Thursday, September 29, 2005
Cyclone Warning - Week 5
The view and the rumors bouncing around the hills here in Tulsa would lead any sane fan to worry about their team going into this week end. ISU had a TOUGH time with Army last week (were they looking ahead to NEBRASKA?) and must travel to Lincoln. OSU hasn't shown any offense yet this fall but is home against the Buffalos. OU should have ducked a couple of times instead of fumbling but will be defending its 1-2 record at home against KSU. Tulsa, after losing badly to Minnesota, gave OU all it wanted and has won 2 straight.
Tulsa is also at home, taking on Houston tomorrow night. Houston has been in town all week hiding from Hurricane Rita - should be a good game unless the wind blows - Tulsa by 3.
OU has to start showing some determination / heart / guts, something or they are headed to depths uncharted during the Stooperier era - OU by 10 .
OSU, like another team we all know, has to find an offense or they will find Buffalo tracks across their posterior - just being part of the BIG XII South could be worth 7 points (not enough) - Colorado by 6.
Alright - alright - I'm gettin' to it!! If an extra week of preparation (and I mean football preparation, not the 'H' kind) doesn't improve offensive preformance, well, it's just gonna be down right offensive!! In which case, look for the West Coast to sue Coach Callahan over misuse of offense - Huskers by 4.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Week 4 = Week Off
Nice to see Boise State get back to winning on the BLUE TURF. Some so-called premier program with coaching problems is gonna come calling on Coach Hawkins in the near future!!!
Rather than 'risk it' with Hurricane Rita, Texas A&M has moved their game with Texas State from Saturday up to tonight - TxA&M by 38.
Iowa State travals to Army (who has already lost to Boston College and Baylor) Friday night - ISU by 31.
Colorado visits Miami (Fla) this weekend where the 'Canes are expected to be rather rude hosts. Somebody said CU's Barnett can coach - must have been Barnett - Miami by 20.
Texas Tech hosts - Indiana State ? - still tryin' for that 100 point game - TxTech by 65.
This Saturday is Band Day at Kansas State and North Texas University will be there to beat their drum - NTU by 3.
Tulsa hosts Memphis Saturday for their first ever Conference USA game. Depth problems once again a problem at TU - one sprained ankle could cause position changes at 4 or 5 spots. This coaching staff does a very good job with what it's got. Considering they are surrounded by D-1 U's with much better facilities and lower academic requirements, they still manage to get some pretty fair athletes and they coach them very well. During a certain A.D.'s search for a head coach, I know that Tulsa's Coach Kragthorpe was strongly recommended - TU by 3.
Arkansas, still reeling from last weekends slaughter, travels to Alabama. Some have said Athletic Director Broyles remains 'pleased' with Coach Nutt because Nutt is no threat to break Broyles record as the Razorbacks best coach. Some are probably correct - Bama by 14.
OK HUSKER FANS - what do the Huskers have to 'straighten' out on order to threaten anybody in the BIG XII ?? So far, the offensive line and tight ends have had a lot more problems than I had expected. Doesn't appear the coaches expected this much trouble either - 3 games and still a lot of rumblin', stumblin', and bumblin' goin' on. Not saying those guys are THE problem - sure a lot of dropped or missed passes and penalties.
While the offense looks like it has only had a couple weeks of practice, the defense has at least been something to smile about. Although the first 3 opponents are not what I'd call stellar competition, Husker defense has been impressive and appears to have even more potential. It's just that if the offense doesn't step up, I don't believe the defense can win 3 more games for the team.
SEE YA NEXT WEEK......
Monday, September 19, 2005
Pitt post-game reaction
The good news:
- Nebraska's defense, particularly the front seven, is a beast. Nebraska can win a lot of games with this D.
- The offensive line played better. The running game was improved against the best defense we've played (which still isn't saying much).
- Cody Glenn should be playing more. He looks like a hammer. I'd like to see him get all the carries in short-yardage and play more with Ross in two-back sets. A few inside running plays to a fullback like Glenn would give defenses something else to worry about.
- Cory Ross has as much heart as anybody and plenty of talent to go with it.
The bad news:
- Cozgrove almost lost the game playing prevent at the end. You can't play prevent when a field goal can beat you. If Nebraska had rushed just the normal four, Pitt would have NEVER gotten a game-winning kick attempt(s).
