@alec: I was going to ask Mark Banker for a Lamar Jackson update today, just out of curiosity. But it seems pretty simple to me: He's right now the next guy up at corner and next guy up at nickel behind Aaron Williams. And if your corners and Williams are playing at a high level, and you're constantly in tight games, someone in Jackson's shoes just isn't going to see as many snaps. I don't think it says anything negative about him. He's a true frosh playing on special teams and getting a few reps here and there. Another guy named Chris Jones did that two years ago and it worked out really well for him.
@NewportRed: Strong. I don't know if that's on his mind or not at all. I really don't. I do know he loves playing at Nebraska and is a sharp guy so anything he does won't be done without careful thought.
@Audi: If they win both, people would lose their dang minds. I think we all know Ohio State is the big bully and that's a stiff challenge. Wisconsin, though, I'd probably favor the Badgers by a FG or so but think that's going to be a grinder of a game. I think Wisconsin-Iowa will be the same. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Iowa wins and suddenly we get back to talking about the Hawkeyes and how it could come down to Black Friday. They're catching Wisconsin at the perfect time after all the energy spent against the Buckeyes. First things first for Nebraska: Handle biz this week and get out of it as healthy as possible. It's hard to predict games a few weeks out when you don't know the full injury situation.
@Brit: Sure, Iowa can beat Wisconsin. It'll be a one-score game one way or the other, I'd bet. I don't know if that's better or not for Nebraska, though. You never know how the standings are going to work out. Too many people around here have dismissed Iowa from the conversation already. They're not out of this thing at all. If I'm a Husker fan, I think I'd prefer Wisconsin win on Saturday so their team has a 2-game edge over both, then trust yourself that you can go to Madison and win and then you've really got a stranglehold on the West.
@merco: Matt Snyder? It's hard to know exactly how guys on the scout squad are doing, but the top guy going into next season at the moment is probably Tyler Hoppes, who would be a senior. Then you hope that at least one of two guys from the combination of Snyder, Engelhaupt and Stoll are ready to make that big leap in the spring of 2017. Engelhaupt jumped out me size-wise the first time I saw him. He's an impressive looking dude.
@Pipeline: I have. Of course, I'd be interested too if they offer 2 mil a year. It's not really even a story yet. I don't discount that he might get at least a look at that job, actually, although I would think he might be a few names down the list. The question is: How many of the top up-and-comers out there are going to want to take a job at a place that has been a dead-end for a while now. I think Purdue has to think outside the box. Find some young creative offensive mind and try to find their way back to the Joe Tiller years.
@JimC: Purdue is just getting rocked by opponents rushing, so if the Huskers can't line up and run it this Saturday, it's concerning. So I would guess this is a run-heavy game for Nebraska that, in a perfect world, puts more weight on the running backs than Tommy Armstrong. The fewer hits No. 4 takes this week, the better.
That said, Nebraska hasn't been good enough to assume it can just dial stuff back and get through the week with a win. I know Purdue has had its struggles, but Fresno State is 1-6 and was down only 11 to NU going to the fourth quarter. So even when the Huskers clearly have a better team, they need to show they can grab control of a game early and run away from an opponent.
@NewportRed: It'd sure be interesting but right now it's just a guy reporting that he'd be interested. It's frankly not even news at this point.
@Brit: Couldn't see Nebraska ever resting starters. For one, it's possible they could still have playoff aspirations or one of the big six bowls if it has one loss or less. For another, pride. For another, you only get 12-14 of these games. You don't want to ever just give one away. I know Wisconsin did sort of do that in 2012, but they were also 7-5. It wouldn't happen here. It just wouldn't play well.
@scott: News of the day is that Top 100 recruit Greg Johnson, an athlete committed to Arizona, is planning to visit Nebraska this weekend. NU is otherwise playing the waiting game right now with a bunch of top prospects. I think they're doing a good job of keeping connections going for strong backup plans though if a couple of guys on their 'A' list choose elsewhere.
