If you have questions, we'll have answers. And some of them will make sense...
I think you have to be balanced to take pressure off Ryker Fyfe -- not that Ryker can't handle himself, but Derek Barnett coming off the edge is a concern.
@Josh: I envision Fyfe going the distance, as was the case against Maryland. But this is a much different situation because unlike Maryland, Tennessee features an excellent quarterback, and the Vols can score in a hurry. But let's be real: UT's defense is historically bad.
@DaninNashville: Well, thank you, Dan! We've really enjoyed it so far. We did experience the Opryland Hotel on Sunday, and were astounded by its sheer size and elaborate decor. As for the wildcat, Mike Riley hasn't been big on gimmick-type stuff. But I'm guessing he may open up the playbook a little bit in this game, understanding Nebraska may need to score 30-plus to win.
@NoNothing: We don't get to watch practices, and I don't think Riley would appreciate it if I shared their game plan in a public forum ;) But seriously, folks, I think Nebraska will do what it should do -- that is, run its system, perhaps with a few wrinkles.
Wouldn't be surprised if Nebraska throws Gabe Rahn's way a couple times. He's a slot receiver. Granted, Brandon Reilly will spend most of the time in the slot, but Rahn could be needed at some point.
@DaninNashville: I don't want to get my press pass revoked! :)
@Cubbiesfan: I need to ask a few more coaches. In fact, I'll do it today and tweet about it.
@NoNothing: The team is staying at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, a sprawling building about 15 minutes from where we are staying downtown. I like our place. We're near several excellent eateries -- basically on Vanderbilt campus.
@Josh: Nate did not travel with the team. I believe he's paying his own way.
@CD: I think putting Darlington in the wildcat would be an excellent idea. He really transformed his body when he moved to receiver, and I'm guessing poses more of a run threat than he did when he arrived on campus.
@Cubbiesfan: I think Nebraska may add one more linebacker to this class. Mark Banker has said 12 is a good number of linebackers to have on scholarship.
@DaninNashville: I really dislike the idea because it could drastically change the makeup of the team, and therefore impact the integrity of the "season" and how it should be regarded. I also dislike the notion of casting aside seniors who paid their dues in the program. Just seems like a silly notion.
@DaninNashville: Thanks for that suggestion, Dan.
@CD: I think you have a very good read on Zack. I really am intrigued by his potential as a player.
@NoNothing: Will have to defend the run a lot better. Can't let 7-yard gains turn into explosive plays. And let's face it, Tennessee has a lot more potential to pop long gains. Offensively, Nebraska's going to be need to be balanced.
@JimNE: Hey, Jim, always good to hear from you. I appreciate your realistic outlook. I have to say, I really like Riley's go-for-it approach this bowl season. Lots of ones vs. ones. Lots of full-pad work. The attitude is far from relaxed. I think Nebraska will play well.
BC is taking over now. Thanks for all your questions.
@Cubbiesfan: BC here. You just set up perfectly why this game means plenty to Husker football. I'm not saying you're going to win a Music City Bowl game 15 years from now, but for Riley and this staff, a good performance allows them operate over the next eight months with a much more comfortable surrounding environment. As for your last comment, I think any coaching staff worth its salt is always self-evaluating on a tough grading curve in the offseason. I do think this staff does that. Whether that translates to better play or not, I don't know, but I would say in a big picture sense, this defense got better at a few key areas: Taking the ball away more and limiting explosive plays compared to 2015. One thing I'd really like to see is a defense that forces more fumbles though. I think that says a lot about a defense and this unit hasn't done it a lot.
@Josh: I think it will tilt run. I keep thinking NU needs to put this game on its O-line's shoulders. It's the healthiest that unit has been all year. Tennessee, while having a really good D-end, has just as many question marks stopping teams as NU fans do about their offense being able to move the ball. Talking to a Tennessee writer the other day, he said he'd be shocked if Nebraska didn't move it with success against the Vols because pretty much everyone has to some degree.
@DaninNashville: Nothing I've seen of note, Dan.
@BillyD: Anytime a team gets to the championship of division, you have to give credit. I know some people around here get mad whenever his name comes up, and I understand the hard feelings, but it has to be said that his program has exceeded the expectations this year. I'll always try to call it like I see it without bias involving any coach with Husker ties, be it Solich, Bohl, Gill or Pelini. Props to the Pelini Penguins. I wouldn't be shocked if they won that championship game at all either.
@R.C.: Dang, that's a good question on kick returner that I flat don't know the answer to but will ask about this week. Look for it in a notebook item soon. They are hopeful Bryant will stay play Friday. OPtions that could be considered if he can't are Brandon Reilly and Stanley Morgan who have both done the job before. Good cal on Pierson-El. NU needs all of its X-factor type guys on point. He'd be the biggest one I can think of. Interesting dynamic on special teams since Riley has taken a heavier hand with them this month. I know a lot of focus will be on them.
@Josh: It's a good point to bring up Josh. I've said it a few times this month. Nebraska's O can't go into any game thinking it can just move it because the opposing defense has been shredded by others. The burden of proof, especially with a backup quarterback, remains on Langsdorf's crew regardless of the Vols' recent struggles.
@CD: That's the thing you have to keep in mind: Parrella did a nice coaching job with a D-line crew that got gutted in the six months leading up to the season. I was always a giant Maliek fan even when his stats didn't always show people how well he was playing. Yes, he would've made a difference, because he is the type of talent that demands attention from two people on a lot of plays. In hindsight, the one error Riley made was not hiring Parella right away. I wonder if one or two of those D-linemen would have stayed aboard if they had a year of Parrella instead of Hank Hughes. And I don't say that to beat on Hank, but I do think about that.
@DaninNashville: I know nothing of them but saw their names as well. That's another item we'll work on figuring out.
Wish we could talk longer, but Sip and I have to head over to Vandy for practice. Updates from practice coming to the site soon. Thanks for your thoughts.