Will Huskers rise above their self destructive tendencies in Heroes Game?

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 29: Quarterback Adrian Martinez #2 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers warms up before the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Memorial Stadium on November 29, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 29: Quarterback Adrian Martinez #2 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers warms up before the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Memorial Stadium on November 29, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images) /

The Huskers have a big game on Friday,

Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you are all staying safe during this turbulent 2020 and Nebraska Cornhusker football season!

Every Husker football fan was totally down in the dumps after last week’s pummeling at the hands of an Illinois team that was a17 point underdogs to the home team. The only consultation for me was I saw through that spread smokescreen and put some dollars into my pocket to make losing that badly a little less painful. Yet I never thought the Cornhuskers would be capable of losing and melting down. I felt shocked and weird that a defensive minded coach like Lovie Smith could bury the Cornhuskers at Tom Osborne Field with a quarterback that was starting after a Covid-19 benching yet executed to much and his team was markedly more physical.

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Please do not close your mind to Cornhusker football right now to focus elsewhere during this start of the holiday season! Instead breathe in deep and hit a reset button to move past that “unmitigated disaster” as Jim Rome calls it so famously, to prepare for another emotional ride on the crazy train that is Cornhuskers football against Iowa in the Heroes Game on Black Friday.

Some Cornhusker fans I talked with following the game could not bring themselves back to the television set for the second half last Saturday, yet I did like some child wondering if that formerly haunting place still has the same emotional grip on my senses and it did incinerate my senses again! Also I had to understand why they played so uninspired and flat for the first 30 minutes. Was it just a bad performance? Oh no they were just as discombobulated the next half and could not find their way back into contention. I say this with trepidation but is seemed the team’s will to win throughout that contest was non-existent.

I am encouraging the Cornhusker fans with the passion and often in recent seasons have the intestinal fortitude to go lay back down in their favorite place this Black Friday and watch what the future of what Husker football can be with the continued development of new faces that will shape the future of Scott Frost’s team. I want to watch this challenge from Iowa football. The last two years the Heroes games were very entertaining and unfortunately won by a Hawkeye place kicker at the very end and frustrating! I believe this team can start to turn it around for the last three games if it learned from last week’s game to be more disciplined and snaps its head back into place.

Iowa’s reloaded offensive line has been punishing the likes of Minnesota and Michigan State’s defenses, but who the heck are those defenses? Those Big Ten defenses are often about as bad as the Cornhuskers and Maryland, yet I feel we can step up in this game on the road, fly to the ball and hit with the velocity they did at Northwestern. I expect them to play inspired especially after the loss of Collin Miller who should be on the sideline. I don’t expect them to expedite overall performance to a higher ground quickly or better defensive cohesion which was missing as evidenced by huge gashes against them last week, but that loss can make them intense and focused on the job at hand which never really materialized in Lincoln last week.

The Husker  defense has not seen a team with a better Wildcat offense than Iowa. I predict it could lead to substantial scampers for the Hawkeyes if they don’t play smarter. Last week someone named Epstein was rolling thunder in our home crib averaging almost 9 yards a carry on 13 touches and your suspicious that defense is definitely amiss in 2020 was brutally confirmed and evidenced by them thus far this season giving up 54% of their third down attempts, which is only above six other teams in Division 1 football.  I saw some hope through the darkness at certain times in games the Blackshirts rose up to make stops in key situations when playing Penn State and even Northwestern to keep it close or win. Yet most of the time they still are not a cohesive unit which cannot make stops when required and is gashed by very average offensive talent.

Speaking of Wildcat formations, why is it our so called genius offensive coaches, Scott Frost, Matt Lubick and Mario Verduzco cannot figure out how to implement some Wildcat offensive sets and plays to get both Adrian Martinez and Luke McCaffrey on the field more often? They need the tandem together on the field to be more successful along with a healthy Dedrick Mills and upstarts behind him.  Cornhusker quarterbacks are calling their own number and scoring by far the most touchdowns in the running game now but those Wildcat types of formations would bring another concern into the planning of opposing defensive coordinators?

Verduzco makes $375,000 and I wonder what the hell that cat is doing besides sporting the John Lennon inspired be speckled image. So far he is not capable of repairing Martinez’s poor throwing motion or decision making during his time in the job except when Martinez’s burst  onto the scene in his first year. Quarterback play lately has been damn uninspiring overall and still both of them trip all over the playbook, turning the ball over at an exponentially higher rate this season, and overall have thrown often inaccurately.  Yet the offensive line has been offensive and penalty riddled too, so it is hard for them to stay protected and confident in their pocket.

Iowa is only giving up a conference-low of 2.64 yards per carry, which is the fifth-lowest total allowed in the country. That does not bode well for the Cornhuskers chances to consistently pick up first downs, yet I still think Wildcat formations can help switch this in favor of the Cornhuskers at some point, so let’s hope to see the Huskers’ coaching staff make some adjustments with this offense and this experienced offensive line needs to start playing up to the pre-season hype as a strength for this team. Thus far Nebraska’s O-Line is like a kiss and promise that your high school sweetheart keeps delivering and you feel nothing but shutout and you cannot go onto the next level you crave so badly.

I think Kade Warner has said it best to keep this Heroes Game in perspective and his team mates should have this same attitude going into the self-appointed Big Ten Rivalry game. “Just keep your head up and keep working,” Warner said. “Just keep working, because that’s all I know how to do. So bad things happen when I don’t play as well as I want to, which I haven’t, and plays don’t go your way. You’ve just got to keep working because it’s all you can do.

“So I’ve just been taking that approach and put it towards practice, put it towards meetings, weightlifting – anything I can. Just keep working and I’m confident that I’ll reap what I sow.”

The Huskers must come to Iowa City with a sense of urgency and wash that nasty taste out of its mouth from the frustrating loss to the Illini football team and suck it up. This Black Friday is the day when things can really change their fate, salvage a season and begin changing this crazy train into a sleek locomotive! That can only happen if the Cornhuskers band together, rise above the self-destruction that has plagued their season.

The fans are sick and tired of witnessing the abuse the Cornhuskers inflict upon themselves on both sides of the ball with penalties, blown assignments and turnovers so it is time to get to working on those mental mistakes, leave all your heart and soul on the field and win that freaking Heroes Trophy back! They are capable and long overdue to bring it back to Lincoln.