Dear Fellow Fans of the mighty mighty Big Red,
Somebody, ok it was my bride that asked me what I thought of the 1st half of the game Wednesday night? She did add a note, you can only use one word. That one word came quick, "Wow". Before I get into the game more I want to give out a few shout outs.
1. To the Nebraska team for giving me some bragging rights at work. I have a bit of a story to tell. I'm in a carpool to work and had to take off for work really early in the second half. I told the other guys on the van what radio stations would pick up the game on the way to work. I will say within 5 minutes they were sick of the game and turned it off. I didn't say anything, but deep inside I was thinking, if it was UofA up by 20+ points they would have left the game on and rub it in. Oh well, right now I am listening to the game all the way for the first time.
2. I will give a shout out to a co-worker of mine. Since the game was announced he and I were trading some friendly verbal jabs, talking a little trash, and even making some bold predictions (him, it wont be even close, Nebraska hasn't seen an offense or defense like Arizona's. My reply, I wouldn't be surprised in NU was up 30 to zip at the half? Ok, he was right, it wasn't close.) Anyways, he finally came back to work today and let me gloat for a minute or two. Fact is, we both agreed on one thing, UofA didn't show up.
3. I'll have to give a shout out to Lincoln SE band, good job in covering for the big guys stuck in Lincoln.
Well, time for the game and I actually have something to nitpick but it is something that is getting better. The offense finally learned how to move the ball and get in FG range. As 2010 starts I think the big goal will be learning hw to finish those drives with TD's.
Another thing I had some troubles with is the fact that Z. Lee ran every time on that read option play. Watch that play when teams started using this spread option, the back does get carries. I remember early in the 2nd quarter NU was at their own 20 and ran the option. Everybody on Uof A's D went after Lee. Helu was running free at around the 25-30 yard line and nobody gave him a second glance. It's not a fake if at least 1 linebacker doesn't bite and hit the RB. In 2010 the offense has to work, especially the QB's and RBs in reading the D especially the back 7 (LBs and DBs) and try to judge which way they are leaning and go with the other angle. It's like running option out of the I-formation, just with the QB in a shotgun set.
Defensively, do you realize it has been 24 months since Coach Pelini was brought in to turn the program around and transform the Blackshirts. I have only three words to say, Job Well Done. The D went from the bottom 10 in the nation at the end of 2007 to a Top 5 defense at the end of 2009 and Coach Pelini does hand out praise, but at the same time says there is room for improvement, wow. "House of Spears" Suh even said after the bowl game that Jared Crick might, just might be better than he is when it is all said and done. There are guys like Hagg, Martin, COmpton, and Fisher that are learning how to play defense and in the coming years will be great. I'm just completely amazed and wondering as great as the Blackshirts have been in 2009, if and when they improve in 2010, how scary good will they be?
Offensively, I want to send a shout out to Jason and say yes, time to pass out the crow to the fans calling for Coach Wat's job. Even at Bleacher Report there is a article still asking for Watson to be fired. The claim is a team better improve with a month to prepare. It wasn't all prep work ladies and gents, there was something else going on since the end of the Big 12 title game. The offensive line was healing from nagging injuries and getting more in sync. Look at Barney Cotton chewing Smith's butt after the false start penalty and Smith turning around and playing a great game the rest of the way. The line was also blowing Uof A's d-line backwards 3 sometime 4 yards a play on an almost consistent basis. Watch guys, with another spring ball of practices and I believe Watson going towards more power football with play-action and some read option, the learning curve for the o-line will be raised and with the new guys coming in, the depth will be there so plenty of reps to learn what needs to be done.
So, on this the 3rd day of the New Year, what did we learn from 2009 and what will this team take from the finish and improve on 2010. I believe the Blackshirts will continue to get nasty, even a bit chippy in terms they will want to get better and prove to the country it wasn't Suh and 10 other guys, it was 11 young men working as a unified unit (ok 12 since Alex Henery received a Blackshirt). Offensively I believe the o-line will carry the momentum of a thorough butt kicking of a Wildcat defense that was one of the best in the PAC-10. As a team, they will learn how to finish games, get TD's when in the red zone and minimize mistakes (penalties/turnovers). Team we played this year are 4-1 in bowl games with Texas still left to play. That right there says we played pretty tough schedule and overcame offensive adversity (Mizzou is the only team to have lost so far/T-Tech and ISU, teams we lsot to won). This team has room to grow and considering the improvements since Coach Pelini came in, the sky is the limit. I'm not ready to say we're a Top 10 team yet, but the middle of the second 10 would be a good start for 2010
Well, that's about it from very happy SE Arizona (why the news guy said the game was hard to watch on Thursday morning I don't know, I had no problem. Might have to email him that Arizonans for Nebraska is one of the largest NU fan clubs outside of the great state). Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and thank you for your comments. It' has been a great 2009, looking forward to 2010. God bless and Go Big Red.
P.S. Did any of you guys chuckle seeing some of the UofA players in long sleeves with the temps in the high 50s with a little rain?
P.S.S. Talk about stupid penalties, illegal block in the back on the kicking team against UofA and when Henery had the punt downed at the 4, personal foul against UofA giving the ball back to Nebraska.