The Answer Men

BRR Publisher Josh Harvey and his counterpart for HI, Rob Howe, answer fan questions leading up to Heroes Game in Lincoln on Friday.

BRR's Josh Harvey Answers Questions from Hi Members...

hawkfan83: Curious as to what the mood is over there after that brutal beatdown Nebbie took this weekend in the Big House. The Blackshirts seem to have not been able to live up to the reputation that goes with the name?

BRR's Josh Harvey: "I think a lot of Husker fans are scratching their heads, wondering how this team can be so inconsistent. It's really the word that best describes this year's squad. Chalk it up to whatever you want - a new opponent every week, a new offense, or the depth, but you never know what Nebraska team you are going to see.

Against Michigan State (a 24-3 win), they looked like they could play with anyone in the country. The same can't be said about blowout losses to Wisconsin and Michigan, and a home loss to Northwestern, a team fighting to make a bowl.

Nebraska fans could have handed a loss to Michigan, they wouldn't have been that surprised – but a blowout loss is concerning."


CubHawk1237: Can you tell me a bit more about the Nebraska defense and how they match up with the Iowa offense?

BRR's Josh Harvey: "I think they match up to Iowa pretty well. Nebraska has really struggled with mobile quarterbacks this season. It has been their Achilles heel. In all three losses, it was mobile quarterbacks that hurt them (Denard Robinson, Russell Wilson, and Kain Colter) – Vandenberg hasn't exactly reminded me of Michael Vick this season. I actually think a fair comparison would be Kirk Cousins; both have nearly identical numbers, stature, and build. Nebraska was the only team to hold him under a 100 QB rating this season; actually they held him to 60.1. He only managed to go 11-for-27 for 86 yards.

When the Nebraska secondary doesn't have to worry about helping with an elusive running QB, they do a nice job shutting down receivers. Senior Alfonzo Dennard is probably the best cornerback in the Big Ten, maybe in the country and will be a first round draft pick. I expect to see him lined up opposite of Marvin McNutt, possibly the best wide receiver in the Big Ten early and often.

The one thing that does scare me is if the Nebraska offense isn't clicking, the time of possession battle could get ugly. The Husker defense has spent a lot of time on the field and Iowa running back Marcus Coker would love to benefit from the extra carries. I expect Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David, a finalist for the Butkus Award, to continue to have a big stat day. Through 11 games he has 104 stops."



62ChemE: Is Crick out for the season? He looked real tough early on. Their tailback looked beat up at Mich, should help on a short week. What is Iowa's injury report? Anyone seen a weather report for Friday yet?

BRR's Josh Harvey: "Yes, Crick is out for the season with a torn pectoral. There is no doubt that the defense has missed him, he was after all an All-American last year. Should be good for the NFL combine though.

To address this question and the next, Rex Burkhead is beat up, but will play against Iowa. He's wearing a boot right now, but it's a just preventive thing. They are trying to give him a little rest. He had a few high carry games in the middle of the season.

Looks like it will be high 40s and a small chance for a little rain…Talk about some perfect football weather."


GroinPoll: What is Nebraska's kicking game like? My optimistic hope is that they bog down frequently in the red zone against Iowa and settle for field goal attempts. I would like you to say they have decent but not excellent kickers - so that they will usually go for the FG but miss a few - as opposed to not trusting their kicker and going for it on 4th down and turning a few possessions into TDs instead.

BRR's Josh Harvey: "If it comes down to a kicking battle, Nebraska is going to win. Junior Brett Maher is one of the best kickers in the country, it's ludicrous that he's not a finalist for the Lou Groza. He's 17-of-20 so far, with all three of his misses coming from 51 yards or more – an area he's actually 3-for-6. As a punter, he's averaging 45.5 yards per punt. The pressure that he's faced had to be tough. Nebraska lost Alex Henery last year – all he did was get drafted in the 4th round by the Philadelphia Eagles and set the all-time NCAA mark for best field goal percentage. Maher was a big concern coming into the year, but the walk-on has responded. "


kenthill: I have heard news that Burkhead is in a boot...any news on if he will play or how bad his injury is?

BRR's Josh Harvey: "See the previous question."


FtWorthhawkeye: I just want to hear how you feel lIke this game is going to play out...

BRR's Josh Harvey: "If it comes down to a kicking battle, Nebraska is going to win. Junior Brett Maher is one of the best kickers in the country, it's ludicrous that he's not a finalist for the Lou Groza. He's 17-of-20 so far, with all three of his misses coming from 51 yards or more – an area he's actually 3-for-6. As a punter, he's averaging 45.5 yards per punt. The pressure that he's faced had to be tough. Nebraska lost Alex Henery last year – all he did was get drafted in the 4th round by the Philadelphia Eagles and set the all-time NCAA mark for best field goal percentage. Maher was a big concern coming into the year, but the walk-on has responded. "

HI's Rob Howe Answers Questions from BRR members...

GeorgianHusker: Is it true that Iowa prefers the pass; uses the run mostly to set up the pass?

Rob Howe: I wouldn't say that Iowa prefers to pass. If Kirk Ferentz could get away with running the ball 80 times a game, I think he would.

The run does set up the pass. Iowa bases much of it's air assault off of play action.

The teams that have enjoyed success against the Hawkeye offense this season (outside of Minnesota) have stopped Marcus Coker and made James Vandenberg beat them. They shaded a safety towards McNutt and that's probably the best way to defend Iowa's big three.

greekdad1: How has Norm Parker held up this year? I know the Iowa kids missed him last year when he was off for medical reasons. Does he have any special plans for Fridays game you would like to share?

Rob Howe: We're told his health is a lot better than last year, but it would be hard to tell that by the way Iowa's defense has played for much of the season. Some fans have blamed Norm's issues with the fall-off.

I think it has more to do with personnel and injuries. The Hawkeyes are without a lot of talent that left for the NFL after the last two seasons.

Iowa did a nice job against Denard Robinson and I would expect a similar game plan for Taylor Martinez. They're going to try to force him to throw, but I'm sure that's been the blueprint for most teams this year.

Iowa has not been a good tackling team this season. If Nebraska can get to the second level with their running game, things will open up.


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