Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 21, 2010

To my adoring fans, I apologize. We're in a dead period for sports talk but now will start to heat up a bit with Husker Baseball opening up this weekend.


1. Husker Baseball: Game 3
2. Husker Basketball Woes: What will it take next year?
3. Eyes on Shawn Watson

1. We begin with what hopes to be a better season for Husker Baseball. Last season we saw Nebraska's team ERA balloon to over 6.00. The highest it has ever been since 1998. Nebraska missed the postseason for just the second time in the past 12 seasons last year. All eyes are on the side of optimism this year, but after losses of 7-5 and 8-2 might have me a bit more concerned about the season than I would like to be.

The keys for this team will obviously have to come on the mound. Nebraska simply struggled last season with getting batters out and continuously found themselves down 3 or more runs in most of their games last season. Yes, the did sweep Baylor but in the heat of the Big 12 conference season found themselves out of series and losing 7 straight in a row last year. Nebraska has young arms again, but now has a mix of guys who had to battle last season just to get guys out. The lack of pitching production created a virus with the offense. Guys at times pressed to get hits and produce runs. The mentality of this team fell apart and now must put itself back together this season.

Its disappointing to see that in Game 1 against Fresno State Nebraska took a nice 5-3 lead into the ninth inning only to have their star ace closer Mike Nesseth blow a save and lose the game for the Huskers. This is an extremely pressing issue here, because I feel that the success of this team will be tied to how many one/two run games they can win. You need Mike to just shake this off, but clearly after last season it was kinda of a statement to hopefully what will not happen much this year.

In Game 2 Mike Mariot simply got out of his element. He tried to be a power pitcher, a guy who can blow stuff right by you with no sweat. The problem is that isnt the type of pitcher he is. He's a finesse pitcher. A guy who needs to locate and keep guys off balance. That wasn't the case when he spotted the bulldogs with 4 runs in the 2 inning. Nebraska must make their pitchers learn their roles quick. The other pressing issue was how Nebraska simply went to the plate and felt like they needed to swing for the fences each time. That lead to only 2 runs and an offense now searching to find answers in Game 3 today.

My outlook on this team this season is just simply improve and become competitive again in the conference. I think a lot will be learned about this team in 3 weeks when they head to Austin Tx to begin Big 12 play. Nebraska just needs to beat teams its suppose to beat and get back to the postseason, no matter how ugly that looks this year at times. I think that it can be done but clearly after 2 games Nebraska needs to do a lot of growing on the mound and at the plate if they are to have any chance of finishing in the top 6 of the Big 12 this year.

2. Nebraska Basketball may be setting records this season while its women's team is rewriting them. The Husker men lost another big 12 game last night to fall to 1-11 in the conference. Its shameful to think that Nebraska has only one win against the Sooners this year. If Nebraska can't win 3 more games they will officially have the worst record in Husker Basketball history. Again Nebraska went over 8 1/2 minutes last night without making a bucket. These long scoring droughts have hurt valuable opportunities to win games. When they have gone cold from the floor, their defense has broken down and they have given up chunks of points to teams. Thus what was a simple 3 point deficit quickly becomes 15 when your not making shots. I honestly don't have any idea why this team can't finish games, they are talented, they have guys who at times have looked really good, but their inexperience has killed any hope of exceeding expectations. Its sad, its disappointing, and pathetic how they still have not been able to turn the corner at this point of the season. If they can't right the ship next season, the pressure no doubt will start to turn on Doc Sadler, for as great of a guy as he has been to this like myself would like to see us become a bit more consistent on the court each night.

3. Tom Shatel of the Omaha World Herald had a chance to sit down with offensive coordinator Shawn Watson to ask him a few pressing hot questions before the start of spring practice. Shawn made a few interesting points that given the injuries to the team last season Nebraska was simply forced to put itself in a position to just manage the game into their strengths. Thats were criticism came from their "conservative offense" that became the blueprint on how they wanted to win games after playing Texas Tech. I think that looking back at this season when we all found out that Zac Lee played the entire season with a wounded arm, how Roy Helu's shoulders caused him all kinds of problems, how Rex battled back after breaking his can't blame the guy for the things he did. Looking back Shawn should be commended for installing a gameplan that fed into our strengths (defense, Alex's Henery's foot) to win games. In the long run we won games that most teams probably couldn't do with what we ran. Shawn also stated that it wasn't about style points in the offense it was just about getting W's and thats what they did. I don't know how long we'll end up keeping him, Shawn made a clear statement that someday he would like to become a head coach. Given his success, I don't blame him because I think he'd be a hell of a head coach in the future. Can't wait for spring practice.

