PYB is shocked, yet unsurprised, at the level of futility that the Nebraska football team achieved Saturday against Illinois. Shocked, that an alleged veteran coach, made such an unforgivable error at the end of NU's eventual loss in Champaign. Unsurprised that this pathetic team found yet another way to shit the bed. Saddened, that no matter how bad this next chapter of ineptitude is, and how bad it is bound to become, there seems to be no way out.
On with the post-mortem:
-Nebraska passed 31 times in windy conditions and completed 10 of them.
-NU ran for more than five yards an attempt, again, and lost to a bad team.
-Nebraska hoped to get a boost from its only offensive playmaker, as De'Mornay Pierson-El returned from injury. He muffed his first punt return attempt. Illinois recovered. Pierson-El never came back as a returner. NU settled for fair catches from Jordan Westerkamp the rest of the game. So, Pierson-El can have four punt return touchdowns in 2014, prove himself as one of Nebraska's biggest playmakers in 20 years, make one mistake, and then ride the pine for time everlasting? Makes perfect sense -- especially for a team that racked up 13 points against an awful Fighting Illini squad.
-NU's defense did a good job for three quarters, then pissed the bed when it mattered. Up 13-0, the Blackskirts began giving up completions. Completions that had been missed by scatter-armed Wes Lunt and his far-from-elite receivers up to that point. Nate Gerry does what he does to prevent from becoming an all-conference player -- tanked an assignment -- and let a receiver get behind him for a 50-yard gain. It led to the game-losing touchdown.
--Mike Riley's coaching staff will have to withstand a monsoon of negativity this week. Deservedly so. Fans will need to realize they're stuck with this staff for a while, and crushing Riley & Co. this early will only alienate the players even more, especially if they bought into the bullshit that Bo Pinelli taught them about the fan base being the enemy. PYB still can't fathom a veteran coach, much less one with NFL experience, can not realize that any road win at any level of football is a good one. Time to get out of Dodge.
The coaches, on the other hand, need to gain the public's trust. Not necessarily by winning every game but by teaching their pupils to play error-free (or at least smart) football and by not consistently tanking games with poor fundamentals, bad play calling and pathetic clock management. A junior-high error such as Saturday's will take years to overcome, in terms of getting fans to buy back in. And it may never be possible. Sad, indeed.
--Another sad reality is the softness of NU's players. Alex Lewis finds new ways to act like an idiot and finds no ways to be a good offensive lineman. Tommy Armstrong cried on his dad's arm after the BYU loss and ditched his media obligations on Saturday. That's one third of your 2015 team captaincy in action. Another (Gerry) blew a coverage at the worst time possible. Jordan Westerkamp had -1 receiving yard. Maliek Collins, was the only leader to make a difference against Illinois. That won't cut it.
--Those who didn't want Scott Frost hired last fall as NU head coach said he wasn't ready for the spotlight. Lacked experience as the top dog. Does he know enough to run the ball with 55 seconds remaining, deep in the opponent's territory, when that opponent is out of timeouts? PYB thinks so.
--How long until we get to hear the "our goals of winning the Big 14 West are still intact" platitude? Or was that just a favorite of the Pinelli regime.
--Geronimo Allison, who caught the 'game-winning' touchdown Saturday, is a JUCO transfer from Iowa Western -- a school an hour from Lincoln that Pinelli's regime made a point to ignore for reasons unknown. A little more salt for a gaping wound. Pride comes before the fall.
--With its late meltdown, Nebraska's Blackskirts still hold the title as the nation's worst pass defense. Both stylistically and statistically.
--PYB watched the NU and Ohio State games simultaneously Saturday, along with a neighbor/Buckeye fan. The numbers and his opinion prove that Tim Beck is well on his way to trashing one of the nation's most high-powered offenses in a matter of weeks. Great job, @CoachTimBeck! Our neighbor said he feels the OSU offense spends more time trying to be 'cute' than it does feeding one of the nation's top running backs. Sound familiar?
That's all we care to have at this point. Board up the windows for a bad media week in Lincoln and another loss when Wisconsin and its moribund offense rolls into town. Jump around.
PS -- The St. Louis Rams got the ball yesterday against Arizona, leading by two points and with less than a minute left. Arizona had no timeouts. Coach Jeff Fisher made sure his team ran the ball and the clock ran out and the Rams won.