Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bill of Fair

Nebraska went into Ryan Field Saturday night and leaked oil the entire first half against a decidedly mediocre Northwestern Wildcat team. The Cornhuskers did what Bo Pinelli teams do for at least part of every football game. Nebraska made some rare mid-game adjustments and dominated the second half in a come-from-behind 38-17 victory.

That's not something Pinelli teams always do. So, regardless that the game was a slightly above average performance, and that NU wore its faggoty all-white uniforms, it's a win. Move on. Next crappy opponent Saturday at 11am. At least it won't be played on crab grass. As far as analysis, here's ours:

--Tommy Armstrong: Far from perfect. Can't hit a screen pass to save his ass. Misses wide-open receivers when not reading all five routes every pass play. Still accounted for 281 yards in a road game and racked up another win to run his record to 13-3 as a starter by our unofficial count. (Anyone else remember Taylor Martinez starting and losing at Minnesota last year after Armstrong began his career 3-0? We're fine).

On a macro level, Armstrong is completing 53.5 percent of his passes this season. A shocking statistic Saturday showed his receivers has dropped 17 passes this year. Add nine of those 17 as catches and he's at 58 percent. Add all 17, and it's 63%. Ten touchdowns. Five interceptions. 6-1.

Proof that the QB doesn't have to do it all and can rack up wins by taking opportunities as they come and not laying it on the ground 47 times a season. PYB asks a simple question when gauging whether NU has made progress over its previous starter at the QB position: Are we embarrassed to watch NU play offense because its leader lacks any semblance of fundamentals and looks like a pussy? The answer to that question is no, so the answer to the first question is a resounding YES.

--Ameer Abdullah: Emerged from his six-quarter 'slump' to prove that if he has a line that doesn't constantly blow assignments and kill drives with boneheaded penalties that he's a stud and will rush for well over 100 yards.

--Kenny Bell: Five catches for 89 yards. Four drops in the first half alone. The positive here is that he didn't fake any injuries after said drops. PYB would love to see him on the field the rest of the way, using his game-breaking skills and not writhing on the ground in FIFA-style pain or begging for a pass interference call.

--DeMornay Pierson-El: From day one, a natural football player with the 'it' factor. His raw talent showed first on punt returns. On Saturday, he showcased his receiving and running skills along with his passing touch. Despite getting little opportunity in the return game, he completely altered Northwestern's punt game for the worse -- and to Nebraska's advantage. Who knew special teams could be so important when playing at an opponent's stadium?

--Offensive Line: The backups came in and revolutionized the run game, allegedly. Either way, NU ran the ball well for the first time since the Illinois game. If true, it took the coaches seven games to find out their backups are better than their starters. Something doesn't add up. We'll go more in depth on the tape this week.

That said, Jake Cotton ruined the opening drive by failing to line up on the line because he had to pull his fat ass on the play, turning a 2nd and 2 into 1st & 15 and forcing an eventual punt. Not to be denied, he ruined another first-half drive that started at the Northwestern 43 by negating a long first-down run by Abdullah. Cotton Era ... tick, tick, tick...

--Special Teams: Drew Brown missed a 39-yard field goal after one of Bell's drops and kept the score 7-0 Northwestern. NU botched four consecutive squib kicks. The kick return unit should have adapted to the strategy after the first time. Apparently, all the concentration on punt returns this season has come at the expense of other special team units.

--Tim Beck: Stayed out of his way, for the most part, in Evanston and helped NU get what it needs more consistently against sportingly terrible road opponents (aka Northwestern). Establish the run game. Achieve a 60-40 run-pass split. Avoid turnovers. Mix playmakers into the pass game at opportune moments. Win the game -- in boring fashion if necessary. Leave town.

Outside of three-pass-and-out series at midfield in a tie game late in the first half, there were generally fewer Tim Beck "What the Fuck?" moments. Commendable progress.

--Andy Janovich: Looked great on a couple lead blocks on Abdullah touchdowns. Looked the same to PYB's un-Ohio-trained eye two years ago as a freshman. Heard absolutely nothing from him last year. Speaks volumes for the programs consistent model of inconsistency.

--Terrell Newby: Looked spry in his four carries and 23 yards. PYB wishes he got more opportunities, but it's clear he's the second running back after Abdullah -- if we ignore the sympathy carries Imani Cross gets during mop-up duty.

--Trevor Roach: Benched at the end of the first half for missing three tackles on one drive (which followed his QB sack at the 8:07 mark of the second quarter). Replaced by Josh Banderas who missed no tackles the rest of that drive because he didn't get close enough to any of the plays to miss a tackle. That said, two of Roach's misses were against Justin Jackson, who looked pretty darn good and who NU didn't offer a scholarship to after his visit to Lincoln. Private Pinelli mentioned that missing tackles is unacceptable in his post-halftime interview. It's been happening for five seasons. This all makes perfect sense.

--Corey Cooper: Seems to have a solid work ethic and be a team guy, so we'll take it as easy as possible on him. But, his play has been awful -- if you count a minimum of three embarrassing misses per game as awful. Cooper's knee slide into end zone on a missed touchdown opportunity may have been the worst play of many in his career, as he looked like a figure skater finishing her long program with a flourish. Is it safe to say anyone incapable of not being embarrassed by Big 14 offenses is not a legitimate FBS defender?

--Nate Gerry: Huge, momentum-swinging interception in his own end zone on a shitty pass into triple coverage after a shittier personal foul penalty that had the Wildcats a the middle of the field with a 7-0 lead. PYB has liked his play this year, and his whiteness should have racist Nebraska fans crowing with joy for two more seasons.

--Defensive Backs: Annoyingly soft and inconsistent in pass coverage. Few pass breakups. Many near misses. Enough blown or slipped tackles to still drive fans crazy as offensive players gain an extra three to seven yards time and again. Plenty of reasons to make us believe any game against a decent team is capable of getting out of hand at any time.