Coming back on will be up at night. Skocz Out!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February 03, 2010

Well I've been uber busy compiling up information for Husker Baseball and working on my internship. Today is all about one topic: Recruiting


1. Husker Recruiting Class 2010 Breakdown
2. What does a 5-star recruit actually mean?
3. Husker Recruiting Needs for 2011

1. Well its official, Nebraska inked 21 new recruits today. As with any recruiting class there was some excitement and disappointment. Nebraska received two surprising commitments today in Corey Cooper and Brion Carnes. Both were slated to make college choices at other programs today but decided to put on the Husker Red and ink with Nebraska. The loss obliviously today was when Owa spurned the Husker today for UCLA. Its amazing how many people across the Husker nation were extremely disappointed in Owa and upset at how Rick at UCLA snagged a stud from Oregon. But a interesting question has to be asked about why Owa chose to be Bruin. Most people think the impact of what Suh did was a major player in why Nebraska should have signed him. The reality of it is that maybe Owa thought that coming to Nebraska may have made a bigger shadow for him that Owa may have not have been ready to step out of. Look theres no question if he came to Nebraska that the expectations for him would be monumental. I think that by going to UCLA he can remain close to his mom, which hate to say it was a major factor in his recruiting, and make his own legend at a program that didn't just have a guy do the same thing from his home town. I wish him the best of luck, it days like these that make us take a step back into how much stock we put into recruiting because clearly the business is outta control and can easily consume our lives.

Nebraska inks what I think is a pretty good class with 11 guys on defense and 10 on offense. Pretty balanced if you ask me. I think the biggest signees are Carnes, Cooper, Hardrick, Harper, and Rome. These are the guys that I feel could make an immediate impact at Nebraska although I do feel that Carnes has a bigger mountain to climb with Cody Green already getting first team reps. The scary thing that we have to start considering is that kids at QB and RB may decide to start leaving the program due to the number of kids we have on scholarship at those positions. Nebraska has already secured a commitment for the 2011 class at QB and sometimes chose to leave a program when they feel like they are buried on the depth chart and not getting any playing time.

I think all in all its a solid class of talent that doesn't have to be too flashy at the national level to be key pieces to the future of the success of the program.

2. I thought I would take some time to discuss what I think about what a 5-star kid actually means. I think in today's society waaaay to much hype is put into 18-19 year old kids before they have even laced up a football cleat for their institution. Clearly its a multi-million dollar business that is outta control right now putting stock and faith into kids...just kids. Look at the last "5-star" kid to actually make an impact at Nebraska. The answer...Demario Williams. He was the last big time recruit that came to Nebraska and made an impact on the football field. Its still unclear what Baker will do, but today's society has placed unfair expectations on these high recruits to be Heisman winners, major award winners, All-Americans, and make themselves become legends at their institutions. Could anyone have predicted what Suh would have done when he came to Nebraska in 2005. Yes he was a 4-star kid, but I don't think anyone would have expected the impact that he left at Nebraska in 4 years. It clearly shows that you can't put that much stock into the star rating system that we all have seemed to become infatuated with. Marlon Lucky, Andre Jones, and Zach Bowman really never lived up the 5-star expectations at Nebraska. I'm sure for those fans who live in the world where 5-star kids make or break your'll be sorely disappointed again when a few more 5-star kids don't pan out at Nebraska. I'll call it that it'll happen again.

3. With the 2010 class in the books, we can turn our attention the 2011 class. I won't name any names that Nebraska should land, because I don't put that much stock into the ratings system. What I look at is the positions that Nebraska needs to address the most. Heading into 2010 Nebraska losses Pierre Allen on DE, Prince at CB, Eric Hagg at CB, Roy Helu, Alex Henery, Adi Kunalic, Ricky Henry, Mike McNeil, Ricky Thenarse, and Dreu Young at TE.

The high needs for 2011 are TE, DB, RB and a kicker (two). I think ideally Nebraska needs to land two kickers (one kick off specialist, one place kicker), Three defensive backs, a safety, two running backs, and two tight ends. These are likely of high interest for this team. I do think that this is the prime opportunity to seek some hot WR's to this group as well by landing 2 of them. Either way I do anticipate that Nebraska will look to sign a bigger class of kids next year somewhere in the 25-28 range with the max at 30. For those that live the hype of recruiting 24/7 now is the time to turn your focus to the 2011 recruits.

I'm planning on blogging again tomorrow before retiring for my birthday weekend. Till then...Skocz Out and Go Big Red!!!