Sunday, August 31, 2008

NU goes 1-0!

This writer has very seldom seen the fans so excited for a game as yesterday. They were starved for some good defensive play. They wanted the Blackshirts back. Well. they are almost back. We are just not sure how good Western Michigan is. On the offensive side of the ball, our passing game was good but our running game didn't meet expectations. There has been very few times where this writer has seen the fans almost want the offense off the field so they could watch the defense play. Excitement was in the air.......

In the middle of the third quarter, this writer wondered if he had ever seen a Nebraska quarterback throw as accurately as Joe Ganz. He was evasive and mobile and was throwing the ball as good as Vince Ferrogamo, David Humm, Turner Gill, or Tommy Frazier ever threw it. Then he had a tipped pass and just had a bad throw for interceptions but he finished the day 20-36 for 345 yards and four touchdowns. He didn't have many balls dropped and he threw some balls away but he had a really good day overall.

Dreu Young made the best catch that this writer has ever seen by a Nebraska receiver. Junior Miller and Johnny Mitchell caught memorable passes but this reception was unreal. Young couldn't have been defensed any better. Ganz's pass was perfect also. That catch will be on highlight reels for a long time.

Nate Swift stood out. He had a great day with five receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns. It was great to see. Melelik Holt also was impressive. The reivers had a fine day. Marlon Lucky and Mike McNeil both caught touchdown passes.

On defense, the linebackers had a good day they will also be mentioned in my "concerned" section also. They were all over the field. Cody Glenn will have a lot of turnovers with his aggressive play. Phil Dillard caught a receiver from behind and saved a touchdown. Tyler Wortman, well you know this writer is high on him.

Most of the day NU played with three cornerbacks and only two linebackers. Whenever there are three or more receivers on the field for the opposition, there will usually be this setup on defense. NU played Eric Hagg, Prince Amukamara, and Anthony West exclusively at cornerback and Larry Asante and Matt O'Hanlon at safeties. Very few reserves played at all in the defensive backfield.

The defensive line played very well. This writer was very impressed with Tyler Steinkuhler. N. Suh had a good game also. Barry Turner recorded the first sack of the year. Terrance Moore, a reserve had two sacks. Jared Crick put in a good performance and with Dreu Young made the Cozad Haymaker fans proud.

Let's not forget Alex Henery as a highlight. Wow! Four FG's of 44,43,44, and 44 yards. That will come in very handy as the season goes on.

Where was the running game? The offensive line should be a strength this year but even with Western Michigan playing the run, NU should have been more of a force in this department.

The concerns with the linebackers is their pass coverage on the tight ends. Brenden Ledbetter caught nine passes for 123 yards and one touchdown. That was a third of their entire offense. Too many times he was wide open. What happens when Chase Coffman of Missouri lines up as a wide receiver? Hopefully by then we will improve in this area. With the tremendous desire of the linebackers, they WILL improve.

Armando Murillo, our best corner, sat out the game due to injury. Ricky Thenarse got hurt early in the game and he was absent after that. Lydon Murtha didn't play. Major Culbert either didn't play or he didn't play very much. This writer thought we might see the corners Leverson, Dennard, and Thorell play some to spell the first unit. The defensive line was shuffling players all night long.

The offensive line also had a lot of kids play. The replacements did very well. They didn't have penalties. That has been a problem in the past.

The game management during the game was really pretty good. Probably as well as this writer has seen in a few years. Really good when you consider this was this coaching staff's first game.

It was a beautiful evening with a perfect breeze to watch the game. The game was very entertaining. If we could have stopped the game at the end of the third quarter this writer would have come away feeling better because the 4th quarter seemed to be too ugly.

If the biggest improvement during a football season is between the first and second games then next week could really be fun.

What in the world happened to Texas A & M getting beat by Arkansas State 18-14?
It is my understanding they just got outplayed and it wasn't a fluke.

#9 Clemson was beaten at Clemson by Alabama 34-10. This writer has always heard how hard it is to win at Clemson. Is Alabama that good?

Virginia Tech looks overrated but Skip Holtz is a heck of a coach at East Carolina as they beat Tech 27-22.

