PYB was suprised Saturday. Not surprised that Nebraska found new ways to lose to another awful team. But surprised that NU fans and media were surprised that it happened and surprised that they all clamored about being shocked and dismayed by this 'new low.' Anyone who didn't see this coming had their head in the clouds the last 10 years. All we saw was the Purdue money line and a big fat +280.
Starting a quarterback who had looked overwhelmed in very limited mop-up duty that past two seasons. What could possibly go wrong?? NU's 'better passing quarterback' had thrown for 1921 yards in just 12 games as a senior at Grand Island High. Won't miss a beat, they said, when in reality it's a formula for having a team hang half-a-hundred on you while winning their first Big 14 game since 2012.
Let's work down our list of arbitrary observations, as any evaluation about what the Nebraska football program is or what it wants to be is a waste of time that could be spent reading the emergency evacuation instruction card on our current flight to Phoenix.
On with the show, that is hopefully better than the ESPN broadcast that features countless examples of missed camera work and even more mispronunciations. Hell, even Anna from Frozen got no love:
--Purdue was bad. Probably the worst team PYB has seen Nebraska succumb to in the last 30+ years. Slow. Unathletic. Poorly coached. BUT, they did hang close to Michigan State. They had to smell a turd in the water, knowing Nebraska was circling the toilet bowl long before Ryker Fyfe was named the starter in place of the injured Tommy Armstrong. Even the worst teams can get up for one game. When that game is against another bad team, with no talent, leadership, pride or direction -- the only thing left is another embarrassing L and a set of brown streaks on the white porcelain.
--Injuries: Why so many? Are the players just pussies? Is it bad luck? That would seemingly be the only explanation when the team's one playmaker blows his knee out simply jogging behind a teammate who just scored a touchdown. Is it a result of the horrendous 'strength and conditioning' program under Bo Pinelli -- Slower, Fatter, Weaker? (Editor's Reminder: The last S&C coach "didn't believe in 40 yard dash times." Is it bodies breaking because they were soft and now required to train like real athletes? PYB's conclusion: Who the fuck knows?
--Darrell Hazell is a shitty fucking coach and should be fired. He was inept, in an Al Golden type of way. Going for it on fourth downs instead of punting. Passing for two straight drives with a three-score, fourth-quarter lead and keeping NU in the game. Nice guy or not, he and his Dukes of Hazzard hat bill are
an embarrassment to Division I coaching.
--Speaking of embarrassments, Nate Gerry wins the award as the Huskers' LVP. A player who showed All-Conference promise now blows countless assignments and coverages. Looked his worst against the Boilermakers. Video even showed him elbowing Daniel Davie off coverage of a Purdue receiver. Conpsiracy, Twitter nerds asked? PYB doubts any member of the Blackskirts defense is talented enough or smart enough to execute such a premeditated act. Another awful play? Damn right.
--Davie: Outright disaster. Guy couldn't stay within seven yards of a South Alabama wide receiver, so Mark Banker rolls him out Saturday during conference play. Strong. The worst starting cornerback PYB has seen at Nebraska, and that includes Erwin Swiney.
--Fyfe: Racist Nebraska fans got their wish Saturday, when the White walkon got his first start. They saw the result, which as all too predictable for anyone who's watched sports for more than three weeks. Division II players make Division III plays in Division I games. The botched recovery of the botched shotgun snap was proof of that. Panic at the Disco, it was.
If Fyfe's sidearm delivery resulted in four interceptions against one of the nation's worst defenses, we shudder when imagining the carnage on Saturday against MSU's Spartans. At least the whole nation will get to witness it in this weeks' prime time kickoff.
--Danny Langsdorf: Or if you work 11am games for ESPN9, Danny Langsford. One would think that an offensive coordinator, knowing he's got a more-subpar-than-usual quarterback, would tighten things up a bit. Throw fewer than 40 times. Work a little power running game. YES, we know the offensive line sucks. But, we also know that Andy Janovich has looked like NU's best back this season and has gotten two carries in each of the last two weeks.
We know that running twice and having a manageable 3rd-and-medium (hell, we'd take a 3rd & 8 most drives if the clock was running) is better than risking 40+ passes with a bad quarterback. We know that shortening the game and not giving away frivolous scores to a bad team keeps the score close. We know that bad teams (like Purdue....and Nebraska) choke in pressure situations when the score is close. NU could eventually back into a win or two with such a strategy. We know that the New York Giants won a Super Bowl or three doing so.
But we think we know, after nine games of this hemorrhoid-inducing ride, that this coaching staff is more concerned with validating their system than they are about winning immediately. There could be no other explanation. PYB says finding a happy medium of new system tweaked around current level of pathetic talent could mean a 5-4 record. Still awful, but not as crippling as 3-6 will likely be for this programs long-term psyche.
For now, we're back to square one and staring down the barrel of a 3-9 season. A state wonders on how much time a staff like this deserves to flounder in a historically bad conference. A million Chicken Littles do their best to place blame at the feet of a chancellor and an athletic director, while local media mainstays throw vague assertions of the same like chum in the water.
The same writers who made no mention of such rifts immediately following the Mike Riley hire now drop weekly dimes of this nature, complete with a twist of I Told You So. In a time when newspapers are going the way of Nebraska football conference championships, this sad story is their golden ticket to relevance. A nasty cycle of domestic violence that, each time, tastes a little more familiar. A little more cold.
Bring it on, one more time. The cold never bothered us anyway.