Husker Extra live chat: Brian Christopherson, 1.3.17 - Husker Extra

Husker Extra live chat: Brian Christopherson, 1.3.17

Talk Husker football with Brian Christopherson during his weekly live chat, every Tuesday.

    I'm here to chat so if you want to chat, we should do that.
    How many basketball questions are you taking this hour?
    @marcus: All basketball all the time! Kidding. I always make it clear I don't cover the team, but I watch it closely. Say hi if you are at the PBA. I'm in section 209. So I love to talk hoops. Best week of Nebrasketball since the final week of the 2014 regular season. Amazing how that whole convo flipped in a week.
    Why all the excitement about the returning OL when they struggled all season? I sure hope the red shirts and incoming are better than what's returning.
    @Zadi: I don't know what I'd call it, maybe cautious optimism about the O-line. I think it's based off mixing a trio of juniors-to-be with that trio of redshirt freshmen to be, along with maybe a Jalin Barnett and Michael Decker, and NU fans looking for hope the thing is going to take off and have the depth it hasn't in recent years. I don't blame people for wanting to believe in something, because if they don't have that, well it's hard to be to get excited about the next couple years without optimism about the trenches. And I do think those young O-linemen have some nastiness to them. At this point, though, you want to see what looks good on paper translate to the field, and anyone's skepticism is well-founded.
    Flip the script. Give us Armstrong, Westerkamp, and Gerry, and take away Dobbs, Malone and Barnet from Tennessee. Does anyone think the outcome of that game wouldn't have been different?
    @marcus: Yes, maybe, and this probably hasn't been said enough. You can't make excuses in this game if you are inside the program walls, but I'll say it since I am outside the walls: NU had a tough draw for that game. Not just the injuries, but playing a team in its backyard that had everything to prove after some pile-on stories about their coach. Nebraska was going to get Tennessee's best effort, and did. That said, it was the bad tackling on defense mixed with a healthy O-line getting nothing going in the run game that seems to have produced such sourness, and I get that as well. It's a smart football crowd, and one I think that sees NU was hanging on the edge of getting its doors blown off at times in that game.
    Was this season a success, failure or somthing in between
    @RedRun: Given those options, I'd say something in between. Both the other words are too strong on each end. The good parts: NU won all the games on its home field, and won all the games it was supposed to, and showed some grit early in the year after a true tragedy to a teammate. The bad parts: The top-tier competition exposed all the flaws in a major way. And, while the record is all that matters, I think everyone's eyes and the numbers show how difficult it was at times to get there. Whereas last year I felt NU was a better team than 6-7 said, when you step back and look at some of this year's data points you would almost not conclude the team ended 9-4 if you didn't know that prior.
    I agree with Banker that we need more team speed but I wonder how current players feel hearing their coach make a public comment that we need better players
    @Stlhusker: Always an interesting question. I don't blame a coach for answering that question honestly, and maybe some current players realize it too. But I always wonder the same thing.
    Maybe we can do basketball and football at the same time. Maybe Coach Miles could go over and give a short speech to the football team with the subject being, "Developing tenacity".
    @casualobserver: Fickle business. A week ago everyone wanted to run the guy out of town, it seemed.
    Rather than saying were a good fourth qtr team, maybe we should be saying we don't play as well in the first half. Play calling is one issue. We did not throw a pass on first down until until seven minutes left in the first half. We must work on play calling and be less predictable early on.
    @casualobserver: I have said that I think Danny Langsdorf is pretty sharp, and I'm not going away from that even though the numbers are basically an eyesore from this season. It always comes back to the guy in charge, so those arrows are going to come, but I think of the challenge of trying to calling plays when you're getting inconsistent push from your O-line in the run game, and then your QBs are only hitting on 50 percent of their throws. So there's plenty of fault to go around for it.
