Dude!!! Great post!!! This is post shows our strengths and our weaknesses. It does it with facts, and comparisons. This is a perfect example of how you can present negative info without emotion and without being offensive. GREAT JOB!!!Time for another Sunday night edition of Movers-n-Shakers . . .
*We start with Adrian Martinez who has put together a pretty solid 3.5 games after a dismal performance in the first half of the Illinois game. Martinez went 19-25-1 for 289 yards and 1 TD throwing on Saturday—sometimes while running for his life. He also ran for 63 sack-adjusted yards and a TD. Bluntly, he was our offense against OU. Even his interception was an effective punt that was thrown on fourth down that pinned OU deep in their own territory. The amazing part of his success is he is doing this with an offensive line that is overusing the word “offensive”.
*Don’t look now but our WRs are starting to put some things together. Omar Manning with his first TD reception on a beautiful play where all the elements came together—good protection from the OLine, a quality throw, and a good route and catch by the WR. Manning’s return from injury was welcomed. He also had a big 31 yard catch earlier in the game.
**How sweet was it to see Zavier Betts with the 55 yard pass play down the sideline? Remember seeing plays like that last year? Oh that’s right, we DIDN’T see plays like that last year. Betts had three catches on the game. He and Manning are now over 100 yard receiving so far this year. We now have 5 receivers over 100 yards for the year. Nothing gaudy, but I like the distribution we are starting to see.
*The TE position was interesting on Saturday. Austin Allen returned to haul in 6 catches. Travis Volkolek saw his first action and chipped in a 38 yard reception. But the interesting wrinkle was seeing Teddy Prochazka line up 5 times at TE to help provide some interesting fire power to our running attack. It was very effective. Will we see more of this going forward?
* Rahmir Johnson with his first start at RB. That was some tough sledding trying to grind out some yards but Johnson ran tough and showed the ability to at least fall forward and to take the “3 yard gain”. His 11 carries for 42 yards is nothing to write home about, but I don’t believe he left many yards on the field. He also chipped in with 3 catches for 48 yards.
**The revolving door at RB continues but will likely be without Gabe Ervin Jr. for a while—he suffered an ugly looking injury on Saturday. Good luck to him. With Markese Stepp suddenly MIA, that leaves Sevion Morrison who saw only3 snaps on Saturday. Could it be Yant time? How about Marvin Scott? With the kind of slugging our RBs are having to do, bringing in a battering ram type runner doesn’t seem like a bad idea to me.
*I’m not going to spend a lot more time griping about our OL. I will say that I am shocked at the PFF grades. To me, it seems like the grader mixed the grades for both the tackle and guard positions. When I flip the grades, it corresponds to exactly what I thought I saw on Saturday. I see folks on other sites crucifying perhaps the wrong person(s) based on the grades. Plus take them with a grain of salt. Only the grades for Jurgens (in the middle) seemed right to me.
*On defense, it was nice to see JoJo Dohman have a pretty big day with 12 tackles—he had only 11 coming into the game. That puts him tied for third in the team lead for tackles.
**In fact, we now have 14 players with 10 or more tackles. This is a pretty balanced and deep defense. When I look over my notes on the game, it is really hard to point to anyone that really stood out above the rest—although there were players who certainly flashed during the game. Saturday was a team effort.
**The one player I can point out is Damon Daniels, not for his stats—two tackles is hardly eye-catching. But the big man played 37 snaps and was extremely physical and disruptive to the OU offense. I live in Oklahoma City and I have heard many comments about that “guy in the middle” from Sooner fans.
*Some team notes. There were no three and out on offense on Saturday. Tremendous achievement with that OL and a great way for Nebraska to play the rest of the year. Obviously, three and outs will happen but if you can consistently get a first down or two every series, you can flip the field, give the defense a rest, and keep the pressure on the other team. I think Scott Frost has finally realized that this isn’t a pinball machine scoring kind of league. Grind, grind, grind. He has the physical players to make that work. Illinois may have taught us a bitter lesson about how to win when you are not at your best or lacking in explosive talent. Now, can we learn that lesson going forward?
*NU was 6-14 on third down. That continues to be a strong point for NU as they are now 31-62 (50%) on the year. However OU was 6-11. The lack of an elite pass rusher is partly to blame for the third down failures (25-59 ~ 42.4% on the year). That really is the one area that needs to be cleaned up especially the third and longs. There was a series where OU faced a 2nd and 27 and easily converted the first down. This needs to improve.
*NU was 2-4 in the red zone. We still struggle to convert opportunities to points. Meanwhile, OU was 3-3 with 3 TDs in the red zone. On the year, we have converted 15 of 19 red zone tries with just 12 TD’s and 3 FGs. Opponents are7-8 with 6 TDs and 1 FG.
*Congratulations to Samori Touri for his 10 yard punt return. We now have 12 yards as a team for the year. Where’s the party going to held to celebrate?
*That leads us to the final notes on special teams. For years we have watched horrible special teams even when we had a great run of kickers, punters, and long snappers. Well . . . the run on kickers and punters has come to an abrupt end. Who knows where we are going from here. Connor Culp has been brutal on FGs. He is 3-8 and has missed two PATs. Frost hinted that Culp has been hurt but who knows if he was just putting that out there. We all saw what happened when another kicker came in to kick an extra point. Can Culp come back? Should he even get the opportunity? The good news Nebraska has two freshmen legs they could go to in Kelen Meyer and Brendan Franke. Forget the extra point fiasco. It may be time to reopen the competition. Don’t forget JUCO transfer Chase Contreraz. There are options.
**By the way, I don’t recall ever seeing a program or organization that has had so many kickers/punters get hurt in a 3 or 4 year period.
**And finally a positive. We may have found a new punter. William Przystup had a very nice game replacing the injured Daniel Cerni. As most of you remember, Przystup was our punter last year and really didn’t wow anyone—neither has Cerni so far. But on Saturday, Przystup was solid in his two kicks (52 and 48 yards). Just as importantly, he looked poised and comfortable in his two kicks. It is just two kicks, but let’s hope that is a sign of things to come.
Now, let’s go get Sparty!