Pitching with Pritch
Kind of an easy going weekend with no Plainsmen football on Friday and the Huskers not playing until late on Saturday, so I had time to watch some of the other games during the afternoon.
To be honest, there wasn’t many that caught my interest. I did watch a lot of the Oklahoma and Iowa State game after I had given up on it early because it appeared OU was going to run all over the Cyclones. But I have an app on my phone that runs scores by me and I saw that the Iowa State bunch was making a comeback.
Comeback they did. All the way back and they got an upset win over the Sooners. I am not a big fan of Iowa State but would rather see them win than OU so it was a good game to watch.
That had to be one of the biggest upsets of the young college season. Iowa State did it with their starting quarterback not playing because of some personal problems. Iowa State might be happy with how their other quarterbacks played. Sometimes you just never know how things might go if you make a change for any reason.
There were some other games that were kind of interesting, but I wanted to see the Huskers step up and make a statement in their game with Wisconsin.
Along with the Husker game, there was a reunion of the 1997 National Champions and in the game we got to see a great tribute to the honored guests. This was the treat:
• Ten plays, eight rushes 93 yards, touchdown.
• Ten plays, 10 rushes, 80 yards, touchdown.
• Ten plays, 10 rushes, 40 yards, touchdown.
The problem was the team doing that was Wisconsin! Wisconsin looked very much like the 1997 Nebraska National Champions. Their uniforms, their linemen, their backs all resembled the old Huskers. Jonathan Taylor, a freshman running back for Wisconsin at 5’11” and 214 pounds, ripped the Huskers for 249 yards on 25 carries.
In the last 25:43 of the game, Nebraska ran 15 plays. Fifteen total plays. The Wisconsin defense did their job without breaking a sweat. If your defensive team is only on the field for 15 plays then something is going pretty well for your team and that was happening for Wisconsin.
There were flashes for the Huskers. With a little over 10 minutes left in the game, Aaron Williams got a pick six for Nebraska and the score was tied 17-17. The Huskers were in the game, had some momentum and things looked pretty good. Then it all went south.
After the game was tied, Wisconsin ran 30 plays, scored three touchdowns and ran the ball 28 times with just two passes in addition to having the ball for 17:52 of clock time. They also had the ball for the last 1:16 in victory formation.
On a night when Nebraska honored their last national championship team, a team that ran the ball 775 times and passed it just 182, the game made a pretty strong statement on where the program has turned.
The Cornhuskers are not now, and I would say a good chance never will be, a team built in the likeness of the teams of the Devaney and Osborne era. It doesn’t mean the Huskers can never be contenders for Big 10 and National Honors but there is a ton of work to do to even think we are close to those goals.
I am certainly not the smartest guy in the room, and I am in a room all by myself right now, but I know firing the coach is not always the answer. But it is usually what happens and that means you are looking a few years to inject new philosophies and recruit players to fit the system, etc.
Changes are hard, upsetting and usually cost money. Nebraska is paying a number of people at the present not to work for them. A name floating around as a possible AD replacement has already said he isn’t interested. A young, ex-Nebraska quarterback has stated he has no reason to leave where he is coaching at the present time. Plus, for all the people who want the Devaney/Osborne style of play that coach doesn’t run that style of a game.
So what looked like there could be a made-to-order problem-solving situation with those two people might not work. Personally I like how we used to do it at Nebraska, but I am more into winning rather than systems.
It isn’t going to get a lot easier as the season continues. The Ohio State game is coming up next and it might get better but it could get….you fill in the blank!