The internet is a wonderful thing. It gives you instant access (unless you are still on the Henry Ford dial-up system) to information on subjects ranging from world economics to sites that can actually tell you how many full body skin grafts you could get from Beano Cook's chin. You can find sites devoted to almost every thing you love and message boards that have are a cooperative of fans and devotees. When it comes to sports, those fans range from the average, ever day lover to the opinionated-know-it-all-if-I-were-coach-we-would-never-lose-vainglorious-attitude-driven fanatic. After this game against TSU, the latter just love their time in the sun.
It's amazing when you follow a program as successful as Nebraska's has been over the years. You get used to winning, take losing considerably hard and find true satisfaction in either titles or "convincing" victories. Outside of that, a lot of fans simply don't aspire to the "a win is a win" philosophy. They'll bitch about anything from the way a running back makes his cuts to a QB not seeing the "hot route" even when he had two defensive line in his mug with nothing but "kill" written across their foreheads. In short, you can't please them. They aren't the average fan, so a win isn't just a win, it's another opportunity to criticize why it wasn't quite good enough.
In this game, NU didn't look like the NU everyone loves to see. They didn't run with impunity, the defense didn't hold the offense of the Trojans to three yards and though Groce took all his returns back for a touchdown, because it wasn't done on kickoffs, the overall special teams' performance is about a C MINUS. Yep, that's life in Huskerville. A place where perfection is the standard and anything less than a 50 point victory is just not any damn good.
Troy State had a simple philosophy on defense tonight. Make Jammal Lord beat them. They stacked the box with up to 10 players at a time and even when NU went to two and three wides, Troy State still played the run. Diedrick's yards came hard all night and only a very elusive Ross was able to do any real damage. That's not to say DD had a bad game, but TSU was bound and determined to make him a non-factor and challenge NU's O-line to prove to them they couldn't. Well, for the most part, the O-line struggled, but though it may have gone unnoticed to any of the couch potato coaches out there, the third quarter for NU was just what you want to see. 144 yards rushing in that quarter alone. Isn't that what you expect? Isn't that what you hope as an NU fan, that they wear down the defense?
TSU wanted to make NU's QB beat them. A QB with exactly one start in his collegiate career under his belt. Lord actually looked decent tonight, with the exception of the one throw into the endzone that was either the receiver running the wrong route or the QB thinking that they were going to break out instead of in. Either way, Lord wasn't stellar, but it was better than last week and for someone so young, that's about the most you can hope for.
Back to the negativity though, this is about the line of what you see as you browse the message boards across the world wide web. Aaron Terpening is terrible on blitzes, Phillip Bland has forgotten how to tackle, McPherson had a career game in terms of how bad he was, the O-line still can't figure out which way if forward and oh yes, 80 percent of the coaches are inept. Hell, that's the good news. Seriously. Some are predicting now that NU is destined for the toilet bowl against Hofstra.
The defense did what they could to try and curtail the onslaught of negativity, as Groce's two interceptions highlighted the day. Except for a garbage touchdown by Troy State late in the game, the NU defense did a nice job of limiting the experienced Trojans. It was actually their starting QB, Hansell Bearden that did the most damage on the ground, leading the team in rushing, because their starting running back, Lebarron Black couldn't average even 3 yards a carry. But, Bearden's damage was almost exclusively on the ground as he was just 9-26 in the air, getting picked twice and throwing no touchdown strikes. In fact, let's take a look at the result of all of TSU's first half drives. Interception, Punt, Punt, Fumble, Interception, Punt, Punt and Field Goal. Not too shabby at all even against an obviously overmatched, outgunned, overrated and underachieving Troy State team.
The "star" of the game and probably one of the only players not to be dubbed overrated, unsuited for their position or just worthless was DeJuan Groce. With two interception and two punt returns for touchdowns, Groce did what it took to keep NU ahead of TSU, making sure this game didn't turn into a nail-biter in the end. His performance was nothing sort of brilliant. But of course, he's certainly not Johnny Rodgers at punt returns and he's only maybe as good as Ardell Johnson at DB. In truth though, Groce is considered by most to be one of the true stars on this team, but he burns as bright as he does in fan's eyes , because almost everyone else just sucks.
Hell, let's just make Groce the head coach.
Everyone (me included) expected this to be another learning experience for the team, the offensive line included and you know what, it was. They learned that if a team truly wants to stop the run bad enough, they can. Nebraska didn't even break 200 yards on the ground, something anemic when it comes to the Nebraska rushing attack. Rather than get on NU for their ineffectiveness, maybe someone might want to give just a wee bit of credit to the Trojans for not actually laying down in fear once they heard the "tunnel walk". It just sucks when teams come into Lincoln and don't bow immediately to the Huskers and only pray and hope not to be trampled, beaten and humiliated. Why can't they learn? When you come to Lincoln, fold like a wet blanket, so the local blitzkrieg of negativity doesn't overwhelm everyone to the point of putting a bullet in their heads. Troy State didn't do that. Damn them for their insensitivity.
Does NU have a lot to learn? Damn right they do. Everyone in the pre-season was saying that this team had a lot of questions to answer, but nobody seems to want to wait for the season to end for NU to prove or disprove themselves. But, this is Husker land, where if you can't be the best, at least pretend like they are the best and bitch when it's not all perfect. Hell, Nebraska can't even do anything right when it comes to player choices. Last year, the argument was that the young guns weren't getting on the field so they could make an impact and now, young ones are being used all over the place and people are bitching, because that must mean the older guys aren't any good. *sigh*
I'm a couch potato like anyone else. I want perfection like anyone else and if such and such player doesn't make the plays that I feel they should make, I want someone else to get in there and do it for them. If a coach calls a play that doesn't turn out to be any good, I scream at the tv, "WHO CALLS THAT ON THIRD DOWN?????". I scream, I moan, I complain. Hell, I'm a sports fan. It's my damn right!!! I'm a fan though, not a fanatic. I can't tell you who's on the entire roster. Sometimes, I can't tell you who's on the field. I can't recite from memory the win-loss record of the Huskers, nor can I tell you who ran left when they should have ran right in the 1976 Blue Bonnet bowl against Texas Tech. You know how I knew that was the Blue Bonnet Bowl? I looked it up just now. I bitch about what coaches do and say that some coaches have no business being coaches, but last time I looked, most people that complain the most have never coached a day in their lives. They might know how plays are constructed and from a La-Z-Boy, might be able to call the perfect game, but pardon me for being a bit presumptuous, I will take someone with at least some experience over anyone that just has an opinion.
The internet is a wonderful thing though. At your fingertips lies a wealth of information, so in abundance, even the hungriest of minds could not ever hope to enjoy even a thousandth of what it has to offer. From the sublime to ridiculous, from the malignant to the benign, it's all right there for the taking. It's also a forum for every negative son of a bitch on the planet that thinks they know more than everyone else and if they had control, the ozone wouldn't have a hole, weathermen would always be right and NU would never lose a game. And why? Because, they are so damn good, nobody lets them coach, because it would be a dynasty that would never end.
Here's a headline. Nebraska isn't perfect. Get over it. By the way, NU did win.