Hello hello hello...I've returned...for those of you who have been anxious in following myself...sorry for such the delay...I now live in Scottsbluff so the move and getting set up with the new job was a challenge but I'm ready to rock and roll. Much to dive into today...
THE HOT LIST:
1. Bo Pelini's Job Security...will he ever leave???
2. Thoughts on Fall Camp
3. Big 12 Conference Preview: Kansas State
4. Big 12 Conference Preview: Texas
1. We begin with a very interesting article that jumped out at me from the Omaha World Herald. The article stated information about how Bo feels heading into his third season at Nebraska. Did you know that after this year, if Bo stays this will be the longest tenure job he's ever had in his coaching career. Interesting to think about when you look at the remarkable success that he has had a Nebraska in just 2 short years. The article also dove into topics about maybe his interest in leaving Nebraska for LSU or Ohio State. As we know Ohio State is his alma mater, and with Jim Tressel's increasing age...people in Buckeye land are beginning to think that his time is drawing to an end in 4-6 years. LSU brings the place where Bo was on top of the world winning a national title as the Tiger's defensive coordinator before coming to Lincoln. Bo simply stated that he doesn't see Nebraska as a stepping stone to something else. "Once we become great, why would you want to leave?" Couldn't agree more. Nebraska has everything that a top national program has. It's hard for me to sit here and say that we have a coach that will stay for the remainder of his career, but at 42 and given the current landscape of college football you can never say that things are for certain. Places like Texas and Oklahoma are reaping the benefits of keeping their staffs mainly intact. Gary Pinkel got a nice wakeup call of what happens when your coordinators are raided from your program. I think that as long as Bo has the drive to win a national title he'll continue to stay here. After he makes it to the top of College Football...will he stay??? I think so, he has young kids and his wife is well connected in the community. They loved living in Lincoln back in 2003 and I can honestly say that they would stay in Lincoln as long as Bo has a job. Ohio State would be out because you don't see coaches switching teams in the same conference. LSU is interesting because I see Les Miles going to Michigan after this season. If we are successful this season, I think teams come knocking...but Bo remains committed to the Husker family and stays...
2. Fall camp has been interesting to watch and follow. Obviously the heated race with all eyes watching has been the QB's. Bo stated yesterday that really nobody would know the starter till he walks out on the field on September 4th. You can tell he's getting testy answering the same questions every day. I'm not as concerned with the injuries that the team has endured this year due to the great depth that Bo and his staff have developed. Sean Fisher might be the biggest blow, I felt like he was poised to make a huge impact and have a breakout season. But last season, the defense was in a lot of 4-2-5 looks due the vast spread offenses in the Big 12. I assume that Eric Hagg will get a considerable amount of playing time this season. Guys like Eric Martin and Lavonte David are pressed into the mold of getting a shot. You have to rise up and take those chances because they don't come around often. It's been nice hearing praise about Quincy on the WR front. Nebraska desperately must get another legit playmaker at WR outside of Nile Paul. I feel given this kid's size and speed he'll have a chance to make an impact this year. He must block downfield well and, of course, catch the ball....I'm not sold on Kinnie yet till I see more production out of him...More tomorrow.
3. As we did last season we'll break down each team in the Big 12 (last time). I want to get it all done before opening kickoff so we'll hit a two-fer each night. First is the K-State wildcats......
Offense: Much was expected out of this team last year with the legend Bill Synder returning last season....Who would of thought they would be 6-6 with the roster that Ron Prince put together. What hurts this season is the loss of their top 3 WR's including Brandon Banks...a small speedy kid that was a nightmare matchup for teams in the special team game. Also losing to TE gives Carson Coffman or whoever starts at QB virtually no experienced playmakers to throw to. K-State no doubt will rely heavily on Daniel Thomas who led the conference in rushing with 1,245 yards and 11 touchdowns a year ago. He returns with an offensive line with four returning starters. Running the ball will be the key for the Wildcats to win games...do it and they have a shot...don't and it spells a long long day with likely a poor passing game.
Defense: Defensively K-State improved last season overall and return Freshman All-American Brandon Harold. He needs to stay out of academic and injury trouble first to be a major impact on this team. The Wildcats bring experience in Safeties Tsysn Hartman and Emmanuel Lamur. The defense is scrappy and hinges on LB play for overall success. In a league that spreads the ball and run draws, LB play is key for great defenses. K-State must answer this defensive concern to right the ship this season and get to a bowl game.
Schedule: It's hard to think that this team can get to a bowl game but it's possible without two D-IAA opponents that they had on their schedule last year. Non-conference games with UCLA, Missouri State, Central Florida, and North Texas is ok but not stellar...Big 12 home games have Nebraska, Texas, OSU, with Iowa State in Kansas City...tough road games at Colorado, Missouri, Baylor, and Kansas.
Outcome: I think that K-State loses its opener against UCLA. The Bruins have too much talents and K-State has way to many question in the passing game to win out of the gate....They get wins over Missouri State, ISU, and Central Florida to get to 3-1 but lose badly at home against Nebraska, that starts a tailspin causing them to lose their next 2 in a row to Baylor, Kansas. They get a W against OSU but get pummeled by Texas at home the next weekend...Losses to Missouri and Colorado followed by a pump up win against North Texas gives them an overall record of 5-7 this season and no bowl game for the kitty cats this season.
4. Our Big 12 preview continues with that hated team in burnt orange. Every Husker fan has October 16ht on their calendars circled in red. Texas must replace stars in Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley, Earl Thomas, Sergio Kindle, and Roddrick Muckelroy from last season. Mack Brown has been able to replenish his talent with his high recruiting classes. This season they lean on Garret Gilbert...a highly touted sophomore who got exposed in the national title game last season. He's good...and could be really good if the offense develops a running game this season. That has been the Achilles heel for Texas is lack of run production in games. That has allowed defenses to sit on them and blitz heavily in obvious passing downs. Texas might have the most experience in their secondary with Aaron Williams, Chykie Brown, and Curtis Brown all returning but replacing Earl Thomas is a huge task this season for Texas.
Schedule: Its never easy for Texas when you have to play Oklahoma every season but opening against Rice and Wyoming give them two easy wins to get things started right before traveling to Texas Tech. Its an early test on September 18th that will show if the Longhorns are legit top 5 team or vastly overhyped. Home games also include: UCLA, Iowa State, Baylor, OSU, A&M, and Florida Atlantic. Road test are: at Nebraska, Tech, K-State, Rice, and OU in Dallas.
Outlook: Texas gets started off right winning against Rice and Wyoming...too much talent for those teams to get the upset....Texas Tech is the interesting game but I don't see a first year Tubberville team having it all together to nip the horns at home that night. UCLA the next week is a win giving the Horns a nice 4-0 start. Going into the Red River Rivalry I don't see them extending their winning streak and the Sooners thump them...good. Two weeks to prepare for Nebraska doesn't work for Gilbert who gets eaten alive in truly his first major Big 12 Road game...Iowa State, Baylor, K-State...all wins...and winning out with OSU and Florida Atlantic....Thanksgiving day brings the hated Aggies to town but I feel the Aggies could be a real legit talent and beat the Horns giving them a 9-3 regular season...a bowl game is in reach but for the first time in years the Longhorns won't be in the BCS or even in the hunt...likely Holiday or Alamo bowl in store this season...likely disappointing to a team preseason ranked in the top 5 and smelling a national title run...
Back tomorrow with Big 12 Preview of OSU and Missouri...plus practice talk...and more....catch ya tomorrow readers...SKOCZ OUT!!!