--Randy Gregory: Still waiting for him to have a breakout game. He's been the target of opposing offenses, so that's surely contributed to his lack of big numbers. That said, his penchant for letting personal confrontations with the opponent take precedence over the game at hand is concerning. So are the nickel-dime injuries that seem to crop up at some point every week -- in a Jadeveon Clowney When-is-the-NFL-Draft-Again? kind of way...

--Defensive tackles: This group seems ready to bust out, and PYB wishes coaches were better at mixing pressure from the back seven defenders. This week was Kevin Williams' turn to shine, and the group's depth and progress make us wish that NU had been able to keep Aaron Curry in Lincoln. There's something about muscular, mobile defensive linemen that we like. Either way, we take away the fact that several new faces have shown up at big moments as a positive.

--Chris Weber: Showed up in the box score for Nebraska. Over/under before a local reporter makes a misplaced, roll-your-eyes comparison to Chris Webber -- the one who played at Michigan/in the NBA/ranted on reporters who were asking him about fucking Tyra Banks by bragging about not having any bastard kids? Two weeks?

--Ryan Field: Piece of shit. Did they water it before the game to make sure the footing was impossible and the game stayed at a Big 14 speed level? Another televised embarrassment for this embarrassment of a conference.

On that note, we'll fade into bolivian, but not before saying that any road win in this college football day and age is a relatively good one. Even if it's in the least talent-laden major conference in the game and the performance had more sores than a truckstop skank.

Keep in mind the nation's top five teams includes a team known mostly for cowbells and three-win seasons, one known for racism and Archie Manning going there 50 years ago and two more teams from the same conference that lost to the first two teams mentioned in this sentence. If you don't believe college football is watered down, you're lost.

And if you don't know that ESPN is preparing the menu and setting the table for what it wants you to eat, you're delusional. Take the fact that the nation's 6th-ranked team is one that lost at home to the 15th-rated team that lost to a two-loss USC team at home as proof of that.

Still, rack up the W and enjoy the next serving of mediocrity Saturday against Rutgers. It's what's for dinner.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

TCoB

Nebraska plays at Northwestern today (in football), and PYB awakes early to provide a quick preview and skirt the possibility of providing two posts in one week. Exciting territory, indeed. We'll skip the mundane and spare you from the trite entries about a "Sea of Red" taking the 8:15 into the "Windy City" and enjoying "Chicago Style Dogs" and "Deep Dish Pizza." It's "Their Kinda Town", you'll hear...

Instead, we'll wait to see if Private E-1 Bo Pinelli's crew can go on the road against a less-talented, but dangerous, crappy team and get a win. We'll wait to see if NU can wade through the six inches of crabgrass at Ryan field and keeps its lofty goals of a Big 14 division title intact. We'll find out if Pinelli's troops can earn him a promotion to Private E-2, or if he'll again be outdueled by Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald or if Fitzgerald will hand another game to the Cornhuskers by not being a good coach. In the meantime:

--Corey Cooper, unbeknownst to us and to anyone who's watched him play football this season, is apparently coming into his own in his final season as a Husker. If looking completely overmatched and foolish several times a game means a defensive back is coming of age, we concur. Fluff pieces such as this one by the Omaha World-Herald do nobody any good. We can only hope that Cooper doesn't re-enact his two-hand touch moment from two Northwestern games ago.

--NU Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck finally broke his silence, speaking to the media this week and blaming the players for Nebraska's loss at Michigan State. Of course!! A true leader of men. Sure, his crew made countless errors. We're pretty sure, however, that those players didn't convince him to not develop a backup plan should Michigan State's highly-ranked defense have the foresight to develop a strategy to slow down Nebraska's best player, Ameer Abdullah.

Blame it not on the rain, said Beck, blame it on his unit's hesitancy (Which was most likely borne from another inane 'gameplan'). Blame it on the coordinator not rotating his offensive linemen enough, as he 'got caught up' calling bad plays to develop a good front-five rotation. Best to spread a bevy of junior-high mistakes across eight players as opposed to five, we always say.

--Apparently, BTN is debuting its Brook Berringer tribute tonight after the NU vs. NU game. Here's Sam McKewon's preview. What we'll always remember about Berringer are covering his death for the NU College of Journalism newspaper the night he died. We'll remember Berringer blowing us off for an interview before the 1995 season, following a Saturday morning scrimmage where he'd likely just lost the starting job to Tommie Frazier.

We'll remember finally getting that interview the next week after a mid-week practice, only to be taken aside by Lawrence Phillips so he could ask if we were with the Daily Nebraskan, the campus newspaper he despised after it ran an unflattering cartoon implicating his Ford Mustang was obtained improperly. Didn't Phillips know he could have just borrowed a car with equal-or-better features from any fat girl from rural Nebraska? Anyway, we survived that encounter, although some of you may wish we hadn't.

That's all we have for now, we'll skip College Gameday and three hours of ESPN propaganda and Jameis Winston rape talk. Obviously, the kid is learning to be a man. His offenses are getting less serious each time: from sexual assault, to theft, to just a minor NCAA infraction for signing some autographs. Clearly, he's maturing.

For now, we'll step aside and wait to see how another 'big' test plays out. We've had a full day already. We've thought about Pinelli. We've thought about the Army. We've thought about Nebraska "Taking Care of Business" on the road. Someone, please tell us we're fucking high....

Until tomorrow......PYB

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pitching From Behind

Nebraska played another big football game in prime time Saturday night and racked up another embarrassing loss. In usual fashion, NU shit the bed. In unusual fashion, the Cornhuskers showed a backbone, didn't quit, and almost came back to beat its mediocre Top 10 opponent led by a subpar quarterback. So, take stock, things have gotten better but are still pretty fucking sad. On we go with our game recap:

--Nebraska's Blackskirt defense forced an early turnover, picking off Michigan's statuesque and inaccurate Connor Cook. The offense failed to capitalize from deep in Spartan territory, which became a repeated and rueful habit for this game. (Side note: Cook sucks and went 11/29 on the night)

--The referees blew an early call, blowing dead a huge punt return for Demornay Pierson-El when they misconstrued his signal to teammates as a fair catch. Just the kind of ineptitude that keeps a college football official in place for 15-20 seasons.