- Zac Taylor holds the ball far too long. After three games, a team basically is what it is...and right now the offense is terrible. Taylor is accurate when his receivers are open. Maybe if Taylor wasn't required to make a thousand reads on each play, he could make use of his accuracy. Taylor is most accurate when throwing deep...so why isn't Nebraska throwing deep?
- The offense, overall, is terrible. Nebraska has the kind of defense that can keep the team in almost any game...and the kind of offense that could cause the team to lose any game as well. It seems Nebraska's strength on offense are its running backs and Taylor's ability to throw deep. Why not use them? It is time to make full use of this stable of good running backs and stop trying to force feed the ball to receivers who don't appear to be ready to carry the load.
Taking away defensive scores, Nebraska is averaging 14 points per game. Against Division 1-A competition, Nebraska's offense is averaging 8.5 points per game. Nebraska's improvement on defense is extremely impressive, but this offense won't cut it in the Big 12. If Nebraska's passing game doesn't improve, Callahan will need to swallow his pride and run the ball 40-50 times a game just to survive against teams like Texas Tech.
It is going to be an interesting ride...
Saturday, September 17, 2005
More Band-Aids please !!
What a GREAT DEFENSIVE EFFORT - AGAIN. And what a lousy offensive showing - again!! One thing, if OU had the Huskers defense, they'd be 3-0 instead of 1-2.
I about came unglued when Coz put the team into a prevent defense. Good criminey - Pitt only needed a dad gum field goal to win it so why not keep puttin' pressure on like they had all game?? (INSERT 'I AINT NO COACH' HERE) Guess he just wanted another opportunity to practice field goal blockin' - did I say they put up a GREAT DEFENSIVE EFFORT - again?? It's just that my old ticker doesn't need that kind'a stress -!!
OK, OK, I'm trying to settle down here - - but when is this vaunted west coast offense gonna start showing something other than - well- nothin' ???? Still 'holding back' to surprise'em when conference play begins?? I don't think soooo - so hang on every body - it's gonna be a tough season (hope my finger nails grow back by next game)!!!!!!!!
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Thursday means it's FOOTBALL week 3
I'm sure y'all hear a lot of 'Husker Homer' comments from your local sports talk shows so here's a few from the Hillbilly Homers: "OU is playing with a LOT of young athletes this year". Ahh yeah, but isn't yer coach gettin' $3 mil a year to mix in a few juniors?? Hillbilly Homer: "Hey, I was the first to reference the offensive coordinator as Chuck 'third and' Long." Now THAT is a good one. UCLA by 9.
Tulsa goes to No.Texas State and faces a tandem of great runners - sigh, Mean Green by 4.
Ark. State at OkState where they have settled on red shirt freshman Bobby Reid as QB. This is the last stop on OSU's Backwoods Tour. OSU by 24.
Arkansas Razorbacks at USC - Houston, we have about 22 problems - USC by 28.
PITT at NEBRASKA - now why didn't ABC start the OU/UCLA game a little later in the day and televise them back to back?? That way, I would be able to watch them BOTH. So, I'll be listening to the Huskers and watching the OU/UCLA game.
Maybe this is the week the offense quits tripping over itself and starts plastering the opponent all over the field. Maybe this is the week that the Head Coach and the Offensive Coordinator get on the same page and manage the same game at the same time-?? Maybe this is a match up of A.D. Pederson's 1st choice against his - ahh - 'fall in his lap' selection?? No maybe's about the Husker defense - Huskers by 17.
Let's play ball !!!!!!!!
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Pitt analysis and prediction
Pitt is cornered and desperate for a win. With such a young team, Nebraska is susceptible to overconfidence after starting 2-0. Plus, although they're 0-2, Pitt is the most talented team Nebraska has faced thus far. Nebraska will get some turnovers from Pitt. Even when he's playing well, Palko is a risk-taker. He'll give up the ball at times even when playing well. Basically, if Palko isn't hot, I don't see how Pitt can threaten Nebraska because they won't be able to run consistently against our front seven. My biggest fear is that Palko will hit some big plays against our secondary, which is weaker than it appears.
I'm also worried about Callahan uncorking some ill-conceived "40 passes-no matter what" gameplan, similar to what he did against Iowa State last season. The overconfidence of playing a struggling 0-2 team just might entice Callahan do something foolish. Plus, you know Callahan would like nothing better than to see his recruit at QB throw for 300 yards. On the other hand, the "Wannstedt Factor" almost precludes any team from being outcoached by Pitt...so any mistake Callahan makes will almost certainly be matched or exceeded by Pitt!
