Sunday, November 20, 2011
Nebraska got bottle blasted by Michigan 45-17 Saturday in Ann Arbor. Michigan isn't very good. Nebraska is awful, and the Cornhuskers are stuck on a treadmill that keeps them jogging in the same dreadful abyss that Rat Solich led them to eight years ago. While watching a game NU could have won, but instead lost by 28 points, we wished that we were the ones who had been slipped some GHB. The rape was inevitable, so we may have well been able to enjoy it.
Let's run down the list, in no particular order. After watching the game tape again, and concluding that the highlight of the day came five minutes before kickoff when Lee Corso said "fuck" on national television, we came up with a lengthy list of observations that would take several hours to organize. Without a free day to spend at the library writing an outline, here goes:
--The uncalled offensive pass interference that led to Michigan's first touchdown was an outrageous miss that was just the beginning of a home-cooked ref job of Big 12 proportions. Even though this was not the reason for the loss, we knew the day was already fucked at this point.
--NU came out with its big-game face on, and shot itself in the nuts with eight penalties for 73 yards. More damaging than the 73 yards was the timing of the fouls, which led to horrible field position and to Michigan TDs. It's what Bo Pelini teams do on the big stage. Turn on the bright lights.
--Mike Caputo kept his marginal play going, whiffing at the most inopportune times to help NU turn 1st & 10 into 2nd & 14.
--Cameron Meredith was as bad as always. Handfighting with offensive tackles for four quarters, getting pushed four yards off the line of scrimmage, getting juked by any Michigan skill player within five yards, waddling after Denard Robinson once in a while and making one assisted tackle every third quarter. But hey, he has a ponytail, so he must be good. ESPN's announcers even made fun of him on one of his pathetic tackle attempts on Robinson, saying that Camyoufeelit must have thought he was playing flag football. Sadly, he's too fat and slow to be good at flag football.
--Most shocking this day was Nebraska's lack of talented personnel. This team has three good players. LaVonte David, Alfonzo Dennard and Rex Burkhead. The rest of the team is a menagerie of overwhelmed, home-grown walkons and overrated recruits from the other 49 states.
NU's three good players are from Florida, Georgia and Texas....so PYB is happy that Nebraska moved to the Big 10 where it can concentrate on racking up more slow players from the Rust and Corn Belts. What does NU plan to do next season when it loses its two best players from a defense that gives up 45 points to any team with an above-average offense? Scary thoughts, indeed.
Bo Pinelli keeps running hacks like Lance Thorell (he's so bad we almost feel bad for him but our rage at Pinelli for playing him overrides that emotion) and Austin Cassidy out on the field, to be eaten by the wolves. Are players like PJ Smith and Courtney Osborne so stupid they really can't learn the offense? Or are they recruiting misses by the staff? Or is the defense too hard to learn? Or is the development so bad that they can't beat out the stiffs like Thorell and Cassidy?
--The in-game coaching was terrible, across the board. Brady Hoke toyed with Pinelli and his Youngstown brain trust. Offensively, there was no focus. No rhythm. No identity. Gone was the Wildcat formation with Burkhead at QB, which won the Penn State game. The Diamond formation? One play for a long TD pass, then scrapped.
The only offensive consistency was the inconsistency. Taylorina Martinez's uncanny knack of turning 1st & 10 into 2nd & 15 was still present as ever, as was his complete lack of presence in the pocket. Nebraska will never win, especially with a mediocre offensive line, if it tries to play 'hide Martinez like the Ravens hid Trent Dilfer years ago.' It's necessary to have a good defense to play that game successfully.
--In all seriousness, what does Martinez bring to the table? Can't run the option. Can't pass. Can't scramble from the pocket. Can't read the zone read. Can't secure the ball. Can't lead. As we've said hundreds of times, Nebraska will never be good with him under center. May as well cut bait with him now. Otherwise, it's 26 more starts with him and hello, 8-4 twice more. Anyone who thinks this is sour grapes, please contact us with ONE thing Taylorina adds to the team's bottom line.
--Defensively, it was another sad effort. The defensive line is banged up, and not very good to start. Will Compton is one of the few bright spots outside of David and Dennard, but can't do much when his DL is pushed back into his face 60 percent of the time.
The defensive backs continue to disappoint--actually it can't be called disappointment when it has become expected. Too many times, Andrew Green and Ciante Evans are around the ball and drop easy interceptions or misplay the receiver and give up long receptions. Daimion Stafford looked good on run support some times, but was lost on pass coverage. He's shown flashes, but it's hard to learn when the veterans around you are making the same errors just as regularly.
Austin Cassidy was horrible, as always. We'll devote a full paragraph to his embarrassing play, as we've done ten times before. If it's inevitable, we may as well sit back, laugh and enjoy it. His whiff/faceplant on Michigan's final TD run provided an embarrassed chuckle and evoked memories of one Philip Bland. Most sadly, he's become some type of media mouthpiece for the defense. If you're stealing a scholarship from the state of Nebraska, and are that bad, just shut your mouth and ride out the last two games and thank daddy's former position at NU for the free ride.
