Bulldogs or Pitbulls-Where is Mike Vick when you need him? Huskers survive dogfight 42-29
Player(s) of the Game: Taylor Martinez
10-21, 219yds, 1TD, 2INT
15 car, 166 yds, 2TD’s
Consistently inconsistent-Martinez and the Rob Deer effect…
Moments after Martinez strolled over the goal line with little more than two minutes remaining, I stood up to breathe a sigh of relief. Color had just begun to return to my ever whitening knuckles, and clarity of mind started to set in. It had not even been 15 minutes earlier where I was thinking to myself-we could really lose this game? Visions of Ball State were haunting my thoughts. In the aftermath I began to wonder-is this what we have-a college football equivalent of Rob Deer?
Now, I want to preface everything that I may say with this-without T-Mart calling the signals on Saturday-we don’t win. Bottom line. Now that the attorneys are happy with the proper discaimers, on to the point.
For those of you that are not as familiar with baseball (and I am by no means the expert), Rob Deer was a power hitting Right Fielder/First Baseman who played in the late 80’s and early 90’’s, spending most of his career with the Detroit Tigers. He was, what I considered at least, the epitome of all or nothing. A career .220 hitter, Rob Deer was a threat to go long every time he stepped up to the plate. He was also just as likely to strikeout, leading the league in that category on five separate occasions, along with finishing in the top ten in strikeouts a total of eight times.
What we are seeing out of Martinez, could very well be just youth and inexperience, however, it appears we have a player cast from the very same mold. 166 yards rushing and two TD’s. Seven plays over 40 yards. Two fumbles and two interceptions. All or nothing.
Martinez does not posses the accuracy to hurt teams on intermediate routes, and I have yet to see him be able to make a 15 yard out throw with any consistency. What he has shown, however, is that he is good at lofting dangerous passes and hoping his receiver can make a play and come up with it. I remember watching highlights of Martinez in high school and he was constantly doing this. He was so feared as a runner, and by far the best player on the field, he could get away with this.
Take a look at this http://youtu.be/J6gg8bpnfCw
and you make your own assessment.
It does not appear that he has progressed much as a passer. The all or nothing strategy worked Saturday, but it will not work once we are knee deep in the meat of our Big Ten schedule. Wisconsin will stack the box and dare Martinez to loft a freebie into their secondary-scary thought.
On a more positive note, he did seem to run the few option plays with more authority, and no one will underestimate his ability as a runner. It has been said many times that NU will go as Martinez goes. That could not have been closer to the truth on Saturday night.
While it is exciting to watch him rip off highlight worthy displays of speed, I would be more impressed with a steady 10 play drive where we are consistently picking up 5 or more yards on first down. Wishful thinking with our offensive line? Maybe so, but without figuring out how to work some others in on offense (Jamal Turner anyone?) we will have to start getting used living on the edge.
Ultimatley we may have to end up living with the strikeouts in hopes of that game changing home run. Just pray that Beck has a DH ready to step in if an extended slump hits-or Beck may be crafting his Deer John letter ahead of schedule…
What do Kim Kardashian and the Blackshirts have in common? They both have things that need tightening up…
Well that was fun. Okay, maybe not but through two games, this defense is certainly not living up to the pre-season hype. I am still not convinced that this defense is as average as it looked on Saturday. I mean, we have three All American candidates right?
Granted, we are still missing Dennard, but one person cant make that much of a difference can he? We all know the pedigree of Fresno State’s QB Derek Carr, but who would have thought that he would add to his young and growing highlight reel against our vaunted D?
The biggest concern is that we had-wait let me check again-yes…zero sacks and zero tackles for loss. David was his usual self adding another 15 tackles, but I only remember one or two plays where we got any meaningful pressure on Carr. It is hard to fathom that an injured, green offensive line could neutralize what many to consider being the best defensive line in the country. Was this just a bad overall game that will happen to good teams from time to time? Or is this an indication that the days of relying on our defense to hold our opponent under 14 points are over?
Fresno State was able to gash us up the middle and you can bet that Wisconsin and Michigan State are giddy at the thought of being able to set up their passing game by punching us right in the gut. You can bet Carl and Co. will be putting in some extra OT this week trying to shore things up. After all, loose is only good when it is associated with clothes or slot machines-otherwise nobody like it-just ask Reggie Bush…
This is the second week in a row where sloppy football has been the only consistent theme. We have done enough to win, but mostly because we have superior athletes. We didn’t run as much option against the Bulldogs, but that may have been more to do with the way the game unfolded, and our offense’s lack of ability to gain any meaningful yardage on first down.
Last week, Beck said that they forced some plays and didn’t put some players in the best position for success. I would say coming out of the first half and throwing for three straight downs when we are trailing and our QB has not really shown any feel for the passing game was questionable, and certainly not setting up T-Mart for success. I hope this is not a recurring theme this season-this was one of the main reasons Mr. Watson is no longer with us.
All that aside, we are 2-0 and head into the last of our three game series with Washington where our Huskers hope to avenge lasts seasons meltdown at the Holiday Bowl. The Huskies come into the game giving up nearly 900 yards and 30 points a game. The bad news is that most of the yardage they have given up has been via the forward pass.
Nebraska should not have a problem dispatching good ol’ U-Dub, but they will help from Burkhead, and try to find a way to get Turner the ball (please?!). Our defense will also need to show improvement as we cannot afford to leave gaping holes up the middle and have our secondary giving up chunks of yardage faster than big banks can snatch up government bailout money. Abdullah is exciting to watch, and if he is allowed to continue to return punts and kickoffs throughout his career, he will likely own every return record at NU.
Look for the Huskers to start out fast and hang on late for a rather pedestrian 14 point victory. Should we get into another dogfight-well…we are awaiting Mr. Vick to return our call-he should know what to do…
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