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Searching for Solid Footing in an Uncertain Nebraska Football Season

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 Nebraska at Illinois Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

To be quite honest, I have no idea what is going to happen this upcoming season. I can make a reasonable and rationale argument for it to go both ways. However, unlike seasons of the past the argument isn’t between six or nine wins (with a 12 game schedule). This year Nebraska fans aren’t debating on whether we win the division or miss it by a game or two.

Nope, not in 2020.

This season the debate ranges between going 1-7 or 7-1 and everything in between. I wish we could blame COVID-19 for the uncertainty. That would be comforting in some sense.

The reason for the uncertainty is a combination of the conference only schedule and all of the football decisions made in this program over the past six plus seasons. In the words of Joel Klatt on Nick Bahe’s podcast this past week I think Nebraska fans thought (including myself) that all Scott Frost had to do when he arrived was to slap on some new paint, replace the windows and install some new carpet.

What we learned is that Frost showed up to the house he bought and went into the basement only to find that the foundation of the house was in disrepair.

One perfect example which I went over on episode 3 of my short ten minute podcast (shameless plug), here is a complete list of the scholarship wide receivers signed from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 recruiting class currently on this 2020 Nebraska football roster.

None.

For some perspective, here are some of the players who were a part of the 2016 recruiting class: Marquel Dismuke, Matt Farniok, JoJo Domann, Boe Wilson, Collin Miller, and DiCaprio Bootle. All of those are seniors on this 2020 Nebraska football team.

That is a big deal.

Wide receiver isn’t the only position group stocked with uncertainty, however that is not what this article is about. This is about searching for something that we can lean on. What can we rely on this upcoming season?

Improved Special Teams: I’ve written on this a little but our kicking unit was so incredibly bad last season that it can’t get worse (cross your fingers). Coach Frost went out and spent some money on a special teams analyst from Auburn in Jonathan Rutledge. Unfortunately, we have already lost our starting punter to a season ending injury. Regardless my focus is on the ability to kick field goals. If it is 4th and 10 from the other team’s 25 yard line you should feel comfortable in knowing that kicking a field goal is the correct decision. Last year it wasn’t that way.

Bread and Butter” Running Schemes: During the off-season Offensive Line Coach Greg Austin was promoted to run game coordinator. He said during one of his press conferences that one of the changes is that they are going to focus on “bread and butter” schemes this upcoming season. It’s better to be great at a small number of things instead of being okay at a numerous amount of things when it comes to sports. This was music to my ears. Frost will be able to put window dressing to make things look different from the start but the schemes will be the same.

Dedrick Mills: Speaking of running the ball, I hope we run the crap out of it this upcoming season. In my perfect world, I would love to see us run the ball 75% of the time. That doesn’t mean it has to be handing the ball off only to the running back. If you remember when Oregon was humming that they ran the ball a lot and it came in various different ways. Regardless, I think we are able to rely on senior running back Dedrick Mills. He is the clear cut number one and looks like he’s ready to take it on. He came on really hot in the second half of the season as we ran the ball downhill a little more. Maybe the coaching staff found something that works.

Unfortunately, our running back room currently looks like this: one senior and four to five freshmen (redshirt and true).

The Offensive Line: This is expected to be the best offensive line group at Nebraska in the past decade. As a group they did not play well last year, but we can remember that the kid playing center had never played center in a real football game in his entire life. It sounds like he has made tremendous strides.

Wan’Dale Robinson: This is the current face of the program. He will do anything he has to do to win and we saw glimpses of that last year. Hopefully we can see him healthy for an entire year.

Defensive Backs: Deontai Williams, Cam Britt-Taylor, DiCaprio Bootle and Marquel Dismuke. I think that’s a solid group to start with going into this season. The loss of Braxton Clark to injury hurts the group but if I had to hang my hat on one position group on this team it’s definitely these guys.

Improved Quarterback Play: I went back and forth on this one. The truism is that if you have two quarterbacks then you have no quarterbacks. Well I guess that would mean we have no quarterbacks as Coach Frost even said that if you were to take away Adrian Martinez’s experience that Luke McCaffrey might be the starter. Actual game experience is worth it’s weight in gold but that statement shows you what the staff thinks of these two quarterbacks.

I believe the competition is going to bring out the best in these two guys and I would be that you are going to see a healthy dose of Luke McCaffrey in ever single game. I hope it would not be a “Luke you get a series here and there” as that throws a wrench into any consistency for Martinez. I hope Luke has a package of plays that Frost can go to from time to time.

Getting a series here or there is different than having an actual package of plays. I just don’t think you let a talent like McCaffrey sit on the sideline.

Regardless, I think the level of quarterback play will be significantly better than it was in 2019.

...

There are a lot of other players that I expect and hope to be really good in 2020 like Ty Robinson, Keem Green, Jordan Riley, JoJo Domann, Caleb Tannor, Luke Reimer, Nick Heinrich, Niko Cooper, Ronald Thompkins, Noa Pola-Gates, the Tight Ends, Alante Brown, Omar Manning, Kade Warner, and Levi Falck.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure that is something we can rely on at this point. Hopefully after tomorrow afternoon we will find some more players to add to the list of players we can rely on for the rest of the season and going forward.


Yep, this is still flakes! Suckas!

SPORTS! SPORTS! SPORTS!

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Culp, Przystup named starting specialists for Week 1
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Head coach Scott Frost announced that former LSU transfer Connor Culp would be the Huskers’ starting placekicker, and former Michigan State transfer William Przystup would be the No. 1 punter for Week 1.

Sources: Las Vegas Raiders place four starting offensive linemen on reserve/COVID-19 list
The Las Vegas Raiders will place four starting offensive linemen and safety Johnathan Abram on the reserve/COVID-19 list after all five players were deemed high-risk contacts Thursday, sources told ESPN's Paul Gutierrez, confirming multiple reports.

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Phil Mickelson is almost ready for the Masters, which was rescheduled from April to November this year due to the COVID-29 pandemic. But the pandemic may continue to affect his preparations.

That was me by the way. Would be worth it.

“STICK TO SPORTS!” Nah.

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Eight-year-old Saga Vanecek found a pre-Viking-era relic while playing in a lake in Sweden.


Burpee Challenge

On personal note: A month ago or so I said I did the 10 minute burpee challenge. I ended up doing 50 burpees (essentially a pushup, get to your feet, then jump, then back down again). Yesterday I tried it again and got 56. I was hoping for a better number but it was the best I had yesterday. Will try again soon.


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