Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Fine Script

PYB chimes in for a get-to-the-point Nebraska-Illinois recap, as time this week is limited. But, with the first meaningful Nebraska game coming this week, we felt compelled to show up -- unlike NU Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck at a post-game press conference or after a mid-week practice. Also, unlike an American golfer's nut sack during any Ryder Cup event. That, of course, is off topic, so here we go:

--Sure, Nebraska slid by Illinois by 31 points this past weekend. Looked like a blowout, right? Maybe so, to the untrained eye. But, keep in mind the cumulative effect of playing in the RUGGED BIG 10! The hits that one must absorb from a 240-pound linebacker are so much more taxing when that linebacker runs a 40-yard dash in over five seconds. So much more debilitating than taking the same hit from a linebacker that runs a 4.4 in any other major conference in the country.

If you don't believe us...just read it right here! Call it collateral damage that only the Indianas, Purdues, Minnesotas, Northwesterns and Pam Wards can dole out. In all seriousness, in reading the article, PYB was concerned that Big 10 play is when NU players consider "playing for a championship -- a title." Nary a mention of winning all non-conference games to keep national championship hopes alive. Very telling.

Regardless, given the conference's pathetic showing this year -- it's time to put the 'beat each other up' tag line to rest. Actually, 1995 would have been a good time but we'll settle for now.

--The NU defense started poorly and presented holes larger than a 20-year-old college slut at a keg party. Corey Cooper looked embarrassingly inept on the first Illinois touchdown, as has too often been the case this season...and last....and the one before that. PYB has sensed that an array of problems exists within the 2014 Blackskirts -- we'll find out this week against Michigan State if that is just paranoia or is indeed the case. The Spartans will surely test every limit of Private Pinelli's defense, as few defensive units can stand up to such an uncreative offense, complete with a stand-still quarterback and pedestrian run game. Look out.

--Sarcasm aside, the first half of Saturday's game played like the latest installment of a bad movie series. Same formula. Same director. Some actors the same, some different. Anyway, the script was as follows:
  • Take early lead with too-easy TD drive
  • Relinquish tying score while offering no resistance and looking plenty foolish
  • Counter with nice offensive drive that is cut short due to a holding penalty
  • Quarterback throws careless interception into traffic
  • Defense looks inept defending simple screen plays
  • "Power" running back fumbles ball for no reason
  • Heisman hopeful running back still handling kick-return duties 
  • Team takes 31-7 lead that looks impressive at home but was rife with inefficiency
  • Coaches butcher clock management at the end of first half
  • Coaches turn 14 points into three in the last two first-half possessions with poor play calling 
  • Coaches play starters more than a quarter too long
  • Coaches refuse to pull starting QB, whose has no proven backup, a week before a big game
  • Coaches don't try to score and screw up three potential scoring drives
  • Coaches blow rare opportunity to get inexperienced players a full quarter of snaps
  • Game stays too close to pull defensive starters, starting CB gets hurt
  • Private Bo Pinelli feigns grief over aforementioned injury
  • CB walks off the field unassisted after looking seriously injured (The Kenny Bell Effect)
  • NU wins by 31, keeps goals in front of itself.
  • Coach points the thumb in post-game press conference.
That about does it. Sound familiar? Are we being too harsh? Will the inefficiencies and errors listed above cut it in East Lansing Saturday if NU hopes to win. Doubtful. Will the sun come up tomorrow if Pinelli doesn't fix them? Yes. Should a coach making $3 million a year know how to manage timeouts at the end the first half? Yes. Especially since those of us who played any EA Sports football game growing up learned and know how and were better at it.

But what the fuck. It's another win, and Nebraska is undefeated. Just 13 teams can say that, so obviously NU is ranked 19th. Florida State gets votes for #1 after almost losing at home to unranked Clemson and then looking bad against unranked NC State. ESPN experts are cementing their playoff qualifiers each week. The money machine rolls on....

This team isn't good enough to think rankings, but is good enough to beat anyone left on its schedule. It is also dumb enough to lose to anyone on its schedule, thanks to inconsistent coaching and holes in the talent level. But, it seems to at least have a certain poise that other Pinelli teams didn't. That will be tested Saturday. And until then, we'll save the real venom -- or praise.

Finally, a few quick hits before we get back to moving:

--Lots of furor over Nebraska's alternate uniforms. We like the all-red concept. The execution was just butchered. Does anyone seriously expect a school that can't even get it's trademark "N" logo right to pull off a concept? PYB actually drew the all red uniforms up years ago during sixth grade art class, and they were much cooler if we do say so ourselves. And we sucked at art class. We have the pictures to prove it and will post them by then end of this season.