I'm going to go with Nebraska winning 27-17.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Wake Forest analysis
1) The defense is for real. Although Wake Forest will not be confused with Texas or USC, it won't be confused with Maine, either. This was a "real" team with a good offense and a good offensive line, and the Blackshirts dominated them.
2) The Blackshirts are much improved, both in terms of flying around and scheme. Although Coz deserved much of the heat he took last season, this defense looks much better.
3) Specifically, Nebraska's front seven looks to have a combination of strength and play-making ability. The front seven looked extremely well-coached, especially against Wake's bootleg. The Blackshirts are flying around and it's nice to see them punishing QB's again.
4) Zac Taylor doesn't have good numbers, but he improved from game 1. If his receivers would stop dropping passes, he'd probably have 3 more TD's and a much higher completion percentage.
5) The offense finally showed potential in the 3rd quarter.
6) Did I mention the defense? Nebraska might not need an offense if the defense keeps scoring so much. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen as the season gets tougher.
1) The offense looks bad. Receivers have trouble catching, the line has trouble blocking, and Zac Taylor still throws too many potential INT's.
2) Callahan's playcalling is still confusing. There's too much passing near the goal line and too many obvious passing formations in these situations. If you're going to pass, at least fake the run.
3) The defensive backfield looks shaky at times. It didn't hurt much against Wake Forest, but Texas Tech and others await.
Overall, though, a HUGE improvement from the first game. The main thing I wanted to see this season was improvement from each game after regressing throughout last season. If Nebraska can continue to improve each game, the Huskers might really have something by the end of the season.
Overall grade: solid "B".
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Some troubling stats: WF had the ball almost 11 minutes longer than the Huskers, more 1st downs, and more total yardage but they sure lost the defensive scoring catagory -!!
Now, a little from around the country - May be Vanderbilt isn't so bad after all - they went into WF and won then traveled to the mighty Razorbacks AND WON!! Texas appears to be the real deal but OU doesn't. The wind from the TU Hurricane gave'em about all they could handle - AT HOME. Pitt looks pitiful and Missouri is back to its old tricks.
But after watching ISU hand it to Iowa, I think we all know the Huskers HAVE to keep improving.
GREAT GAME, BLACKSHIRTS !! Next week, do we get to see the offense ??
Friday, September 09, 2005
WOW - WHAT A GAME
Hey, OSU's defense showed some very nice improvement from Saturday and blew my prediction to smithereens. Offense still has some consistency issues (kind'a like another team we know about - I could'a said "team we're familiar with" but some of you might have gotten the WRONG IDEA).
Well, here's hoping the HUSKERS make mucho (a little spanish for you there in Omaha) progress from last week and POUND THE DEMON DEACONS.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
The Second Week Begins - -
Pickens State -er, ah, Oklahoma State goes to Florida Atlantic tonight (ESPN2) and is expected to win but I'm not so sure. Short preparation time and they have to travel a loonng distance - hell, their equipment left by bus 2 days ago - FAU by 3.
OU stays home against Tulsa on Saturday and should win by 20. I mean, after Tulsa's showing against Minnysooota, the Sooners should 'get well' this week - even with the on going soap opera of 2 offensive linemen quitting the team, rejoining the team then quitting again - for good this time. You guys think Callahan has problems -
The Tulsa Whirled has also made it's weekly predictions - and I quote:
ND @ Mich - some creative play calling a distinct possibility - Mich by 3.
Iowa at Iowa State - BIG XII nightmare, one of its teams is caught on camera - Iowa by 10.
Texas @ Ohio State - Longhorn QB has catapult for arm but wooden throwing motion - Ohio Stae by 7.
So. Carolina @ Georgia - Spurrier too old for visor throw and gets tennis (visor) elbow - Georgia by 21.
Wake Forest @ Nebraska - Is Nebraska back? About as far back as it can get without a coach - Nebraska by 9.
Hey folks, I'm just quoting the paper - Hmmm??
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Wake Forest analysis and prediction
As for the game itself, it is an interesting matchup. Strength vs. strength in our run defense vs. WF's running game. The only thing that has improved under Cally and Coz is run defense, believe it or not. (It's true...Nebraska's run defense has been statistically better under Coz than under Pelini or Bohl). Wake's defense did not look good against Vandy, which is not exactly an offensive juggernaut. On the other hand, Nebraska's offense looked even worse against 1AA Maine. I think the matchup of Nebraska's offense vs. WF's defense will tell the story because these are the weakest units. After watching Nebraska turn the ball over in 12 straight games under Callahan, I think the offense will once again put our defense in too many bad positions and WF's running game will wear us down. Look for a big play action pass completion by WF off the option fake against our defense at a key moment. I know Jim Grobe is a better coach than Coz and I think this will be exploited. Again, I hope I'm completely wrong.
Official prediction: WF 24 NU 16 :-(
(Last week's prediction: NU 66 Maine 23)
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
TUESDAY AFTERNo . . er, morning
When NU went up 25 to 7 and it was pretty obvious Maine wasn't gonna do much against our defense, anybody else (other than me) wonder "why not get the #2 QB some reps?".
STATS: NU dang near the bottom in total offense - only OU was worse and TxTech didn't play.
NU at the TOP in total defense, Hardy leading the league in receiving and Nunn leading the league in punt returns.
Saw some improvements from last year, albeit against a D2 team, but this still isn't what I expect from the Huskers - we ARE NOT a dominant team and I'm concerned that we may be a long way from ever getting there.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
This is kinda like a hang over
I haven't gone on-line and read anything YET - I'm posting here from what I heard by web-cast last night and from what I read in this morning's Tulsa Whirled (the 'Whirled' is a leftist rag that spends as much time on Arkansas U as it does on Tulsa U). The only thing listed in the paper about NU is the score, score by quarters and a few statistics.
WOW - 5 turnovers, no running game, lack of third down consistency and a lack luster offensive showing. At the end of the 1st half, we didn't even have an edge in time of possession. But, other than Texas and Missouri, what BIG XII team showed much?? And a BUNCH of the competition was Div.2AA - sheesh.
In an effort to find something to 'hang onto', it does appear the team has a lot of good young talent and the defense 'sounded' as if it did pretty well (record sack total). Maybe they haven't practied on the running game very much - maybe they've spent too much time on the passing game, maybe they aren't much better than last year AND maybe the staff doesn't know how to get the best out of'em - Lord, I don't know but it was sure a frustrating game to listen to.
How about this as hope for the future - Last year, we had a BIG score in the first game but didn't do all that well the rest of the way. Maybe this year will be the opposite. Further, our next 2 opponents were each whupped this week end - maybe we can improve enough to keep them that way - maybe!!!!!!
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Reaction to the Maine game
1) Why is Callahan throwing three straight times from the 1-yard line? Inexcusable. More than a minute left in the half...time was NOT a concern.
2) Why couldn't we run the ball?
3) Cosgrove still used the off-man coverage very often, especially on third down. He's learned nothing from last season.
4) The turnover problem is still not fixed.
5) The 3rd down conversion rate has still not improved.
6) New problem: receivers can't catch and runners can't hold onto the ball.
Good news? Uh...punt returns have improved...but now the returners fumble. And our D-linemen are definitely better than Division 1AA O-linemen.
I don't want to hear Sunshine Pumping after this game. There's no excuse for the coaches. Nebraska has 20 times the talent of Maine. I'm afraid another losing season is upon us. This is why Steve Pederson got rid of a 10-win staff?
Blogging the first Saturday
OU v TCU : Can you believe that OU is still scoreless? Maybe there offense is going to go thru some rough spots with a new QB.
Wisconsin v Bowling Green : Where is that vaunted defense by Bret Biemela (sp)? I would like to know. It was great last year, and they are looking like they are regressing.
Ohio v Northwestern : Not sure what to make of this, however, you would think Solich would be able to see QB draw up the middle. He was not, and Northwestern gained great yardage. However, it does look like Ohio's D is good.
Those are the ones I am watching at this present. Keep checking back and I will keep adding to this.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Fears about Maine...
The biggest challenge the coaches will face this week will be to make sure the newcomers take their own performance against a 1-AA opponent with a couple of hundred grains of salt.
1st game jitters
Speaking of embarrassing, how about that Oregon & Houston game. Heck, the high school games here in Tulsa draw more of a crowd than Houston U could muster. That was pitiful. How would you like to be a coach at a place like that where you could not get any body to show up. The fact that it was at Reliant rather than on campus should not have mattered. At least the team showed up for about a half. Oregon 38, Houston 24.
