Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ancient Hawkeye Secret

PYB apologizes for a travel-induced delay on our final post of the 2013 regular season. We promise some good insight. Some good thoughts. Some reader contributions. Like Private Bo Pinelli, we offer no guarantee of organization, planning or attention to detail. If you fuckers don't like it, then fucking fire us. Let's go:

--Iowa started its offensive onslaught with its ancient Hawkeye secret of power run and throwing to a tight end. First series went as such: gains of 5, 4, 1, 3, 10, loss, 10. Nebraska couldn't figure it out. They're fine.

--NU ran the first-ever flea flicker play to set up a 12-yard crossing route. Kenny Bell gained 25 yards.

--Nebraska Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck continued his streak of running a jet sweep to a completely random player that we all wish would get more touches (Quincy Enunwa this time) on his team's first series, only to put it in his pocket for the rest of the afternoon (or should we say morning?).

--After six offensive plays, Nebraska had racked up a penalty and thrown an interception. After eight plays, NU had thrown two interceptions.

--Iowa 'exploded' to score 38 points. Thanks to a bevy of Husker boners, four Hawkeye touchdown drives totaled 129 yards.

--The Hawkeyes clearly entered the game with (GASP!), a defensive game plan. Stop NU running back Ameer Abdullah, and bait Beck into calling 40 pass plays. It was apparent to everyone but Pinelli and Beck, apparently, as NU ended up throwing 37 passes and its quarterback got shelled by blitzes in the second half.

--NU had blown its second timeout by the 12:50 mark of the second quarter. FYI.

--The ABC announcers referenced a 'rare' Enunwa dropped ball. If rare means one per game, then yes, that would be accurate. Enunwa dropped two against Iowa, one being a long pass attempt that effectively ended NU's chances at being Heroes in 2013.

--Speaking of clutch plays, Abdullah put the ball on the carpet at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME imaginable yet again. In two seasons, his fumbles have killed his team's chances against: UCLA, Georgia, UCLA, Minnesota, Michigan State and Iowa. Ouch.

--PYB particularly enjoyed the first-half series that NU started on its own one-yard line: quarterback sneak, bomb with a dropped Hawkeye interception, pass thrown away over the chain link fence behind the NU bench on third down (a first from what we remember). Shank punt. Iowa ball inside Husker territory. Good times.

--Vincent Valentine showed some promise, collecting a tackle for loss and a sack. We're sure he'll immerse himself in James Dobson's offseason program and be too fat and slow to do anything well in 2014.

--ABC's sideline reporter Quint Kessenich, as well as the studio announcers, made fun of Nebraska's clock 'management' near halftime. We're fine.

--Private Pinelli went Private Pyle at the 7:46 mark of the third quarter, and checked in with another meltdown for the ages. Following a 'chickenshit' call in which another one of his overmatched linebackers tackled the 6'5" Iowa tight end in pass coverage, Pinelli complained that the throw was uncatchable. Amazingly, the officials did not change their call.

Pinelli swung his gay-ass hat toward the official who stood more than 50 yards from where the initial flag was thrown. Unsportsmanlike penalty. Thirty total penalty yards in one play. Luckily, the Hawkeyes dropped a touchdown pass, and had to settle for a field goal to make the game 17-10.

--So, Nebraska at that point had dodged a huge bullet. Time to regroup (even though halftime would have been a good time to do so like most teams), right? NU began its next drive, trailing by just a touchdown, at 6:04 of the third quarter. Abdullah rushed for seven yards on first down. Nice start! So, obviously, any good offensive play caller dials up a read option so  his 260-pound quarterback can keep it for no gain, then follows that up with a dropback pass so said quarterback can get rocked by another Iowa blitz. (Remember the Hawkeye plan? Stop Abdullah and make the quarterback throw too many times and then pressure him? Yeah, some teams stick to their plans -- or at least have one that lasts longer than one drive.)

--Turns out, all of us are fucking stupid. By not really trying to gain the first down on second and third downs, Pinelli was setting Kirk Ferentz up. Just like Frank Solich (and Pinelli against UCLA), he was waiting until fourth down to spring his trap, with a fake punt from his own 32-yard line. Of course! Let's call a backbreaking fake punt for a team that can't even line up correctly on a regular basis. Makes perfect sense.

