Friday, September 23, 2005

Gentleman, start your engines

After watching Iowa State struggle to beat Army, eventually wearing down the defense, Nebraska should crank up its running game. The Cyclones breathed a sigh of relief when Nebraska didn't line up and run the ball at them last season, and it would appear that their concern would be the same this time around. It ought to be a big day for Cory Ross and the other running backs. A week ago, I might have been inclined to pick Iowa State, but not so now, as long as Nebraska keeps the ball on the ground and pounds away. Plus, the Cornhuskers' defensive pressure should be more than Bret Meyer can handle. Iowa State was not impressive, even taking into account the fact that Army came between Iowa and Nebraska, two emotional games. The Big 12 north looks wide open. It could be the Cornhuskers' for the taking, for now anyway. Defense and special teams can be worth a lot.

Posted by Mike Babcock @ Friday, September 23, 2005 || 12 comments

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Apologize to Joe?

Two games into the season, it appears that maybe folks ought to offer Joe Dailey an apology for piling all of Nebraska's offensive problems onto him last season. For instance, when passes were dropped (and they were)the responsibility was his. Now the responsibility is placed on the receivers. The truth is, responsibility should be shared, just as the offensive line has to share in the blame when things aren't clicking, which they aren't. If the quarterback doesn't have time to make decisions, the decisions aren't likely to be good ones. And poor decisions can result in interceptions, as we've seen again this season. Dailey's decision-making wasn't the best, but Taylor's hasn't been either, not consistently anyhow. That's to be expected. Few quarterbacks are going to step in at this level and play error-free from the get-go. Oklahoma has provided dramatic evidence of that. Experience is critical at that position, which is why Tom Osborne never wanted to schedule a Kickoff Classic or other early-season toughie when he didn't have a veteran quarterback. Taylor needs time under game conditions to develop the skills he has to make the offense work. But the sense I've gotten is, folks are already becoming impatient. Some in the student section were even chanting Josh Freeman's name during the fourth quarter of the Wake Forest game, and he won't arrive on campus until January. Even if Saturday's game were to get out of hand, Taylor would probably get most of the snaps because he needs the experience, particularly with Big 12 play beginning in two weeks.

Posted by Mike Babcock @ Wednesday, September 14, 2005 || 16 comments

Monday, September 05, 2005

With Octavien sidelined

With Steve Octavien sidelined, who will be behind Bo Ruud at weakside linebacker? After the game, defensive coordinator (and linebackers coach) Kevin Cosgrove said Lance Brandenburgh and Jeff Souder would be in the mix. Brandenburgh had been playing middle linebacker, but was slowed by injury during training camp. Souder, who played on special teams against Maine, was listed as a safety but apparently had been moved to weakside linebacker before the game. After reviewing videotape of the game, and further consideration, others might be in the picture now.

Posted by Mike Babcock @ Monday, September 05, 2005 || 8 comments

Friday, September 02, 2005

Freshmen Debut

Whether or not Bill Callahan's second team is successful will depend in large part on veteran players, among them seniors like Cory Ross, Brandon Koch, Seppo Evwaraye, Daniel Bullocks, Le Kevin Smith, Titus Adams and others. Players who have been through the dramatic changes, the emotional ups and downs of the past couple of years, are the heart and soul of the team. But the attention lavished on the 2005 recruiting class makes a significant storyline out of which true freshmen will see action against Maine on Saturday. The consensus among beat reporters seems to be that as many as nine probably won't redshirt: Harrison Beck, Chris Brooks, Jordan Congdon (No. 1 on the depth chart), Phillip Dillard, Cody Glenn, Leon Jackson, Marlon Lucky, Ndamukong Suh and Barry Turner. Even if all of them don't play against Maine, they'll probably play at some point. Brooks, for instance, is still not 100 percent following arthroscopic knee surgery. Matt Slauson, a late addition to the recruiting class, also figures to play as a true freshman. At one point, it appeared that other true freshmen, such as Nick Covey and Jeff Souder, might be used almost exclusively on special teams. That seems less likely now, although it's still a possibility.

Posted by Mike Babcock @ Friday, September 02, 2005 || 0 comments

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