It was not a fun night in the end. The final quarter was a bludgeoning. A repeated bludgeoning.
Here’s what some in the media had to say about it:
"I think we're absolutely, with what we're doing strategically with our team, as we put it together. ... We have to live in a world that is day-by-day, but oftentimes thinking ahead of what that big picture, in a good way, will look like," he said.
He's talking about recruiting. Nebraska always talks about recruiting. Nebraska wins the offseason with a formidable hype machine, with media playing a leading role.
I do believe that the big picture is good. Maybe not great, but good. Riley didn’t inherit a team with a good roster. He inherited one with a depleted roster that he’s doing his best to upgrade without using the excuses of “nobody wants to come here” that were prevalent from the previous coach.
It’s nice to see someone in the media acknowledge that surrounding Nebraska football is an enormous hype machine, something I believe that gets us into trouble when we are confronted with the reality of last night in which a Wisconsin team bullied our beloved Huskers into the ground.
It was reminiscent of 1997, and I don’t say that lightly. There was always a time during that season when Nebraska kicked into a higher gear, when the men were separated from the boys. And I say that with all due respect to a Husker team that played its heart out Saturday night
There’s no shortage of folks, in the media, too, who want Nebraska to return to that ’90s physicality. The run game. The Pipeline. The culture. The whole thing.
There is no shortage of people in the media who want Nebraska to return to their proper form because if they don’t, sooner or later, the sellout streak is going to end, true apathy will set in and a lot of those media people that feed off the Nebraska brand will lose their jobs.
Still, losing is not fun. It gets old being attacked, being told that you have an agenda, or that you like this guy more than that guy, when really you just like to see your team not get run over like a bunch of little kids playing in a mascot football game.
We are so quick to attack the messenger when it’s a message we don’t like. That’s cute, but when you’re the messenger it gets really bloody old really fast, kind of like getting hit by the same lead blocker over and over and over and there is nothing you can do about it.
Yet I watch the Tunnel Walk and I fall back in the chasm between 1997 and 2017, thinking about little Mike Brown filling holes and popping running backs in the chest. I listen to Raiola tell me that dominance isn’t that complicated, and I believe him.
“It’s not that hard to see what’s going on here,” Raiola said, just after kickoff. “It’s just a passion and culture thing. It’s not reinventing ’97 or those years. … But you’ve got to bring some kind of nasty back. It’s just playing hard and trying to bite somebody’s face off.”
Dirk does an excellent job of making you believe that the process of “bringing back the 90s” is easy, but it’s not. If it were easy there would be a lot of teams contending for national titles every year, but if you look at history they are the same damn teams all of the time.
It’s harder than one thinks because it requires more than just coaching. We can make fun of P.J. Fleck and his “Row The Boat” theme, but that’s exactly what it requires. It requires every single component of a team moving in the same direction, with the same motion, with the same attitude, and toward the same goal. That’s not easy. Somebody always has an excuse. They may not show it, or say it out loud, but the moment they allow themselves to believe their own excuses, part of “team” has failed.
I love Dominic Raiola. The only reason there isn’t a “Dominic Raiola Award” for the best center in the nation is because Dave Rimington existed before him, but if building compassion and culture wasn’t that hard then the Detroit Lions should have been a hell of a lot better team than they were all the years he played for them. Let’s not forget that he was part of the 2008 0 – 16 Detroit Lions, who are widely regarded as the worst team in NFL history. I hate to dismiss his comments (or at least his comments presented in a fashion that Dirk does, that this is “easy”), but building that culture is complicated.
That ‘97 team had the components all moving in the right direction because they’d been taught by the previous teams two, three years before them. That bar was raised high. It will take a level of patience to get back to that, the same way it took some patience to build it up before “the 90s” rolled around.
Out of 30 plays, Wisconsin ran the ball 28 times for 177 yards. Badger backs broke Husker arm tackles and waited for big holes to open wide. Nothing fancy. Just fierce.
“It looked like we were holding it together for a while,” NU coach Mike Riley said. “But they’re persistent and they’re powerful. Big. Powerful.”
It was an ass kicking. That much is apparent.
Oh, and here’s Spencer Hall talking about what it’s like to see Florida be bad at football. You might all keep it in mind.
the key is to die inside— BUM CHILLIPS (@edsbs) October 8, 2017
just get the deadness all into your chest https://t.co/YiK0cQjuiw
At least someone had a dream come true last night: