Time for a talk. One big game passes, another arrives. What's on your mind?
@GoBigRed: That one's a real coin flip. If you read Riley's quote closely yesterday, I'd lean towards no. But I'll just put the quote here and people can think of it what they will. "It might be one of those deals where he's pretty close, and it might be best to keep him out another week just for his comfort and playing," Riley said.
Carter has been working out, hitting the practice bags and running some routes.
"He's close and we'll see how that goes this week," Riley said. "It would be good to have him back, but I want to make sure he's really well and feels good."
@SteveUofN1964: Absolutely right, Steve. Minnesota very well could come into Nebraska 7-2 with a chance to still win the West Division. The Gophers quietly played a very strong game against Illinois this past weekend and get Purdue on Saturday. And Iowa is going to be a fistfight because it always is no matter the records. I keep going back to the fact NU has had only one game in the Riley era where it was absolutely over heading to the fourth quarter, and that was South Alabama last year. Every game this season has been inside of 11 points going to the final frame. That tells you this group, while full of fight, also isn't in a position to take anyone for granted. They know that too.
@scott: I wouldn't say they've lost momentum. Not that you can't pick up a recruit right now, but this is kind of that holding pattern part of the process. Given the class size is probably around 22 or 23, having 15 in the bank is sitting in pretty good shape for that final turn around the corner. Looking at the numbers yesterday, they're currently 22nd in the 247Sports composite. Pluck one or two big-time prospects at the end, which I suspect they might, and I could see this being a class in that 15-20 range.
@Heath: I think it's a tall task, but not impossible. Northwestern showed that this past Saturday. This one to me is more tricky for Nebraska than this pat game, though, due just the overall explosiveness of some of Ohio State's athletes. I'm thinking of a guy like Curtis Samuel, who has 558 yards on just 71 carries and is always a threat to take it to the house. Even though they've been scuffling a bit on offense, particularly in the vertical passing game, I think they have more playmakers that could allow them to run away with a game compared to Wisconsin. However, if it gets to the fourth quarter and it's within a one-score game, Nebraska is in prime position. Because there's a lot of pressure on that Ohio State team right now. And you know how it gets in Memorial Stadium in the fourth quarter of a game where the Huskers are expected to lay a certain score on a team. You can feel the stress grabbing players by the neck. Ohio State will have to deal with that this week the longer the game remains in the balance.
@GAsser29: I didn't think it was Langsdorf's best work, and everyone probably knows I think he's a really good OC. I don't know that he throws guys under the bus. He just gives honest answers. If someone asks, "How did Tommy play?' I prefer when a coach actually tells you how they thought a guy played than dodge it by generalizing. The series that I questioned as a layman more than any other was the last one in regulation. I thought they could have run tried to pop a run in there once they got to midfield. I was half expecting a QB draw. Also, Stanley was just abusing that corner late on 10-yard routes. And then it disappeared. The OT play calls didn't bother me the more I learned about them. The first down call, in fact, dang well may have scored if Tommy pulls the ball on that read. That's a bang-bang decision for a QB to make though, and I wonder if Armstrong saw McNitt was about to cover that end up in that split second. The mind has to process a whole lot right there with everything on the ilne.
@PTHUSKER: I like this take PT. Tommy could have played better. But it falls on everything: play calling, receivers separating from DBs, and mostly that O-line. If you are getting nothing on first down running, your OC and QB are already in a box. It's like playing with one hand behind your back all game. One other thing I'd point out: All week last week everyone talks about how, "It's going to be a struggle. It'll probably look ugly on offense. These defenses are really good." And then when it is a struggle, there's apparently this great surprise it was that kind of game. It was expected to be a boxing match where both teams gave each other black eyes and it was.
@Calihusker: I'll check into it. I don't know if people should be as excited to see that as they are. It'll be interesting, for sure, and as a journalist I'm intrigued to see what they do with it. But I'm amazed Nebraska fans were so eager for someone to dig deep into everything that surrounded that season. My guess is it will be fair, because most of them are very fair. But I get the feeling some were thinking this was going to be just a, 'Bow down to the greatest team ever' thing.
@Pipeline: The "Jump Around" deal is cool. But I'm not in the crowd that thinks Camp Randall rates any higher for a night road game than places like Nebraska, Penn State and Ohio State. It was a loud crowd, but I also don't think they were really an impact on the proceedings on the field until OT. This Saturday's game will be in a bigger and louder venue. One Wisconsin writer also shared that Camp Randall seemed much louder when Ohio State was there than Nebraska.
@Zadi: I DVR games, though I usually end up watching them on YouTube, honestly. I don't pay much attention to the announcers. I like to forward quickly from play to play. Husker fans should like Blackledge, though. He was the one calling for the flag on the third down in OT right away, wasn't he? For what it's worth, I think Herbstreit will be plenty fair in the booth. He's pretty good during games and I'm sure he's aware people watch closely what he says when talking about his alma mater. I would think, if anything, that might shade a guy's commentary the other way sometimes to show he's unbiased.
@Zadi: Nebraska. Go with the data. That's a lot of points for a Husker team that hasn't lost a game by more than 10 points under Riley and has a good defense.
@Brit: Not a lot of opportunities for backups when every game every week is a grinder. I mean, it's kind of like the NFL in a way. You start with all these guys in the roster in camp who can make a difference. But you sort of have to choose your main 50-60 that you are going to go to battle with by the time the season starts. I think the O-line competition is going to be fascinating this offseason because true freshman behind the scenes like Boe Wilson and John Raridon are going to get a chance to push their way right into this thing. As for Spielman, I think they made the right call. It's a position of depth and once DPE got healthy, it was going to limit the young guy's snaps enough where it probably wasn't worth it.