@Aaron: Interesting theory. I think Tim Beck offenses had more of a boom-or-bust feel and, let's face it, part of that was due to the QB during that time, Taylor Martinez. He could rip off a 60-yard touchdown run and make it a 2 or 3-play drive as opposed to a 10-or-12 play drive that milks five or six minutes and maybe shorts each team of a possession or two. The Illinois game was just a flat weird game. Nebraska was playing fine offensively. It just didn't have a lot of possessions. I also think college football is becoming more like the NFL every year, where, unless you're Alabama or something, you aren't going to blow out teams by more than 14 a lot of the time. I mean, Pelini's 2012 team lived on the edge too. The only cushy game in that Big Ten season was when they ran past Minnesota. Husker fans just need to get used to it. In 1985, a program like Northwestern was one you could just show up and beat by seven touchdowns. Now there aren't a lot of programs like that. Although Purdue and Rutgers are maybe as close as it gets to that right now.
@Brit: Gotta play your best guys, attack and hope they build a lead that allows you to use your depth. But I don't think you can go into a game with that mindset that it will just automatically happen. That's when teams get in trouble. Purdue did beat Illinois, which gave Nebraska all it wanted, so the Huskers aren't at a point they can just show up. As for pulling redshirts, that idea assumes they're ready for that and better than the options you have. I'd think the most likely bet, if Gates or Knevel couldn't play, is a line that looks more like this: Hahn-Whitaker-Utter-Farmer-Conrad. Could be a tough assignment for Hahn since he's been playing guard, but he has practiced at tackle and at least he's used to playing.
@Steve: He's an absolutely great guy. Sometimes fans rip on these coaches when it doesn't go quite as hoped. But as far as the assistants have gone, I've had the pleasure of dealing with some great professionals since covering the beat in full since 2007. This staff is full of good guys, and the last one had plenty of them too. Els would sometimes say stuff that made sense out loud but you knew wouldn't look as good to fans in print. That probably hurt him a few times.
@Steve: If he were 62, I'd say yes. But he's 72. That doesn't mean he can't coach for five or six more years. He's a darn fit 72. Hope I get there and look like that.
@Pipeline: I'm trying. I'm trying. Is this akin to burning two timeouts because you can't get the play call in?
@JimC: The Big 12 will eventually crumble. It might take until 2025 or whatever when that deal runs out but I even doubt that. I just can't see OU or Texas hanging around there for that much longer. The last few years have been a real ego blow to that league. It's now quite obvious they're fifth among the Power 5 leagues. As for why the Big Ten is still named the Big Ten, it's all about branding. They'll never give that up.
@Steve: Not normally but he was 9-33. I like Darrell Hazell. Seems like a gentleman and is probably a good football coach. I wouldn't be surprised if he actually has some sense of relief this week. That job can make even good coaches look silly.
@71husker: Sure, they're legit when it comes to the punt units. I say it delicately, because we all know the situation young Caleb Lightbourn walked into. He was expecting to redshirt this year. But it is alarming that two punts have been blocked. The one on Saturday was just absolutely swallowed up. Also, they need to find a way to give Pierson-El a little room to operate. He looks to be returning to his old self back there but he isn't getting any room. The other parts have been mostly solid. So it's a layered discussion. Drew Brown has been exceptional. The kick coverage has been really good. And Tre Bryant has looked good to me as a kick returner. But that first part will cost this team a game or two if not cleaned up.
@Zadi: They truly had a community coach to special teams. Every guy had a different role with it. But yes, Bo took more control of it in 2014 and it did improve considerably. It helped also that a fearless freshman walked through the door that August.
@Buster: BYU is a national name, but there are drawbacks to BYU -- some of them political in nature. I won't get all into that but it's part of it. But other than that, there just weren't teams on the list that are name draws that are going to make TV execs say, yes, we'll pay big dollars to have Cincy-Iowa State on our airwaves. Also, I think they had hopes of getting a Big 12 Network going, but that ain't happening. I'd be nervous if I were Iowa State or Kansas State. I really would. If OU or Texas bolts, where does that leave them?
@Gbr7: I don't have any inside info on that at all but always viewed that one as a real longshot. Cool that they got him here, but it doesn't seem like one of Nebraska's best chances.
Hey everyone, thanks for chatting. A lot of comments and questions that I couldn't even get to. I'll try to type and think faster next week -- Wisconsin week. Enjoy this weather while we got it.