Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Talk Soup

PYB chimes in with a short mid-week post. Compelled by the he said-he said fiasco from Nebraska's weekly football press conference Monday, a few thoughts:

--After spending 10,000 words spinning about how great Nebraska did to almost beat Illinois last weekend, Mike Riley finally addressed the 'elephant in the room' by giving a shitty answer about why he and Tommy Armstrong lost the game for their team. Apparently, it was a play that is normally a pass but was 'tagged' as a run. Complete idiocy. Always a good policy to over-engineer what should be the easiest play in the book when trying to close out a road victory, especially considering one's players aren't playing football because they're trying to get Engineering degrees.

Armstrong followed up with an answer just as bad, if not worse. See, he didn't want to lose yardage and get knocked out of field goal range, even though Riley ultimately opted not to kick a field goal when they didn't lose yardage. So, he fired a pass to preserve field position instead of winning the game. Confused? Well, we are fucking confused. Questions abound. Most notably:

  • Shouldn't the fourth-down strategy have been discussed during the timeout preceding third down? All parties should have known the plan. Apparently, such advanced skills only come with coaches making $5 million or more.
  • If your quarterback does not have enough critical thinking skills to make an in-play decision that a 10th-grade quarterback should, is he Division I material in the first place? Armstrong ended by answering a question on how he stays positive after blowing a game. He, of course, stays positive by taking a not-so-hidden swipe at the fans who help pay for his education and fill Memorial Stadium every week for more than 15 years after NU has put an acceptable product on the field! Born leader.
“I’m fine. I don’t let it bother me. I’ve been in tougher situations than this. I’m fine. I’m going to drive on. I play for my team and coaches. I don’t play for anyone else but them. I play for my family. That’s about it. That’s my whole mindset. Those guys are my family. What they think matters. I don’t let any other outside force drive me to play how I am and affect how I play.”
  • Is Armstrong really attributing some blame to Devine Ozigbo for 'dropping' the pass?
  • He also said that if Ozigbo had made the catch, nobody would be talking about the play. Actually, yes people would be. Fans and coaches who knew football strategy would still be laughing at you. Players who have been poorly trained and don't see the disastrous consequences that come from a lack of planning and decision making are blind to it. 
  • The blame game would not have been complete without a final dig at Cethan Carter for not going into motion. (Side note: PYB thinks Carter needs give up the Chronic until his eligibility expires) Remember, the quarterback of a team is allegedly the field general. But, TA is playing for his teammates. Of course he is.
With so much sports fodder available yesterday in Lincoln, the Omaha World-Herald's Tom Shatel mailed it in Monday after actually showing some balls in his Sunday column. Said all the right things? Please. Just stick to the Nacho Report, Tom.

Fear not, Husker fans. This week is a good matchup for NU, according to the Blackskirts themselves. PYB has watched Joel Stave and Wes Lunt. Both are bad quarterbacks, but we give Stave the edge in this comparison. Also, we remember the fact that Nebraska's secondary can make anyone an All-American for a week.

Anyway, the Huskers are circling the wagons and using the 'playing for pride' mantra three weeks early this season. Badgers 31-10.

Finally, Irving Fryar is going up the river for five years for a mortgage scam. He's a pastor. If he needed the money, couldn't he have just tricked his congregation into donating 10% of their earnings?

All we got. Enjoy your week.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Repeat After Me

PYB is shocked, yet unsurprised, at the level of futility that the Nebraska football team achieved Saturday against Illinois. Shocked, that an alleged veteran coach, made such an unforgivable error at the end of NU's eventual loss in Champaign. Unsurprised that this pathetic team found yet another way to shit the bed. Saddened, that no matter how bad this next chapter of ineptitude is, and how bad it is bound to become, there seems to be no way out.

On with the post-mortem:

-Nebraska passed 31 times in windy conditions and completed 10 of them.

-NU ran for more than five yards an attempt, again, and lost to a bad team.

-Nebraska hoped to get a boost from its only offensive playmaker, as De'Mornay Pierson-El returned from injury. He muffed his first punt return attempt. Illinois recovered. Pierson-El never came back as a returner. NU settled for fair catches from Jordan Westerkamp the rest of the game. So, Pierson-El can have four punt return touchdowns in 2014, prove himself as one of Nebraska's biggest playmakers in 20 years, make one mistake, and then ride the pine for time everlasting? Makes perfect sense -- especially for a team that racked up 13 points against an awful Fighting Illini squad.