@Aaron: Not really. Unless the game has just gotten away completely from Nebraska. Some people need to stop playing the game that the Huskers have a better option at QB at this very moment. POB can be a good player, but when people saw him on their screen the other day, I shook my head at some my Twitter mentions about how he needed to get thrown into that game. Um, no. For multiple reasons. I don't know how Fyfe would've done in that situation. He throws a good ball when he's on, but he can be streaky too. Sorry, if I sound like a jerk store ("Seinfeld" reference) on this one, but the assumption that the next QB is always the answer doesn't connect with me. Especially if you're throwing a cold guy into a game where your O-line is struggling with a defense that is coming to hunt.
@Zadi: I'm sure fans here will say he's not neutral even if he is. That's the way it always is with announcers. I thought his GameDay skit with the guys about NU a couple weeks bac was dumb, but I think he'll be plenty fair Saturday. Nebraska has to play well enough to give you the chance to really be a judge of it though.
@Tweedychris: Comes down to better angles and then finishing. The final touchdown could have been a no gain. Newby missed that one. He was there. Pretty much right where you want to be. In fact, when I saw the play developing, I thought it was a stupid call because it's so slow developing when everyone is that compact down by the goal line. I don't know what you preach other than taking the right angles, though. If you look at most of Wisconsin's big runs, you can usually trace it to some guy overrunning a spot and taking himself out of the play.
@NewportRed: I think there's about 10 reasons, but a few main ones: riveting baseball playoffs from a national perspective, bizarre election year, lacking great QB play, over saturation and, as I expressed last night, the environments at a lot of these games just stink. Like last night's Vikings-Bears game. It was a boring game. And the crowd was basically just there to be there. Think about all the passion of some of the games you saw Saturday (like the ending of Nebraska-Wisconsin), and then you wake up Sunday at noon and you're watching the Lions-Texans where the crowd is blah and there's a timeout after every kickoff..... It just doesn't pop. I'm actually an NFL guy, too. But if you really watch the product from 12-2:40 on a Sunday, before crunch time when it gets pretty interesting, there's just a lot of mediocre play going on. I think they should expand the rosters too. More injuries than ever and we're expecting these teams to play with 53.
@Justin: Monstrous, I'd say. Think about that sales pitch. "Yeah, you could go there. Of course we did win in their stadium in November...."
@AlaskanNebraskan: Yes. Compared to a lot of QBs that come and go without ever producing a noise, it should be called a success too.
@SteveUofN1964: True as taxes and death and fights about politics.
@SomeGuy: Oooooooooh. Good question to tax my brain. I'll say Wisconsin in 2012 in Lincoln? Everyone think about that and tell me if I'm wrong while we move along.
@Tweedychris: Got gashed a little more on the ground than you'd like but overall very sound game. You hold a team to 17 in regulation in a big game and you did your work. What they'd probably like back most: The OT series obviously, but also that third-and-10 before the half when Wisconsin was at its own 3. Thought a Husker safety ran himself right out of the play.
@NewportRed: I've always thought a real solid 9 or 10 win season that's not quite a "New Year's Six" kind of season ends up with Nebraska in the Outback Bowl in Tampa or Citrus in Orlando. Huskers haven't been to Tampa. Penn State is also in this discussion now because the Nittany Lions could very well end up 10-2 with a win over Ohio State to toot about. You'll see some projections that have NU in a New Year's 6, which is accurate right now. But under your scenario, Wisconsin (or Penn State) could also be that third B1G team that gets a big bowl, next to one team in the playoff and another in the Rose.
@SteveUofN1964: Always hard to summarize the thoughts of that many people. I'd say mostly disappointed at the missed opportunities, but also reasonable in appreciating the effort of this team and seeing a clear contrast to a year ago. And while I don't think a lot of people will admit this out loud, because they hate that term 'moral victories,' I think a lot of people feel it was a forward step that the program played toe-to-toe with someone in a primetime showdown like that. Is that a fair evaluation, everyone?
@Pipeline: I do think Husker fans get too worked up sometimes at the smallest dig. National guys know it works, too. It gets web clicks and traffic for Colin Cowherd when he delivers a snarky one-liner about the Huskers not being worthy.
@Zadi: Well, they won that day. It helped they had one of the great Husker O-lines and Lawrence Phillips to carry the ball 31 times with one hand. Also, Berringer came in during the second half of that game at K-State.
@71husker: Fair question. Perhaps it was viewed as an art of deception. It's the same play Westerkamp scored on against Northwestern, remember. That one just didn't fool anyone though. It wouldn't have mattered if it was Moore, Reilly or DPE on that one. Honestly, I thought it was one of those calls where if I was on the headset, I'd be thinking, yeah, this might get them. And then it totally blows up.
@casualobserver: The first-down play in OT was a read for the QB that didn't have to go up the middle. Watch that play again and you'll find yourself wondering if Tommy would have scored if he keeps it and goes outside the block of McNitt. McNitt had sealed the D-end, and the safety had come up too far, and Alonzo Moore was manhandling a corner 10 to 15 yards down the field. I get what you're saying. The second down run was an interesting choice. But the play on first down could have turned out so differently. Could have. It didn't. Fast game. QB is the toughest position in sports to play.
@Sam: Not at all. Plenty were saying 9 would be good before it started as I recall. I do think, where they stand right now, there will be some disappointment if they don't get to at least 10. But you always have to go back and review what you thought about this team in August and compare it to your feelings in January to make sure you're being fair to what the beginning expectations were.