PYB reports for duty following an all-too-familiar performance from Nebraska's football team Saturday evening against Wyoming. The ensuing list is a chronological order of our observations. Let's get going:
--On its third offensive play of the season on 3rd and 1, NU's offense racked up a false start penalty. First drive of the year. First drive of the year killed by a bonehead play. What do you asshole fans expect, the 1995 Pipeline ?
--It was apparent by the second series that the defensive line would not positively impact the game for the Cornhuskers (by game we mean all games). Again. In fact, they are all fat and lethargic and differ only by the numbers on their jerseys.
--One exception is defensive end Randy Gregory, who looks lean, athletic and fast enough to close on quarterbacks. That said, the coaches should have a reason for him to not see the field by the UCLA game.
--David Santos doesn't look very good. It looks like he has bigger biceps and has quickly learned how to find blockers instead of make tackles while also missing plenty of open-field opportunities. When in doubt, ignore the need for speed and bulk up defenders in preparation for that hulking fullback from Purdue.
--In two drives, Wyoming gained 97 yards. Don't panic, plenty of time left in the game for the young defense and its wizard coaches to adjust.....riiiiiiiiight????
--In a move of sheer brilliance, NU's used a starting wide receiver and running back on kickoff returns.
--PYB predicted that the Husker offense would lay the ball on the turf by its fifth play. We were wrong. It was the sixth play.
--Taylor Martinez had grown up. Or so we were told by media outlets during preseason coverage. By the second drive, T-Ragic had forced a pass against the grain and into coverage, only to be lucky enough to have it tipped to one of his own receivers for a long gain. That shit may fly against Wyoming, but it won't in the Rugged Big Ten.
--The Nebraska blocking corps missed an assignment on its second 3rd and 1 of the game. Ameer Abdullah got rocked for a three-yard loss, and the Huskers had to settle for a field goal against the stingy Cowboy defense.
--After one quarter of play, Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith still had not been touched by an NU defender. Luckily, he reminded us all why he is in Laramie and threw a bad interception to end a drive that would have made it 14-3 WYO.
--On the ensuing drive, Martinez forced a second pass into coverage that was dropped instead of intercepted. NU led 10-7 instead of trailing by two scores. We realized by mid-second quarter that despite Martinez's wide array of shortcomings, he will be the least of Nebraska's worries in 2013. That's sad.
--Wyoming scored next to take a 14-10 lead, and dragged most of the NU defensive line six yards into the endzone. That's the "deep" NU defensive line, if you're wondering.
--Nebraska's defensive jumped offside on a 3rd and 4 for Wyoming. Luckily, the Cowboys committed a penalty too, and the fouls offset.
--By the 4:29 point of the second quarter, NU had committed its second false start on 3rd and 1. This time it was a running back. Another drive killed.
--Kenny Bell may be the best tackler on the team. Can he play defensive tackle?
--The Blackskirts finally touched Brett Smith at the 1:26 mark of the second quarter.
--Bo Pinelli waited all the way until 0:34 of the second quarter to waste his first defensive timeout.
--Pinelli waited less than three minutes to waste another, this time at 12:42 of the third quarter. We were just getting warmed up.
--Former Cornhusker Eric Warfield said on Twitter that he was not helping coach the defense this year, and that it wasn't his choice. Why would NU need him? They're FINE! Any team that allows more than 600 yards to Wyoming has NO need for a multi-year NFL starter on its coaching staff. Instead, Pinelli opts for a greaseball defensive coordinator, who has no playing experience at the college level and insists on taping his fingers like Tiger Woods before the final round of a limited-field WGC golf event.
--Despite a lackluster effort, NU held a 31-14 lead with six minutes left in the third quarter.
--Shortly thereafter, Andrew Green was back to his old tricks of not covering receivers very well, before getting trucked by a Wyoming ball carrier.
--Terrell Newby looked like a potentially great running back. Our question: how will the coaching staff find a way to underutilize him the next four years? Let's ask Roy Helu, Kyler Reed, and Jamal Turner.
--Cethan Carter appeared early in the game. We didn't know that Nebraska still had a tight end in its offense.
--We saw a #42 on the field in the third quarter. Multiple questions were abound: 1) Didn't NU retire #42 in honor of Sean Fisher? and 2) Who the hell was #42? Turns out, it was Trey Foster...freshman tight end for Lincoln Southeast. That's a lot of tight ends for a team that can't find a way to get the ball to a position that is open on almost every play. (One reception for tight ends Saturday, on a tipped ball intended for another player who was double covered).