--ABC showed Michigan State's locker-room hardware as it came back from one commercial break. One was a 2013 Big Ten championship banner and the other was a 2014 Rose Bowl champions banner. What a fucking embarrassment.

--Cornerback Daniel Davie, after making a nice play early in the first quarter, got hurt. Michigan State, being strategic, targeted his replacement Jonathan Rose on the following play, beat him with a double move, and scored a 55-yard touchdown. 

Nebraska coaches, being not very strategic, blitzed the safety from 12 yards and two counts too late on that same play, offered Rose no help and did their part in spotting the home favorite a 7-0 lead. We're, as always, fine.

--On the following drive, Jake Cotton continued the Cotton Legacy of killing Nebraska by falling over backwards when he couldn't remember the snap count. This, in effect, ended the game and sealed another disastrous national-television fate for NU. 

--Husker Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck did his best to assist in killing that same drive by calling a deep fade pass to Kenny Bell and wasting a down.

--Nebraska coaches, in their infinite wisdom, gave up the wind AND the ball to start both halves of the game. Fine, indeed.

--In a typical big-game move, NU got pinned at its own one by a Spartan punt. NU went three and punt. MSU returned the ball to NU's 31 yard line. Nate Gerry got caught inside on a Spartan run play. Trevor Roach was too slow to make up for his teammate's mistake, and MSU reeled off a 31-yard TD run on the drive's first play to make the score 14-0. The rout was on. 

--Bell hurt himself with 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter and didn't return to the game.  By this point, it was apparent that Nebraska's offensive line was going to miss blocks all night and that the team was being pounded into submission by a tougher Michigan State squad.

--NU countered with another three and out. 

--MSU quickly answered with a 22-yard pass play that had Corey Cooper on ice skates -- his normal assumed position. Sparty did its best to keep Nebraska in the game and fumbled the ball back the next play at its own 41.

-Nebraska gained a first down at Michigan State's 30, before Mike Moudy built his resume for MSU's Game MVP Award by picking up a personal foul penalty and pushing his team back to near midfield. Beck countered with three straight pass plays, forcing NU to punt the ball right back.

--Still in the gifting mood, Macgarrett Kings Jr. gave Nebraska its third present of the evening by fumbling Sam Foltz's punt at his own 24. NU was back in business and down just 14-0. Time to capitalize and cut the lead to one score....right? Right? Or for those with N on their helmets, time to find an entirely new way to choke.

--Not wanting to lack creativity, Moudy was dominated by the MSU defender and thrown on his ass but not before falling back into Ameer Abdullah and causing a fumble. No doubt, this gaffe rested on Moudy's shoulders. PYB has pinned three key fumbles and the subsequent losses of those games on Abdullah over the course of the last two seasons. Not his fault this time. 

--Six plays later, it was 17-0. Five straight pass plays after that, NU punted again and Beck was in mid-blowout form. Going pass happy, forcing a square peg (dropback passing with multiple reads on hard-to-complete routes) into a round hole (run-first, pass-second QB). Calling plays that looked as if he garnered no suspicion that Michigan State would attempt to neutralize Abdullah and beat them with other weapons. What, developing an in-house marketing campaign and sending out some batteries doesn't guarantee your star back will run for 175 yards a game?

Don't believe us? Read the below from Sam McKewon's Omaha World-Herald column Monday. McKewon, not one to spew venom and well known to present the facts based on Xs and Os, went with the following as he mirrored verbatim what PYB and probably millions of others were thinking:

And the Huskers’ offense — long a mercurial, capricious partner in its marriage to the defense — couldn’t land a single blow. The offensive line fell to pieces. The star back had no place to run. The quarterback is tougher than $2 Texas brisket but unpolished as a passer. The coordinator’s play at consistency during the last two weeks gave way to a boom-or-bust attack, putting the game on that quarterback, who struggles to see the whole field and make basic throws for a spread offense.
Forty-seven rushing yards. That’s a low in the Bo Pelini era — and there were stinkers in 2008 and 2009. You have to go back to Nebraska’s 2007 loss vs. USC for a ground game so anemic. Pelini put his stake in the ground by picking a dual-threat quarterback in 2010 precisely to avoid games like the one at Michigan State. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong had shown himself to be an adept runner this year.
But he spent most of the second half chucking it around to a depleted corps of wideouts — and getting beat up in the process — because the line had no push on run plays and little cohesion on pass plays.
How many times have you read this? How many times has Bo Pelini’s defense put it on a tee for Nebraska’s offense — better yet, put it right on the green, 20 feet from the cup — only for that offense to card a double bogey?
 As far NU not capitalizing on all, or any, of the Spartan turnovers, he said:

Nebraska didn’t play four quarters of sustainable football. It rarely does in big games. When you get the ball at the opponent’s 30 two plays in, and you’re headed into the wind, you first have to get the yards necessary for the three points. The Huskers lost a yard on the first two plays, then tried a rollout pass with just two reads on third down from the 31. Then they punted. The punt decision doesn’t match up with the third-down call; if you don’t intend to go for it on fourth, get five yards and try a field goal. Brown made a 40-yarder into the wind; he might have made a 43-yarder, too.
Amen to that. Still, PYB was getting texts from friends saying NU had a chance to win the game. Sure, its talent level and MSU's willingness to lay the ball on the carpet said as much. NU's history of big-game performances and sporadic coaching and decision making said there was no chance. We hoped too, but knew better.

--We were suprisingly impressed with Private Bo Pinelli's halftime television interview. Obviously pissed, he cited NU's lack of toughness and refusal to capitalize on opportunities as reasons for his team's 17-0 deficit. Internally, he had to be seething and seemed to be tired of the shit show his offensive line and offensive coordinator had produced. The head clown himself had tired of the old ink-squirting-from-the-bowtie gag. He'd had enough and couldn't even muster the indecency to be rude to the ABC sideline reporter before retreating to the locker room.

