November's questions

The Huskers will enter the month of November with plenty of questions, but what are some of the biggest ones?

LINCOLN, Neb. - It was supposed to be the easy one. Nobody was questioning the challenge of Nebraska's final six regular season games, but the Gophers were supposed to give them the least of their problems.

Now Nebraska finds themselves 5-2 overall and no longer a favorite to win the Legends Division after a loss in Minneapolis over the weekend.

The Huskers will enter the month of November with plenty of questions, but what are some of the biggest ones?

1.) How will the quarterback situation be handled going forward?

Multiple times over multiple weeks head coach Bo Pelini told the media and fans Taylor Martinez would not practice or play until he was 100 percent. Martinez played on Saturday, but it was clear he was not himself. So what changed over the course of a few weeks? Why didn't the combination of Tommy Armstrong or Ron Kellogg III at least get a series or two over the weekend? I agree with Pelini that Martinez did not lose the game for the Huskers, but he didn't win it either. Maybe a series or two with a different guy sparks the offense?

Nebraska still has a shot to win the Legends Division, and if completely healthy, Martinez's experience gives him the best shot to win in November, but it doesn't appear like he's going to be 100 percent anytime soon.

2.) Will Nebraska figure out how to stop teams going sideways?

The Nebraska defense has been exposed and you can guarantee Northwestern is watching the same tapes. The Huskers struggle with not only pre-snap motion, but teams who use edge to get to the outside.

"I hate to pick at old wounds, but we watched the tape of the Big Ten championship game a lot," Gophers offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover told the Omaha World Herald. "We felt they were a similar type of defense to Iowa, so we knew we couldn't pound the ball.

"We wanted to go sideways like Wisconsin did. We started picking and pulling pieces from that game and we just put it together."

Minnesota doesn't have the athletes that Wisconsin does, but their plan worked just the same, giving the rest of the Big Ten a blue print on how to beat Nebraska's defense. Northwestern's athletes are better. So are Michigan's and Michigan State's.

How will fan's expectations and complaints affect the team going forward?

At times in 2012, it seemed like Nebraska took a "us against the world" mentality. It paid off. The Huskers closed out the regular season with six straight wins, making the Big Ten title game. Will it be a repeat of last season?

The majority of the fan base is fed up, tired of losing games they shouldn't and getting blown out in the big ones.

While Nebraska fans are often labeled the nicest and most passionate in college football, expectations are always high, meaning a portion of the fan base can get a little uncharacteristic like when things aren't going well.

Players are being attacked on Twitter, bans are at an all-time high on the Big Red Report message board, I even witnessed a heated argument at Hy-Vee between two senior citizens on if Bo Pelini is the right guy. It's pretty clear, things need to get better in Lincoln and in a hurry. Another loss might have the fans feeling like it's 2007 again. Can the players and even the coaches deal with that type of distraction?

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports NEXT since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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