I am a glutton for punishment, so I am typing out my thoughts after witnessing my favorite school get absolutely destroyed by a vastly superior football team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. There are a million different directions to go with this, but I’ll just touch on a few things that I am steamed about:
Demeanor – The Huskies came out flat and emotionless. I was shocked by this. How on earth can a team come out this way in front of their home crowd on national TV? They all looked like deer in the headlights. Inexcusable.
Special Teams – Simply put, the kickoff coverage was an embarrassment. Throughout the first half, Nebraska had tremendous field position. This put undue pressure on the defense. The outcome was short fields for Nebraska, leading to scores.
Wide Receivers – Terrible. I don’t care how good Nebraska’s secondary is. 4 receptions. FOUR. I have been hearing for a while now that Jake and Huskies offense has so many great weapons at WR. Well, not today, and that is too bad. Today was an opportunity to step up and play on a big stage and prove they are ready for the bigtime. Instead they flopped.
Playcalling – I really hate to even go here, because I have been a huge fan of Coach Sark’s playcalling, even if it has been erratic over the past season. Today though, I have major issues. It was painfully clear early on the Huskies could not get a passing game going. They could run the ball. On the Huskies 3rd possession, the Dawgs ran the ball down Nebraska’s throat, en-route to an 80 yard drive for a touchdown. I realize defenses make adjustments, so I am sure there is a reason the Huskies went away from the run, but over the next 3 Husky possessions, the Dawgs ran 11 plays for a net 9 yards. Very few runs. Mostly disastrous passing attempts. Momentum swung back to Nebraska during these possessions. Would have loved to see the Dawgs run more early in the game.
Tackling – Beyond bad. Atrocious. There’s not much to say here. Anyone who watched the game knows what I am talking about. Whiffs. Ole’s. Bad angles. You name it, the Dawgs botched it.
Of course Jake Locker had a bad game, and he is taking most of the heat for the loss, but he’s low on my list. It’s easy to take pot-shots at the high profile QB, and there are plenty of Locker haters out there having a fun time. The loss today was a team effort. Every aspect of the game was terrible. Everyone is responsible, top down. I think Coach Sark should take the most heat, he is getting paid, he is the face of the program, this is on he and the coaches. This is not a bad thing, I want my head coach to take the heat rather than the players. I still have a lot of hope in Sark and the coaches to rebuild this program. Yes, they are still rebuilding, games like today prove they are far from being an elite program again.
Right now, unfortunately, 6-6 is the best they will do. The Pac-10 is a grinder, and they have brutal road games waiting for them, starting in two weeks at USC. The next two weeks better be spent on the basics and self reflection. I think too many people around the program have been reading their own press clippings rather than playing with an earn everything mentality. Despite all of this, I am still hopeful this team can make a run in the unpredictable Pac-10. Anything can happen any week. The road ahead is a very difficult one, here’s hoping this group of Dawgs find themselves and play real, true Husky football.