-NU's defense did a good job for three quarters, then pissed the bed when it mattered. Up 13-0, the Blackskirts began giving up completions. Completions that had been missed by scatter-armed Wes Lunt and his far-from-elite receivers up to that point. Nate Gerry does what he does to prevent from becoming an all-conference player -- tanked an assignment -- and let a receiver get behind him for a 50-yard gain. It led to the game-losing touchdown.

--Mike Riley's coaching staff will have to withstand a monsoon of negativity this week. Deservedly so. Fans will need to realize they're stuck with this staff for a while, and crushing Riley & Co. this early will only alienate the players even more, especially if they bought into the bullshit that Bo Pinelli taught them about the fan base being the enemy. PYB still can't fathom a veteran coach, much less one with NFL experience, can not realize that any road win at any level of football is a good one. Time to get out of Dodge.

The coaches, on the other hand, need to gain the public's trust. Not necessarily by winning every game but by teaching their pupils to play error-free (or at least smart) football and by not consistently tanking games with poor fundamentals, bad play calling and pathetic clock management. A junior-high error such as Saturday's will take years to overcome, in terms of getting fans to buy back in. And it may never be possible. Sad, indeed.

--Another sad reality is the softness of NU's players. Alex Lewis finds new ways to act like an idiot and finds no ways to be a good offensive lineman. Tommy Armstrong cried on his dad's arm after the BYU loss and ditched his media obligations on Saturday. That's one third of your 2015 team captaincy in action. Another (Gerry) blew a coverage at the worst time possible. Jordan Westerkamp had -1 receiving yard. Maliek Collins, was the only leader to make a difference against Illinois. That won't cut it.

--Those who didn't want Scott Frost hired last fall as NU head coach said he wasn't ready for the spotlight. Lacked experience as the top dog. Does he know enough to run the ball with 55 seconds remaining, deep in the opponent's territory, when that opponent is out of timeouts? PYB thinks so.

--How long until we get to hear the "our goals of winning the Big 14 West are still intact" platitude? Or was that just a favorite of the Pinelli regime.

--Geronimo Allison, who caught the 'game-winning' touchdown Saturday, is a JUCO transfer from Iowa Western -- a school an hour from Lincoln that Pinelli's regime made a point to ignore for reasons unknown. A little more salt for a gaping wound. Pride comes before the fall.

--With its late meltdown, Nebraska's Blackskirts still hold the title as the nation's worst pass defense. Both stylistically and statistically.

--PYB watched the NU and Ohio State games simultaneously Saturday, along with a neighbor/Buckeye fan. The numbers and his opinion prove that Tim Beck is well on his way to trashing one of the nation's most high-powered offenses in a matter of weeks. Great job, @CoachTimBeck! Our neighbor said he feels the OSU offense spends more time trying to be 'cute' than it does feeding one of the nation's top running backs. Sound familiar?

That's all we care to have at this point. Board up the windows for a bad media week in Lincoln and another loss when Wisconsin and its moribund offense rolls into town. Jump around.


PS -- The St. Louis Rams got the ball yesterday against Arizona, leading by two points and with less than a minute left. Arizona had no timeouts. Coach Jeff Fisher made sure his team ran the ball and the clock ran out and the Rams won.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Golden Shower

PYB awakes and apologizes, kind of, for not writing a Southern Miss recap until now. We'll keep it short, because everyone can see the glaring problems within the 2015 Nebraska football team. They're more 'multiple' than a Bo Pinelli offense.

-Tommy Armstrong is racking up yardage at quarterback, but the offense still can't control a game. Inconsistent line. No gamebreakers at wide receiver. Its best runner is a fullback. And Armstrong still misses enough throws to force NU to settle for a missed field goal attempt or a punt. He may be the worst screen passer ever, which is a bad thing in an offense that relies heavily on the screen pass.

-At running back, Terrell Newby has trouble hitting creases made by a line that can't produce holes. Imani Cross is terrible and nearly fumbled the game away. Andy Janovich looked better than both of them, and the racist fans in Memorial Stadium collectively jerked off every time he got a carry. Was it nice to see a fullback tearing up a defense from the inside out? Sure. Will that be there every game, especially in the rugged Big 10 that excels only in having fat, slow guys in the middle of the crabgrass field? No.