Does anyone expect a school that still thinks "Kickstart My Heart" is a viable stadium pump-up song to be able to look into the future to design a cutting-edge ensemble? Does anyone expect the same company that designs Sergio Garcia's golf clothing to be able to toe the line of futuristic, cool and wearable? So, don't blame the color scheme. Just blame bad taste and a complete lack of fashion sense. As for the unreadable, silver numbers -- we've got no reasoning for you there.....the numbers in the media release were black...Apparently, Adidas practices the details about as much as Pinelli's teams.

--Speaking of being behind the times, we give you this picture of a cable van from Dallas. DFW -- we'll grant you the 1993 hairstyles and 1980s road system. But, seriously, it's been seven years since he played in the NFL and five years since the slut he was dicking killed him.

--PYB can almost handle the biennial beating that the Americans take in the Ryder Cup. Hell, we like many of the Europeans more than the American players. What we can't handle is the pomp and circumstance surrounding the team as they run their wives out in front of the cameras for a post-round kiss after taking another 5 and 4 pounding.

And, speaking of bad taste, dressing in outfits that look like the local Dillard's clerk was still drunk from the night before and mixed up the weekly Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger and Polo Sport shipments is not acceptable. A sweater with an American flag taking up the entire front? For real? Even Davis Love had to think that was gay....

The Europeans look like 12 friends on a golf trip. The 12 friends who get drunk and talk shit to the henpecked friends that still come on the trip but are too worried about calling home every five minutes to check on how dance practice went to have any fun. Too worried about getting home early to get drunk on the last night. Too worried about paying for his wife's overpriced SUV to gamble five dollars a side on the golf matches. Too worried about getting off the green for a post-round sympathy embrace to not rocket a greenside wedge over the green, lose the last hole and lose a match. (On that note, we were glad to see Hunter Mahan did indeed have all the pressure shots in his bag -- chunk wedge in 2010 and skull wedge in 2014). Do us all a favor and grow some balls or stay home....

All we got for now.....we'll see how it works out Saturday when Private Pinelli 'takes what the defense gives him' instead of just running the fucking ball regardless of who the opponent is....This was an actual quote the week after running the ball down Miami's throat all game. We're fine.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Toast the U

Thanks to a lack of viable internet connection at our shitty Residence Inn, you'll have to forgive the lateness and the formatting of the below. The content, though, is as great as always:

PYB kicks off this fine Sunday, fortunate enough to get the Eagles and Redskins on local television. Inevitably, this means three full hours of shit talking from DeSean Jackson as he torches his old team during what should be a win versus the Washington Redskins and Super Statue Kirk Cousins. He sucks as a quarterback but is awesome since he gave an overrated speech at the Big 10 media event a couple years back. If Philly was smart enough to gameplan to neutralize Niles Paul, they may have a chance. 

On with the show:

As Husker Nation rejoices today, we feel somewhat unsatisfied. Somewhat flat. Is it the product of another late Eastern Time Zone kickoff or one borne of a win that looks good on paper but was an average performance made to look like a gem by adding some history, some window dressing, a big-name team and a couple in-game skirmishes? Right now, it matters not, as Nebraska is 4-0 after holding on to beat Miami 41-31. We’ll find out in two weeks. For now, enjoy it…the Huskers are the class of the Big 10. The hottest fat chick. The least slutty slut. Here we go:

--Ameer Abdullah: 229 yards. 6.5 yard per carry. Stud. Nebraska Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck was (finally) smart enough to keep pounding the football at the Hurricanes with his best player. To gut the fat Miami pigs up front. Same formula NU used 20 years ago. Novel concept. Nebraska’s program is stuck in the past in so many aspects. This should be another one. Next task for Beck and Co.: Get Abdullah off the kick return team so he doesn’t have to leave the field in favor of the lead-footed Imani Cross. Furthermore, an elite athlete should never have to leave the field after an eight-yard run.

--Tommy Armstrong: Solid performance, outside of the two turnovers. His fumble should have never happened, as he could have easily avoided contact. The interception was a bad throw, but the play was a worse idea. PYB, after watching the disaster against McNeese State, is pretty sure the wheel route should have been stricken from the playbook. Instead, it was brought back to life Saturday for no apparent reason.  PYB is an Armstrong fan. He needs to get better, and his coaches need to get better at protecting him from doing too much and highlighting his attributes. He ran tough Saturday and got a win when he could have melted. We’ll take that any day when compared to his limp-wristed predecessor.  (On a semi-related side note, Taylorina Martinez is now doing real estate in Orange County. Perfect profession for a brain-dead, no-talent asshole. He’ll fit right in in both a professional and geographical sense.)

--Defense: Bo Pinelli’s Blackskirts forced three turnovers and actually four if not for a bullshit roughing the passer flag that negated an interception. Trevor Roach made Nebraska Wesleyan rue the day that it didn’t lock him up earlier in the recruiting process when he forced a Duke Johnson fumble. Josh Mitchell scooped up the bouncing football and returned it for a touchdown, in what was likely a game-saving play.