--Good football coaches adjust their strategies as needed at halftime. Nebraska's don't. As Nebraska entered Dropback City, its third-quarter drives went as such:

  • Three plays. -6 yards. Punt.
  • Three plays. Fumble. Give up ball to MSU on own 10 (BS fumble call, for the record)
  • Thirteen plays. Last three plays being passes to stall drive. Settle for 40-yard FG.
  • Seven plays, the first four being passes. The last being a fumbled snap on 4th down.


--After Cooper looked embarrassingly awful for approximately the 15th time in 2014 and 50th time in his career while being pushed backward for 15 yards on an MSU reverse that went for a touchdown, NU went to the fourth quarter trailing 27-3.

--Alex Lewis cemented his reputation as a penalty machine, proving it's much harder to block a defender of one's own size than it is to beat the shit out of a civilian outside a bar..

--Beck refused to scrap the wide-receiver screen after NU had botched it the first four times in the game.

--He also insisted on emptying the backfield in several obvious passing situations, despite the fact that his offensive line couldn't block anyone or protect Tommy Armstrong.

--NU fans started clamoring for Ryker Fyfe via Twitter, Facebook and text messages. Those same NU fans must have missed Fyfe's only mop-up duty this season and insist that one spring game is resume enough to make one a Division I starter despite having Division III talent. Apparently, these same fans have blocked the Beau Davis/Texas Tech fiasco from their collective memories.

--NU's lone bright spots were its refusal to quit and Pierson-El. Sure, this team laid another big turd. Sure, the coaches were inept and the players did their part to make it worse for the first three quarters. For some reason, however, the team is too stubborn to quit.

Armstrong, despite getting no protection from his coaches, kept chugging away for better or worse. While being far from perfect and asked to do things he shouldn't, he has refused to show the Martinez-in-the-headlights look that NU fans are so used to. For that, we can't give a commendation but at least give partial credit.

Pierson-El, however, is a natural and is one of the most exciting talents NU has had in 20 years. His punt-return TD made the score 27-22 and almost propelled NU to a win. He likely would have had another huge return if not for the referees' first-quarter botch. Please find ways to get him the ball in space. Please don't put him back as kick returner, unless he's capable. In the same vein, please take Abdullah off of those duties -- his 19-yard average is not worth the potential for injury.

So, despite all the complaining and bitching above, NU had the ball on one final drive with a chance to win the game. Armstrong started by missing Abdullah badly on a screen pass where Abdullah had at least 30 yards to roam free. 

Still, NU got to midfield. Instead of taking easy yardage to get within touchdown range for a final series of plays, Beck opted to force low-percentage deep balls every play. In the end, NU's depleted/inexperienced/subpar receiving corps miscommunicated on a route, failed to be where Armstrong thought they'd be, and turnover number four ensued as MSU intercepted one last-gasp pass. Game over.

So, in the end, we were all deeply embarrassed by Nebraska's effort for three quarters and pleased with the gumption it showed in the final stanza. NU by no means deserved to win Saturday, but it could have. The same happened against the Spartans in 2013. 

We still all wait to see which force will win out: Pinelli's penchant for disaster in big games or his team's newfound pattern of righting the ship before it's too late and salvaging at least some dignity. Are we suckers to believe in a new day or just stupid? Depending on whether NU produces another road-game calamity in the next few weeks against a bad opponent or navigates through a series of also-rans to make the Big 10 championship for a likely rematch with MSU, we'll know soon enough.

If the 5000 words preceding this weren't enough, we're proud to offer some side notes this week:

Alex Henery -- Career over. Sad to watch. Proof that kicking is 95% mental, as a guy who couldn't miss and rarely deviated from the exact center of the uprights in college can't make a routine field goal in the NFL. He missed three Sunday in Detroit, including a potential game-winning 50-yarder against Buffalo. 

Conveniently, the team used its kicker's woes as an excuse for not winning a home game against a Bills team led by Kyle Orton. Anyone who's watched the Lions in recent seasons knows this bunch is the most pathetic group of underachievers in the league.

Bengals vs. Patriots -- So much for ESPN saying Tom Brady was washed up and Cincinnati was the NFL's most complete team. Easy money.

College Football rankings -- Anyone needing confirmation that the sport is watered down (perhaps nearly irrelevant), take into account that:


  • Mississippi moved from 11th to third after beating Alabama. Enjoy the one-week ride at the top, Rebels. (They play at Texas A&M Saturday). They even got two first-place votes (huh?)
  • In-state rival Mississippi State jumped nine spots, also to third, to TIE the Rebels in the rankings after beating an overrated Texas A&M team. Pro wrestling, anyone? The Bulldogs host Auburn this weekend. Less cowbell.
  • Arizona jumped from 29th to 10th by beating Oregon in Eugene. What a farce. The Mildcats are now realized as such a power that they are a home underdog this weekend to 3-2 USC. 
  • TCU jumped 16 spots to ninth after a home win against Oklahoma and has the honor of getting drilled at Baylor Saturday. 

Enjoy your off week......PYB

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Fine Script

PYB chimes in for a get-to-the-point Nebraska-Illinois recap, as time this week is limited. But, with the first meaningful Nebraska game coming this week, we felt compelled to show up -- unlike NU Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck at a post-game press conference or after a mid-week practice. Also, unlike an American golfer's nut sack during any Ryder Cup event. That, of course, is off topic, so here we go:

--Sure, Nebraska slid by Illinois by 31 points this past weekend. Looked like a blowout, right? Maybe so, to the untrained eye. But, keep in mind the cumulative effect of playing in the RUGGED BIG 10! The hits that one must absorb from a 240-pound linebacker are so much more taxing when that linebacker runs a 40-yard dash in over five seconds. So much more debilitating than taking the same hit from a linebacker that runs a 4.4 in any other major conference in the country.

If you don't believe us...just read it right here! Call it collateral damage that only the Indianas, Purdues, Minnesotas, Northwesterns and Pam Wards can dole out. In all seriousness, in reading the article, PYB was concerned that Big 10 play is when NU players consider "playing for a championship -- a title." Nary a mention of winning all non-conference games to keep national championship hopes alive. Very telling.

