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Friday Husker Hype Day

With Mikale Wilbon getting his first start Saturday, a whole decade of Husker RB first starts

Mike Riley: 4 or 5 Nebraska football players catch same illness that forced postponement of soccer match   

Wilbon's willingness to stay ready pays off with starting role Saturday

Husker defensive backs want to learn from early trials

Eichorst says Riley doing "terrific job" heading Husker program

Huskers set to host 4-star 2019 visitor

Prior Intel

Tanner Lee working hard to make sure the sickness doesn't stay

Tale of the Tape: Third Down Struggles at Oregon

Mick Stoltenberg discuss the 3-4 defense, the first two games and remaining goals this year with Adam Carriker.

Shatel: A tone-deaf goodbye to Black Friday by Nebraska and Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst

Shatel: Mike Riley’s tone reflects his and fans’ exasperation with Huskers

Nebraska OC Danny Langsdorf believes Tanner Lee is ‘exactly what you’re looking for’ at quarterback

HOL HD: Danny Langsdorf:Monday press conference 

Huskers have options if Bryant out or limited

Numbers signal improved run game, but pass blocking inconsistent

Pierson-El would return that last punt if he could do it again

Huskers can't cash in to finish rally

Report Card: Huskers stumble in Eugene

Farniok steps up in starting debut

Five fast takes after the Huskers rally to Ducks falls short

Tanner Lee’s second half proved just how far the Nebraska Cornhuskers offense has to go 

Husker Hangover-Monday Morning Quarterback

Ducks' Tale at end: Huskers almost climb out of 28-point hole, but late pick spoils fin...

Nebraska defensive coordinator Bob Diaco 'so proud' of defense after disastrous first half

Shatel: No moral victories for Huskers, but also no insurmountable defeat against Oregon

Monday Morning Quarterback 9-11

Riley updates Husker injuriesNebraska head coach Mike Riley updates injuries from Saturday's game.

Steven M. Sipple: Gates likes Husker O-line's progress, but bigger steps needed

BC's Breakdown: Passionate Husker play must now match the words

Loss to Ducks showed importance of positioning for Husker defenders

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hard to win with 7 critical mistakes against a better than bad opponent, I still think they can get to an 8-4 or even 9-3 season if they fix the mistakes...the west isn't that good this year

Minnesota not Iowa will play Nebraska on Black Friday in 2020 and 2021

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NU athletic Director Shawn Eichorst supported moving post-Thanksgiving games to Saturday. But he agreed to a Friday game Sept. 29 against Illinois.

Shatel: A tone-deaf goodbye to Black Friday by Nebraska and Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst

The image is fading bit by bit, like those photos in the movie “Back to the Future.” First the head, then the arms, then the rest of the body disappears.

Another part of Nebraska football went away on Tuesday. In 2020 and 2021, the Huskers will play Minnesota instead of Iowa in the last week of the season. What’s more, the tradition since 1990 of playing on Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving — is no more.

This feels like a slap from the Big Ten. But before you blame Jim Delany, let’s make one thing clear.

The Big Ten wasn’t opposed to Nebraska playing on Friday.

This was Nebraska essentially slapping itself in the face.

This was Nebraska stripping itself of a way to make itself unique. This is Nebraska choosing to play on Saturday — Ohio State-Michigan Day — and fade into the Big Ten woodwork.

Unbelievable.

It’s not about Iowa. NU hasn’t been in this league long enough to call anyone rivals yet. Sure, the Hawkeyes-Huskers thing has potential — potential it can now realize on another weekend. But Iowa was rivals with Wisconsin and Minnesota — and to some extent Illinois — many years before the Huskers showed up.

No, it’s not about Iowa. But then, it was never about Colorado, either. The Big 12 could have put K-State or Missouri in that slot and it would have been fine.

It was always about Black Friday, a day with a connection to the most famous Thanksgiving game of all — the 1971 “Game of the Century” played on Thanksgiving Day itself. And a connection to all those ’90s champs. But moreover, a chance for the NU program to stand out on a day without many games on TV and millions of football-watchers avoiding shopping by camping out in front of the tube.

Goodness, what a turnover.

This is a program that no longer has the benefit of scholarship numbers or TV appearances over the majority of college football teams. This is an era when most everyone is on TV and most everyone has built facilities.

And this is a time when the Huskers have done very little special on the field in years, a time when NU fights like heck for any advantage, any way to stand out among the crowd.

All because of what?

NU Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst said in a statement on Tuesday that because of the Big Ten’s nine-game schedule, “this makes sense from a student-athlete health, safety and welfare perspective.”