Let us not forget that NU had a thin three-point lead with Miami driving at midfield and the Hurricanes holding all the momentum. The ‘Skirts surrendered 31 points and 435 yards to a team with a freshman quarterback that gained just 314 yards in a 31-13 loss to Louisville two games prior. The final Miami touchdown was a disappointment. True freshman Josh Kalu tried to line up fourth-year junior Daniel Davie and he still got torched.

So, the defense hung in there but we can’t shake the feeling that there are some major fucking holes with this unit. Not enough speed – watching Corey Cooper chase ball carriers is horrifying. Suspect coverage from the defensive backs on a too-consistent basis. Little impact from the linebackers, outside of easy-to-see, repeated errors. No hitters. Lack of depth due to injury/weed smoking/poor recruiting. With a lot of youth gaining experience, we’ll reserve final judgment for now, but major concerns are abound.

--Fights: Nebraska and its fans got their panties in a collective wad when Miami did what Miami does, especially since they aren’t any good at football anymore. They baited NU down into the mud where the pigs live. The very thing that Tom Osborne warned his 1994 team against in the Orange Bowl happened. Instead of ignoring the foolishness, Private Pinelli’s troops humored the Hurricanes and fully engaged them in their studio gangster ways. Waste of time. Loss of focus. Potential momentum changer. A lack of leadership and institutional control at its finest. Any junior college team can pick a fight. JUCO coaches make $30,000 -- not $3 million.

--NU fans: Memorial Stadium, for once, got loud. There’s nothing like deep-seated racism to bring out the venom from Ma & Pa Kettle in the West Stadium. There’s nothing like portraying a hapless, second-tier Hurricane player as a gangster to help get Granny in a lather as she declares her hate for Hip Hop Hogwash as an excuse to deride people of color that don’t play for Nebraska, wear dreadlocks and stand for anything else she hasn’t heard of in her 85 years listening to KFAB. Hell, we even saw the Behind-the-Head Bones Throw from a clueless fan late in the game. Unfortunately, we're still without a DVR and couldn't capture the image. Take our word for it -- it was pure chaos in Lincoln -- and if you don't believe it -- just ask any Nebraska fan!

--Cross: Can we put this career to rest now? It’s the humane thing to do.

--David Santos: He had his first notable performance as a Cornhusker. He'll need several more this season if his defense intends to trade its skirts for shirts...

--Tight ends: After a big week last week, they had zero catches yesterday. Less tight tend, more wheel routes. Apparently, they blocked well. We’re fine.

--Run game: As mentioned above, running the ball and sticking to it had amazing results. It’s called an identity. It’s called doing something over and over so that you eventually learn to do it well. It’s called getting a win without playing perfect football. Pound the fat, unconditioned opponent until you break their will then slash the throat. Maybe Beck can bask in the glory of this win long enough to quit dodging the media -- it never worked for NU's last quarterback or any successful player or coach for that matter.

So, it’s a win. It’s 4-0. Illinois is next. They suck. We’ll have at least a small gauge of Nebraska’s chances to have a meaningful season in two weeks against Michigan State. Sure, the Spartans’ quarterback is overrated and is a pocket passer. Both of those factors usually mean success for Bo Pinelli teams. 

MSU even provided a half game’s worth of resistance against Oregon (who almost lost to Washington State last night). Maybe this conference isn’t so fucking bad. Indiana won on the road against SEC-juggernaut Missouri yesterday. The Big 10 is back, and it’s here to stay!

Anyway, we’re still ho-hum after last night’s win. We received this text when asking why we felt this way. It pretty  much sums it up in about 2000 fewer words: “Until we win a game that means something I won’t celebrate like we did something great. We should beat Miami in Lincoln – they are an average team with a freshman quarterback. If we win at Michigan State and Wisconsin, I will celebrate. But any other game on our schedule we should win, and that’s my problem with the program – everyone is satisfied with the season now just because we beat an average Miami team. It’s just sad.”

We agree wholeheartedly, but also think our ambivalence to this win is part of a larger malaise sweeping college football. Florida State lost its rapist quarterback and almost lost in Tallahassee to Clemson until Clemson pulled a Clemson, which proves that the college game is now mostly about who has the best one or two superstars (which we’ve seen be the case since Reggie Bush and Vince Young). North Carolina gave up 70 to East Carolina. Utah gutted Michigan in Ann Arbor. Mississippi State dominated LSU in Baton Rouge. Ohio State was idle and should move up 15 slots in the rankings and into the top five.

The shit is watered down. Arguing about Jameis Winston for three hours on College Gameday is more important about analyzing Xs and Os. Getting a sideline reporter’s take on women’s rights trumps game analysis. It’s all a sideshow. Hey, it must be the money….

We interrupt this column to let you know that Niles Paul just dropped a Kirk Cousins pass and cost the Redskins a first down. Don’t blame Paul – he has small hands. 

