Sunday, October 30, 2011

Defense led by Thorell spurs win over Michigan St.

If you would like to buy the above photo, go to the Lincoln Journal by clicking here.

The Nebraska defense stopped a very good Michigan St. team cold on Saturday. Seven plays into the game Loomis native Lance Thorell intercepted a Kurt Cousins' pass and ran it back 26 yards to the Michigan St. 25 yard line. The crowd went nuts and the team rallied around the excitement like a bunch of trick or treaters finding a five gallon bucket of candy.

B.J. Cunningham, the leading receiver for Michigan State, had gone 43 games in a row with a reception. He had averaged seven catches and 107 yards in Big 10 play. Today he had 0 catches. The pass picked off by Thorell was intended for Cunningham. That is about as close as he got to a catch all day.

The whole defense played well. Will Compton was a man possessed and has never played a better game. David led in tackles as always. The front four were really good and had four sacks. The whole defensive secondary didn't give Cousins anything to throw to.

Thorell, who is as nice of kid as you will ever meet, showed that walk-ons have a place at Nebraska. He took on blockers that were 60 pounds heavier than himself and stood them up. Lance did get a well deserved scholarship this fall. He played the field well and was kind of sneaky in making plays. His speed and quickness well overcame the weight disadvantage in the box.

Kudos to Andrew Green, who subbed for the injured Stanley Jean-Baptiste. Green made some great tackles and covered very well. This game should boost his confidence and he may be hard to replace once Baptiste gets healthy. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by his great play.

Rex Burkhead is like a bull on the field. What a tough kid. They call him Superman but I am not sure Superman could keep up with him. Late in the game they had to carry him off the field. A few plays later he scores on a pass play. The play was a new one out of the playbook and it was called at the right time. After the touchdown Burkhead limped back to the players on the sideline.

The coaches get an A+ for the game they called. Both offense and defense was prepared and the game plan was excellent.

Some real surprises in college football on Saturday. Minnesota knocks off Iowa. I had to see it on three segments of ESPN before I finally believed it.

This puts Nebraska, Michigan, and Michigan State all tied for first in the Legends division. Before Saturday you could see a Wisconsin and Michigan State in the Big 10 Championship game. Now, who knows? Nebraska and Penn State? With the parity in the Big 10 the picture will change weekly. Nebraska is in control of their division. They have some very tough games coming up with Northwestern this next weekend.

The Nebraska men's basketball team is picked 11 out of 12. Let's hope we move up from that. It will be interesting. It will be also odd to see a whole different set of teams coming to Devaney.

The Nebraska women started their season tonight. For more info, click here.

2011 Michigan State-Nebraska Post-Game Press Conference (Lance Thorell)

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's going to be a close one!

I get a different prediction when I think with my head and then with my heart. We'll go with the final prediction being from the heart.


I look at these two teams being pretty even on a neutral field without taking into consideration the special team play. Michigan St is probably a two point favorite on a neutral field. Kirk Cousins is a very good quarterback but so is Taylor Martinez. The teams are very evenly matched. The two points comes from the Michigan State's defensive line and their linebackers. A very talented group. Give Nebraska five points for the home field advantage. This makes Nebraska a three point favorite. But when you figure special teams I have to add back six points to Michigan St. Prediction Michigan St. 31 Nebraska 28.

OK, with this approach I try to think of all the positive intangibles that go with this game plus Stanley Jean-Baptiste play at cornerback. We will see in this game how good Baptiste is. He may of made a one to two touchdown difference in three of the games if he is as good as I think he is. Against Wisconsin he may of made a bigger difference.

Wisconsin has played a couple of tough games the past three weeks. Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin have all been their victims. Pretty tough to be up another week. In the mean time Nebraska has had a bye week and then Minnesota. We should be pretty healthy except for Crick and Randle. The previous games for Michigan State has had to take a lot out of them both mentally and physically.

The fact that we will the peso more than the base defense with three linebackers will also be a plus. Thorell and again, Baptiste, have improved our defense to another level. This is huge. Also we may see Lavonte David line up like Demorrio Williams used to and put some huge pressure on their Jake Locker type quarterback, Demorrio WIlliams. This will play big.

Michigan St. isn't that impressive playing away. Notre Dame beat them bad. Ohio State held them to 10 points.

Watch for the diamond offense to be used a lot during this game. This features our running attack mostly and with that we can put a lot of speed in the backfield. Burkhead, Martinez, Green, Legate,and possibly even Jamal Turner may line up in the backfield giving us a lot of options. Watch for Kenny Bell to run the ball also. Kyler Reed will make a nice outlet if he is healthy.