If 91,000 people have ever collectively shit their pants at once, this was the time. How in the FUCK does anyone making $3 million call that play at that time? Shit, anyone playing a football video game would know this is a bad idea and would do so only if they were ready to quit playing and go to the bar. Same applies here.

In typical fashion, Pinelli blamed his players for lack of execution -- this time his team "missed a block" even though replays show that two Iowa defenders had the play sniffed out from the start. A couple days later, the excuse was that NU punter Sam Foltz had missed the crease. So, a punter who can't even punt well is supposed to hit holes like a running back?

--In typical fashion, NU rolled over and let Iowa score on the first play following the turnover. 24-10 Hawkeyes.

--Nebraska didn't give up, as it never does against the shitty teams it loses to or barely beats. Enunwa scored to cut the gap to 24-17. NU got the ball back. Abdullah fumbled the ball on the first play due to a crushing hit (translation: one guy was dragging him down and another guy finished the tackle from behind). Abdullah faked injury. Iowa scored two plays later. Corey Cooper looked pathetic in trying to stop a ball carrier for the second straight week. Game fucking over. Another lost season complete.

--NU's best hit of the game, unsurprisingly came from a wide receiver. This time, Brandon Reilly lit up an Iowa defender on a crackback block.

--Most embarrassing was the fact that Iowa physically dominated Nebraska. Mind you, that's not a compliment to Iowa but an indictment of NU and it's lack of physical toughness and conditioning. Happens every game. This time, the following players were injured or slow to get off the turf and limp to the sideline (these are just the ones we noticed, so the list may be incomplete. Players listed twice got 'hurt' twice.):

  • Michael Rose
  • Cooper
  • Jake Long
  • Ron Kellogg III
  • Abdullah
  • Kellogg III
  • Jason Ankrah
  • Taariq Allen
  • Abdullah
  • Avery Moss.

--Jordan Westerkamp returned two punts for five yards. Hidden in that already-embarrassing statistic is the fact that he let one punt bounce at the 20-yard line after posting up at the 15-yard line before the kick. He fair caught another at his own three-yard line. He also let another bounce at the 40-yard line after lining up at the 36. If that's not the calling card of a well-coached team, PYB doesn't know what is.

--NU is 118th (out of 123) in the country in turnover margin, 111th in turnovers lost, 121st in punt returns, 76th in penalties per game, and 80th in penalty yardage per game. In short, Nebraska sucks in any category that indicates a team is well coached and/or organized.

After another four-loss season, PYB must digress and hand the microphone off to some others. We can only say the same thing so many different ways. A few of our favorites:

--From an anonymous Facebook friend:
"I promise this is my last Husker rant: The ESPN announcers are completely misconstruing why the Husker fans have issues with Pelini. It isn't that we expect a national title next year and we aren't happy with 9 wins. It is that we are so ridiculously sloppy, and we continually shoot ourselves in the foot over and over again. What we expect is our coach to actually improve the team from game to... game, year to year. Here is what we can't take: 148 turnovers in four years; failing to get lined up properly; not having enough men on the field; having to call timeouts to get the proper personnel on the field; basically giving up on special teams; running out of bounds when you are trying to kill the clock. What we want is a coach who pays attention to and fixes these issues. And just so they know, we have as much talent as many teams who are in the top ten right now so quit saying that it is a recruiting issue. Although, our coaches did whiff on all of out DT prospects for the last two years, which is why we are starting freshmen, and that is their fault also." 

--From Bruce Lietzke during last night's Big 10 Championship game:
"What's sad is that we dominated Michigan State, but if we were in this game we would be behind by 28 points already."

--From NU Kicker Mauro Bondi on Twitter after Michigan State beat Ohio State (since deleted):
"Does this mean we get to go to a shittier bowl game?"

--From Jacque:
"The MAC is better than the Big 10."

--From Shane:
"Do the players supporting Bo know they're brainwashed?"

