Shooting Point Blank

Before I begin, I really must apologize. Usually, I take in a game personally, but this week it just wasn't in the cards. I turned on the radio and was treated to a broadcast so hard to follow I may as well have been trying to track the Predator at night while dealing with temporary blindness. That said, there are a few things that creep into my mind after yesterday's game.

I like to think of myself as a guy who gives a lot of slack, patience, if you will, to new hires. I did it back when Frank was hired and I've done it this year as well. Now, some folks don't work that way. Some identify a person they see as an issue, make their presence known and go about other ways of dealing with the situation. My patience and willingness to cut slack with some of the new hires is reaching an abrupt end, folks. Even after the Wreck at Tech, even after the breakdowns against Baylor, I felt that Nebraska could put together a game plan to corral Dylan Meier or Allan Webb.

The problem is, when you can't even have once facet of defense to hang your hat on, that just isn't getting the job done. Coach Cosgrove's hire has confused and irritated many across the Corngrigation and now, they can consider me a member of their numbers. Coz's schemes baffle me quite a bit, but after discussion with several very knowledgeable compatriots of mine, I determined that there might be a few games where Nebraska's defense could shine and Kansas State was one of those. However, when Nebraska did what they absolutely couldn't afford to do in letting Darren Sproles AND his quarterbacks, whoever would play, get loose, I made a decision: I just don't think Coz is going to get it done here.

That's kinda hard for me to say because I get concerned for the kids. If you've read my articles over a period of time, you'd know that the kids are the core makeup for my fandom, so naturally when someone suggests we could have a fourth defensive coordinator in four years, I see good and bad for the situation. I suppose the question I'd have to ask myself is, "Would the immediate bad outweigh the eventual good, should it come?" Right now, I think the answer to that is a resounding "no". Now, I won't lie, I'm not up to snuff on the best and brightest defensive minds in the NFL aside from Monte and a few head coaches, but it seems to me that the way to go might be the way Nebraska took in the 2002 off-season. A strong pro defensive mindset might be just what the doctor ordered yet again.

When I look at situations I am displeased with in terms of coaching, Coz is numero uno, I think that's fairly obvious. I am a little more lenient on Coaches Elmassian and Busch. Coach Blake has a definite purpose and I think with a better scheme and a continued influx of elite talent, thinks could be rosey for him and his charges. Coach Busch is a similar situation in that he can recruit, maybe not to the extent as Coach Blake, but again, with a little more speed in his linebackers, I feel he might be able to do a solid job. Coach Elmo is the one that has a little less leeway with me in that I feel he at least has some pretty good talent to work with and is hindered by Coz's schemes. The underlying factor here is Cosgrove. I would be interested to see if a new coordinator using the same assistants could achieve more.

Offensively, I see things a little better. I am VERY encouraged by Coach Wagner. He has taken a line that, in my opinion, is largely out of place and made them useable. Not great, but they can get the job done aside from a miscue here and there. Coach Jordan is another favorite of mine. In his first year of coaching at any level, he has brought three runningbacks to the table that can perform and has brought Brandon Jackson along very well. The jury's still out on Coach Gill's work as a receivers coach, in my opinion, as he doesn't really have your standard West Coast Offense-style of receiver on a broad scale just yet. Coach Norvell, I really do enjoy as he seems a very sharp offensive mind who I believe will be an asset to us in the years to come.

As far as the game went, as sloppily as it sounded on the radio, we were still in it until defensive breakdowns and costly mistakes on both sides of the ball hurt us. I think it's fair to say that this team has a lot of work to do from top to bottom, coaches to players. There comes a point, however, when a player must ask himself in the face of such odds and adversity, if he is going to quit. There becomes the issue of pride in one's self and in what one is capable of. Do I feel Nebraska is capable of more than it has shown? Indeed, I do. I certainly feel that the defense is capable of more than the gutting it has allowed in the past several games. After all, this was supposed to be the strength of the team to carry an offense learning a new system. In the end, the KSU game went a little something like this at the time of fate being sealed: defense holds Kansas State, offense goes 3-and-out, this repeats for a bit and then finally, KSU breaks through the D, the offense makes with the turnovers and the plug was pulled on the drain.

Believe it or not, I still find things within this team to be encouraged about and absolutely think that the future is pretty bright, which I know isn't the really popular view right now, but hey, what can I say? The point is, guys, these Cornhuskers are my boys. I'll follow them and attend games until the stadium collapses due to the massive Orgonsian Invasion of 2045. In the end though, this season is going to come down to pride and we shall see very soon if this team has it and if its fans have it left as well. In the meantime, I understand many of you are upset and want to vent. This is good. Frustration is natural and getting these feelings out is, in all actuality, quite healthy. Just remember, though, that in a week, Brad Smith and Missouri comes to town and instead of worrying what might be based on what we've seen, I'd recommend showing up, taking pride in our boys and help them try to make life hell for the Tigers.

Take care of yourselves, everyone. Stay safe and Go Big Red.

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