On that note, we’ll ride into the sunset. We’ll await all the overhype for the Ryder Cup and watch the USA contingent act just a little bit too intense while Europe beats the shit out of them and has much more fun doing it. They’re fine!

Thanks for reading….PYB

PS - The rad 'Vette above was spotted in person Sunday, and its owner wins Douche of the Year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fresno Calling -- Guest Column by The Diggler

PYB wants to thank The Diggler for coming out of the bullpen in our time of need to write this week's recap. We sprinkled his fresh perspectives (you're certainly tired of the usual author) in with some Editor's Notes (italics below). Thanks also to AMG for sending the highlight link (truth be told, I looked in the same location was technically unsavvy enough not to find it). 

Read on:
Let me first start off by saying starting a football game at 9:30pm (10:30 EDT, for the fucking record) is utterly ridiculous and I’m not sure how much we got out of this road trip.  Late game.  Blowout.  Shitty opponent.  Late return time.  Tired players.  Inflated egos.  Etc.  Anyway off to my updates in a random and observational manner:

Touchdown to Westerkamp:
·        Missed it because CBS Sports Network felt compelled to show the end of the Wake Forest v. Utah State game even though Utah State was up by whoever the fuck cares.  More on Wake Forest later in the update.

Ameer Abdullah TD:
·        Dude is a stud and wish he got more than 5 carries a game.

Nebraska D:
·        We are terrible versus high-paced offenses. (Diggler, remember to hyphenate here)
·        Can’t get the signals into the players and if you took a shot for every down we weren’t set and Fresno snapped the ball you would be shit faced by mid Q2.  The loss of Michael Rose’s on field play calling ability is very apparent - something to watch if Nebraska gets to a bowl game and we play something other than boring ass Big Ten teams. (NU is now in the Big 10 and gets to play boring-ass SEC teams at 10am in the rain. At least it's 11am Eastern for us after moving.)

Santos is a moron
·        No fucking clue what he was doing batting the ball out of the end zone.  Bo said he felt it was an incomplete pass which is remarkable considering a first grader knows the ball is dead upon an incompletion. (Maybe he thought he was covering an RB in the flat? Wait, NU LBs don't do that...)

Fresno had a 9 yard punt
·        All you fucking do at practice is practice punting – never understood how this can happen. (NU kickers/punters used to jump on the high-jump mats and pretend to make game-winning catches when we watched practice in college....)

Kenny Bell:
·        Continues to put KCCO on his arm tape.  It should read: “KCFI” – Keep Calm and Fake Injuries. (How is this still a trend? And why is that website so slow? And why do we vacillate between liking Bell and thinking he's kind of a bitch?)

Tommy Armstrong:
·        Throws a hard ball, but needs to put a little more air under it.  Missed a couple easy TDs and completions and all he needs to do is put a little more touch on his passes.  I can only assume he was throwing them perfectly in HS and then the QB wizard Tim Beck fucked him up.
·        Still locking on primary receivers and not progressing via his reads.  Trust your OL and check down if necessary.

Clap Snap:
·        Nebraska doesn’t clap our hands to snap the ball.  Quit doing it immediately – it’s gay. (Ohio State does it, and they're awesome.)

Randy Gregory:
·        Dude is a beast, but does he have a little 2013 Jadeveon Clowney in him?  I think so and frankly I would do the same thing.  “Ummmm play as hard as possible for dipshit Papuchis and risk getting injured or take a few plays off and make millions next year.”  Don’t get me wrong he had some money plays like dropping into coverage, finding gaps during 3rd down blitzes and is a true difference maker, but something tells me he picks and chooses.

·        Granted he’s from the daunted LouPlatte Conference in Buffalo County, but kids like this need to be on Nebraska’s roster.  Kid has a motor, looked pretty solid and would tear out his heart not for Pelini but the entire state of Nebraska.  I heard we have a walk-on program and we’re famous for it – maybe we can look at this route. (PYB doesn't know much about the LouPlatte Conference and is not sure how it got mentioned here -- we just know that Ravenna is the historic powerhouse of the group.)
·        Also there are like 2000 Gangwish’s (plural, not possessive, Diggler) in Buffalo County.

Fat Charlie:
·        Kansas has scored like nine points in 20 road games under Weis.  It’s highway robbery how much money that fat fuck is making off of ND and KU, but I guess it serves those two prick institutions right. (Had no clue that Weis was still there. We can name more than 10 My Little Ponies, however.)

1st and 10:
·        “Pass!  Pass!  Pass!” – Tim Beck (This line reminded us of the Ratt lyric, "Dance, Dance, Dance..." which reminded us of how stellar they were and still are. Upon an iTunes search, we found they have a new(er) greatest hits collection from 2007 and will buy it today. Also, a college friend of ours had breakfast next to them in the late 1990s at Perkins following a show at the Royal Grove in Lincoln. Then years later, their drummer drove for the trucking company we worked for and wore a co-worker of mine out because he had to get home to Los Angeles every weekend to make his gigs).