-At receiver, Armstrong's man crush Jordan Westerkamp had 11 catches for 118 and has shown a constant knack to get open. Several others have shown promise, including Stanley Morgan and Brandon Reilly. None of them stretch a defense or are a threat to take the ball to the endzone at any time. Local media outlets, of course, are lauding DeMornay Pierson-El as the offense's savior as he returns from a fractured foot today in Illinois.

They're forgetting, of course, that Pierson-El was the nation's best punt returner last year but that punt returners rely on planting their feet and cutting to avoid tacklers and that having an injured foot may not help. They're also forgetting, of course, that he was just emerging as a wide receiver by last season's end and was hardly an every-game threat to score on passing plays. They're also forgetting that he's never run a jet sweep for a Mike Riley team. Assuming he will revitalize a mediocre offense with a subpar line is extremely presumptuous.

The defense is a shit show. It's only strength, defensive tackle, has been weakened with the continued absence of Vincent Valentine. Outside of Freedom Akalakboomboom, who makes an occasional play on athletic prowess alone, there are no defensive ends. The linebacking corps is limited by the absence of two oft-injured players who continue to find ways not to make an impact -- Michael Rose-Ivey and Josh Banderas. The unit has to rely on a true freshman that shows some promise but is frequently out of position (Dedrick Young) and a walkon from Elkhorn (Chris Weber).

The secondary is a disaster. Nate Gerry makes plays at times and then shocking blunders at others. Josh Kalu shows athletic promise but limited cover skills every time he's six yards away from covering an eight-yard post pattern. Chris Jones looks like he takes cornerbacking lessons from Daniel Davie. And Jonathan Rose looks like a decent backup cornerback forced to play as the team's best cornerback. The secondary gave up 447 yards against Southern Miss. It's going to be a long season. The offense will need to shorten games to help the defense.

Let's not forget special teams. Drew Brown is 8/9 for the season on meaningless field goals. He's 0/3 on meaningful field goals and nearly tanked a second game against the Golden Eagles. The kick return team inexplicably wasn't ready for an onside kick, let Southern Miss recover, and nearly gave the game away in the process.

There you have it. Yet another effort that left more serious questions and few positive answers. Private Pinelli left no talent, and the poor strength and conditioning of the last few years is showing in the litany of injuries on both offense and defense. NU is a seven-point favorite today in Champaign against an awful Illini squad. PYB would be happy with a win. We're not expecting one. Jammal Lord only knows when this team will finally hit rock bottom and begin improving.

We continue onward with a couple miscellaneous notes:

-Dork Chatelain bragged on Pinelli's ability shut down future NFL quarterbacks while head coach at Nebraska. Apparently, he'd had his head buried in a jar of rubber cement while compiling this drivel. The juggernauts he listed as proof of Pinelli's genius:

Tyrod Taylor - Scatter-armed at Virginia Tech and a temporary project starter in Buffalo, as Rex Ryan tries to turn him into the next Geno Smith.

Blaine Gabbert - Never attempted a pass longer than six yards at Mizzou. So bad that Jacksonville ran him off. Now backing up Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco. One of the biggest pussies in NFL history, Gabbert has a 53% career completion rate and a 5.6 yards per attempt average.

Colt McCoy - While at Texas, faked an injury and his way out of the national title game because he was scared of the Alabama defense. Backing up Kirk Cousins and RGQueen in Washington. Need we say more about his NFL career

Nick Foles - The best of the bunch. Mysteriously traded to St. Louis this offseason. Was overwhelmed by a Pinelli defense loaded with talent that Bill Callahan brought to Lincoln.

Nathan Enderle - Who? Dominating an Idaho quarterback who had zero passing attempts in the NFL was apparently worth listing.

Jake Locker - Constantly injured and bad enough that he lost his job to Zach Mettenberger in Tennessee. Out of the league after four miserable seasons.

Brandon Weeden - Awful in Cleveland. We all saw him tanking last week in Dallas. Completion rate of 57%. 27 touchdowns. 29 interceptions.

Ryan Tannehill - A slightly above average college quarterback who has somehow hoodwinked the Dolphins into paying him like an NFL star when he's average, at best. The Dolphins suck again in 2015.

Great analysis, Dork.

Finally, PYB can't confirm if any of this Iowa State story is true. But we did see Fred Hoiberg take a connecting flight in Dallas while
on his way to Los Angeles for a recruiting trip. He sat in coach. At least he had an aisle seat. If that's too inconvenient for most salespeople making $100,000 a year, we can't imagine a coach making $2 million a year enjoyed it much.