Bowling Green whips Pittsburgh.????!?!?

That's college football!!!!

Jake Gdowski starts for Colorado State tonight.

Last night we saw a fine performance by Londen Fryer, Irving Fryer's son, for Western Michigan. Tonight Jake Gdowski, the son of former Husker Tom Gdowski, starts for Colorado State. He is #58. Gdowski was asked to walk-on at Nebraska but was never offered a scholarship.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ready for Some Football?

I know I am. I have been invited by John to write some posts this year for the Nebraska Sports Journal. My name is Todd E. Jones, and I run Why would he ask me to post? I don't know. If you find, out let me know. He made some nice comments about wanting a non-biased opinion about Nebraska football. Well, I guess I could throw my opinion your way.

What do you need to know about me? I grew up in rural Arkansas, but I live in Fort Worth, TX now. Now, I think there are a lot of similarities between Arkansas and Nebraska. Folks in both states are hard working, people of character, salt of the earth type of folks. When I was a kid, I use to love watching the Nebraska vs. Oklahoma games. They were classics. I was always impressed by Tom Osbourne. He just seemed like a great coach and great person. Coach Osbourne was like the Tom Landry of college football. I was excited for Nebraska and Coach Osbourne when they finally won the National Title. Coach Osbourne was a good Christian guy and deserved everything he won.

I have been blogging college football for the past two seasons. I started with the Toddler Top Ten. I kept my own top ten for Division I A which they now call Bowl Championship Subdivision. It was fun. The next year I decided to get my own domain and continue. It was rather awkward as I kept some of my info on my own site and domain while keeping my top ten and commentary on my blogspot. Last year I struggled to keep up with a top ten last year because there were so many upsets. I changed much of focus to a commentary. Then, I decided to change how I did my blog during the offseason. I installed Wordpress on my domain and put everything on my domain. After making this move, starting in April I kicked everything up a notch or two. I became more intent on making it a top level blog. I checked out other sites and even contacted some including Brian at In the Bleachers.

I did play football in high school, but I was always intrigued with the strategies and schemes in football. I like to make up plays, etc. I like to evaluate what I see on TV or in person. Last night I watched a high school game here in Fort Worth and, subsequently, wrote a summary of the game at Pegasus News where I will be writing some articles this fall. My best writings were this summer when I broke down the offense, defense and schedules of TCU, SMU and the University of North Texas for my site. Most of those were also published by Pegasus News.

I plan on catching a couple of Nebraska games, checking stats, watching some footage and tell you what I think about the job Bo Pelini is doing. I think the biggest question Nebraska fans have to wonder is, "Was Pelini a better choice than Truner Gill?" I really like Gill, and he is doing a great job at Buffalo. Did you catch the score of their game with UTEP? John clued me in on that. I look forward to visiting with you this fall. And please, check out!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

First game will be here Saturday night.

Finally the first game is here! Should be a fun game and really it won't be a gimmee. Nebraska's offense will go against a defense that beat Iowa last year and has eleven starters back. Nebraska's offense should be improved with a strong defensive line and the return of Joe Ganz. NU has a lot of depth at running back also.

Look to a closer game than most expect! Also the game may be somewhat low scoring. NU 27-Western Michigan 10. What is your prediction for the score????

The Big 12 has some interesting non-conference games coming up. NU plays it whole non-conference schedule at home which is huge. Its big game is Virginia Tech at home. Missouri also plays their non-conference schedule at home.

Here's the non-conference schedules for the other Big 12 schools.

@ Wake Forest
Northwestern State
Washington State
at Connecticut

Iowa State
South Dakota St. (Don't say anything. We play them next year)
Kent State
at Iowa

Colorado St.
Eastern Washington
West Virginia
@Florida State

SE Missouri St

@ Washington

Oklahoma St.
@Washington State
Missouri State

Florida Atlantic

Florida International
Louisiana Tech
@South Florida
Sam Houston St.

