@rickylee41: Well, if I know you Ricky, I know you'd want me to blame T.O. Hey, if the hire doesn't ultimately work out, then sure, that's part of Osborne's resume. I'm not to the point where I'd say it hasn't worked out yet, though, because I stand by my opinion Miles should receive another year and see how it goes. I believe the team has solid talent, but it's youthful, and another outside shooter or two is needed. For example, Ray Gallegos, even when he went through his slumps, always made people pay attention to him out there. I really think NU needs another shooter like that to spread the floor and give teams something to think about. I'm not going to say Miles stinks at all, because this season is almost just as I expected going in, a season in which individual player development building toward the future was the key factor even if the win-loss record wasn't great. But next year, this thing has to move up the ladder a couple rungs, no question. Getting close and playing hard only appeases the masses so long.
@Matt: Surprise, honestly. Avery Anderson is a guy I really have liked when we've seen him in practice. Now, people shouldn't run wild with the two-deep Riley listed off. Very preliminary stuff right now since Diaco hasn't actually seen any of these guys play football in person. I do appreciate Riley naming off the pre-spring two-deep because reporters were going to scribble it down watching Saturday's practice anyway, and someone would have no doubt got it wrong. So might as well just say, 'This is how it begins, but it's only a beginning.' But yes, I'm surprised Anderson's name in particular wasn't said.
@Zadi: Hmmm. Maybe this is cheating, but I'll say John Raridon at center, just because I truly do believe he could be the starter there and a year ago he was redshirting. If you're talking about guys who played, I might say Pierson-El returning more to his old form, which I think he started to exhibit in the bowl game. On defense, I've been one guy who has kept saying I think Mick Stoltenberg has a couple other levels in his game. He's had a couple tough injuries in his football career he's bounced back from, but he's stayed healthy for a while now, he's up to 310 pounds and I do think he's the best immediate answer at the nose for this team right now. That's a big job. He's a big man. Let's see where he goes with it.
@DariusA: You know the one that caught me a little off guard but makes sense given his body type is Collin Miller, recruited as a D-end, moving to inside linebacker. The unfortunate part of this is we're not going to see much of him this spring it sounds like due to a toe injury. But Miller had a really good year on the scout team last year. I didn't see that move coming. Moving Alex Davis and Sedrick King to outside backer spots seems natural enough to me, as does letting Carlos Davis operate as more of a D-end. Alex Davis remains one of the guys that I think deserves close tracking, because he arrived here as such a raw football player, and I think he was starting to figure it out last year.
@SiliconValleyHusker: I think it will be an incredibly difficult challenge, and I'll be completely frank, I'd be surprised if that works, because there are a lot of guys who were very, very good running backs in college who can't even get a cup of coffee in the league. Heck, Abdullah was a great college running back, and has shown signs in the NFL, but still has some work to prove himself there entering his third year. So, yes, I agree with you completely, while wishing him the best in proving doubters wrong.
@Lintbelly: OK, my educated hunch is Lee is going to be tough to topple. That's a combination of a lot of things that I've heard. And even just listening to a couple offensive players talk today, Lee has something that catches their notice. That said, I think there's no other way to do it than how the coaches are going about it now. Let that competition roll and it will be clear enough to all who the best guy is by mid-August. My prediction remains that Lee will be the guy, but also know that you better feel good about both guys by the fall because there's a good chance at that position you'll eventually need to call on the second one. It's a hard position to keep healthy. And Lee dealt with some injury issues at Tulane.
@marcus: Football. There's more talent over there than people give credit. Nebraska football may not be where people want it to be, but it's still in that 23-32 range of teams. Basketball hasn't been close to that. And I don't think you'd say any of the young guys, while promising on the hardwood, have just overwhelmed with this idea they're about to take over the Big Ten next year.
@Sixburgh: That's as big a question as who's going to play that nose, no question. I actually think one of the reasons why it was smart to go to a 3-4 is Nebraska's roster is loaded up with linebackers. I mean, we could name off 12 to 13 guys right now who are interesting players. Are any of those guys all-conference players? I'm not sure yet, but there's enough guys who were well recruited with good high school resumes at the position that there should be some belief that position group can make a leap. Also, linebackers are sort of Diaco's baby so you they're going to have the highest of standards and be under the microscope of the head guy.