Hoiberg had to know that Iowa State was not committed to being an elite program, especially when Louisville was regularly paying hundreds of dollars for recruits and players to get their dicks sucked at the dorms while he couldn't get a first-class seat or a direct flight. Ouch.

Side note: Louisville coach Rick Pitino was obviously shocked by the allegations, as he was likely too busy prematurely ejaculating into a woman who was not his wife at a local eatery.

Enjoy your Saturday, and don't forget your Power Towel.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Miami Unsound Machines

PYB checks in fresh off four hours of sleep, after watching the finish of Saturday's Nebraska-Miami football game of mediocre teams for the ages for the first time early this morning. Stuck on an uber ride en route to an unavoidable anniversary dinner, we watched 33-18 turn into 33-33 and then, inevitably, 36-33. Wild works, at times, against poorly coached teams (See: Miami/Al Golden). Wild doesn't work, as a rule of thumb. On to it, with some snap judgments. A full-blown, microanalysis is both repetitive and pointless, as we all know that Private Bo Pinelli left too many problems to count on his way out
the door.

--Fire Al Golden banners flew above the stadium before the game. They were warranted. Golden took a page from the Pinelli Handbook of Operational Inefficiency, turning a potential 28-0 lead into a 20-3 margin and forgetting to run the ball on three consecutive fourth-quarter drives. When ABC's Rod Gilmore notices, it's fair to say he fucked up. Let's also not forget that he pulled a red-hot Brad Kaaya, who hadn't seen a receiver of his covered all game, in favor of his running quarterback for a red-zone read option package. UM's near-meltdown should begin the end.

--Nebraska has one proven offensive playmaker in De'Mornay Pierson-El. He's out several more weeks. Outside of that, not one other player who can score from distance on a consistent basis -- against teams not named South Alabama. That's not going to work.

--Tommy Armstrong. Game effort. Not a ton of help from his receivers for the first 3 quarters of the game. Still too many missed throws. Still too many big misses that kill drives and/or risk interceptions. Taariq Allen was open on the first play of overtime. The ball was 10 yards underthrown. Turnover. 21/45. 309 yards. 4 TDs. 3 INTs. Armstrong needs a more consistent running game and coaches who will protect him. Neither is likely to happen any time soon. (Side note: NU did average almost five yards per carry for the game).

--Alex Lewis. Penalty Machine. On Saturday, Lewis wasn't happy with his garden variety false starts and holding penalties. He added a game loser in Miami, taking a blatant, stupid cheap shot following the Hurricanes' overtime interception. It put Miami in chip-shot field goal range to start its overtime possession and ended Nebraska's hope of a miracle victory. The lesson here: Lewis is a liability (misses many assignments, racks up penalties and is consistent only in making bad plays) and it's still easier to beat the shit out of a kid outside a bar than to block a Division I defensive lineman. In the words of Paul Silas, C U Next Tuesday.

--Terrell Newby confirmed what we thought we knew. He's a decent running back. Nothing more. Nothing less. Reliable with the ball, thus far. No chance to break the game open. Considering the offensive line play, that won't be enough for this team.

--Imani Cross: After taking some considerable heat from PYB the last couple seasons, he has had some nice power runs this year. Unfortunately, the coaches haven't tried to establish that consistently.

--Mikale Wilbon: Showed flashes against BYU. Perhaps more than any other Cornhusker back this season. Hasn't played since. Huh?

--Brandon Reilly: Proved he's a legitimate major college player Saturday. Had the speed to get past Miami defensive backs several times and held on to the ball after at least two big hits. That's more than can be said for several of his counterparts.

--Stanley Morgan, Jr: Showed flashes. Let's hope he becomes a playmaker, and soon.

--Nate Gerry: NU's only defensive stud. Hits with authority. Hawks the ball, at times. The Blackskirts need five more like him.

--Daniel Davie: Career over. Did the Nebraska coaches really not have enough sample size to know that he was incapable of covering receivers? South Alabama destroyed him, for fuck's sake, a week ago. In essence, they spotted the Canes 17 points (remember: should have been 28 but Golden did his best Frank Solich) and the win. Madness.

--Pass rush: Lack of defensive ends is quite apparent. Neutralize the tackles and make a moribund bunch on the edge beat you. Won't happen. Freedom Akalakaboomboom has shown some promise, but those occasions have been few and far between.