Regardless, given the conference's pathetic showing this year -- it's time to put the 'beat each other up' tag line to rest. Actually, 1995 would have been a good time but we'll settle for now.

--The NU defense started poorly and presented holes larger than a 20-year-old college slut at a keg party. Corey Cooper looked embarrassingly inept on the first Illinois touchdown, as has too often been the case this season...and last....and the one before that. PYB has sensed that an array of problems exists within the 2014 Blackskirts -- we'll find out this week against Michigan State if that is just paranoia or is indeed the case. The Spartans will surely test every limit of Private Pinelli's defense, as few defensive units can stand up to such an uncreative offense, complete with a stand-still quarterback and pedestrian run game. Look out.

--Sarcasm aside, the first half of Saturday's game played like the latest installment of a bad movie series. Same formula. Same director. Some actors the same, some different. Anyway, the script was as follows:
  • Take early lead with too-easy TD drive
  • Relinquish tying score while offering no resistance and looking plenty foolish
  • Counter with nice offensive drive that is cut short due to a holding penalty
  • Quarterback throws careless interception into traffic
  • Defense looks inept defending simple screen plays
  • "Power" running back fumbles ball for no reason
  • Heisman hopeful running back still handling kick-return duties 
  • Team takes 31-7 lead that looks impressive at home but was rife with inefficiency
  • Coaches butcher clock management at the end of first half
  • Coaches turn 14 points into three in the last two first-half possessions with poor play calling 
  • Coaches play starters more than a quarter too long
  • Coaches refuse to pull starting QB, whose has no proven backup, a week before a big game
  • Coaches don't try to score and screw up three potential scoring drives
  • Coaches blow rare opportunity to get inexperienced players a full quarter of snaps
  • Game stays too close to pull defensive starters, starting CB gets hurt
  • Private Bo Pinelli feigns grief over aforementioned injury
  • CB walks off the field unassisted after looking seriously injured (The Kenny Bell Effect)
  • NU wins by 31, keeps goals in front of itself.
  • Coach points the thumb in post-game press conference.
That about does it. Sound familiar? Are we being too harsh? Will the inefficiencies and errors listed above cut it in East Lansing Saturday if NU hopes to win. Doubtful. Will the sun come up tomorrow if Pinelli doesn't fix them? Yes. Should a coach making $3 million a year know how to manage timeouts at the end the first half? Yes. Especially since those of us who played any EA Sports football game growing up learned and know how and were better at it.

But what the fuck. It's another win, and Nebraska is undefeated. Just 13 teams can say that, so obviously NU is ranked 19th. Florida State gets votes for #1 after almost losing at home to unranked Clemson and then looking bad against unranked NC State. ESPN experts are cementing their playoff qualifiers each week. The money machine rolls on....

This team isn't good enough to think rankings, but is good enough to beat anyone left on its schedule. It is also dumb enough to lose to anyone on its schedule, thanks to inconsistent coaching and holes in the talent level. But, it seems to at least have a certain poise that other Pinelli teams didn't. That will be tested Saturday. And until then, we'll save the real venom -- or praise.

Finally, a few quick hits before we get back to moving:

--Lots of furor over Nebraska's alternate uniforms. We like the all-red concept. The execution was just butchered. Does anyone seriously expect a school that can't even get it's trademark "N" logo right to pull off a concept? PYB actually drew the all red uniforms up years ago during sixth grade art class, and they were much cooler if we do say so ourselves. And we sucked at art class. We have the pictures to prove it and will post them by then end of this season.

Does anyone expect a school that still thinks "Kickstart My Heart" is a viable stadium pump-up song to be able to look into the future to design a cutting-edge ensemble? Does anyone expect the same company that designs Sergio Garcia's golf clothing to be able to toe the line of futuristic, cool and wearable? So, don't blame the color scheme. Just blame bad taste and a complete lack of fashion sense. As for the unreadable, silver numbers -- we've got no reasoning for you there.....the numbers in the media release were black...Apparently, Adidas practices the details about as much as Pinelli's teams.

--Speaking of being behind the times, we give you this picture of a cable van from Dallas. DFW -- we'll grant you the 1993 hairstyles and 1980s road system. But, seriously, it's been seven years since he played in the NFL and five years since the slut he was dicking killed him.

--PYB can almost handle the biennial beating that the Americans take in the Ryder Cup. Hell, we like many of the Europeans more than the American players. What we can't handle is the pomp and circumstance surrounding the team as they run their wives out in front of the cameras for a post-round kiss after taking another 5 and 4 pounding.

And, speaking of bad taste, dressing in outfits that look like the local Dillard's clerk was still drunk from the night before and mixed up the weekly Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger and Polo Sport shipments is not acceptable. A sweater with an American flag taking up the entire front? For real? Even Davis Love had to think that was gay....

The Europeans look like 12 friends on a golf trip. The 12 friends who get drunk and talk shit to the henpecked friends that still come on the trip but are too worried about calling home every five minutes to check on how dance practice went to have any fun. Too worried about getting home early to get drunk on the last night. Too worried about paying for his wife's overpriced SUV to gamble five dollars a side on the golf matches. Too worried about getting off the green for a post-round sympathy embrace to not rocket a greenside wedge over the green, lose the last hole and lose a match. (On that note, we were glad to see Hunter Mahan did indeed have all the pressure shots in his bag -- chunk wedge in 2010 and skull wedge in 2014). Do us all a favor and grow some balls or stay home....

All we got for now.....we'll see how it works out Saturday when Private Pinelli 'takes what the defense gives him' instead of just running the fucking ball regardless of who the opponent is....This was an actual quote the week after running the ball down Miami's throat all game. We're fine.