--Despite all the team's shortcomings, NU still led 37-21 and was driving for another score. That was, of course, until Martinez threw at least his fourth ball behind a covered receiver. This time, it was intercepted and returned to midfield. Such plays will never fly in the Rugged Big Ten.
--Two plays later, team captain Ciante Evans was torched for a 29-yard touchdown. 37-27 Huskers.
--PYB offers a friendly tip for fans in 2013: If you forget who Nebraska's captains are, just look at the players' jerseys. The captains have a "C" sewn on the front of theirs. We're fine. Hell, NU's chances at a Stanley Cup have never been better.
--On the next possession, Martinez went Martinez and fumbled on 4th and 1 at the WYO 38-yard line. Many media apologists are camouflaging this gaffe by complaining about T-Vag having to shoulder the load on 4th and 1 with a bruised shoulder.
--Side question: What is NU's conversion percentage on 3rd- or 4th and 1 in the last five seasons? Less than 25%?
--Second side question: Did Ron Kellogg Jr. opt for the Jamarcus Russell fitness plan over the P-90X?
--Three plays later, Corey Cooper got torched for a 47-yard touchdown. Luckily, Wyoming has missed the two-point conversion after its last touchdown and the score was still 37-34 Huskers and things were looking good. NU hadn't lost a home opener since 1985 and had things under control...riiiight? Of course they did, unless one judged by the Solich-like glassy-eyed, near-tears looks that Bo and his defensive brain trust had developed over the first 3 1/2 quarters.
--Despite the close score, the game was amazingly boring and we were engrossed in a couple games of Words With Friends. At that point, one reader suggested that the Rugged Big Ten Network should replace sideline reporter Damon Benning with Clinton Childs for the next game. At that point, we realized that with the newly grown bad mustache, Benning looked amazingly like Carlton Banks. Yo homes, smell ya later....
--At that point, we agreed with our reader and thought that after Childs, BTN could add a series of former Huskers live from their jail cells of choice: Lawrence Phillips, Thunder Collins, Eric Alford. "So you won't strike it, I took it and I hyped it..."
We'd much prefer this than the drivel we get from Benning about "concept routes/drags" and the two coaching staffs playing chess. Doesn't he know we play FUCKING CHECKERS?!
--At that point, it was quite apparent that offensive coordinator Tim Beck had nearly lost the game by trying not to lose it. But with a boneheaded and butterfingered quarterback at the helm and a defense that gives it up more easily than a small-town slut does to a football player in Lincoln, who the hell could blame him?
--On its final drive, the Nebraska and its best offensive line in the Pinelli Era amassed six yards on three plays. Imani Cross did his best to aid Wyoming's cause, and ran out of bounds to save the Cowboys a timeout. Football IQ, anyone? No thanks, we're fucking fine!
--Team MVP Sam Foltz punted to the Wyoming six yard line. Pinelli dialed up another steady dose of four-man rushes (translation: zero-man rush). Pinelli complained to the officials about his worthless defensive line being held when it couldn't get to Smith after 10 seconds on the first play of the drive.
--True freshman Nathan Gerry continued to be within half a step of the player he guarded and continued to have no clue how to deflect passes prior to a reception.
--The stadium DJ blasted Metallica and Black Betty over the PA system, as if these songs would be the thing that got the Blackskirts over the hump after relinquishing 600 yards the previous three hours. We're willing to bet these tracks are not on many of the black players' iPods. We could be wrong but are chalking this one up to poor audience awareness.
--In a fitting end to the game, Smith had a full 12 seconds to scramble (we counted) before his last-ditch pass fell out of bounds and Bo's boys put a notch on their belts.
--PYB realized, after Smith's last 12 comfortable seconds in the pocket, that Nebraska's defense was woefully out of shape. Jason Peter and Scott Shanle discussed the same point the next day on Twitter.
--Team Captain Martinez (remember, "C" on his jersey) declined post-game interviews. Apparently, leadership is dependent upon having a good game. Bell said the team sucked. Others lamented the team's loss of focus (feel free to do something about said loss of focus before nearly losing).
--That said, NU had 10 penalties for 84 yards.
Anyhow, in an unusual show of restraint, PYB will refrain from judging the team after one game. Most folks, when coupling this performance with the overall pattern of Pinelli's team's performances, can do so for themselves and draw plenty of logical conclusions. Next week against Southern Miss will be a layup, and then Brett Hundley and the Bruins come calling. We all know how painful that was last season.
So forget the media puff pieces about increased maturity, heart and speed. Reality has arrived. NU is likely ranked third in Region IX behind North Dakota State and Northern Iowa, and the carousel at Camp Pinelli spins round and round.
Dance the night away...