Put Them Away!
·        Nebraska is undoubtedly the worst team at putting teams away and I challenge you to remind me of the last time Bo put someone away in a defiant manner.  If you can remember a game please e-mail PYB.

“F you Kalu!”
·        Granted he didn’t say this, but leave it to Bo to completely rip the ass
of a true freshman in his third game when his entire defense appeared to be out of sync.  I keep hearing that Bo has tough love for the kids he likes and see promise in, but good lord man let off the gas once in a while.
·        Kalu does look to be a good one – somewhat Eric Haag in nature and feel for the game.

I once kicked a 25 yard FG in intramurals
·        This is the first thought that raced through my head when the Fresno kicker missed his attempt by 20 yards.  Also if you’re wondering I went straight Tom Dempsey with my approach and kick – dead fucking center.

“I'm going to have to teach him a little bit about what a fair catch is like he did on the last one.” – Pinelli
·        Yes this was the quote one week earlier when speaking about De'Mornay Pierson-El – Nebraska’s new dynamic punt returner.  The kid is a stud and you can see that he has a perfect feel for the punt return - when to be patient, hit the hole, hit the edge and turn it up.  He’s a true freshman so the staff has plenty of time to fuck him up. (Can we change it from Pierson to Pehrson?)

Subliminal TV Ad
·        I knew the Budweiser wasn’t talking so loud that I starting seeing shit on my TV so I went through the painstaking process if trying to figure out my remote and go frame by frame.  After a few attempts sure enough I saw it – a half second subliminal ad from some weird scam prevention company.  How do they run these during programming and how is this allowed?  Also, why has it always been so hard to use the frame by frame function on your remote?  Ever since the famous Basic Instinct scene with Sharon Stone’s beav I have been trying to figure it out.  (I liked fucking Johnny....)

Fresno WR Joshua Harper
·        His dad won two NCs for Nebraska?  Check
·        Athletic WR from CA?  Check
·        No offer from Nebraska?  Double fucking check. 
·        Shoot me?  Check. (You're fine)

Cockrell and Newby
·        Byerson Cockrell looks solid and our continued success of recruiting JUCO DBs continues.
·        Marcus Newby – not sure he knows what he’s doing when on the field, but him rushing the QB is fun to watch.  Kid is fast, strong and looks solid.  Not sure what else he can do, but he actually looks like a true DE as opposed to our regular formula of 6’3” 325 lbs. (And runs a 5.4 40....breakdown!)

Halftime Observations:
·        Earlier in the update we referenced Wake Forest and we did that for a reason.  That reason being that Nebraska offered our head coaching position to Jim Grobe.  Jim Grobe…… JIM FUCKING GROBE.  If that wasn’t bad enough Houston Nutt is on this two-bit CBS Network and he also was offered our head coaching position.  Houston Nutt.  Houston Nutt.  HOUSTON FUCKING NUTT.  This POS is now begging for the SMU job and makes your realize how far these coaches have fallen along with our program.  I guess it’s not a coincidence that all three are appearing on CBS Sports Network within 2 hours of each other.

Imani Cross
·        Looked pretty fast and pulled away from DBs – PYB is still unsure of his talent. (Why do his feet look like size 22s when he runs fast?)

Holy Shit!  A Tight End!!!
·        We threw twice to TEs and they scored touchdowns.  What a noble fucking concept.

·        Good to see them get some playing time including Fyfe who apparently wants to put up 90 on teams because he continues to throw on every play.  Frankly I love it and hope he’s calling audibles left and right to avoid Beck’s shitty play calling.

Thanks for reading.....see you after Miami....for better or for worse....PYB

Monday, September 15, 2014

Technical Difficulties

Here is what PYB saw of Saturday night's Nebraska-Fresno State football game.

Instead of getting off the couch and finding a sportsbar that was capable of finding a fourth-tier cable network, we opted for bed. We awoke to an impressive-at-first-look 55-19 final score and 172 text messages. Outside of returning a punt and some big plays, nobody seemed impressed. That said, we're on the lookout for the following:

1. A link to game highlights. Thus far, a "Goggle" search has yielded nothing outside of a NU vs. Fresno clip on YouTube from 2011.

2. A link or replay location of Saturday's game. (We're stuck in a temporary hotel without BTN, so that's not an option.

3. Notes and/or a game writeup. If we can't obtain either, we'll have to write a story based on the log of text messages we received.

--We'll leave you with a couple quick hitters, before we depart for work:

1. Is there a bigger $16 million buzzkill in sports than the PGA Tour Championship? Shit timing. Second-tier player with overly tight pants winning. Also-ran golf course. NBC coverage. And Dan Hicks comparing Billy Horschel's 82nd-seed starting point to some of the greatest low-seed winners in team sports history. What could be better when the NFL is one click of the remote away?