--From Mouse (apologies on the formatting):

2008 – 4 Losses 
Virginia Tech (unranked) @ home 30-35 Missouri (ranked #4) @ home 17-52 – embarrassing loss Texas Tech (ranked #7) @ Lubbock 31-37 – impressive loss Oklahoma (ranked #4) @ Norman 28-62 – embarrassing loss Most “impressive” win – bowl game vs Clemson (unranked) 26-21 Season End Ranking - Unranked

2009 – 4 losses 
Virginia tech (ranked #13) @ Blacksburg – competitive loss Texas Tech (unranked) @ home 10-31 – embarrassing loss Iowa State (unranked) @ home 7-9 – embarrassing loss Texas (ranked #3) @ Big 12 game – impressive loss Most “impressive” win - @ Missouri (ranked #24) 27-12 Season End Ranking - #14 One of Bo’s best seasons with the help of the best defensive player in Nebraska history.

2010 – 4 losses 
Texas (unranked) @ home 13-20 – competitive loss Texas A&M (ranked #18) @ College Station – competitive loss Oklahoma (ranked #10) @ Big 12 game – competitive loss Washington (unranked) @ bowl game 7-19 – embarrassing loss Most “impressive” win - @ home against Missouri (ranked #7) 31-17 Season End Ranking - #20 Maybe Bo’s best season with wins agains Mizzou and #17 OK State in Stillwater. Then he went on to lose three of his last four games, including Washington, who they defeated 56-21 earlier in the season. Complete collapse.

2011 – 4 losses 
Wisconsin (ranked #7) @ Madison 17-48 – embarrassing loss Northwestern (unranked) @ Lincoln 25-28 – embarrassing loss Michigan (ranked #20) @ Ann Arbor 17-45 – embarrassing loss Sour Carolina (ranked #10) @ Bowl Game 13-30 Most “impressive” win - @ home against Michigan State (ranked #9) 24-3 Season End Ranking - #24

2012 – 4 losses 
UCLA (unranked) @ Pasadena 30-36 Ohio State (ranked #12) @ Columbus 38-63 – embarrassing loss Wisconsin (unranked) @ Big 10 game 31-70 – embarrassing loss Georgia (ranked #6) @ bowl game 31-45 Most “impressive” win – @ home against Michigan (ranked #20) Season End Ranking - #25

2013 – 4 losses 
UCLA (ranked #16) @ Lincoln 21-41 – embarrassing loss Minnesota (unranked) @ Minneapolis 23-34 – embarrassing loss Michigan State (ranked #14) @ Lincoln 28-41 Iowa (unranked) @ Lincoln 17-38 – embarrassing loss Most impressive win - @ Michigan (unranked) 17-13 Season End Ranking – unranked

Of Bo’s 24 losses in the past six seasons, 13 of them most definitely fall in that “embarrassing” category, and I’m probably being generous on some of them. And 8 of those 13 have come in the past three seasons. This clearly shows a steady decline. Recruiting has clearly been lacking, which is evidenced by the fact how things have regressed since Bo lost the talent he was left with. Callahan was an awful football coach, but at least he brought in players. Since no one else wants to read between the lines, I did it for you. Hope this helps….GBR.

That's about all we have. Another depressing installment in 2013. A shittier bowl game will be confirmed tonight, one day after watching Duke, Missouri and Michigan State play in their conference title games. Hell, Duke only gave up 38 points to Florida State, not 70 to Wisconsin.

All the aforementioned shortcomings indict the absolute core of a football program: strength, conditioning, speed, coaching, organization, intelligence and discipline. Yet, NU Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst followed up one day after a 21-POINT HOME LOSS TO IOWA by supporting the great job Pinelli has done in Lincoln, with the 'battling through injuries' quote being a familiar but pathetic crutch.

Our only question is: Did Eichorst make the Three Million Dollar man pay the $10,000 fine the Big 10 threw Nebraska's way? A conference-to-school fine like that is the first that PYB remembers in 35+ years and a new, more embarrassing low for a university and football program that is rich in tradition. With Private Pinelli still at the helm, new rock bottoms are on the way. Enjoy.


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