So at the end of regulation the game will be tied 31-31. After the first overtime, the score will be tied 38-38. But then the defense holds and Nebraska kicks a field goal. The heart always wins out so my final prediction this week will be. Final Score Nebraska 41 Michigan State 38.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bill Snyder best coach ever?

Bill Snyder is 73 years old. Hew was rehired as the coach for Kansas State on November 24, 2008. Snyder was hired by Kansas State the first time following the 1988 season.

Snyder started his coaching career as a graduate assistant for USC in 1966. He coached several years in the high school ranks in California. From 1976 to 1978, Snyder was an assistant coach at North Texas State under Hayden Fry. Snyder and Fry moved together to the University of Iowa in 1979, with Snyder serving as Fry's offensive coordinator for the next ten years. Then he went to Kansas State.

His amazing accomplishments at K-State qualify him as one of the best coaches of this century.

When Snyder took over the team, K-State was considered the worst team in college football. When he took over K-State, they had lost 510 games in its history and had the most losses of any team in Division I-A at the time. It was so bad they hadn't won in three years. Twenty seven games without a win. Snyder only won one game that first year but it was a major step forward.

In the second season, which was 1990, the Wildcats went 5-6. The win season had only been matched once in seventeen years. In 1991, the Wildcats had a 7-4 season and only the second winning season since 1970.

The 1993 bowl game was the first of 11 consecutive bowl games.

During the 1998 season, K-State posted an undefeated 11-0 regular season and earned its first ever number one ranking in the national polls. This coming just ten years after Kansas State being named by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED as the worst team in the country.

Snyder retired on November 15, 2005, with an overall record of 136-68-1. Ron Prince, formerly an assistant coach and offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia, was named Bill Snyder's replacement on December 5, 2005.

Snyder's first tenure is regarded as one of the most successful rebuilding projects of in college football history. Barry Switzer said at that time that, "He's not the coach of the year,he's not the coach of the decade, he's the coach of the century."

After Ron Prince's firing and unsuccessful coaching tenure at Kansas State, Bill Snyder was rehired on November 24, 2008, as previously stated.

Many said Snyder was foolish. He was too old. He would ruin his legacy.

Well again he proved them wrong with brilliant coaching and unreal success.

In his first season back, the team posted a 6-6 season. I can remember that year and wondered, "How did he do that." Each season he has improved the team's record and their overall performance.

In 2011, Kansas State is 7-0 and is first in the Big 12. Amazing. They are ranked as high as 7th in the national polls. He has turned them around again. His overall record is now 156-80.

What makes Bill Snyder such a good coach. Their recruiting is never high with the raters. He never gets a bunch of five star players but seems to do it with two, threes, and once in a while a four. Bill Snyder obviously knows where to put his players and he knows the game of football as well as any coach in the nation.

His assistant coaches that have learned under him are a tribute to the man. They include Phil Bennett (SMU), Bret Bielema (Wisconsin), Jim Leavitt (South Florida),Mark Mangino (formerly Kansas), Dana Dimel (Wyoming), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), and Mike Stoops (formerly Arizona).

Husker fans would be pleased to know that Bill Snyder was only 5-14 versus the Cornhuskers. He has his most losses to any team with Nebraska.

Bill Snyder has a record that is hard to argue with that he is one if not the best coach in this century. Tom Osborne's record is amazing but Bill Snyder has twice brought back a program that was near bottom.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Different defensive personnel give Nebraska hope!

Nebraska has made a couple of changes the past couple of weeks on defense that have will allow them to win the rest of the games. Now I am not saying they will but they now have a chance.

First of all the changeover of Stanley Jean Baptiste is huge. He is already as good as cornerback as Nebraska has had in years including Prince. Minnesota threw the other way most of the day. Yes, they were throwing at Dennard. They are staying away from Baptiste. Earlier in the year teams were getting mulitple yards on multiple play against our cornerback on that side. Now no yards there and they have to pass against Dennard, who isn't too bad himself. We will see more on this against Michigan St. If Baptiste is solid there, he is for REAL. Who knows what we could have done against Wisconsin if he would have been in the lineup. I guarantee you that it would have been a very close game.

I am pretty sure that Austin Cassidy played his best game because Baptiste is in the game. He can get back to playing the game the way it is to be played. This will make us better also.

I have long advocated that Lance Thorell needs to be in the game. He is smart and he is where he needs to be. The Loomis, Nebraska graduate added speed to our defense. Whether he was playing Buck linebacker at times or the nickel back, we are a better defensive team when he is on the field.

Kenny Bell had the longest run yesterday since Cory Ross went 86 yards against Missouri in 2004. He also had the longest run by a freshmen ever.

Where was Kyler Reed Saturday??

Did you here about the elevator full of Huskers that got stuck on Friday night for 45 minutes. There were six linemen and thirteen total players on the elevator. We should have been flagged for too many players in the elevator. I bet that smelled before it was over.