2. Did Iowa get caught in the ultimate trap game during its loss to Iowa State? Hard to get up the adrenaline when sandwiching an in-state rivalry game between matchups against Ball State and Pittsburgh.

3. Anyone wondering why Andy Reid got fired in Philadelphia -- please watch the last three minutes of yesterday's Chief-Bronco game.

4. Robert Griffin -- R! G! 3!  Hurt again. He's closing in on China Doll of Crystal Chandelier proportions.

Got to run for now.....send some links as requested. White uniforms = wack. But, it's probably best to break them out against a team that has given up 50+ in each of its first two games and run the all-time record in those uniforms to 2-15 and cut the average margin of loss down a few points from 25.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Leave an Open Door

PYB begs for forgiveness on the delay of this latest post. We've been busy, and we had to wait a couple days to develop enough thoughts to fill a page following another pathetic menagerie of mishaps against McNeese State. It's all been said before. Many times. We're multiple, just like a Bo Pinelli offense.

And, just like a Tim Beck game plan, the thoughts that follow here are all great ideas on their own, but aren't part of any coherent, logical strategy. We're in between residences during a move and without a DVR. Time in the film room is limited. That's our excuse, and we're sticking to it. Fuck it. Here goes:

--Private Pinelli remarked before Saturday's contest that running back Imani Cross should have gotten more carries against Florida Atlantic and that he didn't realize the gaffe until 'looking at the stat sheet' after the game.

Seems he pulled the same fuckup against McNeese State, with the minor exception being that this time he forgot to keep All-American candidate Ameer Abdullah involved in the game. Why would someone feed the ball to a special playmaker, when Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck has 25 more overly intricate pass plays to run? Sure, the ebbs and flows of games can decrease a player's attempts from an optimal level at times -- but two fucking touches in the fourth quarter? Unacceptable!

Maybe PYB is too demanding on coaches, but we believe that if a junior high school coach knows that his best player should get the ball more than twice in the final quarter of a close game, that a college coach making $3 million a year should know that too. More than just the number of carries is the pure fact that NU coaches have done an absolutely horrendous job the last several years in getting the ball to talented, open-space playmakers. We knew, and then saw again Saturday, what Abdullah can do in one-on-one situations. He gets those opportunities maybe twice a game. Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead had some of the same abilities and were rarely, if ever, given the chance to show their wares in that capacity. Unacceptable!

--At least Beck was there to answer questions after the game. He didn't run and hide. Like any good coach, he blamed the players. Kudos, coach! We appreciate the consistency in that. The consistency in calling multiple, horrible pass plays. Wheel route inside the 10-yard line against a team trailing 14-7 and about ready to give up, anyone?

So it didn't work out. Fine, every coach blows a call or five. Tommy Armstrong made a terrible throw. So, what does any good coordinator do when said bad call and throw turned a blowout into a one-score game? Call the same play the next series and try to give the opponent the go-ahead score -- of course!!

Anyone who like those calls had to also love the dropback pass on the final drive that led to a sack and fumble that Nebraska luckily recovered. Had NU not fallen on it, McNeese state wins the game. A pathetic call that only someone from Ohio could love.

--Beck's non-use of tight ends is amazing, galling, embarrassing, stupid and unacceptable! Cethan Carter has one target in two games. This is another glaring shortcoming of NU coaches (Beck) using their players' abilities to the fullest. Instead of providing a young quarterback with a security blanket in the tight end (like most young NFL quarterbacks get as well as a guy named Tom Brady), Beck opts to force him into more dropback situations and five-route reads to a collection of backup receivers. Solid.

--In the middle of all this railing about NU's deficiencies, keep in mind that the Cornhuskers are still 2-0 with three awful to mediocre teams ahead the next three weeks. The rest of the Big 10 shit the bed on national television Saturday, so take stock and keep a positive mindset while knowing that your 2014 hasn't been completely ruined yet. Sure, the horrific loss to a shitty team is hiding somewhere in the next few weeks, but your team is still undefeated! Don't despair just yet -- there will be plenty of time to be depressed between mid-October and August 2015.

--Jamal Turner's career at Nebraska is likely done. It was sad to see the lethal combination of bad coaching and a poor work ethic/bad attitude/low IQ (not sure which?) derail a promising career the last four years, but it was probably best to put a bullet in that one before it fizzled the rest of the way this season and gave NU fans another reason to doubt (hate) the current coaching staff.

--Anyone heard this before? "Other team ran slants and things we didn't expect and we didn't adjust." Who would have ever thought an underdog would come into Memorial Stadium and try some new defensive wrinkles to stay in the game? Unheard of! Could a Bo Pinelli team just ONCE be prepared to handle something new or ADJUST at halftime? Could it happen by accident just ONCE? Do they have a plan other than to scrap everything and throw deep every down when Plan A misfires? Sure doesn't look that way after seven years of the same shit.

