I expected some growing pains from this years Nebraska Cornhuskers. I expected mistakes and stumbles. What I didn’t see coming was another 600 plus yard felony assault.
Nebraska could not have made much worse of a first impression to Husker Nation. Sure, they could have lost their first Home Opener since Reagan was President, but this might as well have been a loss. Everything we were led to believe about this defense is being called into question.
The general thought was that this defensive unit was going to be faster, more physical, and more athletic. I can’t speak for others, but the only two defenders that fit any of those descriptions on Saturday night were Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Randy Gregory. Jean-Baptiste was everywhere. He was breaking up passes, flying around the field, and seemed like the only defensive back that knew what was going on. By no means did he play a perfect game, but he was the closest thing Nebraska had on the field last night. Gregory looked good as well. He is fast and physical. He’s probably one of the most athletic defensive lineman we have seen in Lincoln for a few years. Gregory showed the potential of what he is capable of doing.
The linebackers were lost. Yes, that is the group we knew was going to be a bit rough, but even David Santos seemed like he was completely out of his element. He looked slow and seemed to frequently be over matched by Wyoming’s blockers. As for the others linebackers, well, they got reps. Nothing else can really be said.
The offense was no better in the three point win. Turnovers are still an issue. There was a dropped interception to accompany the interception that Taylor threw in the fourth quarter. There was a fumble, and another Nebraska was lucky to recover. While the offensive line did improve in the second half, there were still too many mistakes. Penalties are still an issue on both sides of the football. Ten penalties for 84 yards should not be tolerated. The lack of discipline that remains a trademark of this team is inexcusable.
UCLA comes calling in two weeks. Imagine what is going to happen if things don’t drastically change. It will be another massacre on national television. How many more of those can we tolerate?
Those might be the thoughts that are running through the minds of many Nebraska fans. All of it is true, every last word. The reason I take pause in the belief that everything is wrong in the world of Nebraska Cornhuskers football is simple, the big picture. No one in their right mind believed that Nebraska was going to play for a crystal trophy. Nebraska is light years away from that. Nebraska should be looking at a Legends Division Championship.
If Nebraska can continue to work, tinker with the defense over the next few weeks, they should be ready for conference play. What Bo Pelini wants is the defense to be set by the time Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State come around. Yes, it’s important to try to win every week, but if Nebraska loses, it’s better served in the non conference schedule. Bo said in his post game press conference that he believes his team will be much better and more prepared by next week’s game against Southern Miss. I agree. I have been saying that nothing can replicate in game action, actual game time snaps. Those young players have one game under their belt now.
If Nebraska is going to evolve it has to be done one step at a time. The Huskers have won division titles under Bo Pelini. The next step is The Big Ten Championship. In order to make that happen, they need to win the Legends. This team is raw. Those kids who are making their debuts are like large clumps of clay. They have to be molded, and that can happen with game experience. I am willing to bet that by the time Illinois comes calling, this team is going to have a completely different feel.
Last night is cause for concern, but not for panic. It’s week one. Nebraska wasn’t the only team to struggle, a lot of teams did. Be patient. I know it’s hard, but good things can come from the 2013 Nebraska Cornhuskers.