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A Hill to Die On and The Morning After: Northwestern

Again we are trying to make sense of a winless team

Nebraska v Northwestern Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

First. Let’s Start With This.

“That man is the best In the world. How do you want a champion to act? How do you want them to close a show? What should it look like to deliver on everything you say? That 12th round is what it should look like.” - Joe Tessitore on Bud Crawford

Omaha born and bred. Nebraska born and bred.

About that football team and closing the show...

“I did wonder how many Husker fans there would be here. Tough loss. Remember Christ died first before we could be saved.” That was the first line of the homily from a priest I heard last night at Mass about an hour after the soul-crushing loss to Northwestern.

At that moment, he wasn’t talking about religion. He was talking about Nebraska football. And if you think about it, maybe “religion” applies to Nebraska football as well.

Do not worry I’m not preaching to anybody, but maybe he has a point.

Maybe we have to continue digging down into the dirt before we can crawl back out. Maybe we have to “die.”

Then I want to say, “Hey, we are 0-6 how much further down do we have to dig?”

Who is to blame for an 0-6 start?

In case you didn’t know this is the first time Nebraska is winless after six games in school history. They didn’t mention it at least five times during the game yesterday or anything.

So who or what is to blame? As a fan you are obligated to pick one. I think that is how it works.

  • Is it the fact that we had to bench a scholarship punter for a walk-on from Lincoln?
  • Is it because the coaching staff might have mishandled the quarterback situation that we were left with a walk-on starting against Troy with another walk-on as his backup?
  • That our scholarship kicker from Alabama wasn’t wanted by Alabama
  • Perlman! It is all his fault.
  • It must be the culture right? The culture that was planted under Bo Pelini but then bloomed into crops under Mike Riley is still waiting for the grim reaper to come by with his scythe to cut em’ down.
  • It is the lack of talent. Right?
  • Oh but there were top 25 recruiting classes under Mike Riley!
  • Just an undisciplined team, if only we’d get the penalties cleaned up.
  • But...but...we’ve earned the reputation, so NOW, we are actually getting burned by the official’s bias now.
  • The coaching staff just isn’t coaching these kids up. They actually benefited from a really talented roster at Central Florida.
  • No it isn’t the coaching staff, it is the fact that we don’t have a legitimate rival in the Big Ten!(I heard that this week on ESPN)

There are many more, and when this gets published I’ll wish I added more. But is it only me or does if feel like each fans needs to pick one hill to die on? Why can’t ALL of these things be a little bit right?

They probably are. There are a lot of hills to die on. At least we have options.

Frost’s Post-Game Quotes and Asking for Coach-Speak

So I realize that twitter is all about instant reaction, and to be completely honest it is about overreaction. So now I get to overreact about the overreaction. It’s the circle of life.

So at the post-game press conference Frost was asked about the defense. Many of the people I follow on twitter were not happy with his answers. There was enough uproar about it that Sam McKewon felt like he needed to tweet out a transcript in order to provide context to Frost’s answers.

This is at least the second time after a loss that many in the media opine that Frost is solely blaming the players and is watching all the blame fly over his shoulders. Or in this case he must be placing the entire onus on his defensive coordinator for the collapse when he said “One, I don’t call the defense.”

So the choice is either he should have a complete explanation for the defensive collapse or he is solely blaming his defensive assistants and players. There is no middle ground. It is one or the other. Those are the only to options we are given.

Also, in order to go down this road you have to ignore that in his post-game interview with Gary Sharpe that he was critical of his own play calling and said that the kids made enough plays to win the game but they didn’t. Sounds like taking responsibility to me.

This is why we get “coach-speak.” And I despise it.

Frost, so far, has been a straight shooter with the media and tries to keep us all informed to a degree. So when he’s asked about why the defense failed at the end, he just said that he doesn’t call the plays and that the players need to make a play.

This upset people. But was he wrong? No. Players need to make plays. And his defensive coaching staff needs to do a better job. He needs to do a better job as well. But unfortunately he didn’t add that in order to satisfy those who were upset.

But media and fans have an idea that the leader of a football team “protects” his team through coach-speak. Frost at this point doesn’t follow those lines. And I’m afraid that we will beat the coach-speak right into him at some point.

Northwestern Has The Best O-Line Coach in the Country

How else could you explain Northwestern throwing 65 passes and there is not one single holding penalty?

The Defensive Conundrum

We have a season-long problem. We have a defensive line who cannot get a pass rush without blitzing. And when you blitz you leave yourself open to big plays.

As one of my former football coaches said, “Blitzing is like having a revolver, you only have so many bullets.”

Onto the Morning After

Steven M. Sipple: Cruel and unusual, yes, but NU has nobody to blame but itself for this ‘L’ | Football |

As Nebraska senior safety Antonio Reed trotted toward the tunnel following the final gun, he looked toward the sky seemingly in a state of disbelief.

Husker junior cornerback Lamar Jackson’s shoulders slumped. A Northwestern player tried to console him. It wasn’t working.

All the while, the blues standard “Sweet Home Chicago” blared from the Ryan Field loudspeakers Saturday afternoon.

Yeah, this loss was cruel and unusual.

‘Running out of words:’ Even for winless Huskers, late collapse against Northwestern a stunner | Football |

Beyond belief, voice quiet, eyes trained down at a worn wooden podium, Nebraska coach Scott Frost tried to find the words to match the gut-punch combination of feelings etched on his face Saturday afternoon.

Make a Play, One More Play, and Nebraska's 34-31 Loss Ends Differently - Derek Peterson: Hail Varsity

Standing inside what amounted to a storage closet in the southwest corner of Ryan Field Saturday, Scott Frost was at a loss for words. What do you say after a game like that?

Frost’s team almost won… no, should have won its first game of the season. They looked like they were about to. With 1:13 left in the game, Nebraska up 31-24 and Northwestern false-starting at its own 32-yard-line, the Huskers held a 98.7 percent win probability.

Fourth-and-Still Searching - Brandon Vogel: Hail Varsity

Nebraska football coach Scott Frost said he’s “kind of running out of words to tell” his team following a loss this season. The latest marked six straight in 2018, the first six-game losing streak in program history.

Before describing the way everyone who coaches, plays or roots for Nebraska feels at the moment, Frost took to the podium and stared at the postgame stat sheet for at least 21 seconds. That may not sound like a long time, but duration is always contextual.

Five bad minutes soured a potential productive Husker day - Brian Christopherson: 24/7 Nebraska

When he's not busy coaching football, Scott Frost will occasionally pay notice to some game where a team is said to have like a 99.2 percent chance of winning in the final stages, only to have the strange take over.

“It makes me sick sometimes when I see teams with 98 percent chance of winning (and still lose)..." Frost said. "It’s hard to tell where ours was in this game, but that’s just heartbreaking for those guys."

Because It Is What We Deserve

And Finally

Absolutely Worth The Time He Spent On It