@TO: Not really, because you want to get your best dudes on the field, and if you go by what we know, the three linemen you'd want out there are Freedom, Mick and Carlos. Also, Carlos Davis has a quick step. I don't claim to be a 3-4 expert but I think he's got the body type and speed to match up to what Diaco might be looking for out of the D-end. My guess is they could pencil in one of the true frosh as a third or fourth guy at the nose when they show up but I've said all along I thought it'd be a real long shot for someone like Damion Daniels to come in and play such a difficult position in games just a few months after his prom.
@JoeSteel: OK, I'll play. From left to right, just a guess: Gates-Foster-Raridon-Farmer-Knevel. I know that list is boring to some because they want to see some more young guys but I'm basing that guesswork off past experiences that as much as everyone talks about up-and-comers, veteran players aren't easy to upend. Because even those young guys with promise will have their flaws they have to fix. Wouldn't be surprised if Conrad gives Knevel a good run at RT. Also, curious where Boe Wilson fits because I know they liked him a lot last year. I wouldn't rest easy if I were any one on that line.
@Robin: Well, you're talking to a biased party, but I'm going to say football. It is what stirs the drink in this state and always will. Even in the offseason. And with all respect to the other sports mentioned, there is that tier of football-men's basketball-volleyball-baseball and then everything falls below that as far as public interest. That's just the way it is and probably will be as long as I'm around. The status of men's basketball gets interesting if a coach is really on a hot seat, but I haven't heard anything that makes me think it's more than folks just filling the air with conversation right now.
@rickylee41: I get why Creighton does it because that's part of the deal they made by playing in the Big East, a league that wants to maintain its old roots in NYC as best it can. Why the Big Ten is playing in D.C. to appease, I guess Maryland, is dumb to me. Your point is well-taken Ricky, but you know by now these high-high profile college programs are big business. I suppose there could be a long debate on whether that is healthy or not for the college environment. I would say, as one quick argument, I interview 20-30 guys, if not more, each year who wouldn't have a college experience if it weren't for the avenue that athletics provide. So there's some good to it, too.
@Trashman: Dramatic charge. Thanks for the update.
@Colby: Baseball is not a game where you form any opinions of matter after a 2-4 start. You just don't. Especially when it's college baseball in February, and one of the teams has been practicing indoors mostly, then heads out to the west coast to play some teams that probably have been in the daylight. If Nebraska were 2-4 and got swept by Missouri-Kansas City, that's one thing. But it's far too early, I feel, to make much of a statement one way or another on this team. I will also point out Erstad, after taking over a bit of a rebuilding job, has been to the NCAA Tournament 2 of 5 years and it would be 3 of 5 if they hadn't scheduled so ridiculously hard and learned from it that second year. I think people take that for granted sometimes around here. What Van Horn did was incredible. Truly incredible. I know Erstad expects big things out of this team and if it falls short, sure, some tough questions need to be asked. But we're far from there at this point in the season.
@NewportRed: I wonder the same Newport. It's amazing Nebraska fans fill that place as much as they do. At some point, the attendance has to drop some if there aren't more wins, although I honestly don't think it'd be a dramatic drop just because this is a place of the world where people are just looking for something to do on a Thursday night and a college hoops game is a good way to fill a few hours. But in the Miles discussion, it is fair to point out he has things working for him other coaches before him haven't with that venue, that practice facility, and even that level of attendance save for the Nee years when the thing was really rolling.
@Robin: I haven't asked that, but it's an interesting idea, Robin. Certainly a whole lot goes into than we even know about, although for good reason key coaching hires often determine how that A.D. is viewed. That's fair since those decisions on coaching hires usually impact the money train good or bad.
@SiliconValleyHusker: Yes, that's how Riley explained it. They were already playing that way in the secondary, I know. Lamar Jackson was being described as a boundary corner when he was being recruited.