PYB

Monday, September 22, 2014

Toast the U

Thanks to a lack of viable internet connection at our shitty Residence Inn, you'll have to forgive the lateness and the formatting of the below. The content, though, is as great as always:

PYB kicks off this fine Sunday, fortunate enough to get the Eagles and Redskins on local television. Inevitably, this means three full hours of shit talking from DeSean Jackson as he torches his old team during what should be a win versus the Washington Redskins and Super Statue Kirk Cousins. He sucks as a quarterback but is awesome since he gave an overrated speech at the Big 10 media event a couple years back. If Philly was smart enough to gameplan to neutralize Niles Paul, they may have a chance. 

On with the show:

As Husker Nation rejoices today, we feel somewhat unsatisfied. Somewhat flat. Is it the product of another late Eastern Time Zone kickoff or one borne of a win that looks good on paper but was an average performance made to look like a gem by adding some history, some window dressing, a big-name team and a couple in-game skirmishes? Right now, it matters not, as Nebraska is 4-0 after holding on to beat Miami 41-31. We’ll find out in two weeks. For now, enjoy it…the Huskers are the class of the Big 10. The hottest fat chick. The least slutty slut. Here we go:

--Ameer Abdullah: 229 yards. 6.5 yard per carry. Stud. Nebraska Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck was (finally) smart enough to keep pounding the football at the Hurricanes with his best player. To gut the fat Miami pigs up front. Same formula NU used 20 years ago. Novel concept. Nebraska’s program is stuck in the past in so many aspects. This should be another one. Next task for Beck and Co.: Get Abdullah off the kick return team so he doesn’t have to leave the field in favor of the lead-footed Imani Cross. Furthermore, an elite athlete should never have to leave the field after an eight-yard run.

--Tommy Armstrong: Solid performance, outside of the two turnovers. His fumble should have never happened, as he could have easily avoided contact. The interception was a bad throw, but the play was a worse idea. PYB, after watching the disaster against McNeese State, is pretty sure the wheel route should have been stricken from the playbook. Instead, it was brought back to life Saturday for no apparent reason.  PYB is an Armstrong fan. He needs to get better, and his coaches need to get better at protecting him from doing too much and highlighting his attributes. He ran tough Saturday and got a win when he could have melted. We’ll take that any day when compared to his limp-wristed predecessor.  (On a semi-related side note, Taylorina Martinez is now doing real estate in Orange County. Perfect profession for a brain-dead, no-talent asshole. He’ll fit right in in both a professional and geographical sense.)

--Defense: Bo Pinelli’s Blackskirts forced three turnovers and actually four if not for a bullshit roughing the passer flag that negated an interception. Trevor Roach made Nebraska Wesleyan rue the day that it didn’t lock him up earlier in the recruiting process when he forced a Duke Johnson fumble. Josh Mitchell scooped up the bouncing football and returned it for a touchdown, in what was likely a game-saving play.

Let us not forget that NU had a thin three-point lead with Miami driving at midfield and the Hurricanes holding all the momentum. The ‘Skirts surrendered 31 points and 435 yards to a team with a freshman quarterback that gained just 314 yards in a 31-13 loss to Louisville two games prior. The final Miami touchdown was a disappointment. True freshman Josh Kalu tried to line up fourth-year junior Daniel Davie and he still got torched.

So, the defense hung in there but we can’t shake the feeling that there are some major fucking holes with this unit. Not enough speed – watching Corey Cooper chase ball carriers is horrifying. Suspect coverage from the defensive backs on a too-consistent basis. Little impact from the linebackers, outside of easy-to-see, repeated errors. No hitters. Lack of depth due to injury/weed smoking/poor recruiting. With a lot of youth gaining experience, we’ll reserve final judgment for now, but major concerns are abound.

--Fights: Nebraska and its fans got their panties in a collective wad when Miami did what Miami does, especially since they aren’t any good at football anymore. They baited NU down into the mud where the pigs live. The very thing that Tom Osborne warned his 1994 team against in the Orange Bowl happened. Instead of ignoring the foolishness, Private Pinelli’s troops humored the Hurricanes and fully engaged them in their studio gangster ways. Waste of time. Loss of focus. Potential momentum changer. A lack of leadership and institutional control at its finest. Any junior college team can pick a fight. JUCO coaches make $30,000 -- not $3 million.

--NU fans: Memorial Stadium, for once, got loud. There’s nothing like deep-seated racism to bring out the venom from Ma & Pa Kettle in the West Stadium. There’s nothing like portraying a hapless, second-tier Hurricane player as a gangster to help get Granny in a lather as she declares her hate for Hip Hop Hogwash as an excuse to deride people of color that don’t play for Nebraska, wear dreadlocks and stand for anything else she hasn’t heard of in her 85 years listening to KFAB. Hell, we even saw the Behind-the-Head Bones Throw from a clueless fan late in the game. Unfortunately, we're still without a DVR and couldn't capture the image. Take our word for it -- it was pure chaos in Lincoln -- and if you don't believe it -- just ask any Nebraska fan!

--Cross: Can we put this career to rest now? It’s the humane thing to do.

--David Santos: He had his first notable performance as a Cornhusker. He'll need several more this season if his defense intends to trade its skirts for shirts...

--Tight ends: After a big week last week, they had zero catches yesterday. Less tight tend, more wheel routes. Apparently, they blocked well. We’re fine.

--Run game: As mentioned above, running the ball and sticking to it had amazing results. It’s called an identity. It’s called doing something over and over so that you eventually learn to do it well. It’s called getting a win without playing perfect football. Pound the fat, unconditioned opponent until you break their will then slash the throat. Maybe Beck can bask in the glory of this win long enough to quit dodging the media -- it never worked for NU's last quarterback or any successful player or coach for that matter.

So, it’s a win. It’s 4-0. Illinois is next. They suck. We’ll have at least a small gauge of Nebraska’s chances to have a meaningful season in two weeks against Michigan State. Sure, the Spartans’ quarterback is overrated and is a pocket passer. Both of those factors usually mean success for Bo Pinelli teams. 