    Brian couple a new qb with no returning all big 10 players next year sure looks like a 7 and 5..6 and 6 season tough schedule as well..maybe worse..thoughts
    @Wonder: Lot of mysteries to next year's team. Too early to stage a guess. I wouldn't sugarcoat it. There's a lot of the changing of the guard at key positions -- QB, running back, WR, TE, certain LB spots, D-end. But for the glass half-full crowd, the O-line play can only go up in my book. And while I'm not ready to say Tanner Lee or Patrick O'Brien just steps right in and rocks it, I think there's some educated hope over there that one of them fits the offense better. I mean, that's really the biggest question of all, right? We can't know for sure what QB looks like. But if it looks really good, that soothes a lot of things in a hurry. No question to me the schedule is tougher though. Penn State added as a crossover game, Oregon on the road. Heck, even the opener against Arkansas State isn't a piece of cake though they're losing some key people too.
    BC your thoughts, if you have any, on the Musberger-Mixon episode last night. I think sometimes tv announcers should just keep theirs collective mouths shut.
    @Zadi: I thought he did a poor job of presenting it. I didn't mind that he said he hoped Mixon did well with a second chance, but he didn't include the victim at all. It should have been phrased much differently. Honestly, probably better to just report it as a news story and leave opinion out of it.
    Who do you think our top 5 receivers are for game #1 next year? Morgan, Pierson-El...
    @marcus: Oh, boy, that's a tricky guess considering we don't even know who is in the recruiting class fully. I'd say Morgan, Pierson-El, Reimers, Spielman, one of the true freshmen as my wild stab.
    BC...I kind of feel that after the WI loss that the "buy in" by many players (most older) probably wasn't there. For whatever reasons of goals, recruited by a previous staff, interest in the bowl, scheme belief, etc. Air outta the balloon so to speak. What do you think?
    @Trashman: I do think it was a team that was riding an emotional ride few Husker teams have had, due to the death of a teammate. And I thought the Ohio State game was as much about them hitting a wall for a week as anything else. That and OSU is just more talented right now. But not 59 points more talented. The Iowa game was just plain bad execution on defense and a hurt QB running an offense that looked to be based more off chucking it deep and praying than anything else. I don't know that I'd say it was because of lack of buy in. It's possible, and Husker fans hate to admit this sometimes, but it's possible that that's just how good this team was. It had dogfights all year long against some lesser teams in which there were warts seen. They just really got amplified as the competition got tougher. you still feel this bowl game had a lot of meaning as you and Sip have discussed? I would say from a player/coach standpoint one would certainly hope it should. But you would of been hard pressed to find a lot of fans pressed to the screen for this Music Bowl for lots of reasons. The extra practices included for the 80+ teams (seriously?) is nice. But IMO it's pretty tough to connect dots from year to year successes after Bowl wins/losses...unless you're in the final 4, Rose, Sugar, etc. I mean, 7-0 to start the year certainly had more to do with competition (31-54 for those teams before bowls) rather than a nice win in the Chicken Bowl over UCLA. No?
    @Trashman: My argument for the meaning of it is more based off this: Think of the reaction to the Husker season if NU goes down there and wins that game? There's a much different tenor in this chat and everywhere. And now there's sort of this negative vibe that comes with conversations for the next eight months. I'm not saying it's something a new team with new leaders can't overcome. But I think it's another little hurdle to deal with.
    Got to do a quick interview. Will be back on in about 10 minutes.
    Watching the top tier bowls, to me the big difference is playmakers on D. I would be hard pressed to say there is one difference maker on our D, maybe Gerry, Jones.. Rose was ok, Don't you assess that our D needs some new scheme and/or coaching?
    @TO: I think one of the biggest differences you see are absolute game-changers at spots like D-end and linebacker. Guys who just fly, and erase. A play that looks like it might go 8, goes 3. Things like that. Obviously Nebraska has to keep upgrading there. And I'm really interested to see how the linebacker battles play out. They have some experience like Newby, Weber, Young back, but I think you have to take a long look at some of those young guys too and see if anyone is ready to break into a rotation. I don't know that Nebraska's scheme was that bad against Tennessee. What I saw were bad angles, bad tackling and, in key moments, Tennessee just being a half step faster.
    Just what is going to happen with this recruiting class? 14 commits and none of the blue chippers like D Holmes or J Lewis being forecasted to pick Nebraska, is there going to be a mad scramble to fill the class with whomever or will they sit on scholarships? With a new head coach in 11 months, that'd be a tough 2 year cycle.