--On an unrelated note, PYB likes listening to Urban Meyer on ESPN. His knowledge of the option game adds a great layer of information to Nebraska telecasts. We'd like to know what he's thinking about NU's underachievement. It's also interesting to hear him say that the Huskers have "no chance to win" once they start with the incessant, dink-and-dunk, forced passing game. Apparently, NU fans do know a little bit about football if they agree with a coach with multiple national title rings.
--PYB also contends that Burkhead is the best QB that Nebraska has played this year. Inexplicably, he got zero snaps under center after living there the week prior against Penn State. He commandeered the second good offensive play of the day, a handoff from Martinez which he then pitched to Ameer Abdullah (perfectly, we'd like to note) for an easy TD.
--Speaking of Abdullah, who's still on his way to become the next Santino Panico at the coaches' behest, he looked pretty nice running the ball. Hopefully, he isn't worn out after getting two carries. If he is tired, though, Aaron Green should be fresh enough to spell him. He got one carry. His redshirt, however, is still burned. As is Jamal Turner's, who sat most the game only to get his ass ripped for being the 12th man in the huddle late in the game.
--Regardless of all the aforementioned atrocities, NU had cut Bitchigan's lead to 31-17 at the end of the third quarter. The Blackskirts had stopped the Wolverines on their own 16 yard line and were set to get the ball back at midfield, at the worst, following another fair catch by Abdullah. However, Pinelli's charges decided to come after a punt (despite not blocking one since Barron Miles wore red) with another Walk-on 5.0. The result was obvious to anyone not from Youngstown. Too slow to make the block. Not enough hops to lay out and get the ball. Just slow enough to hit the punter's plant foot. Personal foul. Game over.
Meyer knew it and said it as soon as he saw the flag. Michigan ball at the 31-yard line. First play following that.....14 yard run. Again and again, UM gashed the worn-out defensive line...and then the Blackskirts did what they do in times of adversity--they quit. It was like watching the Wisconsin mauling in Madison again, except this time NU was being bludgeoned by a decidedly average team.
Nebraska did get UM pinned to a 3rd and 9 on the drive, but then Robinson dialed up a play that Penn State was not smart enough to last week and just threw it up for grabs on any NU DB not named Alfonzo. Stafford did his best Cassidy impression, quit running and fell 10 yards behind the play. Green did his best Ciante Evans and was beaten by three yards. 38-17.
Next drive, T-Vag can't find a WR on 3rd & 3. Too dumb and indecisive to find a scrambling lane....sacked from behind from a Michigan DT that runs a 5.5 40, fumble. Two plays later, missed tackle following Cassidy faceplant. 45-17. We've seen it all before. Solich made it too common, almost acceptable. Bill Callahan made it a habit.
As time wound down, Martinez found ways not to get the ball to receivers. He did, however, remember that he had an All-America caliber receiving TE and hit Kyler Reed for a meaningless pass completion.
PYB fielded calls, tweets and texts from pissed off friends and readers, wondering how to handle another massacre at the hands of a bad team. Just sit back and enjoy it. Enjoy another lost season. Enjoy another ruined Saturday. Enjoy another terrible bowl game. Enjoy the fact that the program hasn't gone anywhere since 1998 and isn't going anywhere soon--not with the program tied to a duo of blockheads. Bo and T-Vagic, sitting in a tree, R-O-T-T-I-N-G.
Nebraska shells out nearly $3 million a year to Pinelli, apparently for the honor of sitting on the periphery of the Top 25. For the consistent result of being outcoached by the likes of Pat Fitzgerald, Steve Sarkisian, Pat Hill and Brady Hoke. For the regular meltdowns on ABC and ESPN, when NU sits center stage. For members of the coaching staff ducking press conferences after another bad game. Thankfully, NU did move to the B10 this year--or it might have five conference losses by now.
Turn out the bright lights. Have mercy on us. End this season now, and not in Houston in the Meineke Car Car Bowl. End the T-Vagic era. Find a QB who can beat good teams. A QB that leads, not hides, in big games. And find a coach, whether it's a Pelini we've yet to see or a new, long-term solution. A coach who has an identity, and sticks to it.
NU fans can handle losing to better teams. They can handle a couple 9-3 seasons if the overall direction of the program is upward. They can't handle the treadmill to nowhere, a program held together with duct tape and seasons showered with needless blowouts filled with penalties, personal fouls, poor decision making and mind-boggling personnel and clock management.
Fourteen seasons and counting. Back....to the Future.
PS--Bitchigan ought to be embarrassed for having its defense fake injuries, multiple times, to slow down NU's no-huddle offense while holding a 21-point lead.
PSS--Choke-la-Homa should be embarrassed by giving up 45 points to Baylor and pissing away YET another chance at a title game bid.