--Linebackers: Still sporadic. A T-shirt of the week, at best. Michael Rose-Ivey hasn't shown playmaking skills against top-tier teams. (No, we're not claiming Miami is top tier, but they have some speed). Banderas was exposed as slow Saturday. Dedrick Young is young and appears to be out of position by just enough enough times to relinquish big gains. Understandable, but yet another point of vulnerability.

--Secondary: Davie was an unmitigated disaster. Josh Kalu has some skills but isn't a fluid cover guy -- needs to be a safety. Jonathan Rose showed some promise. He'll need to continue to grow, or the next nine games won't be pretty. Chris Jones was burned several times. Trai Mosley is rarely used, so obviously doesn't have the coaches' stamp of approval and won't be a major contributor this season, if ever. Byerson Cockring tries, but will never cover good receivers successfully.

--All-White Uniforms: Continued their run of futility. Seriously, if one could find the numbers -- the only thing more staggering than the pathetic Win-Loss record would be the Points For-Points Against column. It's a pussy look. Go Big Red. Come out in all white. Put it to bed.

--Special teams: A smoldering cigarette in a dry forest at all times. Sam Foltz was in his normal big-game form early, with two consecutive near shanks in the first quarter. Yes, we know he's injured. But let's not forget this is his modus operandi, before flourishing late in the game when NU is behind by three touchdowns.

Drew Brown made a field goal, but every kick moves hard from right to left and borders on a duck hook. This one just stayed between the trees and landed in the fairway. Jordan Westerkamp has done an admirable job on punt returns, but is obviously not in the same class as Pierson-El.

There you have it. A random summary of just a few of the problems facing Nebraska's football program, as it hopes to Restore the Order and compete with .500 teams on the road once again. Mike Riley inherited a case of gonorrhea from Pinelli and is charged with not only getting rid of it but with starting to bang supermodels once again.  A difficult task, indeed. It's week three and Dennis Rodman ain't walking through that door.....

Nobody will know Riley can move the needle on this jalopy for couple months, at the earliest. If he can do it with a cupboard this bare, it will be an accomplishment. Pinelli made an impact by the end of his first year, gravy training Bill Callahan's NFL talent to go 10-4. Somewhere along the way, the former NFL coach forgot having NFL-level players on college teams was important.

Riley's task won't be as easy. His biggest asset will be not being a high-school bully meathead cocksucker. That's no small trait, considering how mentally abusive Pinelli was.

Here's to hoping, but not expecting, Nebraska football again becomes relevant. The program is countless recruits and even more fundamentals, from that point. The only meaning of NU football Saturdays, at this point, is that it means catching up with rarely seen friends at a tailgate or via group text, as we all gawk in amazement at the latest edition of an unfathomable shit show.



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

That's the Fact, Jacks

PYB checks in after a horrendous loss to BYU and its merry band of hypocritical Mormons. A horrendous loss, that after a second viewing, isn't as horrendous as once suspected but is still a sad reminder of Nebraska's status in the college football food chain. Let's go down the line with some snap judgments:

The Bad

Luke Gifford: Looked foolish on at least three plays early in the game and was the main offender in not defending the final, game-blowing play. Apparently, the preseason word from camp that he 'showed promise' was propaganda. Wayne State or bust.

Alex Lewis: Apparently, it's still easier to beat the shit out of a civilian outside a bar than it is to block opposing Division I defensive lineman. Lewis appears to have traded his reputation as a penalty machine into one as a rag doll. We saw him in the backfield multiple times after missing an assignment or getting railroaded straight backward. Kudos, Captain Alex.

Penalties: Twelve flags. 90 yards. Won't get it done. Private Pinelli would be proud. His process is in place.

Run game: 126 yards. 37 attempts. 3.4 yards per carry. Awful. Even worse was the coaching staff's lack of imagination in getting Tommy Armstrong into the open field. The one option they ran worked well. Even worse was the reliance on the jet sweep (to the short side) on the game's most critical third and short. At least the coaches owned the mistake. Sadly, we all realized how many holes Ameer Abdullah, Rex Burkhead and Roy Helu have covered the last several seasons. Gaining 1500+ yards with no blocking is indeed a gift.

Cornerbacks: Can this be considered bad, if NU doesn't have any cornerbacks? Josh Kalu is a potential star at safety. The coaches have him playing CB, either because they've failed to properly evaluate his skill set or because they have no other options at corner. We wish Pinelli could make him a permanent, one-game starter at corner and move him to safety.

