army boots while losing to East Carolina (If anyone can provide me with that actually happening that’d be great). Somehow other successful coaches get around the whole penalty thing but Bo has had five games as a technical head coach and has had personal fouls called against him in two of them. That doesn’t tell me he was fighting for his team. It tells me he thought there was no way to win.

I know Bo’s not stupid. People can call it a rookie mistake or what have you, but who allows precious time to tick off of a clock with two timeouts in their back pocket in a winnable game and then haul off to add to a fifteen yard personal foul? Was Bo dazed and confused? Was he in shock at the situation? Maybe, but honestly I don’t think he had the faith that his team could’ve come out of that game with a “W” at that point. The press conference afterwards didn’t really help convince me otherwise, either.

"Our kids have been playing hard. They’ve been giving effort. We just didn’t play well enough to win the football game. We made too many mistakes. We got beat. We got beat on both sides of the football and on special teams. It wasn’t effort, it wasn’t attitude, we got out executed. We didn’t play well enough to win. We didn’t coach well enough and we didn’t play well enough." - Bo Pelini following the game

So, let me get this straight. The guys have been playing hard and giving effort yet they failed in every conceivable aspect of winning a football game up to and including playing well enough? Bo doesn’t strike me as an “A for effort” guy. For that matter, what’s a Husker gotta do to get a blackshirt these days? I thought they went to the starting defensive unit. Are the 11 players that Nebraska puts at the top of their depth chart so bad that they don’t even warrant being named the best? I don’t think so and I’m seriously curious as to what Bo’s doing with the blackshirts. Removing the tradition completely for a while? When will Nebraska’s defense be “blackshirt-ready”? a year? Three?

Maybe I’m over-reacting to this whole thing and maybe Bo will come out, make life a living hell for Mizzou and topple the #3 Tigers. Crazier things have happened. You saw 2007, too, didn’t you?