An edit of my earlier rant, with clarification as required. After looking back on my earlier observations, some points need exclamation, clarification or revision, or are moot and therefore
Whom it May STILL Concern:, and anyone else who will listen;
To Tommy A. Jr. - You are a true dual threat,
but only if you stay healthy. but only if you occasionally pull it down and scramble, FORWARD, not laterally. Even if its a called QB Draw - (SEE NOTE TO TIM BECK BELOW) Remember that the pocket is your safe place, but it must be "stepped into" to be fully appreciated. ( The single biggest dimension lacking in your skill set is the use of the pocket. 3 step drop, then you STOP! You are a sitting duck to the outside rush as good rush ends have learned to simply not engage our tackles, and just run around them. ( see note to Line Coach Below) REMEMBER: 3 steps backward, then 2 steps forward, throw or GO! ( This is if we continue to stay in the Shotgun ALWAYS. ( See note to T. Beck Below) If you ever get put under center, it will be 5 steps backwards, 2 steps forward, just like Beck's evolution of the offense.) If nothing is there, you are already heading in the right direction so tuck that ball and GO. Any positive yardage is good yardage. Just as you did on the late game throw to Moore, the step INTO the pocket gave you time and put the ball on a dime. It was one of the few throws that you had forward momentum during the release. DON'T try to be a fullback until the fourth quarter of the bowl game. Husker Nation will thank you now and your body will thank you later. Do what you have to do to avoid negative yardage plays. Your footwork will be more instrumental in avoiding sacks than the Ohhh-line.
To the Fullbacks -
What did you guys do that you never see the ball anymore? You did help bring home a couple National Championships, so it must have been bad whatever you did. ( I know I hated trying to tackle fullbacks. They always had such bad attitudes. ) MSU loads the box, keys on "The Running Back", and essentially shuts down the offense. What if we had "running backs", as in plural, to divide their attention. More crazy talk here, but what if this "extra back" was capable of occasionally knocking a D lineman or linebacker on their butt, either in pass protection or to free up "The Running Back"? What if they could also catch passes? ( yes, I saw the first series...its called sarcasm). Kind of like that extra lineman who could also catch passes.....forgot what they were called..... seems we are handcuffing ourselves in our attempts to be Oregon. So, if you guys know anybody who is built like a lineman but has good feet and hands, let Beck know.....PLEASE.
To the I - Backs - A solid
1-2-3 1 - 1 -1 punch. When you only field one weapon at a time, it does not take a Rocket Scientist, ( just a McNeese State or Michigan State Defensive Cooridinator) to know that if you have DB's that can cover Man-to Man, key all remaining personnel on "The Running Back", you will enjoy much success. Until teams are hurt by TA scrambling, or you add another dimension to the Option Game, expect more of the same. The antidote for our one-dimensional running game is now well documented and available for free on the inter web. Keep taking care of the pumpkin. Ameer has the heart of a Lion. Nuf said. Ameer is still The Man, but he is only a man. Beck, give dude some help!!
To the Receivers - Thanks for catching
all most of the balls you should have been able to, and several that you shouldn’t have been able to. (Jordan, you do know that they outlawed Stick-em in the 80’s?)
O-line OOOHHH-NO Line - Too Much improved to talk about as a group. Stay healthy, and eliminate those untimely flags. I mean, really, really try to eliminate the flags...... As an O-lineman, when the TV crew knows who you are for anything but a pancake block, THATS A BAD THING. J. Cotton, I have never seen an O-lineman go so many plays WITHOUT making meaningful contact. It's really hard to do in the trenches, but you managed amazingly well. Don't focus on my "Stay Healthy" comment quite so intently. ( Personally, I would take the reluctance to put the QB under center as a slap in the face. an indication somebody knows more about this groups ability than I do.)
To The OOHH-LINE Coach - Now that we all know what kind of power, footwork, and mental processing capability you are working with, how about we just have the O-Line fire off and HIT SOMEBODY!! It was UNBELIEVABLE how many plays had 2 or 3 lineman in the middle on pass protect, shoulder to shoulder, looking for someone to block. Meanwhile, the entire pass rush had taken a detour around them ( yes, that is legal). Several plays had lineman ( one in particular) not hit anybody the entire play. We can't seem to execute the intricate pulling and combination blocks of "the good ole' days", so lets just try firing off the line, occupying a defenders time for a bit, and see what that does. Have the tackles actively engage the rush on the edge, rather than try to retreat and shield only to get beat repeatedly. Whether its scheme or personnel, try something different. Try to coordinate your efforts with Beck's, assuming you two have met.
