Well it was a fast September and now we can turn our attention to October and the conference season.
THE HOT LIST:
1. P.J. Smith Grows Up
2. Woes for Husker Volleyball
3. Big 12 Tid-bits
1. We begin with an article today in the World Herald about the impact that P.J. Smith will now have to make big steps in the growing up process as he has been called on to get some extended playing time en-light of Ricky Thernase out and Larry Asante nursing a sore ankle. He comments about how everyone on the team came up to him and was tapping him on the shoulder and he shrugged them off, trying to get focus, trying to prepare himself for what he needed to do on the field. Put yourself in his shoes, your a redshirt freshman, knowing that you aren't going to see the playing field outside of special teams, a few plays later injuries happen and you're called on to fill the holes. I thought him and Austin Cassidy played very well on Saturday. They'll most likely have to do what every freshman has had to do to this date this season.....elevate their game. It's not an easy task to ask 18 and 19 year old freshman to rise to the championship level that Nebraska needs in the secondary to remain in the hunt for the Big 12 North Title. I think when the dust settles on this situation getting these guys in early will pay dividends in the future. Especially since O'Hanlon and Asante are both seniors this season. I expect Larry to bounce back but the loss of Ricky hurts our special teams and allows little boy P.J. Smith to grow up into a man.
2. The Nebraska Volleyball team is trying to do something it hasn't done in a few years....bounce back from back to back losses. Nebraska last week lost at Texas A&M and then was thrashed by #2 Texas at home. Nebraska now looks like it's poised for a season of one that many may want to forget. This team is still very young, but very talented. Nebraska no doubt has to stop putting themselves in situations that force them to press to make plays. In all of Nebraska's losses, service errors have killed Nebraska's chances at getting out to a quick start. Those errors then force Nebraska to make plays, which generally end up going out of bounds, or having poor passing. It's a spiraling effect that Nebraska simply hasn't learned to correct yet. John Cook certainly won't lose his job after this season, no matter how the season turns out, but for all fans improvement is something that we should be seeing each week. Tonight the Husker's take on Oklahoma a team out to an impressive 10-3 start to the season. Get through tonight's game tonight and a well needed bye week this Saturday is well deserved to recharge their batteries to prepare for the grind of the rest of the season. When Nebraska plays up to their ability they are almost near impossible to beat, they haven't gotten to that level yet, but hopefully they'll get there sooner than later.
3. Lets dive around the Big 12 for some tid-bits.........Oklahoma Bob Stoops appears indecisive on the decision to start either Landry Jones or Sam Bradford at Miami this weekend. He expects to name his starter later in the week. Stoops found himself answering questions this week about why he pushed Bradford to come back this season when he likely would have been the #1 pick in last year's NFL draft. Stoops defends himself saying that he simply educates his players about their opportunities and it's up to them and their families to make the decision. He's right, Sam made his decision and if he can't play at all this season because of his injured shoulder, he'll always second guess not coming out in the NFL draft when he ends up as a late 2nd round pick................
Robert Griffin will now watch the remainder of the games from inside the press box and attempt to swallow the new leadership role he will have to take this season after tearing his ACL this last weekend. He is expected to be lost for the entire season. It's a shame that a star player like him had such an injury like this one, he may never be the same player again. His injury all but assures that the Bears won't be going bowling this season. They were soo close but not close enough to turning the corner. I'm glad we don't have to go up against him again, he's too fast and talented to be contained in the pocket.
Texas A&M prepares for what is arguably their biggest game on Saturday when they take on Arkansas....much has been said about the offensive improvement this season but the key will be on the shoulders of the defense. They must create pressure to stop heralded QB Ryan Mallet if they have any chance of springing the upset and winning a land mark game for Mike Sherman. The surprising stat has been the play of Von Miller, the talented DL leads the nation in sacks and tackles for loss. We'll see what kind of game he has when the Aggies play a real opponent.
Coming back for a quick blog in the morning tomorrow....then its out for the week.