Category Archives: Cody Green

Eating Crow After Close Call at Iowa State, Sort of

BY TODD NEELEY

Some people take themselves way too seriously.

I wrote a blog last week ahead of the Nebraska/Iowa State game in which I pretty much said it was way past midnight on the series with the Cyclones, http://dld.bz/58e5.

If you read the comments in response to the blog you’ll see I got into a little “discussion” with a handful of readers who said they were Iowa State fans. Unfortunately there was hardly a comment that didn’t resort to personal attacks on yours truly.

Did I have some of it coming?

You be the judge.

I threw down some pretty hard smack on how I believe the series between these two teams has been a waste of time for Nebraska.

And Saturday’s 31-30 Nebraska win on a dramatic interception by Eric Hagg on a fake point-after try by ISU in overtime, has done nothing to change my belief that it’s time to put these one-sided series on the shelf.

Nothing has changed for me.

An occasional uprising by teams like ISU every decade isn’t enough if Nebraska wants to compete for national championships. For those ISU fans who don’t get that, too bad, but Nebraska has always been about winning championships. That’s just the way it is around here.

Let’s face it, all fan bases have those people who resort to name calling. Whatever happened to engaging in a real debate on the merits of what I had to say? Why not throw a little Nebraska smack back at me rather than resorting to name calling?

They no more represent the entire ISU fan base than I represent the Nebraska fan base. But if you can’t take the smack, find another blog to read.

The point remains — in this day and age when style points mean everything in college football, Nebraska can no longer afford to play cupcakes. And even good and decent ISU fans will admit their team has — by and large — been a cupcake.

Speaking of food, I’ll eat just a little crow on that tight game in Ames.

I said Nebraska would run away from ISU 42-14. But the absense of Taylor Martinez and all-American candidate  cornerback Alfonzo Dennard made for a much closer game than many people expected. ISU fans made a point that the Cyclones won in Lincoln last season with their backup quarterback and backup running back.

I’ll submit to you, ISU fans, that Nebraska won in Ames pretty much without a quarterback.

I’ll give credit to Iowa State. They again took advantage of numerous Nebraska mistakes and made a couple of plays on offense to make a game of it.

But ISU had no answer for running back Rex Burkhead, who ran the Nebraska offense from the ‘wildcat’ formation. By the way, why the heck did NU play Cody Green at all on Saturday? He has proven what I said here awhile back — that he’s all hype and has been a huge disappointment for Nebraska fans.

About last week’s blog, I said what I meant and meant what I said.

I pointed out the obvious: That the series with ISU has never been a rivalry — 18 Cyclone wins in 114 years since these two teams started playing each other does not constitute a rivalry. Not even close.

For years to come fans will remember this last Nebraska/Iowa State game for several reasons.

First, ISU Head Coach Paul Rhoads showed great courage in faking the point-after attempt to go for two. But it made no sense to put the game in the hands of your kick holder instead of just going for two with Austen Arnaud running the offense. That was a critical miss for ISU, especially since the Cyclones had success moving the ball on the Blackshirts.

Second, great teams make big plays when the game is on the line. If Hagg didn’t pick off that pass in the endzone we’d be lamenting the rotten taste of two consecutive losses to Iowa State to end Big 12 play for Nebraska. And ISU fans, at least the ones I’ve heard from, would be talking about how Iowa State has arrived.

Third, Nebraska is a great team with Taylor Martinez running the offense and inconsistent without him.

Speaking of crow, Kansas comes to Lincoln Saturday in what will be, again, the last game in yet another cupcake series for Nebraska.

ISU fans also pointed out in their comments (in between the personal attacks) that Nebraska would have it rough in the Big Ten.

You know, that may be true.

But let’s put it this way — next season’s first Big Ten schedule for Nebraska will be necessarily brutal. NU plays Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State in 2011.

Maybe it’s just me, but if Nebraska runs the table next year it looks a lot better than running the table on Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado and Iowa State.

Then again, maybe it’s just me.

Is Allure of Husker QB Green all Hype?

By Todd Neeley

OK, the Nebraska beat writers can’t say it. But it has to be said.

Cody Green is not the player the Huskers thought they were getting when he signed on the dotted line. Maybe we all had fantasies about how we might be getting the next Vince Young, but in reality we may not even get a starting quarterback out of the deal.

I’ve got nothing against Green. He’s mature for his age, has a commanding presence in the Nebraska postgame, he’s a good guy and he just looks like an NFL quarterback.

But let’s face it, the storyline on him from day one has been nothing but hype.

Green melted when the lights came on against Oklahoma in Lincoln last season when he was named the starter. Five plays and a cloud of dust, and Green was yanked in favor of Zac Lee.

Nebraska needs much more out of the position.

I can hear Green fans now. ‘Give the kid a break. He’s a true freshman. He needs time to learn the offense, get settled in. He’ll thrive in a run-oriented offense and Shawn Watson clearly wants to run the ball more in 2010.’

And you can make the case that with that horrid freshman season behind him, Green likely will settle in, commit fewer mistakes, and ‘manage the offense’ if he gets his shot.

The Huskers don’t need a manager at the position, they need a stud.

Nebraska beat writers reminded fans from the get-go that it was unfair to compare Green to Husker QBs of the past, but frankly, that’s the main reference point for most fans — and it’s fair.

We’ve seen young guys like Tommie Frazier and Turner Gill step into the offense out of nowhere, and the rest was history. So the freshman excuse wears thin.

That’s especially true in today’s world of scholarship limits and player development at a young age. Players have many more chances to improve than did Gill and even Frazier when they were prepsters.

In October 1992 Frazier started his first career game at Missouri as a true freshman. Columbia has never been an easy place to play, but the Florida native led Nebraska to a 34-24 win. The most memorable play of the game came on a Frazier touchdown run when he leaped over two Missouri defenders for the end zone.

He played with poise at age 18.

To me, Green’s deer-in-the-headlights look in front of television cameras against the Sooners speaks volumes.

Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini wasted little time in pulling the Texas native from the game, in favor of a struggling Lee.

Lee ended up with just 35 yards passing and one short touchdown pass. Astonishingly, though, he won back his starting job from Green.

OK, shame on me, but look at what Turner Gill did in his sophomore season. He  became the starter in 1981 after starting out as the No. 3 guy behind Mark Mauer and Nate Mason.

Nebraska had lost two of its first three games in ’81 and trailed Auburn 3-0 at halftime in Lincoln. At that point in the season NU’s offense was pretty bad, so Tom Osborne gave Gill a shot, and he led the way back to a 17-3 win. He was named the starter for the rest of the season.

In this day age of recruiting services and YouTube, prep players at all positions are given way more attention and media hype than they deserve.

I was like any other Husker fan. I was impressed by Green’s high school game tape, but it is a great illustration of why recruiting isn’t a perfect science.

I could be wrong, Maybe this is the season that Green lives up to the billing.

Maybe he’ll become Nebraska’s leader and never look back.

I guess I don’t buy it. A quarterback either has ‘IT’ or he doesn’t. I’ll give him this, he made a nice throw on a touchdown pass to Niles Paul at Baylor last season. But that was the only Green highlight through nine games.

We’ve heard plenty about how Pelini wants to foster a competitive environment across the board, especially focusing on the QB spot this season. So, we’re told Nebraska may not name a permanent starter until conference play.

So, this means no one has emerged as an obvious leader.

If Green isn’t named the starter in time for conference play, then we’ll know we were all suckered into believing he would be the next star.

Hope I’m wrong.