Who would have thought that Wisconsin and Oklahoma would get beat this week? Michigan State had a good chance but Texas Tech over Oklahoma? WOW! In the rankings who would have thought that Oklahoma St. would be #3 and K-State ranked 8th.

The winner of the Bama/LSU game will probably be in the National Championship. Who might they play? Stanford?

Kudos to the Nebraska women volleyball's team for beating another number one. This weekend it was Illinois and they dominated. Keep it going. The bandwagon is here and strong.

This week's game against Michigan St. is huge. Should be quite a week and it will give us plenty to talk about. The results will be in on Saturday about three as the game starts at 11:30 am.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nebraska should pound out a win!

Nebraska will run, run, run, and then throw a few passes to mix it up Saturday. Look to Nebraska to have over 375 yards rushing. Nebraska 41 Minnesota 10.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Diamond Offense, James Dobson and Albert Einstein!

The diamond offense is a good fit for Nebraska. Anytime you can get Jamal Turner, Rex Burkhead, Ameer Abdullah, and Taylor Martinez in the same backfield, we can create chaos for the opposing defenses.

Oklahoma, TCU, and Oklahoma St. has all run the diamond formation in the past. Here is an illustration as to how Oklahoma has run the formation.

As the season goes, we will see more of this formation. I believe. It is a great fit.

Kudos to James Dobson, the NU football strength and conditioning coach. He is a huge plus to our football team. His great coaching is one of the reasons we are dominating the 4th quarters in most of our games. He doesn't get enough credit from the average fan.

Next week is Minnesota. I am ready for another game. I am anxious to see Stanley Jean-Baptiste dominate his receiver coverage and take us up a couple of notches in defense.

And now this. Albert was talking about Bo Pelini. Sometime coaches just want to coach and they aren't great speaking to the media. Sometimes its just better they don't, so let him coach.

Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.
- Albert Einstein

Monday, October 10, 2011

Huskers continue to improve!

What a game!!

In the games I have personally attended, I would have to put this game in the Top 3 of all time.

Number One is the Nebraska/LSU game. This game was on January 1, 1971. We won the National Championship that day. Trailing 12-10 as the fourth quarter opened—after leading early, 10-0— Coach Bob Devaney's Huskers passed and ran over and through the defensive titans of the nation for the winning touchdown.
It came with 6:10 gone in the final quarter when Jerry Tagge, the engineering genius of the night, clinched the Most Valuable Back Trophy by plunging over from the one and then extended his arms high over the pile — just to make sure.

At Number Two, the Colorado game in 2008. Nebraska was all but beat before the heroics of Alex Henery that day. Alex Henery made the kick with room to spare with 1:43 left, and defensive end Ndamukong Suh ran back an interception 30 yards for a touchdown seconds later to punctuate the Cornhuskers' 40-31 victory.

Saturday night was Number Three. What an exciting second half!!!! Nebraska would come back from its biggest deficit ever of 21 points to win. Nebraska scored 28 points in the last quarter and a half for the comeback. Final Nebraska 34 Ohio State 27. A real feel good victory.

In all honesty, I thought Nebraska played pretty well offensively. They played smart ball. Burkhead had ten yards in ten carries but I think the continued playing calling with Burkhead running into the middle of the line set everything up for the second half. It set up Taylor Martinez to keep the ball or pass down the field.

Martinez, I thought, played pretty well in the first half and outstanding in the second half. Play calling was a fit for him on Saturday night. He stayed in the pocket, made very good throws, ran like no other quarterback in college football, and looked to his second and third receivers as options. He's growing as a football player.

Rex Burkhead was his usual "Superman". He is our offensive MVP.

On defense we struggled the first two and a half quarters. Ohio State had a lot of big plays. But then three things happened. Lavonte David, who may have played his best game ever, takes the ball away for a turnover. A few plays later it was Ohio State 27 Nebraska 13.

Stanley Jean-Baptiste starts to play cornerback and wow did he play. He made some great tackles, stayed with his receivers like a glove, and then made a really good interception. We have needed turnovers and he executed one. Baptiste is the real deal and if this is possible I think his addition will improve our defense to last year's level. If Baptiste is as good as I think he is and he keeps his head on, Nebraska will compete for the Big 10 Championship. The defense is just that much better.

Now the fact that Braxton Miller went down definitely helped the Huskers. Braxton Miller hurt us time and again with his running and passing. His injury was huge for the Huskers. Nebraska ends up winning 34-27.

Now on to Dirk Chetelain, Bo Pelini, and the Nebraska fans!

