Category Archives: Nebraska Offensive Struggles

Beck Unhappy With Nebraska Offense

From Nebraska sports information:

The Nebraska football team practiced for over two hours on Monday afternoon inside the Hawks Championship Center. The Huskers are coming off a 40-7 win over Tennessee at Chattanooga and after practice, offensive coordinator Tim Beck spoke to the media about the team’s offensive performance last Saturday.

“We didn’t play very well,” Beck said. “We made a lot of mental mistakes. We did a lot of things that we haven’t done since last spring. It blows my mind. We just made a lot of mistakes.”

Beck was optimistic that the players were taking their performance just as seriously as the coaches were and that they have the right mindset about improving. Beck also confirmed that Saturday’s offense was one of slow tempo.

“We didn’t want to give them too much to handle on the first day,” Beck said. “They did well with tempo and substitutions and the different cadences that we used. There weren’t a lot of assignment busts necessarily, in the skill area. We just didn’t execute.”

Beck believes better execution will help a talented offense come closer to reaching its potential.

“I have a lot of confidence in our players,” Beck said. “I believe they’re good players and that they have a lot of talent. We just didn’t display the expectations of myself or our staff, and I think even some of the team and certainly the tradition of Nebraska.”

Beck then spoke on what he expects from Fresno State and the improvements he hopes to see the Huskers make from week one to week two.

“They’re fast,” Beck said of Fresno State. “They’re aggressive and will be a challenge, for sure. But the good teams make a lot of changes. The players finally see what we see. They get a chance to go out there without us standing there behind them and in the huddle and now maybe they realize that they don’t know it all. Now some of the nerves and jitters are gone and they can go out there and just play.”

The Huskers host the Bulldogs on Saturday at 6 p.m. The game can be seen on the Big Ten Network.

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Playing Freshman at Nebraska Could Signal Trouble, or Solid Recruiting

BY TODD NEELEY

Is it just me or is there a renewed sense of urgency for Nebraska football?

The Huskers’ struggles on offense in 2010 have been well-documented. Nebraska arguably could have won two Big 12 titles in consecutive seasons had NU been even remotely productive in moving the ball.

The overarching theme coming out of Nebraska fall camp has been a youth movement across the board. Taylor Martinez is the only veteran at quarterback, and he’s just a redshirt sophomore. Behind junior Rex Burkhead at I back is a stable of freshman running backs in Aaron Green, Braylon Heard and Ameer Abdullah. At wide receiver freshmen Kenny Bell and Jamal Turner are likely to play a lot, and now this from the Lincoln Journal Star Friday.

Freshman offensive lineman Tyler Moore is in the hunt to start at tackle, http://dld.bz/amYxe. This is significant for two reasons. First, the O line was a penalty machine in 2010, and became famous for melting down at inopportune times. Second, Nebraska couldn’t consistently pound the ball at teams when it needed to last season.

Moore isn’t the only young lineman to enter the discussion this fall. Freshman Jake Cotton has turned heads as well. At the least Nebraska will be playing more freshmen up front, and we could see a couple of them starting.

Although Bo Pelini has said he’s hesitant to play freshmen, his willingness to put the best guy on the field at any position, regardless of class, points to a coaching staff trying to push all the buttons it can to get the offense rolling again.

We’ll see if it works.

Playing freshmen comes with its fair share of risk. Most young guys are not ready for Division I football. So either Nebraska really has been masterful in its recruiting efforts in the past few seasons, or the offense still is full of question marks.

I tend to think the latter is the most likely scenario.

Nebraska’s Trip to the Twilight Zone at Memorial Stadium

BY TODD NEELEY

I know I run a risk of nit-picking with Nebraska standing at 9-1 and just one win away from the Big 12 championship game, but what the heck is going on with this team? This coaching staff?