To the Offensive Coordinator - Thanks for making the playbook look alittle less like something on Play Station 3, but now its too much like Ground Hog Day. You realize you can run different plays or formations week to week, just to keep the other guys thinking. Can you seriously not see the wisdom in putting the QB under center with 2 (or even 3) backs BEHIND him? EVER? I - formation, veer, wishbone, winged- tee, it doesn’t matter which. Not short yardage, Red Zone, first down, any down? EVER? To give up 4 yards on every snap, before you can even attempt to make positive yardage is bad math. Running the option with 2 backs + the QB gives you 3 options. Now that our QB can throw gives 4 options, all from the same BORING formation. This is good math. Nebraska has a history of growing two things; corn and fullbacks from small towns with a chip on their shoulder. The number of fullback touches over the last decade is RIDICULOUS. ( I had to check the roster to see if it is still listed as a position) To not have the iso or trap in the (visible) playbook is criminal. (I have some dusty VHS tapes somewhere if you need to see what I am talking about.) What we TRY to do now should be supplemental to what we could (almost always) do in the past. We could never come from behind with the old "Option run oriented" offensive scheme, but now we can't pick up short yardage when needed without some type of smoke and mirrors. We have good backs, and playing them one at a time makes no sense. I understand that the inverse is to have a wealth of receivers and not getting them all involved, but both approaches have a time and a place. Shotgun and one back near the goal line or on 3rd and short is getting hard to watch. If you ever had the guts to come out and run 3 consecutive I - formation plays in a row at any point in a game, the crowd roar would be deafening regardless of the outcome. Give the people what they want. Give your guys a chance to succeed. Check the ego at the door. What once was old is new again, if you let it be. And what was once new, is getting old. The Flaw in your sell-out to the Spread Offense is that there is no longer any level of deception now that EVERYBODY is doing it. Attempts at deception, like play action, are weakened by the fact that a play action fake in the spread takes fractions of a second. Not enough time to "Freeze" linebackers who are all keyed to your lone Running Back or DB's ( who aren't even looking in the backfield these days). Play action from under center takes more time, and this is where the advantage lies. (Watch the slow evolving play action that MSU burned us on and you will see what the difference is/was. Even though some of it was from the shotgun, they "sold" the play action long enough for it to work.) If the only riddle presented by our option game is " does he give it to Ameer or Not", it is not much of a defensive challenge. Sell out to stop the obvious ( Ameer) until the other Option hurts us ( see note to Tommy A. above) To not have a method or willingness to try to move the option game outside the tackles, like the "I " formation did, shows how myopic our offense scheme really is. To only have an Either/Or option instead of an A, B,C,or D option is not really challenging a good defense. (Tim Beck, I am assuming you preferred Yes/No tests over multiple choice tests in school. Well, you are now writing the test, NOT taking it, so make it HARDER!!) To not use a shovel pass, draw, or reverse is to ignore much of what keeps defenses honest. To not use tight ends to bolster blocking and to blur the lines between passing and running formations shows how we have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. ( also read as abandoning all that was good about being "THE" power "I" running team to becoming just another mediocre Spread team)
INSANITY : Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
To the D-line - To your continued success in making teams earn the first 3 yards. Randy Gregory gets all the hype but Greg McMullen has done more against the run already than anyone in recent memory. More of the same please. I would like to see a couple guys working harder to disengage from blockers in the pass rush. But if you are being coached to play "read", at least get your paws up.
To the Linebackers - Most
You are young, and most are capable. When you had the "Birds and the Bees" talk with your coaches, are they making it clear that you are where turnovers come from? Banderas can play but is out of position at linebacker. I am thrilled to see the efforts of senior walk-on Trevor Roach. That is what made this team great in the past and what inspires the home-grown stars of the future.
To the DB’s - You are fun to watch and unreal athletes. (
Please see note to linebackers above.) You guys are rolling with the punches and punching back. Minus a few breakdowns, you have been the biggest and most welcome surprise this season.
To the Kicking game - Thanks for turning a negative into a positive. De Mornay Pierson El, you sir, are the REAL DEAL. Just don't force something to happen, because your ability and one missed tackle is all you need for IT to happen.
To the Defensive Coordinator - Keep shuffling your cards to find the winning hand. A mediocre linebacker might make a great rush end, and a hungry underclassman who doesn't know the defense can still be loaded like a bullet and cut loose on the QB when pressure is needed. They don't need to know any more than what they did when you recruited them to go BONZAI when the time is right. ( also read as think out side the box and get the best athletes involved SOMEHOW) Keep scouring the bench to see who else is hungry, and keep scouring the game film to see who is out of place or not improving.
and to Coach Pelini - Thanks for looking a little more like a sideline General, and not a sideshow, in general. How you handle NU's complete and continued lack of an offensive identity will ultimate determine the trajectory of this program. As the team CEO, you have
to give given your Managers Offensive Coordinator the tools more than capable offensive weapons they need to succeed, and now hold them accountable when they do not utilize these weapons in a dynamic and evolving offensive system capable of multiple formations based on what the defense is presenting, not on an EGO driven approach to try and prove that HIS system WILL work SOMETIMES if the defense cooperates. Coach, then counsel, then discipline, terminate and rehire. Check the Offensive statistics and with all the shifting, moving, smoke and mirrors, the ball ends up in the same 3 or 4 hands 85% of the time. McNeese and Michigan State figured that out. If it feels like we are not hitting on all cylinders, its because we are not. Unless we are passing, we are only a two 1.5 person offense. Thank God one of them is Ameer Abdullah. One other thing, History has again proven that going for a 2 point conversion before you really need a 2- point conversion is STILL the wrong move. The 2 extra points you did not kick proved to be very significant when all was said and done. If we need 3 plays to score from the 3 yard line the rest of the time, one must assume 1 play will not be enough until you HAVE to try it. Our 2 point conversion plays didn't look well oiled, but the ball sure did. Also, try the long field goal, or go for the 4th and long, or even take a shot at the end zone, but NEVER again punt from the 30 yard line. Better to throw an obvious interception throw down near the goal line, let them intercept it and tackle the defender. Kids now days are not situationally aware enough to drop a 4th down interception on purpose. So take advantage of the average DB's need for stats, throw a duck to a DB, and tackle them deep. Rather do this than a wasted 10 yard net punt. Just Sayin.......