Daniel Davie is incapable of covering good wide receivers. A possible contributor as a dime corner, the fact that he'll be covering the opponent's top pass-catcher every game is horrifying.

BYU Cheap Shot: Safety Jordan Preator took NU tight end David Sutton out of the game and for several weeks with a cheap shot for the ages. That came at the 11-minute mark of the second quarter and was Preator's third dirty play of the game. We shouldn't act surprised. The most self-righteous teams are usually the cheapest. Brawl vs. Memphis, anyone?

So, the awful Big Ten officials shouldn't have been caught by surprise. The only thing more disappointing than the officials not calling the penalty is that Nebraska did not retaliate. This should have been policed on the field, without any coaching. Instead, NU turtled.

The Roster: The lack of depth (not to mention talent) is shocking. Saturday was a true measure of just how pathetic the former staff was at recruiting and player development. No proven running back to replace Abdullah. One healthy tight end. An offensive line with a combined 15 starts going into the game (13 for one player)

On defense, not one proven defensive end. A suspended starting linebacker and another making his first start as a true freshman. A horrendous defensive backfield.

On special teams, the return game was again a non-factor with DeMornay Pierson-El out. Drew Brown wa and is a disaster at placekicker, missing two easy field goals. Sam Foltz hurt his ankle, and there is no backup. We're fine.

Strength and Conditioning: BYU owned the line of scrimmage. Countless Cornhuskers were carted off the field, and in some cases, came back in the game only to get carted off again. BYU was tougher, both physically and mentally (see: no retaliation for cheap shot). This is a direct indictment of the last staff. The team, as a whole, looked lead-footed. Hell, if the team's last strength coach didn't even believe in publishing 40-yard dash times (the standard index for all of football for the last 40+ years), what does that say?

The Not As Bad As We Initially Thought

The Offense: PYB, as many fans likely did, remembered the second quarter and let it taint our memory of the full-game performance. The first quarter was good -- 180 yards and a 14-7 lead. Just 58 yards in the second quarter. Obviously, not optimal, but not as disastrous as suspected. The pass game got slightly off track in the second quarter and stalled a couple drives, as did a fumble near the end of the half. It's the risk of passing 40 times a game with a streaky (at best) passer at quarterback. The staff will have to find the right mix of plays to ensure this doesn't happen regularly.

In the second half, NU used a solid run game and gained 146 yards in the third quarter. In the fourth, the lack of push and third-down conversions hurt and the unit only gained 65 yards. 445 total. Certainly enough to win a home game. But, in the end, if it's taking 41 passes to net 319 yards, those 445 aren't as meaningful as it would be for an offense that's controlling the clock and/or has big-play potential. This group, for now, has no proven home-run hitters.

Armstrong: 24/41. 319 yards. One damaging interception. 58.5% completion rate. He'll never be a great passer but wasn't supposed to be. PYB still maintains the guy could be an above-average quarterback if he had a coordinator that used his full arsenal of talents. His one option run gained 15 yards. Maintaining that threat would open up easy passes to the tight ends and the deeper routes to wide receivers.

He'll need much-improved decision making, whether it be eliminating the crucial interception or simply throwing the ball away rather than trying to perfect the Taylor Martinez "spin away and throw the ball blindly to try to avoid a sack and instead throw an interception or get an intentional grounding penalty" play. Either way, would prefer not to see him crying on his dad's shoulder at the end of the game. If it meant that much, make more plays and fewer errors
the previous four hours.

The Offensive Line: Obviously, not great push or sustained run production. But, considering the unit had only 15 career starts prior (13 for Lewis), we liked that the same five linemen got every rep during the game. Develop a smaller, core group rather than a menagerie of mediocre players. Interesting theory.

Play calling: Despite the aforementioned short-yardage misses, PYB saw glimpses of strategy in the play calling. Progress indeed. The switch to straight-ahead running in the third quarter was nice. We wish the staff had found a way to keep that momentum going.

The Defense: Gave up 511 yards. 293 in the first half. 218 in the second, 81 of which came on two last-gasp, fourth quarter jump ball plays against outclassed athletes (Davie & Gifford).  Outside of that, they controlled BYU in the second half.

The Good

Dedrick Young: The true freshman from Phoenix wasn't perfect and looked to be feeling his way around. Understandable. He was second on the team with seven tackles and should only improve. Let's hope he stays healthy.

Josh Banderas: Showed flashes of what we thought he would two years ago. There's that Pinelli/player development thing again.

