Friday, October 17, 2008

Hope for Huskers

No more cringing in dread. For the first time in more than a year, I am looking forward to the next Nebraska football game.

Without the self-inflicted wounds and a blown coverage on 4th and 4 by Larry Asante, Nebraska would have beaten Texas Tech. I haven't sunk to the level of celebrating defeats, but my goodness! In a game where Texas Tech committed no turnovers and our defense was getting slashed and gashed, we engineered a two-minute drill to put the game into overtime. Ganz was due for the once-per-game killer interception and it hurt, but after what I saw against Missouri, I thought this would be another Lubbacle. (70-10 loss at Lubbock in 2004.)

The offense everyone expected finally clicked into gear. Poise, room for running backs to run, time to pass, 3rd down conversions, eat clock and shorten the game. In the second half we rediscovered how to finish drives.


When we blocked that extra point in overtime, I thought we were going to win.

After last week I couldn't imagine a blue-chip recruit wanting to come to NU. If Pelini can keep this going -- and find some way to mount a credible defense -- then 5-4 and momentum for November and a decent bowl is plausible. That was a coach and team I would want to play for.

Defense is going to be a problem. According to newspaper reports, our best linebackers and defensive backs are either injured or don't understand the system. The defense was anchored by a 6', 205 lb. walk-on freshman linebacker. Astounding. That's small for a safety, never mind a linebacker. Why can a walk-on freshman grasp the system, but scholarship veterans can't? I guess the positive spin is that the defense should be able to improve by getting more of these guys back on line.

Maybe Texas Tech will turn out to be a dog, and I need to see more of same from the NU offense to be sold, but it appears we are on the opposite trajectory from last year. I feel better about this loss than I did about the demolition of K State in Lincoln last year.

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