There are 15-20% of the fans that are either stupid or just plain dumb. They are really not fans at all. Behind me Saturday night, there were a couple of idiots that complained about everything Martinez did and criticized Bo Pelini constantly. PLEASE DON"T DO THAT OR STAY HOME. You show your ignorance for the game. Come to support your team and if you can't then go to the bar and bore those people. What good does it do? Does it impress our recruits or make the players want to play harder. Absolutely not. There is nothing positive that can come out of it. Some Nebraska fans are worse than fans of all the other teams. If their actions cause others to act like that, then we got a major problem.

Dirk Chatelain's column reminded me of work. An employee complains constantly but has no solutions. Dirk Chatelain's column was full of negatives but had no positive solution or no solution at all. If you want to make a point and drill down on our quarterback, then make a point to give a side that we could have improvement in the program. I saw none of that.

I can relate to Bo Pelini's anger against the media and the fans. I almost reverted to a tyrade on Saturday night with the fans beside me. It is hard to hold back when fans are so ignorant. Pelini is defending his players and his team in part. However, he would serve himself much better to answer questions in a more dignified way. But to be honest, I am not going to think of him much different no matter how he reacts to the press as long as he keeps winning. In the end, Chatelain can write what he wants and Pelini can get as upset as he wants but they would both be better served to get along. That may be too late!


Friday, October 07, 2011

We'll have to stand behind our team to win tomorrow!

Ok we all get a little too critical about our team sometime, me included. It's really not the right thing to do. First of all when the kids that play for Nebraska football give their all, we should be somewhat forgiving when mistakes are made. I thought the article that was written by Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World Herald went too far today. the headlines were all about making a change with our quarterback. Taylor Martinez's picture was blasted on the front of the sports today. Then he went on to give a lot of reasons why it would be nice to make a change, he is still probably our best quarterback. No, we don't have a John Elway at quarterback. He can run but he, at this time, doesn't look off his number one receiver at times when they are covered. But he also plays very well at times. He is our best option and so lets support him instead of chasing him away from our program.

Tomorrow's weather will be a factor in the game. Hopefully it will benefit Nebraska. The winning team will need to pound the ball and we seem to be improving every game in this department. I look to Nebraska to win by three points. If the defense can score a touchdown, we could extend it to 10 points. Don't forget that last week for the first quarter and a good part of the second quarter we played out best football.

On paper our recruits for next year's NU basketball's team don't look like a group that will take us to a new level. I hope i am wrong as I enjoy watching our team and its a lot more fun when we are competitive.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Things fall apart in Madison

As of now everybody has the answers to what we should do in changing our football team. In watching the first half over again, it seems that after the second interception our defense gave up some.

The quarterback play was excellent the first 23 minutes and then for the rest of the game it was really not good at all. I would like to see Carnes or Kellogg play to see what they can do when we get down.

I won't get as upset on play calling as some. The pass was there and we just didn't execute the plays. I would like to see Ron Kellogg (or Carnes) play when we are down and Martinez starts to struggle. Martinez is at his best when we are ahead in the game. He does an excellent job in that situation.

Yes, we could have run the ball more and should have to shorten the game but Wisconsin's defense wanted us to pass. The pass was there.

We have to get the ball into Turner and Abdullah's hands more to mix things up. In a quiet way Turner had a great night against Wisconsin.

The offensive line continues to get better. Most of the time Martinez had time but did'nt stay in the pocket. When he starts to get jumpy and moves while he throws the chances of an interception increases immensely.

The biggest weakness we have right now is the defense. I know the Big 10 Ten dictates three linebackers but we need more speed in the field. We have to have more speed. Even running the dime defense on running situations may be the best.

I just don't see a tremendous drop off in the secondary this year. Some of the kids playing this year looked a lot better last year. Are the players understanding the new coach and what he wants? Something is different but I don't think the talent level is any less. Let's hope we find the solution to this problem soon. Otherwise the psych of the team could head to what we had just a few years ago.

This week's top college game I thought would be Ohio State and Nebraska but my has that changed. Ohio State is down this year and having a tough time scoring. Let's hope we don't change that.

The big game of the week looks to be Oklahoma and Texas. This should be a race to the end. Texas has Chase McCoy(brother of Colt) and David Ash sharing time. Malcolm Brown is their leading rusher and they also have Fiswhitt Whittaker. What a great name.

Landery Jones leads Oklahoma. He is much improved from a couple of years ago. Ryan Broyles is an All-American at receiver. Look to Oklahoma to win this game 27-21.

Another big game is Florida and LSU. LSU is the better team at the end winning 30-17.

Now Nebraska. The defense will improve against a pretty weak offense this week. Look to Nebraska to win this game 21-17. It will be close but Nebraska will prevail. The loser of this game will be in a world of hurt for the season as one of them will have their second loss in league play.