@callumg: Honestly, I think there was more media-produced hype on Sam Keller than there's been on Tanner Lee. Whatever you've heard about Lee has been optimism generated from comments from players, former coaches and Billy Devaney. QBs are always built up everywhere. Cody Green was going to play it like never before. Harrison Beck. Curt Dukes. On and on. I always try to balance it as best I can in stories but admittedly it's difficult because if you're talking to people who know a QB to learn about the QB, those people are generally going to say positive things, right? And I'm not going to enter opinion into a news story. So stories do admittedly tilt positive in the offseasn, but trust me when I say that doesn't mean I don't understand fans saying, 'Prove it to me.'
@Glassman: I've always thought Gates had all-conference potential, but he needs more consistency and to stay healthy. Drew Brown is as good as any kicker in the league, I feel. Chris Jones is a guy who could make a run at that. And, while I wouldn't say he's going to jump all the way to first team, I do think Carlos Davis is a real talent who could really start to show it to people outside this fan base over the next year.
@Trashman: A little. I think it's kind of human nature. It's good to have high expectations too. I wouldn't tell people to drop them. But yeah, I do think people publicly discuss job status way more than they used to and guys have shorter time to prove themselves than they used to. Then again, the money has skyrocketed so it kind of all goes together I suppose.
@NewportRed: I didn't see it, honestly. I'll have to read up on it and I'll offer my thought next week.
@Dick: You always hear that you better have a solid nose, so I think Nebraska has to feel good about a couple of guys there heading into the season. And the linebackers have to be versatile. The inside guys have to be mashers and ready for those collisions. The outside guys have to be good pass rushers, but also guys who can cover a back or tight end. There's a lot there to process, so I think you wonder how quickly those backers will grasp all that is being asked of them. Mostly, I'd say the key is how well do these players connect to the new guys in charge of them. The right D-coordinator has a way of motivating players to reach another level, and Bo Pelini had that mojo for a while here. But he has to make guys believe early on that what he's teaching, and whatever scrutiny they receive when they don't do it right, will come with a payoff in the end. Diaco was good at that at Notre Dame, it seems. Husker hope is banking that he can duplicate that.
@Zadi: I think they have good young players. Can one or two of them become great players is the big question to me. Miles needs that. And he needs it over the next 12 months perhaps.
@BuzzM: It's not fashionable to say, I'm not sure. But that's all I can really say right now. I love the Diaco hire on paper. I think moving to a 3-4 defense makes a lot of sense for like 10 different reasons. And I think there are two key stats that make you believe Diaco will succeed sooner than later: His defenses have done well at not giving up a heavy abundance of big plays and his defenses have always played well in the red zone. So even if teams to pick up yards against his crew, history suggests they'll have to chip away at it, and then it might be a struggle once the field tightens up around the 20 or 25. Bend but don't break, is how some people like to describe it. I don't know that the coaches or players would like to frame it that way, but I think that could be a good opening year goal for this defense. You know there will be some growing pains and you might give up some things because of it, but if you can keep it from breaking, if you can cut the number of explosive plays down by 10 or so... well, that'd probably produce some solid results.
@BarefootShooter: Expectations for Nebraska football were set from 1962-1997, by winning, winning and winning. Maybe the bar has dropped a bit. It's not as much folks saying they need a national championship as they want to see a team that is consistently in the conference title game. But that's still a high bar, and a bar that was put up there well before Shawn Eichorst came here. Also, I know everything comes back to Pelini with some still. Riley is competing to meet the standard that was built up by all the wins Husker football stacked up many years prior, not to jump over a bar from the previous regime.
@Robin: I thought Quincy could make it in the league. I thought he had a better chance than Kenny Bell and I'm not just saying that now. But I'm surprised at how well he's done admittedly. Good for him, though. We just got a taste of what he could do at Nebraska. Didn't really break out until his senior year but I think that was a combination of things, some beyond his control.
@Zadi: I don't want to go on any generational rants. But I will say that eight or nine years ago I covered an NU game in Waco and we pulled right up to the fence of the stadium with our car. It was like a high school game. Small, half-filled stadium and that's only because half were Nebraska fans. And when I saw Baylor suddenly in the top four or five years later, I kept saying to myself, 'What's really going on there?' That rise was too fast. How are they so good at basketball too? If you've been to Waco, you will understand why one would ask those questions. Well, it appears a lot of corners were cut on very serious matters. But it makes you wonder how many corners were also cut on less serious matters that help a program get that good that fast.