People are going to look at the polls or the record and say, these teams are good, they are undefeated or they are rated. Let me tell you something, I thought that I was in Lubbock again today when Tech cam out and got Nebraska down big, early.
There was a lot of time left and the Nebraska players never gave up. Last year started just like this year and what was the difference. Taylor? Maybe. Ross? He was here last year. The defense? Partially right.
How about character? How about a team that decided not to give up? They easily could. My hats are off to him.
Big difference a week makes
Just when you think that you have cured some things they return and exactly when you don't need them to. I noticed some things today that I thought we had sorted out, thought were improving and we seemed to have regressed in these areas:
Penalties - There were some key penalties on offense and defense that made you shake your head the first time and then yell the second time. It's tough to overcome mental mistakes especially in a game like today.
Situational play-calling - There were some drives that just did not go the way you wanted them to, play-calling-wise. There were some times that the run isn't gone to soon enough in the series and other times when passing the ball seems to make sense. I think that the result of the drive that yielded the field goal comes to mind first. I would also look at the out to Fluellen or Nunn in the first half toward Tech's top CB.
Poor decision making - Taylor, overall, had a very good game. But, to win a game like this today he would have needed a nearly perfect game. Turnovers killed us, period. The way that the second half started Nebraska was lucky to only to give up six points to start the second half.
These things need to get fixed. Next week is not a game against your father's Baylor. This is a new team. If there is any need for reason from me about why I say that check out last week's game against and at Texas A&M and against Iowa State this week. This will also be our first road game.
Where to from here?
Well, you have some positive things to build on and this was another week that you just sit there in amazement at the character of this team. You have Baylor next and this will not be a two-day week of preparing for Baylor and two days on Missouri.
First thing I say to my defensive line tonight, you make an interception then you protect the ball and get down. Can't blame this game on anyone individually or on any side of the ball. All sides of the ball gave a great effort.
Here are some grades on the game from me by unit:
Quarterback: B- - Taylor made some mistakes, but overall showed the ability to move one from his mistakes and make another play.
Running Back: A- - Ross is still the man and hopefully he is healthy because we are going to need him down this coming stretch. Beyond that it was good to see Glenn and Lucky get involved.
Wide Receiver and Tight End: C - Maybe I am being critical here, but I felt like there were a couple of times that there were some catchable balls that needed to be caught and some toughness that wasn't exhibited by the wide receivers in key times.
Offensive Line: C - There were just some totally botched blocks that led to big hits on Taylor or didn't give him a lot of time to run the ball. There is an impatience too by Mann on reach blocks to make that snap and totally lunge out making it a bad exchange.
Defensive Line: B+ - I was happy with the way that the line played, especially Jay Moore again this week. I am hoping that one time this year that someone will call an offensive lineman for holding Adam Carriker. I thought we would see more of Turner this weekend than what we did.
Linebacker: B+ - I think that athleticism and speed is great at the linebacking position, but I think that you can have too much of one and not enough of the other. Reach blocks by the Tech offensive line on Corey McKeon kept him in check most of the night.
Cornerback: C - Some key penalties in pass protection and the inability to make a jump on and of Hodges passes really concerns me. I thought that we would get some interceptions from our secondary tonight. In fact, I counted on it.
Safety: C- - We are really an athlete or two down in the secondary at safety. I haven't been extremely impressed with Dan Bullocks this year after some missed tackles and a tendency to put his hand on the back of a receiver that is being called for interference. Tiedtke played O.K., but is not the answer that is needed.
Special Teams: B - This could have easily have been a B+ or even an A if that punt gets blocked there. I didn't see Terrence Nunn in punt returns and that really makes me wonder why. He is the number two guy at punt return average in the nation. Now, I was not upset about Cortney Grixby's game back there today, but I just thought it was odd.
OVERALL: C+ I am going to take the good things with the bad today and say that again this team took a step forward and is a good unit. This game could have easily have been won...only if. When that interception happened on the last drive and then he intercepted I thought of Ghostbusters and the lesson learned about making that interception and falling down: "If someone asks you if you are a God you say yes!" If you make an interception and wonder if you should go down then you should. Water under the bridge. Shoulders back, heads high. Baylor and your first road game this season await.