Saturday, October 17, 2009

Losing hurts more than winning feels great

Well, where do I begin.

When Bo Pelini took over as Nebraska football’s head coach, we knew there would be losses. In a few cases bad losses were going to happen. There was the 52-17 loss to Missouri in Game Five last season at home. There was also the 62-28 loss at Oklahoma in Game Nine. Both opponents entered those respective games No. 4.

The common denominator in those games was that Nebraska had very little of any chance of winning those contests. The Huskers were still finding their way under Pelini. Both Missouri and Oklahoma were juggernauts at the time Nebraska faced those teams.

The most recent loss, however – 31-10 to the unranked Texas Tech Red Raiders at home? This has to be the low point in Pelini’s brief tenure as head coach. Make no mistake, I still believe that Pelini is the right guy to lead the Huskers back to prominence but Saturday’s loss flatout sucks for the following reasons:

 On offense, Nebraska has had seven crappy quarters out of their last eight. The Huskers scored 27 points in a come-from-behind 27-12 win over Missouri and only 10 points in a 31-10 loss Saturday against Texas – seven in garbage time. Against two mediocre defenses!

 Defensively, the Huskers held an always potent Texas Tech offense to 24 points. Keep in mind, Red Raider linebacker Daniel Martin scored on an 82-yard fumble return when Nebraska quarterback Zac Lee threw a backward lateral to wide receiver Niles Paul that the latter dropped with nary a defender within five yards.

 Nebraska also recorded five quarterback sacks and held the Red Raider offense to 62 yards (258 for the game) of total offense and seven points in the second half and still could not capitalize on that rare ineptitude.

So here we have Nebraska, 4-2 after six games. Not expected per se but the Huskers will face a crossroads with Iowa State at home and Baylor on the road. The former beat the latter 24-10 in Ames, Iowa on Saturday. The Huskers should win both games.

Of course there’s also the whole matter of starting quarterback Zac Lee, a junior, getting yanked in favor of Cody Green, a freshman. Keep in mind, some zealots have been calling for such a move but if the offensive line is not providing holes for running backs or pass protection for quarterbacks, you can put Joe Montana back there and it won’t matter.

So what needs to happen offensively?

We need to make changes and just pick an offense, going back to the days of Tom Osborne is not going to happen and would not be productive with the talent we have. Let's take this for what it was -- a letdown and loss. I am upset and disgusted like everyone else, but we can't take a step back and run to TO. These coaches will get it figured out.

Craig James during ABC’s broadcast made a comment that I liked, Pelini has the defense heading in the right direction -- now they just need to figure out how the offense can support them.

I say, what a difference a couple years makes! A couple of years ago our defense was on the sideline with their heads down and no hope of being great. Now we just need to find a middle ground with an offense to score points for our defense.

Let’s face it, “It hurts more to lose than it feels great to win.”

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