And, did you get to see the visor throw by Coach Spurrier? That was as entertaining as the game : yawn. The Gamechicks gave the Knights their 16th straight loss.
Some of you out there have some kinda fascination with U Conn. Well, they have yet to be scored on this year, smoked Buffalo 38 to ZIP.
LAWZEE, almost forgot. The ESPN 50 States in 50 Days program will feature Oklahoma tonight, which will feature Oklahoma's PRISON RODEO!!!! Ahem, could it be that ESPN is proving the Callahan explitive deleted hillbilly comment correct ???
So far, all of this is about as relevant as Bob Dylans tuning fork but it helps pass time til the HUSKERS play. SEE YA AFTER THE GAME.
The Black Bear Saturday
With that being said, I am going to look to this Saturday and the Black Bears. They have a third year starter at QB who is a passing threat. The Bears will also bring in a Senior backup to share the QB role. This QB is more of a run threat. The QBs will get a split of 75-25 ration of playing time it is estimated. The QBs: Ron Whitcomb (the passer), and Chris Legree (the runner), will see playing time on the field, and will line up on the field at the same time. Yes, that is right. Both QBs will be on the field at once during certain series. They may have one line up at WR, maybe one at a RB in the shotgun formation, or maybe line one in the slot. So how do you defend this?
Well, lucky for us, this is a Div IAA and the threat of a tandem QB system lessens with the stature of this team. Not only are they Div IAA, but they also have won 11 games over the last two seasons. Sure it will be tricky at times, and sure these Black Bears are the very same that beat Mississippi State last year. But let's not kid ourselves here. The Black Bears have a QB that can throw, and a QB that can run. At times, they will be on the field at the same time. Sometimes in the same backfield. Now the Blackshirts will have to figure out who is going to be the "QB" and who is going to do the "other". The plays that the Blackshirts will have to watch out for is when they get in a shotgun format, and Legree takes an option and either runs or passes the ball. That will be the play to watch.
As for the game though, it will not be close. Unless of course, Callahan decides to only play his starters and second string in the first quarter alone. Then we may get into a closer game, but still not a nail biter.
Some Stats on the Black Bears:
63rd in IAA in Total Offense with 352 YPG
98th in IAA in Total Defense giving up 405 YPG
Pass Defense ranked 109 out of 117 teams giving up 247 YPG in the air
Rush Defense ranked 69 out of 117 teams giving up 158 YPG on the ground
Average score last year was Maine 29 (34th in Div IAA) - Opp 26 (73rd in Div IAA)
They won/lost 6 games last year by 7 or less points
They shut out one team (Northern Colorado) last year (38-0)
My prediction of the game? This will be a good scrimmage for both teams. Maine will get to go against some developing IA talent, and the Huskers get to hit non Huskers for a change. With the top 2 teams playing in the first half and the second stringers getting pulled in the 3rd, I think the score will be around, 68-10.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
IT STARTS TONITE
A number of games kick off tonight : Oregon @ Houston begins around 4:00 P.M.; Oregon wins this one by 7. And, right here in good old Tulsa around 7:30, TU will take on Minnesota (that would be Golden Gophers for you there in Lexington) : look for the Golden rodents to have a tough time with the Golden Hurricane but will win by 6. Then Friday, Arizona goes to Utah : this will be a tough one, veins on Mike Stoops neck will be seen from that Japanese blimp : upset AZ by 1.
Saturday, OU takes on the mighty Horned Frogs from TCU. OU has now lost their #1 defensive end to a season ending injury and now their #1 offensive right tackle has quit the team (yesterday). The arrogance on Stooperiers face could just be a mask to hide his real concerns for this season, but not this game : OU by 24.
OSU also stays at home, opening up Saturday night with a spread, no huddle offense against the Bobcats from Montana. Now we get to see if Coach Gumbys , er , Gundys new offense can master a NCAA Div.1AA foe, ah, yeah right : OSU by 31.
Speaking of NCAA Div. 1AA and Saturday night, my favorite team kicks the season off at home against da Bears, no, NOT the ones from Chicago but the ones from Maine. This is gonna be similar to Goldilocks 900# daddy doing a heck of a lot more than sleeping in their beds or eating their porridge : NU wins by 38.