--Was that NU safety Corey Cooper trying to make a tackle on McNeese State's final touchdown or a cardboard cutout put in place and made to look like Corey Cooper? Phil Bland called in after the game to say he loved the effort.

--As for the defense as a whole, it was the usual suspect areas:

  • Missed tackles
  • Defensive ends blowing containment
  • Defensive ends covering running backs on deep routes
  • Failing to cover pass routes in the flats
  • Lack of playmakers forcing turnovers

--Will the Cotton family please just go away?

--De'Mornay Pierson-El looked good as a punt returner. He gained positive yardage. He looked capable of breaking open for a score at some point this season. He was chided by Bo Pinelli for not fair catching enough punts. We're fine.
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini liked what he saw from Pierson-El, at least for the most part.“I’m going to have to teach him a little bit about what a fair catch is like he did on the last one,” Pelini said. 
--The Omaha World Herald's Dirk Chatelain chimes in with a gem here. He claims that NU fans' lack of exposure to the rest of the country is the reason for their eternal, unrewarded optimism. Make no mind of the fact that almost every game is televised and there is now something called the World Wide Web that allows people to read newspapers from almost any city in the country.

Well, it's either that or the fact that 95% of the fans only know what local sportswriters write about in the newspaper. So, since most of them are either polishing the coaches' knobs to make sure they can still get into practice for a trite, cliched quote and the others are writing every year about how Player X 'completely transformed' his body in the two months between the bowl game and spring practice, then the local media outlets are primarily responsible for the hype.

Remember, the OWH created its own radio show. It publishes almost-weekly recruiting updates. Chatelain then scoffs at the fans for 'believing the hype.' This, from a writer who just told us all that he's teaching a sports writing class at UNL this semester. Mixed messages, anyone? Dirk, it's time to appreciate your readership -- they do, after all, pay your $40,000 salary -- a generous sum for someone whose only positive contribution to his newspaper is his blog entries. The overly syrupy, try-too-hard features are embarrassing and impossible to swallow. Give us more like @JonNyatawa any day.....

--Should we all rejoice that the NCAA dropped the sanctions against Penn State's football team? Apparently so, says Tom Shatel. One of the Nittany Lion coaches just fucked a few young boys in the ass. Repeatedly. Year after year. While nobody reported it to authorities. And you're saying PSU shouldn't be able to play in a bowl game as a reward for another 6-6 season? Ludicrous!! Unacceptable! Preposterous!

Moving on.....and taking a short break from NU to discuss the NFL's first weekend:

--Could there be a worse collection of starting quarterbacks for an opening day? When Philip Rivers and Carson Palmer are considered some of the most solid options, that's a problem. Also starting under center were:

  • Derek Anderson
  • Josh McCown
  • Matt Cassel
  • Shaun Hill
  • Brian Hoyer
  • Derek Carr
  • Geno Smith
  • Joe Flacco
  • EJ Manuel
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick (Texans fans were actually excited that Houston traded for Ryan Mallett)
  • Jake Locker
  • Alex Smith

--Ray Rice. PYB is sure you've all seen the 'newly released' video by now. Our questions:

  • What changed? Are there different levels of striking a woman? Mete out your punishment, NFL, and stick to your guns. Either he deserved the two-game suspension or the 'indefinite' type before, and after. 
  • Are we supposed to believe that the NFL didn't see this video before yesterday? We've been trying to book hotel rooms in Phoenix for a work event for five weeks but can't because the NFL has booked all the rooms at almost every decent hotel during Super Bowl weekend already. And the league can't access a run-of-the-mill security tape from a casino for several months?
  • Can't Rice pull something hotter than his then-fiancee and now wife? Shame on you, Ray!
Now, back to our beloved Cornhuskers:

--Like we said, don't despair just yet. NU's wide receivers are going to sharpen their route running. It's alllllll good! Open up that playbook and throw 50 times a game! Private Pinelli said he was disgusted at the lack of detail in the passing game last week against McNeese's Cowboys. SMH.

Armstrong is completing more than 50% of his passes in two games. Far from great, but not bad considering he's not a pure dropback passer and his coaches saddle him with a pass game that is needlessly intricate and overdone. He could easily be at 60%, and much more effective, with the proper use of play-action and running back/tight end involvement. But, who the fuck are we to comment on such matters?

That said, we're done. We've been all over the board, but why should we be held to any level of decorum? We do this shit pro bono due to our love of the Cornhuskers and our hate of the decay we've seen since 1998. If the coaches can't manage to do it for several million dollars a year, we feel no need to do it for free.

A duel in dirty Fresno awaits, and PYB has called for a loss in Lettuce Land for months. That said, the Bulldogs are fucking awful and have given up 50+ points in each of their first two games. Will Pinelli, Beck and company show up with a purpose, make good calls, take the game by the balls and slit the throat of a lesser opponent? Or, will they flounder like a fish out of water -- turn the ball over, commit stupid penalties, and miss assignments and tackles -- and forget to slam the door on another also ran?