Wait a minute. Eichorst accepted a Friday night game in just three weekends — Sept. 29 at Illinois. At one point, NU figured it would also play Friday night games at home.

That attitude has since done a 180. University Chancellor Ronnie Green and football coach Mike Riley both said the school is no longer interested in playing on Friday nights.

Could it be the public backlash over butting heads with high school football caused this? Here’s the difference: there’s no high school football on Black Friday.

As tone deaf as agreeing to play Sept. 29 was, this is equally confounding.

Riley, who has admitted he doesn’t like getting out of the Saturday game routine, said this week that a Black Friday game is hard on players, too — a short week at a time they are physically beat up. We’re talking about 24 hours here. If the game were played late Friday afternoon as opposed to 11 a.m. on Saturday, what’s the difference?

Let’s be glad Bob Devaney wasn’t opposed to playing on Thanksgiving Day. The day of the game helped make an iconic game stand the test of time.

Let’s also be fair: many great Oklahoma-Nebraska games in the ’70s and ’80s were played on Saturday.

But that was a time when NU was one of the two giants in the Big Eight, year after year, and didn’t need the extra shot of visibility.

Also, many of the Friday games from 1990 to 2008 came after a bye week. But, again, we’re talking about 24 hours here. The trade-off for a Friday time slot with much of the nation held hostage to watch seems to be a no-brainer.

You know what’s interesting? Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz — who gets a rap around here for being stuck in the mud — says he likes playing on Black Friday. Why? For the kids. They get to spend time after the game with their families.

Wouldn’t that be something if Iowa replaced Nebraska on Black Friday?

Let’s talk image. Mike Hlas, veteran columnist in Cedar Rapids, writes that the Big Ten matched up Iowa with Wisconsin in the final week to get the two best programs in the Big Ten West together. He also added that the decision to pair NU with Minnesota “says the Huskers haven’t added any prestige inside the Big Ten.”

That much we know. These things also run in cycles. But since joining the Big Ten, NU has looked more and more like just one of the boys. And that has never felt more true than on Tuesday.

Here’s another truth: If Nebraska is knocking out 10 wins and winning the West, the Black Friday absence won’t be a big deal. But man, winning and standing out in this 14-team league where everyone shares TV time — and several schools are closer to recruits than NU — is a hard road.

It’s even harder when you get in your own way.

tom.shatel@owh.com, 402-444-1025, twitter.com/tomshatelOWH

Wow, how the mighty have fallen. Thank God I'm old enough to have experienced the Huskers vs Sooners, rival. Having the game the day after Thanksgiving

I'm just going to say it.
I'm starting a campaign.
GET OF MY YARD, SEAN EICHORST!
Sean EICHORST is the devil!

“I’m just … we should be better than this,” Nebraska coach Mike Riley said Monday. “When they (players) look at that (Oregon) film, they should just be sick.”

Shatel: Mike Riley’s tone reflects his and fans’ exasperation with Huskers

LINCOLN — I don’t think Mike Riley even knows how to spell “dadgummit.”

The nicest guy in college football doesn’t show much emotion, much less anger. Has anyone ever seen him mad? These are like Bigfoot sightings.

Riley came close on Monday. Very close. At his weekly press conference at Memorial Stadium, Riley spoke with an edgy tone. He used the word “ridiculous” several times when describing plays from Saturday’s loss at Oregon. Meet the modern-day “dadgummit.”

“We should just be so hungry to practice today,” Riley said. “When they look at that film, they should just be sick.”

Later, I asked Riley if he was as upset as he sounded. He smiled, thought about it, and said, “I’m just … we should be better than this.”

I always said getting chewed out by Tom Osborne was like hearing it from Ward Cleaver. That’s Riley. But this time his frustration and exasperation were evident. He sounded …

Impatient.

That bug is going around.

Nobody that I’ve heard from since Saturday’s game is celebrating the second-half comeback. They sound beside themselves with a first half that pushed them to the edge.

That 42-14 first half touched a nerve with Husker Nation. The reaction I’ve received from fans reminded me what I already knew: Nebraska fans are tired of waiting.

Riley thinks his team should be hungry? Husker fans have been sitting at the table forever, waiting to chow down on something of substance.

The reaction took me a little by surprise, but it shouldn’t have. Husker fans were famished when Riley was hired in 2014. And that’s the problem when you continuously change coaches. These transitions can push back progress, with roster turnover and fitting players into new schemes.

