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

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