Shooting Point Blank: Apocalypse Wow

So, I was sitting at Clancy's on 168th and Center this evening tossing back a few brews and shots while wondering what's in store for the Big Red, trying to come up with something to write, really. Not a whole lot of positives for a guy like me to throw out there and a bundle of negatives that have been noted by those who are adept at finding them.

Turnovers, lack of execution, poor tackling, poor talent, poor coaching, etc. etc. etc., I mean you folks have probably ran through them all already. But, look on the bright side, at least no one DIED!

Okay, that was a writer's vain attempt to get you, the reader, to laugh. I realize it probably didn't work, but hey, I tried. Anyhow, the situation was pretty unreal. Having to watch the graphics display the words "Nebraska's worst loss ever" was as humbling as, really, anything I've been a part of athletically. I felt bad though. Not necessarily for me or for Nebraska's fans, the few that probably remain after this evening. Rather, I felt sad for the players. The men who don the Scarlet and Cream, who we call role models and sons of Nebraska, I hurt for them. Not just the current ones, but the ones who have put their blood, sweat and tears into the program to see a loss like the one on Saturday, October 9, 2004.

The interesting thing about the loss is it really didn't have to be as bad as it was. If Joe Dailey finishes the game, I doubt Tech cracks 70 or even the upper 50's for that matter. Still, Coach Cal decided to give some experience to Beau Davis (which quickly put to rest the shouts to get the lad in there over Joe). The thing is, under the circumstances, the true frosh reacted like many probably would in a hostile environment with a sputtering offense and the hopes that maybe he can jar something into gear. Fumbles and interceptions resulted in more numbers, more lackadaisical tackling and, in the end, the worst loss Nebraska's ever had to stomach.

So, we know what happened. We all saw, so there's really not much point in my continuing to grind it into dust. There are folks who get paid a lot more than I to rectify the situation and now it's time for them to earn their paychecks. The next week is crucial to Nebraska. I know that's a phrase I've used quite a bit as of late, but hey, if the cleats fit. I do believe that the effort can be found in the 2004 Nebraska Cornhuskers Footballing Team to come back from such a devastating loss. The questions that will be answered in short order deal with the new staff's ability to rekindle the flames that were quelled in Lubbock. Are they capable? We shall see.

Now, I don't want you folks to get the wrong idea. I'm not abandoning the program as I have no desire to do such a thing, even after the loss. I've grown closer and closer to the U of Nebraska and I'd like to think my loyalty has been tested and confirmed pretty well (as anyone who has visited the Blank Cave can confirm). I've always been a fan of the idea, as I mentioned after the USM loss, that the only way a defeat can hurt a team is if they take nothing from it. Nebraska could very well use the Texas Tech game as a rallying cry and put together a decent, if not respectable year. I'm quite hopeful of that, actually.

I would like to take some time to step aside from what happened and recognize someone, however. Blankman's…well…Nebraska's All-Time Leading Career Tackling Award goes to Barrett Ruud. Barrett has been, well, nothing short of a rock in the defensive secondary. He may not be the fastest guy on the field, but the kid's got some grit and determination in his play. He shows many fantastic qualities of a leader and, in general, he's a good kid. In a situation that was more bitter than sweet, Barrett passed Jerry Murtaugh as the man with the most tackles over a career on Saturday and I think we would be remiss not to recognize his efforts.

Joe Dailey put out a request mid-week for us as Nebraska fans to simply believe in him. So, what does one do when all logical barriers have been broken down and it seems as if all is lost? It is at those times that we must find other methods to overcome. I know, I probably seem pretty sappy at this point, but I'm not a real big fan of giving up even when the chips are down. Sometimes, we've just got to put all of the tangible qualities aside and merely believe, because, after all, if you don't believe, you cannot and will not achieve. With that in mind, I will be seeing you all next week as Nebraska looks to go 4-2 on the season with a match up against Baylor.

Also, a hint of advice from a guy who has seen a lot of chaos in these situations: Take some time to relax. Rest up, read a good book, go for a walk, whatever allows you to get out the stresses and renew your optimism. Take a few days and get focused because once we come back to the foundation, it will, indeed, be time to go to work.


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