I'm here. Let's break it all down and solve some problems. Only friendly clowns welcome in this chat.
@BurritoMan: After watching Nebraska win just five games all of last regular season, I'd think people would be sprinting down the street with cheesy grins on their faces this bye week. I don't think anyone is selling this Husker team to be some college football playoff team at this point. And the Oregon win has lost some shine certainly. But for a program that needed to train itself in how to win close games and battle through adversity, I'd say the early part of this season has represented a positive step forward for this program. There is some repair work needed to beat a Wisconsin or give Ohio State a challenge. But there would have been plenty of doubters about this team being 5-0 right now if you had raised the question on Aug. 31. This team isn't going to deliver a ton of style points. They are going to have to scrap like heck to win games, I think. The old Al Davis quote should apply the rest of the way: Just win, baby.
@TO: I don't think it's a trap because I think Indiana, even if it gets boat raced by Ohio State, will have Nebraska's full attention after beating Michigan State. I know Michigan State is trending down, but it's still a good win for that program. And after you just played a game where you were behind 16-10 at home to Illinois, I'd think it'd be understood you can't just show up and expect things to go your way. The only gimme, left on the schedule, appears to be Purdue.
Don't look now, but Maryland is looking like a solid team, too. They come to Lincoln Nov. 19, a week after Nebraska plays a Minnesota team that always gives it a fight. The final five-game has no layups.
@BojiHusker: I'm not going to tell you you're wrong. I didn't think Nebraska played well for three quarters on Saturday. I thought it was the team's worst defensive performance of the season. What I will say is I think Nebraska fans who have been around a while are going to have to get used to more NFL-type of games. The days of cushy 38-point wins over a conference foe are mostly gone. Teams like Illinois have talented guys, just not as many as Nebraska. You saw that depth come into play in that game on Saturday. As I said previously, this Husker team is going to have to fight like heck to win the West. Right now I think Husker fans should be happy that their team is responding better to adversity than it has in the past. More tests are coming, tougher tests. But this team appears to be stronger mentally.
Sometimes in our revisionist history we also forget even some of Tom's good teams had to walk on the edge, too. Go back and review that '93 season as an example. That team came within a missed field goal of a national championship yet could have lost a game to Kansas on the road had a two-point conversion gone the other way. Not saying this team is prepared to make a run like that one was. But college football has more parity than it did 23 year years ago, and even 23 years ago, you sometimes had to scrap to get past a team everyone expected you to whip.
@huskerbob: Good question, Bob. I'm sure opinions will differ on that. I think the biggest question to your question is this: Do they win the West with that 9-3 record? I think that's the bar Nebraska is trying to jump over. So much could come down to that one game in Wisconsin Oct. 29. Even if the Badgers are back two in the standings, they'll have a chance to catch Nebraska if they win that day. That'll be an interesting game. Wisconsin's D is legit, and right now I'd favor the Badgers. But their lack of offensive firepower will give Nebraska more than a fair shot to go in there and get it done. That'll be a fistfight of a game.
@GC315: It's a good question because Decker had a really strong spring and I thought he'd be the next guy up after Utter. But you're just not hearing his name right now. I don't know why it is exactly, but they've opened up that competition and a guy like Cole Conrad just must be grading out better. I'm not surprised Conrad has emerged, because I heard his name in the summer, but I am surprised he became the top backup at center, guard and tackle.
All we know about injuries right now is right there. Mike Riley was on an 8-minute teleconference call today, so there's only so much time to go over things. But we'll keep following up on guys' health. I don't know where Wilbon stands. He didn't come up. He did limp off the field after his fumble. I'm sure Bryant could see a few touches if either he or Ozigbo can't go next week, because they seem to like to use at least three backs. They like Bryant a lot though. And with an extra week to prepare, maybe you find a few things he can specialize in for this game.
