There’s still time to improve
By Larry Pritchett
Past PCHS Activities Director
Last week I watched the Husker football game while in Kansas. Counting my son, Troy, and me there were two Husker fans in the entire motel where we were staying. The third person in the room was a KU fan and one who knows something about football. He is my cousin’s husband, John Schroll, who was an All-Big Eight tight at KU in the early 1970’s. He kind of rooted for the Huskers because he was trying to be nice to family I think.
The Huskers looked pretty good for a first game outing and looked exceptionally good on offense. So things were pretty bright for the trip to California and the Rose Bowl and the game with UCLA.
I have been to the Rose Bowl once in my like back when Bill Long got a group together and we watched the Huskers run all over the Bruins. On paper it seemed like this could be a repeat of that 1980s game. We have T-Magic in Taylor Martinez and receivers who can catch the ball, and we have a good running game and a defensive guru as a coach. It had to be a perfect setting for the Huskers!
Not so fast my friend, everything is not always as it appears. The wheels maybe didn’t come off the Husker wagon but they wobbled enough to make you wonder if we are going to be ready for a big game this season or not.
In the first half alone, UCLA put 24 points on the Black Shirts and had 372 yards of offense. At times our defense could not tackle anything until the UCLA backs had positive yards. The Husker offense kept up though putting 24 points on the scoreboard to stay in the game.
The problem was at the half– it appeared that the Bruins made some adjustments and the Huskers might have made some but they didn’t work nearly as well as the Bruins. Nebraska only got 106 more offense and scored just 6 points. The Bruins got 281 more offensive yards and 12 points.
The Huskers gave up 653 total yards for the game, with 344 of that being rushing yards. The Huskers were not as good as Rice on the defensive side of the ball. Rice surrendered only 646 yards to UCLA. That was RICE!
You don’t have to be a genius of any kind to know that giving up that many yards will usually get you beat.
Offensively, there is no doubt that having an injury to Rex Burkhead had to hurt, but still Nebraska was in it until Martinez threw the late interception that led to the winning touchdown.
I always get nervous when we go to our “Drop Back” passing game with Martinez. I think he is throwing the ball better this year than last. I think his mechanics are better, but I do not believe that using him in a straight drop back situation gives us the best chance to be successful.
If you read some of the Lincoln and Omaha papers they are quick to mention that some of the fan base is becoming more vocal. Fervent fan bases tend to overreact to poor game performances and this game was just that. It was a big game on national TV and a very winnable game but the Huskers didn’t get it done.
No one wants to lose. I hope that the powers that be, Coach Osborne, isn’t even remotely thinking about change, but there will be pressure no doubt. This is just one game. There is plenty of time to improve. This is Nebraska not Savanna State, so let’s hope the situation improves.
On the local front, I got to see the Plainsmen play for the first time this season and they played pretty well. I was impressed with Elliot Carlson who has had two really solid games. Carlson looked like he made good decisions, can throw the ball pretty well, and when he gets in the open has some speed.
Just like the Huskers, the Plainsmen need to keep improving and as the games get tougher and as they get into the district games, keep the winning going and make it to the playoffs.