North Texas
Montana St
@ Louisville

Texas A & M
Arkansas State
@ New Mexico
Miami (Fla)

Texas Tech
Eastern Washington
@ Nevada
Southern Methodist

I give the easiest schedule to Texas Tech. It can't get much easier than that. Playing at Nevada will be their toughest non-conference opponent. Oklahoma St. has a pretty easy schedule with Washington State, away, being their toughest game. The third easiest schedule could be Oklahoma playing Washington, away. Iowa St. has a pud home schedule during non-conference but has to go to Iowa to play. Usually the underdog wins that game so Iowa State could be undefeated after non-schedule games. Texas has Arkansas at home but should win. NU has a test with Virginia Tech at home. Western Michigan won't be easy either. Baylor has one tough non-conference game @Wake Forest.

The toughest non-conference schedule in 2008 is with Colorado. They play West Virginia at home and play Florida St. away.

The Big 12 should have a 80% winning percentage after the non-conference season. Look for some lower Big 12 teams to be undefeated after the first four games.

Hey and I am not sold on Missouri YET! This writer thinks they will struggle against Illinois early. They will probably pull the game out but don't be surprised if...........they just win by a field goal.

This writer thinks Texas may be the most underrated Big 12 team and they will give Oklahoma and Texas Tech all they want in the South Division.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

13 days to game time!

Nebraska plays Western Michigan in 13 days. This will be the first game on our journey to win the Big 12 North. Watch for Western Michigan to have eight men up front on defense to stop Nebraska's running offense. Nebraska will need to have a strong passing game, which they will, to win.

No real surprises so far for the team. The defensive line has had some guys out but they should be in good shape for the game.

This writer had thought that Niles Paul would return punts but he is not listed among the top four or five who are in the running. It looks like right now it could be Nate Swift. He has some experience.

The following is some of the former Nebraska players who are looking to playing in the NFL this season. The team is listed first, then the player, and then the ranking by position for their team. An example is Maurice Purify who is listed as the 9th receiver for Cincinnati. This would mean that he is on the 4th or 5th team assuming they are playing only two receivers.

Brandon Jackson-RB-Second

Ahman Green-RB-First
Kris Brown-Placekicker-First

Correll Buckhalter-RB-Second

Josh Brown-Placekicker-First
Richie Incognito-Offensive Guard-First
Adam Carriker-DT-First

Kyle Larson-Punter-First
Maurice Purify-WR-Ninth

Cory Ross-RB-Fourth
Fabian Washington-CB-Third (Suspended)

Ralph Brown-CB-Fourth

Chris Kelsay-DE-First

Courtney Grixby-CB-Tenth

Zach Bowman-CB-Sixth
Mike Brown-FS-First

Daniel Bullocks-SS-Second

Demorrio Williams-OLB-Third
Steve Octavian-OLB-Seventh
Trevor Johnson-DE-Third

Josh Bullocks-FS-Second

Stewart Bradley-MLB-First
Correll Buckhalter-RB-Second

Bo Ruud-OLB-Fifth
LeKevin Smith-NT-Second

Jay Moore-DE-Fourth

Ryan Bingham-NT-Second
Carlos Polk-OLB-Fourth

Barrett Ruud-MLB-First

If you have some other players you know about that I missed, please leave a comment and let us know the information you have.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Nebraska begins journey to win Big 12 North!

Oh yeah you think this writer is a blind NU fan that is too optimistic. NU won the North Division two years ago. What is the difference in talent and coaching from two years ago? The offense is better.

Joe Ganz is overall equal to Zac Taylor. Taylor threw a better ball but Ganz is mobile and with this offense, the Nebraska offense, it is big plus. Besides he can throw the ball too. He threw seven TD's in one game last year.

The running back position is better with Lucky, Helu, and Castille. Brandon Jackson is gone but overall we are stronger and more experienced.

The TE position is better with Dreu Young and Mike McNiel. Mike McNiel will have a great season.

The receiver positions have a lot of talent. We need a couple of younger guys to move up and show they have the home run threat. Purify is gone and hasn't been replaced yet. Look for Menelik Holt and Curenski Gilleyhen to step up this year. Hopefully Niles Paul will make some big plays too.

