Trust me, I hate the idea of Nebraska losing its first game with Scott Frost as head coach. At the same time it is my duty to be a pessimist every week and explain to you guys why Nebraska will lose. As some of you may know, I’m a college student here at UNL and there’s a saying here “Skers by 90.” I’m sure that saying is all over the country at every university, and while I live by that every single week (even last year which was incredibly hard) here are five reasons Nebraska is going to lose to Akron.
Scott Frost’s First Game as a Head Coach At Nebraska
With all of the bad luck Nebraska has had over the past two decades, of course ever since I was born, it makes perfect sense for us to lose this game. The prodigal son comes home to coach our Huskers and we stink up Memorial Stadium worse than the last half we played there. While this reason is based mostly on the history of bad luck surrounding this program, there are some concerns going into Frost’s first game as head coach of the Huskers. For starters, Frost is coaching his first game in his first ever role as a power five head coach. Say what you want about UCF, but there’s no debating coaching in the AAC is extremely different than coaching in the B1G. Frost could be super emotional going into this game and call an awful game for our offense. Who knows, but Frost being in this big of a spotlight so early in his career has to be in the back of all Husker fans minds.
Nebraska was so bad on both sides of the ball last year it’s hard to argue which one was worse. In my opinion it was the defense, and the last four games of the season were the deciding factor. Nebraska gave up a total of 197 points over the last four games. After the Wisconsin game I told one of my friends I didn’t think we would win another game the rest of the season, and I came within 14 seconds of being right. Minnesota scored 54 points against Nebraska last season and were shut out in its final two games. Eric Chinander runs a 3-4 defense, which is the same formation as Bob Diaco. Historically, at least from what my parents have told me, the 3-4 defense does not work at Nebraska. Then again, the option doesn’t work like it did in the 80s and 90s so who knows what this defense is going to look like on Saturday.
Side note: Tanner Lee celebrating like he won the National Championship after throwing the game winning touchdown pass against Purdue reminds me too much of the 2007 Ball State game when Sam Keller raised his arms after taking the final knee. I still shudder thinking about those plays today.
Nebraska is starting its first true freshman quarterback for the season opener in school history. For the majority of my time as a Husker fan the QB has been one of two players, Taylor Martinez or Tommy Armstrong. Seeing how both of those QBs improved in their later years we shouldn’t be too worried about a year or two from now, but what about this year? Martinez is going to make mistakes, he’s young it’s going to happen. Martinez hasn’t played a snap of live action football in two years, and he hasn’t ever played in a stadium close to Memorial Stadium.
The pressure might make him uneasy in the pocket, he might force some throws or fumble the ball while running. Will those mistakes cost Nebraska the game? I’m not going to get into the Tristan Gebbia situation, but there might be a chance for the number two to get some reps if Martinez is really struggling. Is Frost less likely to pull Martinez based on mistakes now that the number two QB is a walk on?
The Running Back Room
It’s no secret the running backs have underpreformed ever since Mike Riley took over as head coach. Ameer Abdullah was the last consistently good running back Nebraska has had. What scares me this year, it scared me the last two seasons as well, is how many backs Nebraska has vying for playing time. I don’t know how many of you guys watch the NFL, but this situation could turn into the Detroit Lions really quick. I only watch the Lions when they’re on TV to see if Abdullah can have the breakout game he needs at the NFL level. It drives me nuts when Abdullah gets a nice gain of four or so yards and the coaches take him out. It’s not just him either, any of their other running backs like Theo Riddick get treated the same way.
This is awful for a running back because they can’t establish a rhythm. I’m concerned about the amount of running backs on the two deep depth chart that was released. Every Husker fan has gotten behind the idea of Greg Bell and Maurice Washington because of what we’ve heard about them during the spring and fall camp. My main concern is all the substituting at that position is going to cause guys feet to turn cold once they’ve established a rhythm. Nebraska has used a stable of running backs the last three seasons, mostly the last two, and it hasn’t worked out at all.
Last side note: I want to wish Tre Bryant good luck as he retires from football and finished up college.
The Offensive Line
Let me be the first to say, I love what I’ve been hearing from players like Tanner Farmer and Jerald Foster. I can ALMOST see the fire in their eyes. I say almost because it’s hard to completely believe it based on the last few years of production by the offensive line. I think Greg Austin has done a great job instilling leadership in some of the lineman and that needs to translate into the play of those guys as well. As fast as Nebraska’s offense is going to run this season the offensive line still needs to create lanes for the running back and protect Martinez when he’s back to pass. We hear it all the time “everything starts up front” which is probably the biggest truth you will ever hear in your life. The offensive line needs to go from “starting up front” to “starting and finishing up front.” Bad offensive line will decimate Nebraska the first game and could cause Nebraska to take the L as the clock hits 0:00 in the first game of the 2018 season.