If you can pick one word to describe the first half of this season what would it be?
Jon Johnston: Underwhelming
Nate M: Discouraging
Nebraska currently sits at 4-3 and could very easily be 5-2 or 1-6 so maybe there are reasons for optimism as well as pessimism. Is your glass half-full or half-empty?
SpartyOnHuskers: Half-empty, mostly because I think a lot of the reasons for some of these losses is on the coaching staff. I don’t buy the “all of Riley’s recruits were terrible and we need to wait to fully clean house” narrative, personally. I think Frost and company have a lot of potential, but they’re not living up to it thus far in year two so hence my pessimism for now.
Jon: Half-full. It’s easy to become pessimistic. You heard a lot of things about this team over the offseason, and you typically chose to believe what you want. It’s clear it’s going to take some time for us to become a good team that competes for the Big Ten West division. I don’t think I could run this place if I decided to be anything but hopeful. I remain hopeful.
Brianna: My glass is always half full. Everything is going to be just fine. We’ve got to be patient and let the coaches work.
Nate M: Can I say both? Is that cheating? Well it’s my roundtable so I can do whatever I want. I am glass half-empty for the rest of the season, but half-full for after that.
Jill: It is way too early to be giving up on this coaching staff or what they are trying to build. I am hopeful. I am adjusting my short term goals a bit because it will be longer than expected to rebuild. I didn’t want to buy in. I wanted to be the pessimist this pre-season. I was swayed by the last minute swig of Kool-Aid that I knew I shouldn’t have. I saw this coming. Then I chose to think I was wrong. Therefore, I am doubly wrong.
Patrick: Full glass here. I believe in the process that is going on at 1 Memorial. This is nothing but a bump in the road. It was always going to be a long one.
Are there any players that have been pleasant surprises so far this season?
SpartyOnHuskers: Cam Taylor-Britt’s 3 TFL totaling 20 yards is a nice stat. So I choose that.
Jon: You mean - any players not named Wan’Dale Robinson? Everyone will just say Wan’Dale Robinson. I got here first, sunsabitches. You cannot pick Wan’Dale Robinson.
Brianna: Lamar Jackson looks much improved from last year. I wasn’t sure what he’d do this year but he is looking impressive.
Nate M: Well I my options appear to be limited at this point. I’ll go with...Damion Daniels. I think he has been better than I expected. So that’s a pleasant surprise I guess right?
Jill: Barret Pickering. Remember how we didn’t think we had a kicker last season? Good times.
(No, I’m not serious in saying Pickering has been a “pleasant” surprise this year. I just couldn’t come up with a name that someone else hasn’t said. Hopefully we get to see some freshman late this season that make me go “Hmmm”.)
Patrick: I like Jill and Bri’s answers. I will go with them.
Okay, now what about unpleasant surprises?
SpartyOnHuskers: Martinez, for multiple reasons not all his own fault, has been bad. He’s been especially bad if you compare it to all the hype from with-in the program and from fans and media outside of it. I’m sure he will live up to it eventually, but this season thus far has been an unpleasant surprise at his performance. (And no, don’t bench him for it)
Jon: I don’t think you can call Cameron Jurgens an unpleasant surprise. The dude never played center in his life. If you thought he’d just show up and be an All-Conference guy immediately, you are a silly person.
We have JD Spielman and Robinson as receiver explosions. That’s it. Kanawai Noa put up numbers at Cal. I thought he’d put up numbers at Nebraska. He currently has 7 receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown. Blame Martinez if you want, but those are terrible numbers.
Brianna: Jon said so many names that I don’t know who I can’t say. I’ll go with the kicking game or the lack of a kicker.
Nate M: This one is easy for me. Mohamed Barry. He is one of my favorite players on the team and he has not played as well as I hope. Overrunning plays. Missing tackles. Still a fan but he hasn’t been a pleasant surprise.
Jill: JON TOLD US WE COULDN’T DUPLICATE ANSWERS AND THEN HE WENT AND TOOK THEM ALL. I PROTEST THIS UNFAIR HOARDING OF ANSWERS.
Or, I could just say “the whole damn offense”. That works too.
Patrick: The finger pointing on a professional level outside of 1 Memorial.
If you had a magic wand to change up to three things about this year’s team what would you change?
SpartyOnHuskers: 1. Fire Chinander (basically because I’ve never liked his style of defense for B1G play). 2. create an offensive line that can consistently block and pass-protect. 3. Switch back to a 4-3 defense that features a front seven who can actually stop the run (that counts as one thing, right?).
Jon: I’d have my magic wand turn someone besides Adrian Martinez into an on-the-field leader, one of those guys who honestly believes he won’t be beat. We don’t have that.
Next, I’d give Jurgens a year full of experience - just plant it in his head.
Finally, I’d have Frost change his tactics in the Colorado game so we win it.
Technically you could use a magic wand to make yourself as good as a NFL team, but “the journey is the reward”. Getting there without strife ain’t no life.
Brianna: 1) The offensive line is elite. 2) All of our key players are healthy. 3) We beat Colorado.
Nate M: First, I’m healing Pickering. Second, I’m stopping Andre Hunt and Katerion Legrone from doing whatever they did to get indefinitely suspended. We really could use Andre Hunt who was slotted to start. Third, I want Wisconsin’s offensive line. Gracias.
Jill: Offensive line. Offensive line. Offensive line.
Patrick: 1. More positive vibes towards the team. 2. More hugs 3. Better pre-workout
Nebraska has five games left in the regular season, what is your projected record?
SpartyOnHuskers: 2-3 (W’s at Purdue and Maryland); L’s to Indiana (home game, so really a toss-up, but Hoosiers are legit a good not great team, Wisconsin, & Iowa), so final regular season record of 6-6. Book a trip to Detroit for the Quick Lane Bowl.
Jon: 3-2. Win against Indiana, Purdue, Maryland. Losses to Wisconsin and Iowa. Hey, maybe we beat Iowa. Their offense is lethargic.
Brianna: I am really leaning towards 3-2, but it’s kind of like me to go for more and say 4-1. I mean we owe Iowa a tragic loss. Wisconsin just doesn’t seem like a team we are going to be able to manage this year.
Nate M: If we get three wins then that puts us at 7-5! I’d take it. I just want us to get six wins at least. I am going to go with 2-3 so I can be pleasantly surprised.
Jill: I started the season predicting 8-4 (yes, I am laughing too) and thought that might be good enough to win the B1G West. The west seemed like a division that would beat up on each other, no one would emerge unscathed and it would take three tiebreakers to figure out the team that went to Indy. Now, I think 7-5 would be a serious accomplishment and show some of the same turnaround we saw in 2018. Bowl eligibility would be a good thing. And it won’t be easy. (No division title - I think that one is easy to predict.)
Patrick: 2-3. Either Indiana or Purdue & Maryland. Beating Wisconsin or Iowa would then be my surprise of the second half if that happens.