A strength of the offense is the offensive line. The overall line and the depth is better than two years ago.

On defense, Suh is an All-Big 12 player who is highly underrated. This writer thinks he is as strong a player as there is in the Big 12. Steinkuhler, Steinkuhler, and Terrance Moore will be good due to excellent coaching.

Linebackers are led by Phillip Dillard. The coaches are high on Cody Glenn but he has to show the team he is a leader. This writer thinks he will and he will have some takeaways this year. Matt Holt is showing some good things early and he is a true freshman. Wortman could be really good as he showed in the Red-White game. NU will play more nickel defense this year due to the offenses they will face so two linebackers will be used a lot during the games. So you take our weakness away to some extent. Two years ago, we had Stewart Bradley, Bo Ruud, and Steve Octavian. This writer would have to say that today we don't have these kind of players at linebackers but the coaches will make Dillard, Wortman, Glenn, and the rest very good.

Cornerbacks are pretty good again with Murillo, West, Blue, and Prince A. We also have Asante who will play safety, some CB, and probably act as a linebacker at times. That is this writer's guess after watching what Bo Pelini did with Demorrio Williams a few years ago. Asante may be that guy this year. Don't forget Ricky Thenarse, the hitter. He will make plays and cause takeaways.

Remember two years ago, we had we had Fluellen, Spain, and Brothers fighting for starting positions in the secondary. We are much stronger this year.

At defensive end, we don't have Jay Moore and Adam Carriker. We do have Zach Potter and Barry Turner. Moore and Carriker were hard to beat but Potter and Turner are close. They will need to show they are as good as those guys. It can happen.

Special teams are better than two years ago. Henery and Kunalic are better at kicking. Titchener is still our punter and has only improved from two years ago.

Overall, we have a better team than two years ago. Last year we were 5-7. Takeaways, schemes, coaching, and a renewed team spirit will win us three more games. We only had 11 tuenovers last year. We will have 1 turnovers after the non-conference schedule this year. The home games with Kansas, Missouri, and Colorado will help us win one more game. That gets us to 9-3 during the season. With better talent, we are looking at picking up another win which will get us to 10-2 with losses away to Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

The intangibles such as a renewed fan support and enthusiasm will offset the improved overall Big 12 competition.

If you don't believe me just watch!!!!

Pictured above is Lance Thorell. He is a walk-on from Loomis who will hopefully get some playing time this year and have the chance to excel on special teams!!!

Favre is traded to the NY Jets!

Fox News has reported that Brett Favre has been traded to the NY Jets. He will battle Chad Pennington for the quarterback job.

The Harlan Count Lake is now below normal elevation at 1945.61. Normal elevation is 1946. Yesterday there was 517 cfs leaving the lake and only 50 cfs of water flowing into the lake.

The PGA golf tournament, one of the four majors, starts today at Oakland Hills in Michigan. With Tiger gone so is the pre-tournament hype. Look for VJ Singh to win it all.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Nebraska gets its 10th commit!

DeAndre Byrd, who had 21 offers from schools like Arkansas and Wisconsin, committed to Nebraska tonight according to Byrd is a cornerback from Tallahasee, Florida. He is 5' 10" and 170 lbs. The reason he committed to NU without a visit? The coaching staff and Bo Pelini.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sport Shorts

The Nebraska basketball team may get a big man this season yet. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Teeng Akol is visiting NU this week. He is also interested in Oklahoma State. Akol was born in Sudan and raised until he was 14 in Egypt. ESPN rated him the No. 42 center in the 2008 class. Akol had signed with South Florida but was not cleared with th NCAA. So there are a lot of ifs but there is a chance he will be playing for the Cornhuskers yet this year. Paul Velander would lose his scholarship if Akol comes to NU.

Who will be this year's Demorrio Williams? My guess is Larry Asante. He is 6' 1" and 210 lbs. He can play a lot of positions on defense and he would make a nice blitzer when he lines up at an end position. When Asante plays other positions, Major Culbert can play strong safety.

Linebacker Nick Covey is now a defensive end. It will be interesting to see if he can het some good quality time.