O - and - three!
This second grade joke was given to me last week by an Iowa native in “Owen Two” form; I can only imagine we’ll hear this week’s version even more often.
This was bad. You could argue that it wasn’t quite as bad as some of 2017’s ass-kickings, but it was still awful. On the other hand, because we thought Scott Frost had made progress on solving these problems, it feels a hell of a lot worse.
Whether it was wishful thinking or delusions, I think most Husker fans had underestimated how far this football program has fallen. We had hoped that it was merely incompetent leadership. Now we know that that leadership also led to a lack of physical development and a bunch of poorhabits. And that’s something that simply can’t be resolved in a single offseason.
There is one mitigating factor that Husker fans need to consider, and that is a two-year old quote from Frost that resurrected itself on a Michigan bulletin board:
“Standing on the sideline, there was no doubt who was hitting harder. Our guys came in hungry and wanting to do that. It’s rare you can come into Michigan and rush for 300 yards on them. They had to run a fly sweep in the fourth quarter to get to 100.”
Frost’s statement after the 2016 game between Central Florida and the Wolverines left a bad taste in Michigan. And the payback was unrelenting.
Nebraska isn’t as good as fans hoped they were in August. But the Huskers aren’t as bad as they looked today either. And I take issue with this statement from a former contributor on a recruiting site:
This game is the definition of why talent is the most important part of football. Even the best coaches can't succeed without talent. Rome wasn't built in a day, people. Step back, breathe and let Frost build this thing.— Dan Hoppen (@danhoppen) September 22, 2018
This wasn’t a “talent gap” loss. Yes, Michigan has more talent than Nebraska. But not 46 points more talent; the same point difference as Western Michigan?
No, this game was the definition of why coaching and development is the most important part of football. Scott Frost isn’t a miracle worker, as most of us had hoped. Michigan was physically much more dominant than Nebraska was, plain and simple. Coaching and development is why Urban Meyer and Nick Saban have multiple national championships, while Texas is on their third coaching staff this decade. You can’t fix this stuff overnight, especially when you are starting from as far back as Frost did.
With that, here’s the report card. You know where the grades are probably going to be, but if you have any feedback, the comments are open for you.
QB: Adrian Martinez was healthy enough to play, but even Frost, Eric Crouch or Tommie Frazier in their prime weren’t going to be able to overcome the weaknesses of their surrounding cast in this game. Andrew Bunch played better than he did last week, for what it’s worth. Grade: D
I-Back: Almost no running room out there, but the thing I was most disappointed in was poor blitz pickup. That’s something you CAN control. Another thing that could be controlled? Maybe not use Devine Ozigbo on option pitches; he’s not going to be as effective as the other backs when he’s running east-west. Grade: F
Wide Receivers: Stanley Morgan stood out as the lone bright spot on offense with a couple of leaping catches. Tight end blocking was pretty much a disaster. Grade: F
Offensive Line: This was too painful to watch. Originally, I was going to go with a zero, but then our Paul Dalen suggested a “WF” for “Withdrew Failing” instead. That’s a little rough, because they did finish the game. But Paul’s idea sparked another one. Grade: WTF
Defensive Line: The Wolverines pretty much handed it to the Huskers on defense, blasting holes up front through the defensive line. Grade: F
Linebackers: Mohammed Barry actually had a decent day; his eleven tackles (three for a loss) led both teams. Wil Honas came in late in the first quarter and settled down a leaky defense. But Dedrick Young was absolutely lost in the first quarter.
Young caught my eye early on each of Michigan’s big plays at the start of the game, and not for good reasons. Grade: F
Secondary: Dicaprio Bootle had five pass breakups. After that....ooof da. Grade: F
Special Teams: Penalties, turnovers, dumb decisions. You name it. Grade: 0
Overall: F In this game, Michigan showed themselves to be every bit of the team I thought they would be this summer. Is it darkest before the dawn? I can’t imagine things getting much darker around Nebraska football.
I figure everyone will give the Huskers an "F", so here’s a different poll. Where is Nebraska’s most glaring weakness right now?
This poll is closed
Offensive skill positions
Strength and Development
Elsewhere Around College Football
Rutgers: 0 Before anybody proclaims the Huskers the worst in the Big Ten, I present to you: Rutgers.
Maryland: A Nice bounce back from the turd they dropped last week.
Illinois - First three quarters: A Perhaps a model for Scott Frost this season: Lovie Smith’s youth movement in 2017 is showing clear signs of progress in 2018.
Penn State - Fourth Quarter: A+ And when Cinderella’s coach turned into a pumpkin as the clock approached midnight in the Eastern time zone, Penn State scored 35 in the fourth quarter to turn a potential Illinois upset bid into a B1G blowout.
Akron: C Lost 26-13 to Iowa State for their first loss of the season. Remember the narrative that the Zips left Lincoln because they were scared? That’s a bad take.