Following the Iowa St. game, much of the Husker Nation went into a deep funk, including me, which caused me to not make an entry into my diary last week. After the PSU game, I had inquiries from numerous non Huskers around the country, asking me "what happened". I was candid and didn't try to sugar coat anything. Following the Iowa St. game, no one contacted me. So I took matters in my own hands, and contacted people for their opinions. Here are a couple of responses
From Dan, a UCF fan in Orlando, who follows the Huskers, does a local sports talk show "Two Minute Warning" on Knightcast and contributes to SouthernBlitz.com << would have to agree with those who feel the talent level has slipped at Nebraska a little bit, especially on the offensive side of the ball. It may now have come to the point where the Huskers offense is having a harder time finding top-flight HS athletes outside the state of Nebraska
Most high schools today run more sophisticated passing offenses. Very few high schools in the talent-rich areas of California, Texas, and the Southeast emphasize the running game. HS players want to play in a pro-style offense...hoping to attract the eye of college scouts and, eventually, a chance to play at the professional level.
Also, HS coaches (I notice this in Florida) do not have as many players on their teams like they used to. Years ago, large HS schools could count on 60 or 70 kids to fill their rosters. Due to either budget cutbacks, or, lack of interest from high school-age students, fewer players suit up for HS programs. (I have seen many high schools in the Orlando area, in the largest classification [6A], have rosters of 30 to 35 players.........and these are the better programs). With fewer players available, HS coaches are more willing to accommodate players to stay with the team.....and HS players want to play in the pro-style offenses. Smaller rosters also limit running the option, where injuries to QBs occur at a higher rate.
Does this mean that Nebraska should forego their option game? No, but, it may be time to start throwing the ball a little more (possibly running a Multiple scheme...I'm thinking of the successful Syracuse teams under Dick MacPherson in the 1980's). It may mean some tough losses now, but, in the long run, it will eventually attract the better HS athletes.
Nebraska is so solid in other areas (facilities, coaching, monetary support) that a slight tinkering with the offense can bring in more blue-chips in the future.
The Husker system is not broken, just needs slight adjustment. Opening up the offense just a little may be what is needed>>
Interesting thoughts. Now here is an opinion from some one that builds stadiums, a contributor and long time friend from Omaha: Lynn having been a Husker fan all my life and living in Omaha the entire time, I remember the times before Devaney and the lean years with Devaney and Osborne. No question when the Huskers started this year it was clear to anyone who had been watching the Huskers that this was going to be a down year. We have not had a great I-back since A. Green. I would appear that we need a change at quarterback and I-back. I think now is the time to play the players we think will be playing next year. We had been through down years before and will in the future. I say give the coaches a chance they know the team better than any Monday morning quarterback.
Also a couple of knowledgeable football fans I read in another forum stated they believed that the real Husker season started with the McNeese State game, and there was plenty of time to make amends for the Iowa State game. They point out the season is a long season, with a 13 game schedule, and gave the Huskers a chance to regroup and proceed. So, according to them, the games have just begun. This is a valid point.
Okay, let's proceed to the schedule and ratings. Here are my rankings for the Big XII after last weeks games.
1. Oklahoma retains their No. 1 rating. The Sooners escaped at Missouri, again playing on a famously wet and slippery surface, where they just about let the game slip away from them. Only after a helmet to helmet hit on Tiger QB Brad Smith, where he had to leave the game for 1 play, did the Sooners gain the upper hand. When Smith returned, he threw an interception on the first play as if he did not know his teammate from the opposition. The Sooners then converted a 4th down fake field goal for the touchdown and the win. Oklahoma enters the Red River Shootout this week as the underdog, where defensive coordinator Mike Stoops has dissed the Texas QB situation by stating the Longhorns might substitute the scrambling QB McNeil to give them trouble. Of course, we all know McNeil plays for A&M.
2. Texas remains No. 2, and will have to beat Oklahoma to be No. 1, reminiscent with the Huskers/Buffalo clash of '94. The Dallas Morning News rates Texas No. 1 in the Big XII, and Saragin places the Sooners there. Texas has been my No. 1 pick for both the MNC and the Big XII, but I have relinquished the top spot in the ratings to the Sooners due to HuskerConnection influence and Texas fans. Texas also got caught looking ahead in escaping a very good Oklahoma State team, but managed to hang on for the win. Only one Texas fan I have talked to has predicted a Texas victory this week, that by 13 points. Okay, my prediction for the Red River Shoot Out, previously posted on this board, is Texas 21-7. Texas has the best QB, overall talent and depth.
3. Iowa State Cyclones. Oh, how I hate to say that after the game two weeks ago. I did not expect this, even with a Cyclone victory, but again, they have earned it on the field. They are a legitimate Big XII championship game contender, but have dates with Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas State in the weeks ahead. And they have to contend with Tech this week, who may put more points on the board than the Cyclones. The individual shootout of the week may be Seneca Wallace and Kliff Kingsbury in Ames. If it were at Tech, I would take Tech and the points.
4. Colorado Buffaloes are No. 4. Who would have tho