After another blowout loss for The Nebraska Cornhuskers, I caught up with Husker Corner staff writer Leland Johnson to discuss the game.
Another big game that Nebraska was embarrassed in. Is it time to consider replacing Bo Pelini?
John Ackeren: Yet another meltdown by the Huskers certainly does not help Bo Pelini. I have been a Bo backer since the day he took the job but I have to admit these losses are starting to wear down my belief in him. It’s not time to pull the trigger on him yet, but if the season continues as it has begun it’s time for a change.
Leland Johnson: Yes it certainly was a miserable way to lose the game. Giving up 38 unanswered points is unacceptable to any program let alone to have it happen to Nebraska in Memorial Stadium. And yes this is the third extremely embarrassing loss by double digits on national television in the last year. Every program not winning championships should be in the process of evaluating their coaching staff. But you don’t successfully replace a head coach in the middle of season. It just doesn’t happen. So we’re stuck with what we got for the rest of the year. How this team bounces back and finishes the season will determine if Bo sticks around after the season. This is a loss to a very good non-conference team with a very good head coach. A stronger case for change will come if the losses continue and it happens at the hands of a lesser opponent.
Taylor Martinez is not himself at all. He is simply refusing to run the football. Do you think this is a physical or mental issue for him?
John Ackeren: This is mental. Taylor is either being told to stay in the pocket by the coaching staff or he is afraid of being injured by running the ball. He is not the same guy who could gash the opposition for 80 yards when given an inch of room to run. There is something different about Taylor and whatever it is, it’s not good for business in Lincoln.
Leland Johnson: It’s unclear what’s happened to Martinez’s instinct to turn the ball up field. It sure seems like he’s hesitant to take the rushing yards the defense is giving him. Perhaps the coaching staff has instructed him not to get hurt? A positive note on No. 3, two of his passing touchdowns were incredible throws. Throws I haven’t seen Taylor make before.
Tim Beck’s offense is not what everyone thought it would be. Wheat does Beck need to do to get things turned around?
John Ackeren: Tim Beck needs to figure out what works best and stick with it. He still needs to have balance between the passing/running game, but this team lacks a true identity. With the stable of great running backs and wide receivers this team has, Tim Beck has to narrow the playbook and give this team something to really build upon. Running the damn ball would be a good place to start.
Leland Johnson: Tim Beck is a mystery to me. I really don’t think he’s ever created an identity for his offense and that lack of identity kills the Huskers in big games. Decide what type of team you want to be and get good at it. To me the team would be much better establishing the run game and the running threat of Martinez, before trying to throw the ball. It seems like a run focused offense allows the unit to get into a rhythm before we start the fancy stuff. Beck is always quick to take the blame. I like that about him. But when something’s not working, go with what your good at, run the ball. Running might not be your identity, but it’s certainly your heritage.
After this loss, how do you think the rest of the season will play out for Nebraska?
John Ackeren: Well, things could go one of two ways. The team could rally behind each other and step up to the plate. They could play with passion and purpose and get things turned around. The alternative is that the fragile mentality that the team has displayed over the past several years could come into effect and they could snowball into another season of setbacks and disappointments.
Leland Johnson: Nebraska’s fine. The team that dominated the first quarter and a half of that football game is in the locker room shaking their collective heads wondering what they’ll do next. It’ll take growth as individuals and as a team, but Nebraska will win most of its games this season. We’ll deal with a bunch of off season turmoil, but that won’t start until January.