Today was a day about tough breaks and plays that could have gone either way very easily. Unfortunately for Nebraska they had far too few go their way and Missouri had too many go theirs. It seemed like Missouri had a way of being in the right place at the right time.
Beyond tough breaks there are a couple of things that I would have done:
1. More audibles into a roll-out pass. Too many times was there a TE or a RB left to block the backside (which sometimes seemed like an improvement to the LT play). Roll-out away from the pressure giving you time.
2. More lateral passing. In a case of a strong backside rush and the RB left to block then have Ross move out into the flat and lob a pass over the pressure.
3. A spy on defense on Smith. It is really pretty crazy to see one man dismantle your defense like that.
4. A few more shots on Smith. I am not one for the cheap shot, but I believe a few more pops after a pass might have shaken him.
5. More liberal substituting across the line. Murtha should have been in there much, much sooner. He just did not have the lateral movement necessary today. Hindsight is 20/20, but those are a few of the things that I would have done.
Eliminate the drops
Simply put we shot ourselves in the foot continually today on the dropped passes. Taylor was under far too much pressure and took too many hits for him to have to stand in there, deliver a strike and have it dropped by a receiver.
Beyond the drops there were the mental breakdowns again. There were the procedure, illegal formations, running into the kicker (BS call), and blown pass blocking all day long. They simply killed drive, killed momentum.
It's time to address these needs again. Teams know how to beat us, how to confuse our pass blocking. Today was a blueprint to all of the other teams on how to beat us, soundly.
Remember, Nebraska had some key recoveries by the defense that put the offense in good shape to make easy scores. It's scary to think about what the score might have been without the pass block and the sack by Barry Turner.
Right the ship, get the running game on track
I simply thought that the past two weeks was a bit of a "fluke". A fluke that teams could shut down our running game the way that they did. This team will need to get the running game on track and quick.
I wish there was a way to quick fix this, but I am not sure that there is. I would point out that maybe some more diversity is needed. What I mean is a need to quick pitch to Lucky and let him take it wide and use his vision to find a lane and cut up.
There is also a need to keep the true freshman, Marlon Lucky and Cody Glenn, involved. You need to play to their strengths, but not allow teams to trend the plays that you run when they enter the game.
Cory Ross is a do-it-all running back. Without a doubt, I would take him on my team every day of the week and twice on Sunday. However, there is still a lot of the season left, a chance to still win the North and you need to get this team bowl eligible! In short, a need to keep Cory healthy.
Marlon needs to be a full-timer on kick return as well. It just seems like he is improving with every time he gets his hands on the ball. You are going to want that next year (the experience, the confidence), but I am convinced that you need him this year.
I have been at a loss for the past year or so. Why can't Nebraska get offensive tackles? Show them the Missouri game! They are, in my mind, the biggest need still that Nebraska had going into the year and are still the biggest need as of right now.
That is not a shot at D.J. Jones. I have heard that he is a very athletic player that looks light right now at 300 pounds, but I have heard a need for some fire under him. We need some nasty offensive tackles.
Someone had asked on the board what is the tackle situation looking like and I will tell you it isn't a rosy situation. Nebraska has a bit of a sell to make to a couple of these guys if we are to just become their leader.
Here are some of the top guys right now:
Scott Kreihbel – Has Nebraska in his top five, maybe. He isn't really interested in the process of recruiting right now. A very solid player. Great feet, good frame. They will need to impress him to just get an official.
Keith Williams – Keith is a fine player. Nebraska is sitting very good for Williams, however there is an adjustment that needs to be made on everyone's profiles on Williams. He isn't 6-foot-6. He is maybe 6-foot-4. Nebraska will stay on him.
Perry Dorrestein – Again, not a guy that is overly into the recruiting process. Nebraska is the premier offer in his list and I think that Nebraska can get him.
Jeffrey Adams – Now, Nebraska does look very, very good here. However, his style of play and the type of OT he is has been questioned. I would expect Nebraska still to take his commit if he would decide to commit, but he is a little ways down the list.