So when Riley changes defensive coordinators after two seasons, some fans nod in agreement. But then tell them the transition might take all of Year 3, and their mood changes quickly.

They see James Franklin winning the Big Ten in his third season. They see Jeff Brohm flipping bad news Purdue overnight. So don’t tell them Bob Diaco is going to need some time — or even a first half — to make this thing work.

Nebraskans understand how football timetables work. Patience? Yes, with progress. What flips their switch is watching an unranked Oregon team totally dominate and embarrass their Huskers. Been there, done that.

Look, Nebraska fans are tired of change. They need one of these guys to work out. But their fuses are short. What happened in the first half brought out the talk about change again, in Week 2 of Year 3.

And now the ire is turning toward Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst, with fans calling it a circus that the A.D. watches games down on the bench. It’s not an image that inspires a lot of confidence in the staff or program. Or the A.D.

All this conjures up images of 2007, and that’s not a scenario Husker fans that I know want to relive. It feels like the program is chasing its tail. And any sign of disaster brings the Pavlov response from the grandstand.

Remember those Yankees days of George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin? At one press conference announcing Martin’s hiring, Steinbrenner joked, “Billy, you’re fired.” Martin said, “George, you haven’t hired me yet.”

I’m on record that this team has a chance to do fun things. But Purdue’s sudden emergence and Minnesota showing some teeth indicate the Big Ten could be a bumpy ride. I’m not sure the passengers can take another 42-14 half.

What I know is patience is in short supply around the state. Perhaps good news for fans: Their coach is running low himself.

» The news of Tre Bryant’s knee ailment is as abrupt as Bryant’s splash as a big-time back this fall. I don’t recall it being mentioned last year. On Monday, Riley said Bryant had the issue when he arrived at Nebraska.

This is one tough hombre. But why press the issue this weekend? Give the dude the weekend off. Give the others their chance.

» Why haven’t Mikale Wilbon and Devine Ozigbo been given more carries in the first two games, especially with Bryant’s knee? The first two games were not exactly walk-overs for NU. Riley needed his top gun and he is from the John Robinson school of using the best pair of legs as a workhorse.

Of course, Robinson had Ricky Bell and Marcus Allen ...

» Riley was able to meet with Robinson, his old mentor, at Autzen Stadium on Saturday. Robinson was on hand to do the game on radio.

» When did we become so obsessed with coaching salaries? Diaco is the highest-paid assistant in NU history, but that’s a sign of the times. Top-level assistants get crazy bucks these days. It’s what Nebraska will have to pay. I’m not saying Diaco can’t be criticized, just that the money doesn’t always have to be brought up.

» Zac Taylor, now the assistant wide receivers coach for the L.A. Rams, is expected to be at Memorial Stadium on Saturday to be inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame. It’s a good group this year, and one of the interesting names is Donnie McGhee, an All-Big Eight guard on Bob Devaney’s 1970 national champs. You figured they had honored everyone from that team. It’s never too late.

» Iowa and Iowa State should keep playing beyond 2023, their last scheduled game. Was wondering: How would Cyclones and Hawkeyes feel about attaching Bob Elliott’s name to the rivalry trophy?

» Was planting the Sooner flag in the middle of Ohio Stadium Baker Mayfield’s Heisman moment? Mayfield apologized for it — unnecessarily — but I bet a lot of Heisman voters didn’t mind watching him do it there.

» I have a feeling my Heisman Trophy pick, J.T. Barrett, won’t be long for the Buckeyes’ lineup. What’s going on in Columbus isn’t all Barrett’s fault, but teams’ energies and moods are dictated by the quarterback play. He is an Urban Meyer favorite. That’ll be a tough one, but that’s why Urban gets paid the ... never mind.

» Barrett as my Heisman winner and the Houston Texans as my Super Bowl team. So why do people ask me what’s going to happen in games? Maybe they need a laugh?

Oregon went conservative in the second half, essentially turning themselves into a big ten team.  If what I think I saw is true there may actually be a silver lining to this game.  One thing husker fans are not going to like is Lee's sub Tommy Armstrong passing percentage.  He must improve because right now he is 52% for the first two games, about what he was at Tulane I think.  Opponents are at 70% against us and this is an area of concern.

Valid points Randy.

So Tanner Lee over hyped?

Riley updates Husker injuriesNebraska head coach Mike Riley updates injuries from Saturday's game.

Nebraska head coach Mike Riley updated several injuries from Saturday’s loss to Oregon.

Riley said running back Tre Bryant “sustained no new injuries” after leaving the game on Saturday. Bryant has nursed a knee injury through fall camp, and will likely be limited early this week.