MSU even provided a half game’s worth of resistance against Oregon (who almost lost to Washington State last night). Maybe this conference isn’t so fucking bad. Indiana won on the road against SEC-juggernaut Missouri yesterday. The Big 10 is back, and it’s here to stay!

Anyway, we’re still ho-hum after last night’s win. We received this text when asking why we felt this way. It pretty  much sums it up in about 2000 fewer words: “Until we win a game that means something I won’t celebrate like we did something great. We should beat Miami in Lincoln – they are an average team with a freshman quarterback. If we win at Michigan State and Wisconsin, I will celebrate. But any other game on our schedule we should win, and that’s my problem with the program – everyone is satisfied with the season now just because we beat an average Miami team. It’s just sad.”

We agree wholeheartedly, but also think our ambivalence to this win is part of a larger malaise sweeping college football. Florida State lost its rapist quarterback and almost lost in Tallahassee to Clemson until Clemson pulled a Clemson, which proves that the college game is now mostly about who has the best one or two superstars (which we’ve seen be the case since Reggie Bush and Vince Young). North Carolina gave up 70 to East Carolina. Utah gutted Michigan in Ann Arbor. Mississippi State dominated LSU in Baton Rouge. Ohio State was idle and should move up 15 slots in the rankings and into the top five.

The shit is watered down. Arguing about Jameis Winston for three hours on College Gameday is more important about analyzing Xs and Os. Getting a sideline reporter’s take on women’s rights trumps game analysis. It’s all a sideshow. Hey, it must be the money….

We interrupt this column to let you know that Niles Paul just dropped a Kirk Cousins pass and cost the Redskins a first down. Don’t blame Paul – he has small hands. 

On that note, we’ll ride into the sunset. We’ll await all the overhype for the Ryder Cup and watch the USA contingent act just a little bit too intense while Europe beats the shit out of them and has much more fun doing it. They’re fine!


Thanks for reading….PYB

PS - The rad 'Vette above was spotted in person Sunday, and its owner wins Douche of the Year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fresno Calling -- Guest Column by The Diggler

PYB wants to thank The Diggler for coming out of the bullpen in our time of need to write this week's recap. We sprinkled his fresh perspectives (you're certainly tired of the usual author) in with some Editor's Notes (italics below). Thanks also to AMG for sending the highlight link (truth be told, I looked in the same location was technically unsavvy enough not to find it). 

Read on:
Let me first start off by saying starting a football game at 9:30pm (10:30 EDT, for the fucking record) is utterly ridiculous and I’m not sure how much we got out of this road trip.  Late game.  Blowout.  Shitty opponent.  Late return time.  Tired players.  Inflated egos.  Etc.  Anyway off to my updates in a random and observational manner:

Touchdown to Westerkamp:
·        Missed it because CBS Sports Network felt compelled to show the end of the Wake Forest v. Utah State game even though Utah State was up by whoever the fuck cares.  More on Wake Forest later in the update.

Ameer Abdullah TD:
·        Dude is a stud and wish he got more than 5 carries a game.

Nebraska D:
·        We are terrible versus high-paced offenses. (Diggler, remember to hyphenate here)
·        Can’t get the signals into the players and if you took a shot for every down we weren’t set and Fresno snapped the ball you would be shit faced by mid Q2.  The loss of Michael Rose’s on field play calling ability is very apparent - something to watch if Nebraska gets to a bowl game and we play something other than boring ass Big Ten teams. (NU is now in the Big 10 and gets to play boring-ass SEC teams at 10am in the rain. At least it's 11am Eastern for us after moving.)

Santos is a moron
·        No fucking clue what he was doing batting the ball out of the end zone.  Bo said he felt it was an incomplete pass which is remarkable considering a first grader knows the ball is dead upon an incompletion. (Maybe he thought he was covering an RB in the flat? Wait, NU LBs don't do that...)

Fresno had a 9 yard punt
·        All you fucking do at practice is practice punting – never understood how this can happen. (NU kickers/punters used to jump on the high-jump mats and pretend to make game-winning catches when we watched practice in college....)

Kenny Bell:
·        Continues to put KCCO on his arm tape.  It should read: “KCFI” – Keep Calm and Fake Injuries. (How is this still a trend? And why is that website so slow? And why do we vacillate between liking Bell and thinking he's kind of a bitch?)

Tommy Armstrong:
·        Throws a hard ball, but needs to put a little more air under it.  Missed a couple easy TDs and completions and all he needs to do is put a little more touch on his passes.  I can only assume he was throwing them perfectly in HS and then the QB wizard Tim Beck fucked him up.
·        Still locking on primary receivers and not progressing via his reads.  Trust your OL and check down if necessary.

Clap Snap:
·        Nebraska doesn’t clap our hands to snap the ball.  Quit doing it immediately – it’s gay. (Ohio State does it, and they're awesome.)

Randy Gregory:
·        Dude is a beast, but does he have a little 2013 Jadeveon Clowney in him?  I think so and frankly I would do the same thing.  “Ummmm play as hard as possible for dipshit Papuchis and risk getting injured or take a few plays off and make millions next year.”  Don’t get me wrong he had some money plays like dropping into coverage, finding gaps during 3rd down blitzes and is a true difference maker, but something tells me he picks and chooses.

Gangwish:
·        Granted he’s from the daunted LouPlatte Conference in Buffalo County, but kids like this need to be on Nebraska’s roster.  Kid has a motor, looked pretty solid and would tear out his heart not for Pelini but the entire state of Nebraska.  I heard we have a walk-on program and we’re famous for it – maybe we can look at this route. (PYB doesn't know much about the LouPlatte Conference and is not sure how it got mentioned here -- we just know that Ravenna is the historic powerhouse of the group.)
·        Also there are like 2000 Gangwish’s (plural, not possessive, Diggler) in Buffalo County.

Fat Charlie:
·        Kansas has scored like nine points in 20 road games under Weis.  It’s highway robbery how much money that fat fuck is making off of ND and KU, but I guess it serves those two prick institutions right. (Had no clue that Weis was still there. We can name more than 10 My Little Ponies, however.)