Nate Gerry: His third-quarter interception changed the game's momentum. PYB would love him to be more consistent and to be the teams consistent, spiritual leader. (Translation: make a play himself on the game-losing play)

Tackling: The Blackskirts actually tackled offensive players. Even made a few stops in open space. Progress. Let's hope it continues.

Defensive Tackles: Maliek Collins and Vincent Valentine led the core of this talented unit, and stabilized the interior of the defense -- especially in the second half. Here' to hoping the rest of the defense can improve greatly in the next couple weeks before a road game at Miami.

So, there you have it. Another predictable punch in the nuts for a team and fan base that didn't need one. Losing on a Hail Mary made it worse, like hitting one's head on the bike rack while falling to the ground after that playground shot to the groin. Hopefully, NU will be able to get healthy and refine some things during a should-be layup against South Alabama this week. Surely, some overmatched BTN announcer will tell us that a team improves most between its first and second games and we'll all rejoice that Nebraska is back and here to stay and ready to take on the Hurricanes.

Reality tells us that the cupboard is widely bare. That Old Mother Hubbard (Pinelli) was too busy bending over and taking the Big Ten's bone to stock up, develop and keep talent in house. Mike Riley is stuck with that reality. We can only hope he's smart enough to make the transition to his offense a gradual one. A 1-2 record after Miami is a cold reality, either way. Should Riley try a full year of square peg/round hole, he can expect a nuclear winter in Lincoln.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tired, Hungry and Poor - The Old Frontier

It's gameday, and the sun has risen on another rendition of the Nebraska football soap opera. Tomorrow, after the game against BYU, we'll check back in to analyze whether NU will wallow in shit with the pigs for another 12 months or if we think there's light at the end of the 18-years-and-counting tunnel. Who the fuck knows. Another press of the reset button, another coach with a potentially ill-fitting offensive scheme.

In the meantime, let's start this morning off right - by being negative about something other than Nebraska football -- hopefully before the family awakes and ruins a rare, lucid train of thought:

--The Big Ten still sucks. But hey, it's getting better. Minnesota hung with a highly overrated TCU team and only lost by a touchdown at home. PYB enjoyed seeing former Cornhuskers Aaron Curry and Aaron Green starting for the Horned Frogs. Good job, Bo. Honestly, we're more upset about Curry, who flashed potential while in Lincoln than we are Green -- who couldn't hold Ameer Abdullah's jockstrap and who wasn't even as good as Braylon Heard.

Mediocre Michigan and its hype machine traveled to Utah and lost to a slightly above mediocre Utah and its Mormon Brainwashing outfit. We're just thankful Michigan State was there to defend thy Olde Conference's honor on Friday nite, downing Western Michigan 37-24 in a treacherous road game. Yay.

--Superwoman is a still a pussy. From the "Are You Fucking Kidding Me?" Department, Dwight Howard is caught with a gun in his luggage at the Houston airport? A guy too fucking scared to do battle in the lane during a basketball game feels the need to arm himself while sitting in a First Class seat?  But, as we well know, this guy is dumb enough and self-absorbed enough to pull it off.

--The PGA Tour canceled the Grand Slam of Golf, its contrived off-season event that nobody watches or gives a fuck about because it's football season. Good riddance. The reason: the PGA, an organization run by old white guys, made up of young- to middle-aged white guys and Tiger Woods, and that caters to middle-aged-to-old white guys, had to pretend to act insulted by some comments that Donald Trump made about Mexican immigrants. If they don't like what he said about them, they should hear what he said about the Orientals!

Anyway -- the lesson here: Remember to pretend that it's OK for undocumented immigrants to break the law, get free shit from the United States, crush the economies of multiple states -- especially if they're from Mexico. And, if anyone has the gall to cite the economic and financial repercussions of the aforementioned actions -- feign horror and call that person a racist. Final side note: Trump still claims to be beloved by Hispanics and plans to garner their votes in 2016.

--The NFL is still a week away, but CBS has graced us with their broadcast team lineup for 2015. Led obviously by Jim Nantz and his barely hidden wish for a menage a trois with Tom Brady and Fred Couples, it's a wildly mediocre crew. Phil Simms remains as Nantz's parnter while, fittingly, the duo containing Simms' son, Chrissy, pulls up the rear.

But, if you're lucky or bored enough to tune into that mid-December game between 3-11 Oakland and another equally bad team (do they play Jacksonville this year?) -- you're sure to hear several unintentional laugh-out-loud analyses from Simms himself. #buttocks  Good times!

