What Are We Watching For?
It's time to shut up and put up - finally a stop to the endless blathering that is talking about football while not playing it.
Your first look at the 2014 Nebraska football team is here today, and with every new season comes a new set of concerns regarding what will make this team successful.
Turnovers - a thorn in the side of Nebraska football during Pelini's tenure - are a given. We want none. We want the other team to have multiple. This is every game, ever played, ever.
Here's your first list of what we're watching for today:
Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr
This team is going to go as far as Armstrong can take them. There's been a lot said about Ryker Fyfe's work ethic and the potential of Johnny Stanton, but Armstrong is the experienced guy, the guy that Nebraska must rely on to run this offense.
Armstrong's key points:
Last year, Armstrong had a tendency to throw high. Nebraska cannot just run the ball repeatedly. The pass game will be needed to soften up defenses, keep them guessing about what's coming next, and more importantly, get production out of a pretty decent set of receivers.
Will Armstrong show more accuracy than he did last season, make good decisions, and cut down on the interceptions?
- Option Play
The key phrase "flashes of brilliance" applies here. Armstrong showed some last year, clearly had more lateral movement than Taylor Martinez, and this is his year to show how well he can run
If Tim Beck is going to run packaged plays - those that require reading between running and passing on the fly - Armstrong's decision making will be critical to success. This is where experience pays off, and what puts Armstrong far ahead of his quarterback counterparts.
We've been hearing about how the starting four on the defensive line is full of future NFL draft picks. Other than Randy Gregory, the rest is bullshit until they prove it on the field. Vincent Valentine, Greg McMullen, and Maliek Collins - not household names yet. Defensive line needs to hold their ground, stop the run, and stay healthy.
I expect the offensive line to be better than most people expect. Left tackle Alex Lewis is good addition, and when combined with experienced left guard Jake Cotton, the running game should make yardage all day long.
Key here - no stupid mistakes. If they are progressed and disciplined we will see no false start penalties. Holding calls will happen at times, but false starts - just a sign of stupid.
Right side - how will Givens Price play at the right tackle position? Will Chongo Kondolo finally get into the game!!???
Kenny Bell is going to return punts. Bo Pelini wants to see punts being returned. Will someone block for Kenny Bell, or just leave him back there to make his own plays and/or be killed by the opposing team while trying to make a play.
Nebraska must find a reliable kicker. Junior Mauro Bondi and true freshman Drew Brown will be competing throughout this game for those duties. Touchbacks aplenty, and make those Big Ten field goals when we need them, because we're going to need them, it's the law in the Big Ten.
Punter Sam Foltz did a decent job last year, but this year we want to see consistency.