1st and 10:
·        “Pass!  Pass!  Pass!” – Tim Beck (This line reminded us of the Ratt lyric, "Dance, Dance, Dance..." which reminded us of how stellar they were and still are. Upon an iTunes search, we found they have a new(er) greatest hits collection from 2007 and will buy it today. Also, a college friend of ours had breakfast next to them in the late 1990s at Perkins following a show at the Royal Grove in Lincoln. Then years later, their drummer drove for the trucking company we worked for and wore a co-worker of mine out because he had to get home to Los Angeles every weekend to make his gigs).

Put Them Away!
·        Nebraska is undoubtedly the worst team at putting teams away and I challenge you to remind me of the last time Bo put someone away in a defiant manner.  If you can remember a game please e-mail PYB.

“F you Kalu!”
·        Granted he didn’t say this, but leave it to Bo to completely rip the ass
of a true freshman in his third game when his entire defense appeared to be out of sync.  I keep hearing that Bo has tough love for the kids he likes and see promise in, but good lord man let off the gas once in a while.
·        Kalu does look to be a good one – somewhat Eric Haag in nature and feel for the game.

I once kicked a 25 yard FG in intramurals
·        This is the first thought that raced through my head when the Fresno kicker missed his attempt by 20 yards.  Also if you’re wondering I went straight Tom Dempsey with my approach and kick – dead fucking center.

“I'm going to have to teach him a little bit about what a fair catch is like he did on the last one.” – Pinelli
·        Yes this was the quote one week earlier when speaking about De'Mornay Pierson-El – Nebraska’s new dynamic punt returner.  The kid is a stud and you can see that he has a perfect feel for the punt return - when to be patient, hit the hole, hit the edge and turn it up.  He’s a true freshman so the staff has plenty of time to fuck him up. (Can we change it from Pierson to Pehrson?)

Subliminal TV Ad
·        I knew the Budweiser wasn’t talking so loud that I starting seeing shit on my TV so I went through the painstaking process if trying to figure out my remote and go frame by frame.  After a few attempts sure enough I saw it – a half second subliminal ad from some weird scam prevention company.  How do they run these during programming and how is this allowed?  Also, why has it always been so hard to use the frame by frame function on your remote?  Ever since the famous Basic Instinct scene with Sharon Stone’s beav I have been trying to figure it out.  (I liked fucking Johnny....)

Fresno WR Joshua Harper
·        His dad won two NCs for Nebraska?  Check
·        Athletic WR from CA?  Check
·        No offer from Nebraska?  Double fucking check. 
·        Shoot me?  Check. (You're fine)

Cockrell and Newby
·        Byerson Cockrell looks solid and our continued success of recruiting JUCO DBs continues.
·        Marcus Newby – not sure he knows what he’s doing when on the field, but him rushing the QB is fun to watch.  Kid is fast, strong and looks solid.  Not sure what else he can do, but he actually looks like a true DE as opposed to our regular formula of 6’3” 325 lbs. (And runs a 5.4 40....breakdown!)

Halftime Observations:
·        Earlier in the update we referenced Wake Forest and we did that for a reason.  That reason being that Nebraska offered our head coaching position to Jim Grobe.  Jim Grobe…… JIM FUCKING GROBE.  If that wasn’t bad enough Houston Nutt is on this two-bit CBS Network and he also was offered our head coaching position.  Houston Nutt.  Houston Nutt.  HOUSTON FUCKING NUTT.  This POS is now begging for the SMU job and makes your realize how far these coaches have fallen along with our program.  I guess it’s not a coincidence that all three are appearing on CBS Sports Network within 2 hours of each other.

Imani Cross
·        Looked pretty fast and pulled away from DBs – PYB is still unsure of his talent. (Why do his feet look like size 22s when he runs fast?)

Holy Shit!  A Tight End!!!
·        We threw twice to TEs and they scored touchdowns.  What a noble fucking concept.

Backups:
·        Good to see them get some playing time including Fyfe who apparently wants to put up 90 on teams because he continues to throw on every play.  Frankly I love it and hope he’s calling audibles left and right to avoid Beck’s shitty play calling.

Thanks for reading.....see you after Miami....for better or for worse....PYB

Monday, September 15, 2014

Technical Difficulties

Here is what PYB saw of Saturday night's Nebraska-Fresno State football game.

Instead of getting off the couch and finding a sportsbar that was capable of finding a fourth-tier cable network, we opted for bed. We awoke to an impressive-at-first-look 55-19 final score and 172 text messages. Outside of returning a punt and some big plays, nobody seemed impressed. That said, we're on the lookout for the following:

1. A link to game highlights. Thus far, a "Goggle" search has yielded nothing outside of a NU vs. Fresno clip on YouTube from 2011.

2. A link or replay location of Saturday's game. (We're stuck in a temporary hotel without BTN, so that's not an option.

3. Notes and/or a game writeup. If we can't obtain either, we'll have to write a story based on the log of text messages we received.

--We'll leave you with a couple quick hitters, before we depart for work:

1. Is there a bigger $16 million buzzkill in sports than the PGA Tour Championship? Shit timing. Second-tier player with overly tight pants winning. Also-ran golf course. NBC coverage. And Dan Hicks comparing Billy Horschel's 82nd-seed starting point to some of the greatest low-seed winners in team sports history. What could be better when the NFL is one click of the remote away?

2. Did Iowa get caught in the ultimate trap game during its loss to Iowa State? Hard to get up the adrenaline when sandwiching an in-state rivalry game between matchups against Ball State and Pittsburgh.

3. Anyone wondering why Andy Reid got fired in Philadelphia -- please watch the last three minutes of yesterday's Chief-Bronco game.

4. Robert Griffin -- R! G! 3!  Hurt again. He's closing in on China Doll of Crystal Chandelier proportions.

Got to run for now.....send some links as requested. White uniforms = wack. But, it's probably best to break them out against a team that has given up 50+ in each of its first two games and run the all-time record in those uniforms to 2-15 and cut the average margin of loss down a few points from 25.

PYB