I heard there was some Internet story about Westerkamp's death. Hopefully you didn't buy it. People need to be careful about what they're reading out there. Not related to that specific story, but there's some Husker sites out there that "cover" the team without having anybody at any practices. They take everyone else's reporting and get web clicks off of it. Yes, this annoys me.
@71husker: No one really knows in September what teams like the ones you mentioned are made of. A lot of talking heads state bold opinions two or three weeks into a season, based off limited data. Even now, we only know so much. The only thing I can say with much certainty is Lamar Jackson and Jabrill Peppers are the two best players I've seen in college football. And I don't know that it's really close. That's my hot take.
@Jim: Ohio State looks like a bear, but that should surprise no one. I'm not saying Nebraska should show up thinking it can't win, because it can. But it's probably going to take some breaks and this team playing at a higher level than it has so far. Wisconsin? As I say, the Badgers lack of firepower on offense will give Nebraska a fair shot in that game. It'll be a close game, I'd bet my Corolla.
@huskerbob: Maybe. I wouldn't be surprised if Wisconsin trips against someone else. When your offense doesn't produce much for fireworks, it can leave even a good defensive team vulnerable on any given week.
@BojiHusker: He was mentioned. Battling an ankle injury. Basically, people are going to have to wait until Monday to get a better idea on whether Ozigbo and Knevel, and probably even Moore and Farmer, will go Saturday.
@Zadi: I'll leave that one up to you Zadi. All I'll say on that subject is I tried to report it as down the middle as I can and let everyone have their opinions.
@TO: Not really. If I had the time to do a story on a guy like that, I think you'd learn the most about him from those close to him and not the subject himself. I think he's a real good coach who sees things in sort of an odd light. But that's fine for college football. College football thrives off personalities like that, even if they're villains to other fan bases.
@Robin: By winning a lot more. Seriously, that team is too talented and too focused to get derailed by a setback. It might even help them. They'll probably lose another one or two or three even, because that league is a monster. But they're going to be one hekcuva tough out when it matters and the tournament shows up.
@BojiHusker: They've tried to rotate more on that D-line the last couple weeks, but it seems to me a healthy majority has gone to Maurice, Carlos Davis and Stoltenberg. I think Davis is catching up quick. Banker was really pleased with his development since the Oregon game. Wasn't a great game for the run D, but you might have noticed a big play Carlos had on the second down play when Nebraska was up 17-16. He's capable of disrupting like that. He's going to be really, really good.
@Zadi: I don't think he's surprised. He's a nice guy, yes, but he's competitive as heck. I think we've seen even after wins this season that he isn't overly satisfied and has high expectations for this team.
@buster: That car has about 160,000 miles on it and will still go another 5-6 years if I want to roll with it. I'm not going to be like Georgia and get rid of a perfectly reliable friend (Mark Richt) for something that looks shinier but probably won't get the same results in the long run.
@SiliconValleyHusker: I don't mind coaches who expect journalists to show up and not just go through the motions. In fact, I applaud that. But I much prefer covering a guy like Mike Riley, who understands not every question asked of him is going to come out just right, but takes the spirit of the question and delivers a well thought out answer that benefits not just the reporter but the fan base that makes the program what it is.
@Robin: I don't know what to do with this question Robin, but I wish I were fishing today. Up in Minnesota, though. I don't know the Nebraska lakes at all, I'm sad to say.
@GC315: I think the linebackers have been OK, just not great. And I think the other levels have been maybe a little better than some expected, so it's bringing even more attention to the linebackers not separating themselves as much. Starts with angles. Thought they took some bad angles in that first half and that will make you look silly when you try to tackle. But that's a layman's point of view. I'll be more interested to hear what Bray has to say about it when he talks about it, because he'll be honest about what the flaws are.
@Robin: I think it certainly weighs on a coach's mind, especially when both Bryant and Wilbon had fumbles inside the 15. It doesn't mean you lose total belief in them, but if there's a guy who has carried it 15-20 times and hasn't fumbled and one who has carried 3-5 times and has, I think I'd lean on a senior like Newby in the middle of a dogfight, too.