Doing so invites disaster, and another sad autumn in Lincoln. A sad autumn where NU fans root only to make a Top 10 moment on SportsCenter. We're quite certain that Pinelli wants no part of, and could not survive, another one of those....

All for now -- PYB

Monday, September 1, 2014

Throwing in the Owl

PYB chimes in with our first installment of the 2014 season, with little idea of what to say. Do we laud Nebraska's 55-7 blasting of Florida Atlantic, though it means little? Do we nitpick? We'll opt, instead, to keep it short and sweet and grade it "Incomplete" until such an effort it reproduced against a worthy competitor -- and then another. Anyway, as you enjoy your Labor Day holiday, here goes:

--Nebraska's basketball team received a commitment from a Top 100 point guard. Seems like great news, given last season's success and the other recent additions to the program. We can temper that all with the fact that Fran Fraschilla said Tai Webster would have been a Top 50 recruit had he played in the United States in high school.

--Wisconsin choked against LSU. Wisconsin still has never done anything meaningful in football. Jump around.

--Baylor debuted last night against SMU, winning 45-0 and playing for the first time in its new stadium. It looks like a toilet seat. And don't let the aerials fool you -- the surrounding area is a nasty combination of a dilapidated interstate and a dirty river -- and a 9.5-foot statue
of Robert Griffin....R!! G!!! 3!!!!

OK, we've had a few moments to collect our thoughts and are prepared to make a statement on Saturday's NU game:

--Nebraska racked up 784 yards, and Tom Shatel said it's no time to give the offense a nickname but then tried to. He lauded all the unit's playmakers and then provided little detail on said playmakers.

--Tommy Armstrong looked proficient when passing. Will those receivers still be wide open against good competition?

--Armstrong looked deft enough on his feet to make long runs when they were there and to convert first downs in short-yardage situations. Does he have the vision to do the same throughout the season?

--Ameer Abdullah amazed and amassed more than 200 yards. Can he overcome the fumbling issue that has been the only bugaboo in his career and that has cost NU three wins in two seasons?

--Kenny Bell had 116 yards receiving and only feigned injury after a bad play once. Can he keep his slightly bitchy attitude under wraps when times get tough? Are his days as a punt returner over before they began (three career returns, two fumbles)?

--Jordan Westerkamp had the "Catch of the Year." Just ask ESPN and every Nebraska fan. If that's the best catch we get to see in college football this season, it will be a pathetic season.

--Demornay Pierson-El returned two punts for 14 yards. Has NU found its full-time specialist? The answer, should be an unequivocal "FUCK YES." If you don't think PYB is qualified to make that call, use the numbers. No fumbles and a seven-yard average. Case closed.

--Randy Gregory hurt his knee on the first defensive series. Is this injury serious? Will it linger on throughout the season? Will the details of the injury be released or shrouded in secrecy for two months? Private Bo Pinelli said the defensive end if  "probably day-to-day."

Is it truly day-to-day with #4? The defensive #4, that is. Is there anything more JV than both the team's star quarterback and star defensive player wearing the same jersey number? When discussing Gregory in the post-game press conference, Pinelli said:

“He probably could have went back in the game,” Pelini said, “but we decided not to.”
Could Bo Pinelli get a firmer grasp on the English language than he does on fashion? For a coach who leans on academic all-conference statistics every season after not winning anything on the field, one would think he'd know better than using 'could have went.' We digress....

--Outside of butchering the final drive of the first half (clock management) and his obsession with fade passes inside the five yard line, Tim Beck had a decent game. Can he repeat that effort and find ways to get the ball in open space to Terrell Newby, et. al.? Against good teams? Can he not panic when trailing by one score in the third quarter?

There you have it....a beautiful sunny day in Lincoln. Lots of post-game sunshine after a massive offensive onslaught. The defense appeared solid, albeit against a backup quarterback. Results look good on paper, but are still inconclusive and left us with a lot more questions (see above), than answers.

After finishing a three-year stretch in Dallas and moving to Charlotte, we're primed to spend Labor Day on the lake, and are signing off with this admittedly uninspired and cursory effort. We know media outlets are prone to make snap judgments after each and every game (Kirk Herbstreit was naming his four playoff teams by Saturday evening), but we'll resist the urge to crown any asses just yet.

Win at Fresno (the Bulldogs lost 52-13 against USC so PYB is sure they'll give a Herculean effort against NU in two weeks) and in Lincoln against Miami, and we'll talk.

For now, we take stock and get ready to go through the motions for a morning kickoff against McNeese State. Tremendous. At least we have golf's FedEx Cup to keep us excited in the meantime -- we can only imagine what the event has in store after today's epic battle between Russell Henley and Billy Horschel sets the stage.

We'll be just fine.