Munson's Thoughts: UCLA

Nebraska is riding a wave of offensive firepower led by the new and improved mechanics of Taylor Martinez at quarterback and ironically without the services of Rex Burkhead. The Huskers had a big game at home last week against Southern Miss and try to make it to 2-0 today after their first road contest.

Nebraska is on the road today to take on UCLA in the Rose Bowl. It's a game of uncertainty to some extent. Nebraska and UCLA both put up big numbers last week, but how good were their opponents? It's clear that Southern Miss this year isn't the Southern Miss that won 12 games last year and from what I saw of Rice this year it told me that they aren't a very solid team either.

So what is going to give? What's going to remain the same? There are some areas of the football field today that are going to be fun to watch. Here are my three keys to the game for Nebraska:

1. Continuity on offense - There was a rhythm to last week's offense that surpassed what anyone individually did. It just clicked for a lack of a better word. Tim Beck mixed up the play calling and I don't think that enough credit has been given to the fact that there was so much play action. I look for the play action to be as involved, if not more, today and I think that Nebraska will get creative with how they get the running backs involved. I also think that there is a big need to keep the tight ends involved this week on the road. I liked the tempo last week. I wouldn't be surprised if Nebraska got a lead and turned it up a little more.

2. Battle in the trenches - The lines for both teams might be the part of the field that I watch the most today. UCLA starts three true freshmen on their offensive line and the Huskers need to apply pressure to get the linemen rattled as well as to try and get to redshirt freshman quarter Brett Hundley. Hundley is a mobile quarterback, but improvisation doesn't seem to be a strong suit. For Nebraska the offensive line was as key to Taylor Martinez and his production as Martinez's new mechanics. UCLA is active and athletic up front. They are bigger than Southern Miss was and will test Nebraska trying to get pressure on Martinez as well.

3. Win the battle on special teams - Both Nebraska and UCLA had games last week that they wish they could forget when it came to special teams. Nebraska missed two field goals, didn't punt well and allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown. UCLA allowed three PATs to be blocked. Special teams is an area that in the game today can either swing the momentum to allow one of the two teams to climb back in the game or will allow for one of the two teams to really put the other one away.

So what's real and what isn't? I felt like the Nebraska offense was strong and likely will only get better. Nebraska's defense came out a little slow, but played better in the second half. They were also very vanilla in their scheme and going against three true freshmen on the UCLA line I would have to bet that Bo Pelini and John Papuchis are going to be dialing up some pressure.

Nebraska played a clean game last week as well, other than special teams, with minimal penalties and good execution. I think that there will be some more wrinkles today on offense, but what I am wondering about is how will Nebraska react when they see an odd man front? The odd front two years ago perplexed Nebraska and stifled their offense.

However, I don't think that the odd or even fronts are going to matter. I don't think that there are going to be a lot of five step drops and I doubt that you see a seven step drop. Today is going to be about quick decisions, easy progressions and quick throws. I think that there will some ways that Nebraska will keep UCLA on their toes to use some of their aggression against them. Huskers win, 38-24.

Bryan Munson has worked with Big Red Report for 10 years covering recruiting and football and has covered Nebraska recruiting for 12 years.
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