That's all we have. The Omaha World Herald offered nothing of substance the last three days, unless you wanted to know that Mike Riley is nervous, yet excited. Five players (three scrubs, a well-known but unproven starter, and a potential star tight end who has the production and depth-chart status of a scrub) got suspended. Lincoln is a "Sea of Red" on football Saturdays. Traffic can be a bit rough. Tom Shatel, coming as weak as he does most days, these days, fortunately only made one, vague reference to food in his gameday column.

But, Runzas are awesome. There was rain in Ohio and someone misspelled lightning. Oh -- and the NU volleyball team choked in another five-set match with Texas. Who said things had to change? 

Mediocrity is back. And it's here to stay.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


As football season fast approaches, and fans and analysts exaggerate preseason performances, PYB sends morning greetings from Charlotte -- a place filled with enough idiots to fill an entire weekend protesting a hung jury because they didn't like the 'verdict.' Let's forget about the fact that there was no 'verdict' and video shows the 'victim' charging a police officer - and move halfway across the country, where things are much rosier, at least for now:
  • The Nebraska football team lost its only proven offensive playmaker for six to eight weeks. Good start. Of course, the Omaha World Herald's Sam McKewon says this injury could 'linger' longer. Apparently, he moonlights as both a football coach AND a doctor when not pontificating as a sportswriter.
  • The NU coaching staff has rediscovered the screen pass, now that it has RBs capable of executing such a complex play. Roy Helu, Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah obviously weren't up to the task, since they were only good enough to rush for 1000 yards without any blocks and play in the NFL. PYB hopes someone can teach Tommy Armstrong to turn his feet toward the running backs during these plays. Considering his new position coach was Eli Manning's former mentor, that's entirely debatable.
  • The staff also plans to throw passes to its tight ends -- in particular the one that is 6'4", 230 pounds and runs well. NU's former $3 million a year coach couldn't find a way. Let's hope this group can.
  • The new defense will allow the front seven to chase ball carriers without being reprimanded for playing "outside the system." It will, however, put more pressure on the cornerbacks and safeties. Considering the fact that Bo Pinelli chided Lavonte David for not being in the 'right place' for a full season and that NU's secondary has been suspect for five seasons, these are good things. (Side note: David couldn't fully grasp Private Pinelli's 'system' but recently signed a $50 million contract and has been an NFL All-Pro linebacker for two straight seasons.)
Moving outside of Lincoln:
  • Tiger is back. Playing third-tier events in a pathetic attempt to make the pathetic FedEx Cup playoffs. Fans are blessed with mediocre golf, an ugly golf course, a DL3-in-the-Top Five sighting and six hours of talk about whether a win in Greensboro will be all Woods needs as a springboard to surpass the record for most career major wins. Yay. 
  • The NFL has painted its 50-yard lines yellow. Annoying. It's in honor of Super Bowl 50, but only being done in the preseason. Even more annoying.
  • NFL analysts continue to rave about the Philadelphia Eagles preseason performance, apparently forgetting that the team has four third-team quarterbacks vying for its starting spot. Last night against Baltimore, Mark Sanchez threw 20 passes to amass 118 yards. Continuing in the USC Trojan NFL tradition, Matt Barkley threw 14 to gain 86. Tim Tebow threw five for 13 yards, while apparently forgetting his Jump Pass days and missing the opportunity to miss a wide-open receiver in the endzone. For his efforts, though, he did earn a headline for that feat. Finally, Sam Bradford 'looked sharp' while racking up 35 yards and a touchdown in five attempts and survived a 'low' tackle around the waist from Terrell Suggs, who was apparently taking a break from bullying people at pickup basketball tournaments to beat up on one of the biggest China dolls in the NFL. Crystal Chandelier would be proud.
  • Lost in the menagerie of Philly numbers above was the fact that Joe Flacco had 23 yards on seven passes and two interceptions. Don't forget, of course, that he 'can make all the throws' and has a 'big arm.'
  • PYB would like to know what makes one versatile enough to the the "Lebron of the NFL?" Adrian Peterson says he's more deserving of the moniker than Jamaal Charles. If Peterson is counting his ability to Spermanate his way to seven bastard kids, then he gets the nod. Go away.
All this preseason hyperbole and bullshit has reminded us that the NFL is now the WWE and that college football is on its way to being the same. Wake us on September 5 when we really have something to get Riled Up about.