    @JimNE: Darnay Holmes has been thought to be a UCLA lean for a long time, from all the analysts I've talked to on the West coast. I haven't written a lot about him because I think it's always been a tough fight for NU. (Update: Although I've heard Huskers fans shouldn't abandon hope on Holmes.) Joseph Lewis, they certainly have been right there with, but you know, two months ago, USC looked like it was a mess and now the Trojans are Rose Bowl champions and play 10 miles down the road. I think this staff has a deeper pool of recruits in a year ago, so if they miss there, I think they can still find some pretty good options. But there are no guarantees obviously and I'm not going to say it's good or bad until it plays out.
    What was the real reason Devine Ozigbo did not play at all the last three regular season games? Lingering leg injury after the coaching staff said he was ready to go? If he truly was healthy he appeared to be in the doghouse for some reason. Then averaged 9.4 yds/carry in the bowl game with NU's only long rushing gain of the game.
    @NewportRed: Ozigbo said the injuries really did bog him down. There's not always more even though everyone wants there to be more. Also, he has to get better at pass blocking. A few examples from the bowl game will show that. He ran hard, and I think definitely looked like that guy running the ball we saw back in September, even with limited holes. But he's got to become the complete package over the next eight months. People might consider Tre Bryant and him game-breakers but I do think they could give a solid 1-2 punch if they fine-tune their games.
    10 years ago we were wandering how to compete with the top tier programs..10 years latter were trying to figure out how to compete with Iowa and Wisconsin..our talent level and ability have now fallen to the level of the Illinois"s and Indiana"s if the this acceptable to boosters and administrators
    @Wonder: I don't know what you're proposing, I guess. Blowing something up that just got started? What Nebraska football was in 1985 was never guaranteed to last, even though no one around here probably appreciated how remarkable it was what was going on at the time. NU's got some things going for it, the passion for the game and love of the university by the fans being a top thing. But this staff also walked into a program that hadn't won a conference title since before kids they are now recruiting were born. So I'd say let a staff let it's plan play out a few years before everyone loses their wits about it.
    after watching the rose bowl. I am excited for NU to have a QB that can complete passes. Should be a fun offense next year if OL can pass protect
    I have to admit, BC, I'm finding Urban Meyer's shake up of his offensive staff a little humorous. Imagine if Nebraska just made a playoff run with a young team and had a top 2 recruiting class to boot, and us chatters hammered for coaching changes? You and Sip would use words like ludicrous, massive over reaction,
    @JimNE: I haven't read everything on what Meyer is doing, but that Beck move to Texas was in the works before their goose egg the other night. I don't know if Beck felt the heat from Meyer or just liked the idea of working for Herman and getting a fresh start. I don't know if I would use those words, however, if a coach was forced out in such a scenario. Ohio State is in a different situation than Nebraska at the moment. That defeat for them is probably akin around here to how people felt when the Huskers got ripped by Iowa.
    I guess that's the thing BC....I don't know that the result mattered to most. Would we rather win? Sure. Would a win or an expected loss derail the prevailing thoughts on the season? Not to most. I suppose already having an acceptable win total for some may have worked against fan motivation too. Some years it can matter more as things are developing at key positions. But I think with so much changing of the guard at key spots (QB, WR, RB, LB) plus injuries and suspensions....a lot of people were ready to move on. Start over fresh with certain players filling certain positions with schemes hopefully matching and meshing. Key word being hope lol.
    @Trashman: The conversation is completely different around here this week if Nebraska wins that game. I'm not arguing that it was the biggest game in the world. I'm not saying it impacts how Tanner Lee throws his first pass against Arkansas State. I'm saying it impacts the working climate around the program in some way. Instead of some fluffy story about the team being ranked in the top 20 for the first time in a while next week, there will be mention of how they're unranked again. There are little chain reactions to every Husker game that matter. I also know our HuskerExtra Twitter account was getting mentions as testy as ever on Friday for that bowl game no one supposedly cares about.
    Who do you think is closer in the next 2-4 yrs of playing with the big boys. Iowa or Nebraska?
