Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Brains Over Blockheads
As PYB looked back on what can generously be called the debacle against Northwestern last Saturday, not one play stood out in our mind as being mildly remarkable. The only thing close was the backbreaking 81-yard Mildcat TD pass after Ciante Evans was burned for the umpteenth time this season. But by that point, we'd been numbed so badly by Nebraska's lackluster play that nothing came as a surprise.
Not the missed tackles. Not the countless blown coverages. Not the missed blocks, untimely fumbles, or the dropped passes. And certainly not the lack of desire shown by the Cornhuskers in another game as a heavy favorite. Chalk this one up with mystifying no-shows against South Dakota State, Kansas, and Texas. Chalk it up as the fifth straight season with a home loss to an unranked team.
After returning from travel and watching the Bo Pinelli Show, a few more plays stood out....even though most the ones of NU getting dominated by a team with a losing record had been deleted by the puppets at HuskerVision. Let's go down our checklist, in a feeble attempt to keep this rant focused:
1. What struck us as most embarrassing after the loss was Carl Pinelli not being man enough to speak to the media after taking an ass-kicking from the team that Barney Cotton surely now calls "the real NU". First of all, the Mildcats beat Nebraska fair and square. The least an outmatched defensive coordinator can do is answer the tough questions and give credit to his opponent.
Worse yet, what kind of example does it set for his players? When the going gets tough, and you're used to being a bully to get your way, just quit and shirk your responsibilities as a coach and a "leader". Or, maybe it wasn't a bad attitude and Carl was just late for a hot date with a booster's wife.
2. The annoying trend of last-minute injuries cropping up and claiming a starter continued, as Chase Rome didn't play. Stanley Jean-Baptiste fell victim to the pre-game injury bug the week prior. Why can't the Pinellis just release injury info in a timely fashion during the week like everyone else in the world except Bill Belichik? It didn't seem to give opponents an unfair advantage when NU used to rack up titles....but now this all must be shrouded in secrecy so NU can preserve its best shot at an 8-4 record? Please.
3. Taylorina Martinez threw for nearly 300 yards on 28-for-37 passing. However, he rarely threw downfield. Even when Martinez is hot, if you're relying on him to string together 15-play drives with his arm, you're cooking a recipe for disaster. More importantly, the fact that he is a god-awful option runner and misses read after read and open chunks of yardage is a killer. It limits the offense severely. His knack for taking a five-yard loss when it should be a no gain, is lethal to scoring drives. So, once again, Bo's insistence on hitching the Husker wagon to Martinez is paying negative returns for NU. Only 29 more starts to go.....
4. Speaking of disasters, let's get to Tim Beck's play calling. To the uneducated fan (which is everyone not from Youngstown, Ohio), it looked as if Beck thought that NU started the Northwestern game with the same 24-3 lead it held at the end of the Michigan State game. We wish someone had told him that to play keep away and ball control successfully, that your team must have the lead.
Beck's plan included ZERO aggressiveness, didn't even attempt to stretch the field and put little emphasis on actually scoring until late in the third quarter. In short, he didn't respect his opponent and relied on them to roll over and play dead just because the Spartans came to Lincoln the week before and pissed it down their legs in another big game. Surely, Northwestern would fear the MIGHTY FUCKING HUSKERS and their 280 rushing yards a game. Not so.
5. While we're covering disasters, let's talk about an abortion--Bo Pinelli's clock management. As Pat Fitzgerald's team sapped the life out of NU with its final, 13-play scoring drive, Bo did not deem it necessary to use his timeouts to give the Huskers more time to stage a comeback after the Wildcats' inevitable TD. In doing so, he let at least a minute of game clock expire. If that wasn't enough of a kick to the nuts, he did call one timeout after letting 35 SECONDS surpass after the play. Amateur stuff. Embarrassing.
Sure--a comeback was unlikely...but $3 million coaches are paid that much to give their teams the best chance to win at all times. Efficient clock management should be a given--perhaps Pinelli could start playing EA College Football online and learn this lesson from eighth-graders across America. Nebraska did end up scoring, and had it gotten the onside kick, having 58 seconds instead of 18 seconds just may have been helpful.
6. After watching the film, it was surprising that NU got two early turnovers from the Wildcats and was moving the ball decently. However, they didn't close drives with TDs and gave the ball back twice. The perfect recipe for an upset...just ask Paul Rhoads.
7. Kenny Bell and Brandon Kinnie dropped passes. Par for the course. Quincy Enunwa had a costly fumble. All fine examples of NU players NOT making plays and costing the team dearly. A new Husker steps up each week.
8. During his show, Pelini seemed miffed with his defense as he lamented all the blown assignments and bad tackles. Evans, Daimion Stafford, and Sean Fisher stood out this week. Injuries to the D-Line have piled up, and can't help any, but the continued missteps in zone coverages turn eight-yard gains into 80-yards game losers. Are players not listening to Bo's message any longer, or are they just too stupid and untalented to apply the theories?
9. Rex Burkhead looked tired. He fumbled. He played hard as always, but Beck did him no favors by giving him 35 carries against MSU considering the game was in hand early and NU has a stable of young backs who could have ligthened the load. Especially considering the stretch of tough games head. So, because the freshmen backs all fumbled a couple times earlier in the season, they get no more reps in key moments even though Taylorina can fumble 23 times with impunity?
10. The pass rush still stucks. It is apparent (to all of us not from Youngstown) that it ain't getting better any time this year. Would it be too hard to blitz a DB once in a while...preferably a black guy who has a chance of getting to the QB.....and preferably we would like to see the blitzer start closer than 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage. This gives him a better chance of getting to the QB before he passes the ball.
Well...that's all we got. Sorry for the long layoff...rugged travel and work schedule. We PROMISE to be back for Saturday, to offer a preview of the epic game against the Penn State Packers. Nebraska took it up the ass on Saturday, countless helpless boys took it up the ass in Happy Valley the last 20 years...PYB thinks it's time to return the favor to JoePa as he makes his shameful departure from the college football landscape. The best he can hope for is to leave the field Saturday with an empty diaper.
"Be careful of these things, that you use....because you could get arrested, for sex abuse...."
All for now...PYB