Last week the weather was gorgeous for October in Nebraska, mid 60’s with a slight wind, a few clouds. I played my best round of golf ever on Sunday because of it (and on the wrong side of the river...Iowa).
However, unlike many people I know, I’m ready for the real B1G football weather. Bring on the cold, the hand and toe warmer weather, the body-numbing temperatures for fans and teeth rattling, hard hitting, powered by the run game cold. I’m ready for penguins and polar bears.
There could be a chance of very cold rain, and even possibly snow Saturday, and THANK GOD. Nebraska’s offense can’t afford any more injuries, so hopefully it’s cold enough guys can ice sprains/minor injuries while still playing. But it got me thinking, the passing attack hasn’t been anything to write home about lately, and the running game has been fairly successful, so this should play into our hands.... right?...
Ben Scott left the Northwestern game with an injury but is healthy for this week, whilst Turner Corcoran and Ethan Piper were unfortunately lost for the season. So instead of “next man up” it has turned into more of “next offensive line” up. The good news is this will give the younger guys very valuable experience, plus mix in the fact that you can play 4 games and still redshirt, some Freshmen are about to get some critical run here late in the season.
Why are young, relatively inexperienced, offensive linemen good during the cold weather you ask? Run The Damn Ball guy (I’m one) loves ANY offensive lineman in the cold. Cold weather is conducive to running the damn ball, and I for one think this plays into Nebraska’s current offensive scheme. Again, the running game has been getting better, at least more consistent, as the season progresses, so the cold can only help out the greater cause.
Even the younger guys who are starting to see how things are going to be under this coaching staff have to realize that starting with this game, the cold will be a huge factor from here on out, so running is crucial. Wisconsin and Maryland are the only two “pass heavy” teams remaining on the schedule, and even they will start to lean on the run a bit more. Maryland has to come here in mid-November, and Wisconsin has basically frozen over already.
Throw in the fact that Heinrich Haarberg adds a tremendous dimension in the running game with burgeoning guys like Emmett Johnson and Joshua Fleeks means Nebraska can go old school. Run the ball an obnoxious number of times while throwing the occasional pass to keep the defense honest. The Belly G Option Pass was a prime example of that. Nebraska’s glory days were never focused on darn good passing QBs, so if Haarberg continues to complete balls at roughly a 50% clip, then it will be just enough to keep defenses on their toes.
Control the clock by running the ball effectively, make games as ugly as my Friar Tuck hairstyle (by choice and genetics), complete the occasional pass and play utterly dominant defense and we see the first, but genuine, steps of how Nebraska played of old. For those of you too young to remember, the only difference between then and now is we didn’t play as ugly as my hair, we destroyed teams doing this. In a few years, it could be that way again... but it starts with the cold weather now.
Go Big Red!