    @Steve: Nebraska. Not saying they will, but I think the Huskers are going to swing bigger recruiting and that's the only way to really, really play with the big boys. Make no mistake, Nebraska would have loved Iowa's season a year ago. But I think most would agree that Hawkeye team wasn't confused in the same category with those elite teams. (I'm really not saying this to dog on Iowa, either. I kind of admire the way Ferentz goes about some things. They're generally solid. and their O-line play has been better than Nebraska's.) As for NU, swinging big doesn't mean it will connect big either. So it might not happen. But I think they'll take a few more big cuts, which is why I'd answer NU to that particular question.
    BC...I agree there's small stories either way. But whatever you do....DO NOT use Twitter as a barometer of fan reaction good or bad. Just instantaneous reactions to poke someone else, find unsubstantiated basis, or brag about an opinion on a topic. Lol
    @Trashman: I think the temperature of the fan base can be gauged by a variety of things, and never known completely. I think it's honestly a silly discussion to debate if a Nebraska game "mattered to most." It always matters when that team steps on the field. I'd also turn it around on you and say because you think the game didn't matter doesn't mean that's how most people felt. Are people as fired-up mad as they were after they lost to Purdue last year? No, I don't think so. But a 10-3 season with a win over Tennessee in Tennessee that put them in the top 20 would have carried something really positive to people. Heck, last year's win over UCLA did.
    I listened to an OU podcast last week and it they have so much more intensity all around from sports writers/media, fans and expectations for the football program. How can we get some of that up here? Do you think it'd help if the fans and sport writers like you were harder hitting
    @Steve: I'll have to take notes, I guess.
    After watching the bowls this week is it fair to say that NU is a long way away from getting back on top
    @Redrealist: That didn't just pop up yesterday, but yes, I think the Ohio State and Iowa game had already proven this year that the destination isn't necessarily just a block away.
    That wasn't a dig at anyone but man their bar is high and we have rested somewhere well below that
    @Steve: They've been in the top 10 a lot more consistently over the last 15 years, too. If Nebraska was coming off its 1999 season and lost games this year 62-3 and 40-10, it'd be the same here.
    Sticking with teh OL: what's the deal with refusing to sub? I recognize that there are many factors to consider, but it seems like more philosophy than strategy. Can those young scholarship linemen be so dramatically worse than the starters that they can't be trusted with a snap now and then?
    @BigRedneck: A lot of programs go with the best five, but I do think in the Big Ten, you have to at least feel good about 8 going into the season. Because guys are going to get beat up. You're going to be down a couple guys in some game in October or November. I think Cavanaugh was playing with a tough hand this year, but that group has to make a jump next year and if people are saying at the end of it that there's no depth again, that's more about lack of development than lack of talent.
    So Nebrasketball in the 40s in power rankings in ESPN and realtime rpi. KenPom has them in the 80s. Not sure on the discrepancies. Obviously now the target will slowly be switching to them and how they adjust to that. 11-7 in conference becoming a real possibility? (No "ask me after this week" lol).
    @Trashman: I mean, 11-7 still is hard for me to connect with a Nebraska team that just a week ago everyone was crapping on. But if you go win at Indiana and Maryland right out of the shoot, it sort of announces that you could make something like that your intentions. I won't say don't ask me next week, but man, if they're 4-0 when we're bickering here next week :) .... well, then you're talking about going .500 the rest of the way and you've hit the mark. I give credit to our new writer Chris Basnett. He said 10-8 or something was possible before the season after watching them, and I was doubting him. But there's a reason maybe you should tune in for his chats on Thursday. My prediction is they'll split these two games at home. Just a gut feel based off nothing but gut, gut, gut. Long haul, I'll say 9-9 in the league. But if they consistently play like they did Sunday, 11 is very much doable.
    Amen to your OL answer, but I think we're taking a risk giving Cavanaugh this year. Another season for him is another season of under development for these young studs.
    @JimNE: I don't know Jim. Cavanaugh is a good recruiter, and while I know some roll their eyes at it because they'll say coaches always stick up for each other, the late, great Milt Tenopir really liked the way he coaches and how he teaches. He's got some good talent that he helped bring in here that he gets to put to use this season, so I think you need to see if some of those young colts take off.
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