The Nebraska offense was flat against Kansas Saturday in Lincoln, against what was the 108th-ranked rush defense in the country. NU failed to break off long runs against the Jayhawks or establish any consistency at all. Blocking was horrible and, again, this offense played uninspired.

Like it did against South Dakota State, the Nebraska offense took another game off. Maybe coaches really don’t have answers, but it gets old hearing Bo Pelini say ‘we didn’t execute.’

Well, why the heck not?

It happened the week before at Iowa State, although there was an obviously huge problem at quarterback with Taylor Martinez on the shelf. That was more understandable, somewhat excusable.

What happened against the Jayhawks defies logic. Or should I say, what didn’t happen.

How does Nebraska’s offensive line not knock KU off the ball on every play? This happens when NU isn’t interested, and that falls squarely on the coaches.

The whole game atmosphere itself was like watching a bad episode of the Twilight Zone.

I know I’m not the first to say this, but the pregame featured a message from Tom Osborne on how great it is to have Turner Gill back at Memorial Stadium.

That’s all well and good, but it reminded me of the Wizard of Oz when the Wizard stops Dorothy, the Lion, the Tin Man and the Scare Crow in the middle of their panic — “Silence!!”

It was almost as if Nebraska’s Oz was telling fans to ‘go easy on Gill, he’s trying his best at KU and we want to honor his return with the utmost respect.’

Why did Osborne have to state the obvious?

Even the tunnel walk was strange. At the part where the opponent’s logo appears outside the Husker locker room and explodes, the Jayhawk logo explosion was soft, even drawing a few giggles in the press box.

What, we don’t want to hurt Gill’s feelings with the usual tunnel walk stuff?

It was all very bizarre. How about coming out and honoring the former Husker all-American with an all-star performance on offense? How about that?

All of this is otherwise trivial, but things became even more strange when Pelini called out the Nebraska crowd on his weekly football show, saying the crowd was flat as if it was a scrimmage and not a game.

When asked about it at the Tuesday press conference, Pelini tried to blow it off as if it was nothing — putting up his dukes as he usually does with the media.

Bo, you can get all huffy with the media all you want, but calling out Nebraska fans at all is shear stupidity.

Fans arrived relatively late Saturday because it was windy and 34 degrees at kickoff. Unfortunately Nebraska’s offense was even colder and gave the faithful little to cheer about.

The cold weather is absolutely no excuse for anyone, but this loyal fan base was asked to stand outside for three hours for this? Bo should be apologizing to fans for this offense.

Nebraska should have opened a can of whoop-ass on KU with a wide-open offense that actually resembled a gameplan designed to actually score. Shouldn’t Nebraska at least try to look like a team challenging for the BCS title? Darn straight.

NU should have had its way with that defense, but instead walked off the field Saturday night after not leaving it all on the field.

I thought Nebraska moved beyond lack of effort with Pelini’s arrival. I didn’t see that on offense, not even close.

This lack of focus from week to week is a mystery.

What’s more, the coaching staff’s apparent inability to get these players to move beyond the usual mistakes is an even bigger mystery.

At this point the Nebraska offense is nearly as big of a question mark as it was this time last season. OK, Martinez is still hurt and was hesitant to make cuts in running the ball against KU. But where were the deep balls? Why didn’t Nebraska get Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead into the Kansas secondary consistently? Why the heck is Nebraska still fumbling (they lead the nation in this category)?

And why does Nebraska insist on distracting the Memorial Stadium crowd with a weekly video production that includes fan games and waving guests during timeouts? I’m sure plenty of fans enjoy some of that, but it is a huge distraction to the flow of the game and distracts focus away from the game itself.

Here’s how we solve the video problem: Stop the games, wait until halftime to introduce guests. Sounds simple enough, but Nebraska football has become way too much of a production.

Second, if coaches want the Nebraska crowd to show up every game just quit already with the same, old lines about why the offense didn’t do its job.

It just sounds like Pelini and company are making excuses for a unit that should perform at a much higher level every game.

Just play football already.