“We’ve been careful with him in practice, and we’ll be careful with him,” Riley said.

In response, Riley said freshman Jaylin Bradley will play this week against Northern Illinois, and will appear on special teams. Riley

“Tre has a knee that we just need to take care of…it’s who he is. It’s nothing that’s happened since he has been here,” Riley said. “His knee is older than his age. We were aware of that, and from the beginning of camp have managed Tre so that he’s not over-worked.”

Riley said all three backs — Bryant, Mikale Wilbon and Devine Ozigbo — are able to appear in games. Riley said that if Bryant can’t play this week, Bradley would enter the mix at running back.

In other injury news:

— Riley said Luke Gifford should be OK as the week goes along with a hip injury.

— Riley called senior safety Joshua Kalu “doubtful” with a hamstring injury. Kalu left Saturday’s game against Oregon.

— Riley said senior offensive tackle David Knevel is week to week with an ankle injury, but is “doubtful” for this week against Northern Illinois.


Author

Michael Bruntz


Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee remains confident despite a rocky performance in a loss Saturday against Oregon.

Nebraska OC Danny Langsdorf believes Tanner Lee is ‘exactly what you’re looking for’ at quarterback

Against Oregon on Saturday, Langsdorf watched quarterback Tanner Lee miss throws, overthrow the ball and ultimately walk away with 4 interceptions on the day. Langsdorf has an idea why, which he has since addressed with Lee.

“He was probably pressing, especially trying to get back in it,” Langsdorf said after practice on Tuesday. “I think maybe putting a little too much on his shoulders and I think he just pressed a little bit, but I think he made some plays too. He got us in some good situations. He got hit too many times, which affects everybody. We’ve got to clean up that part of it.”

Langsdorf originally called the game on Saturday a rollercoaster. After watching the film, he still feels that way.

But Langsdorf doesn’t put all of the blame on Lee. He saw an inconsistent offense on Saturday that struggled as a unit to protect the quarterback and allowed Lee to get hit too many times. On top of that, he saw his quarterback force plays that didn’t need to happen.

“It was inconsistent. I just think we’re getting hit too many times,” Langsdorf said. “I think part of the protection is making sure the backs and the tight ends are doing their part in their role, whether it’s blitzing a linebacker or chipping an end on their way out. The quarterback has to get rid of the ball. It’s a whole protection unit. I think that we’re taking too many hits. I think the quarterback is playing pretty fast.

“I think he can get rid of the ball quicker and we can do a better job as a whole unit of protecting the quarterback.”

The problems Langsdorf saw were not unique to the Oregon matchup. They were issues he saw in the Huskers’ win over Arkansas State too. And with Northern Illinois looming, he knows he has to get those issues solved quickly.

One of those areas of concern is Lee’s interceptions. The 4 against Oregon happened for a variety of reasons.

“I thought he misread one. He had a tipped ball in the beginning of the game that should have been caught,” Langsdorf said. “He got hit on the last one. He was a little early on the one with [Stanley Morgan Jr.] and it wasn’t timed very well. I don’t think we came out of the route as good as we probably should have and I think he was a little early and threw a little wide. There was kind of a bunch of stuff, but you get a tipped ball in the air and bad things are going to happen. It could have probably put it a little bit wider.

“You know, just all kinds of stuff went on with all four of them and that was obviously too many to win the game.”

He’s not worried about Lee’s confidence though. Langsdorf has a plan to keep Lee in a good headspace regarding the interceptions, which starts with quick throws and creating completions to find some rhythm.

Langsdorf is otherwise confident that Lee will bounce back. He’s seen nothing from his junior quarterback to feel differently.

“I think he had a tough game,” Langsdorf said. “I think he was hard on himself about it, which is a good sign for him and our team but I think he’ll bounce back and be great.”

Was Lee good enough against Oregon? Absolutely not, but that is what the Nebraska offense will spend the week working on. From protecting the quarterback to creating better rhythm, the Huskers have plans to be much more efficient (and less of a rollercoaster) as a unit by Saturday.

In the meantime, Langsdorf still likes what he’s seen from his quarterback to date.

“He’s great,” Langsdorf said. “He is an excellent communicator that way. Really kept his poised. He had the first play really as a bad way to start, and then I thought he came back and made some throws. I don’t have any problem with him. He’s a great competitor. He got extra work today like he does every week.

“All of it is exactly what you’re looking for in the position.”

Doesn't appear like he added much sugar on this interview.  Coaches way of saying we stunk up the place and fixed it when it was too late.

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