I'm here. If you're here, we can make this work. Forgive any typos along the way.
@Ryan: I'm not ready to say they're improved. What I will say is that group has more upside and an improved connection with their coach in Year 2. But you bet they're the big ticket to how this season goes. If they are winning and Nebraska is staying ahead of the chains, like UCLA, it obviously makes the jobs of Danny Langsdorf and Tommy Armstrong so much easier. If you think back to last year, NU's O-line just flat got whipped in games like Wisconsin and Northwestern. So, do you rip the OC for throwing it around instead of having his team run into a wall, or do you look at the O-line and say they have to step it up and take it on themselves to dominate on third-and-1s. Last year's group was just too inconsistent on that front.
@CDS923: Nice of you to say. I would say thanks to the readers because their passion for the program is what makes what I do so interesting. I didn't see see the John Oliver piece, but know about it. All I'll say: A lot of the info you get cycles down from what newspapers report. There are some aggregate sites I won't name that make a living off of taking all the stuff gained from on-the-ground reporting of Husker football and reprocessing it. And, yes, that annoys me.
@Terry: No. I think it's over.
@Benchwarmer: Certainly I'm not going to count out the fact that Les Miles will give a real strong recruiting pitch over dinner one night and turn the tide. However, Ben Miles also sounds like a man who wants to chart his own path. And that makes a lot of sense to me. Frankly, I don't know if I'd want to play for my dad at that level and be under the microscope like that. Some father-son combos have made it work, but it's not easy. I won't lay odds on if he'll stick with Nebraska or not, because it would just be pulling numbers out of a hat. But I do think Riley and his program can highlight to all these sons of NFL guys and coaches joining the program as something that carries meaning.
@JakeFromStateFarm: Don't know how it's going to go. Lindsey does a good job of keeping everyone on their toes by tweeting out things from both fan bases. My prediction has been on Ohio State, and I won't change it now. But I noticed Mike Riley retweeting him the other day, and see him giving NU a lot of love, so ......... stay tuned. And yes he should see opportunity right away. It's not like the cupboard is empty next year with Morgan and DPE coming back, but the line definitely wont' be as backed up.
@ClearEyesCantLose: I know they had talks about him coming here and actually had a pretty solid relationship. I'd be careful with the assumption that Frost wanted to come here and be under that microscope for a similar job to what he had at Oregon. I got the impression, and this is said with some education on the matter, that he wasn't necessarily eager for all the extra spotlight that would come with that return. That said, I'm not going to claim to know how much Pelini pursued the idea and what the final verdict would have been if a full-court press were made to bring him here.
@CDS923: That has been my more likely bet throughout this, too, but the unpredictability of recruiting has taught me to leave most of my guesses on what will happen stuck inside my head.
@Terry: No problem with anything like that. Or a 27, maybe. I don't know if there are any NCAA rules against something like that, because it sounds like some dumb rule the NCAA would have. But, sure, I think it'd be fitting.
@Justin: I go back to an anonymous comment from a Big Ten coach in an Athlon preview: Basically he said they couldn't believe the gap between Armstrong and all the other QBs on the roster. Now, I'm not in the camp that this team couldn't go and win some games with Fyfe. I thought the worst of him in that Purdue game isn't necessarily an accurate depiction of what he might do over the course of a full season. But it is funny how much the starting QB gets ripped, and then the moment he limps off the field, there's sort of this panic that hovers over the fan base. Everyone wants the next guy until the next guy actually steps out there for a series and shows he's human too. To answer your question, I think Armstrong to no Armstrong is worth a couple of wins this year.
@CDS923: I don't know the background on the family too well. But Ben Miles' dad almost got fired last year (as ridiculous as that was). I just don't know if as an 18-year-old kid I'd want to have a front-seat for all that and be subject to all the analysis that goes with carrying the same name. In a lesser way, it's why I was surprised Drake Martinez came to Nebraska in the first place. Why have to spend your college experience dealing with the lighting rod topics that surround a family member that was here before you?
@Regg: The name that pops up first is Brandon Reilly. He'd like to do it, and Bruce Read said in the spring he'd like him to do it. He'd be good at it too. Only question, I suppose, if you want to put another playmaker at receiver in harm's risk. But my take is you can't play scared. If he's the best option, go with him. Josh Kalu was actually another interesting name that was getting a turn at it this spring. Mikale Wilbon, too. A Reilly-Wilbon combo would be intriguing to me. We'll report more on that as the camp rolls along.
@Zadi: The LSU kicker in the back said he was wearing his. It was not in the police report whether they were wearing them or not. The Wisconsin kicker, who left in another car, said they were, though I don't know how he would know this for sure. Perhaps he saw them leaving for his house. I don't know about the airbags.
@Calihusker: I'm sure he would have wanted a call for the HC job. The prior question was about why Pelini never hired him as an assistant. I'm saying I don't know that Frost would have been as eager to make a lateral position coaching move as some assume. As for taking the job in the captain's chair, yeah, I can't imagine why you wouldn't want that.
@Justin: Yes, I think it'll be a committee, but that's not to say there isn't a head of the committee. Someone has to end the year with more touches. I'm still predicting Terrell Newby gets the most, because he's an all-around guy, he's had a really good offseason, and ... honestly, we really don't know what the other guys are all about at this point. More than half of Ozigbo's touches last season came in the bowl game. I think you're going to see a lot more two-back sets if the spring is any indication.
@Terry: Tough guess. There's another hockey everyone always brings up first, but is the University of Nebraska system willing to put a team in Lincoln when that's UNO's baby up the road? It's a real question that I don't hear brought up enough. I keep thinking lacrosse is going to spread out to more universities too. As of a couple years ago, I heard it was the fastest growing sport on the east coast. It's got some physicality to it, there's a lot of scoring, it's played fast.
@Blackshirtcj: O-line. I'm buying they get closer to their upside than don't.
@Calihusker: Yeah, that's what I always heard on Frost. A couple reasons: Oregon was rolling at that point. So some might not even call it a lateral move. Also, being under the microscope as a position coach wasn't the most appealing.
@Benchwarmer: It is not binding. So perhaps "official" offer doesn't exactly compute. Let's just say it's really close to an official offer, a token to say, "Yes, we're all about you." Most of the time. A coach or athlete can still pull away.
@Justin: He increased by two percentage points a year ago to get to 55.2. If he does truly stick to what he's saying about using the checkdown more, it should give him a slight inflation right there. So I believe a % between 58-60 could be a reasonable goal and also one that would provide the Huskers success if combined with keeping the INTs below 10 or so.
Moore's completion percentage was pretty similar both years. He moved from 59.4 to 60.6 from his junior to senior seasons.
And for all the crap Taylor Martinez took, he did work his butt off to get better as a passer, and his % jumped from 56.3 to 62.0 from his sophomore to junior years. So big leaps are possible. But I really think it's about a mentality shift here as much as anything for Armstrong. Is he willing to set aside a go big or go home philosophy for laying up when it's more prudent. We've talked about it for eight months and we just won't know until the show starts.
@Sarai: No. I think college football, much like the NFL game, is now separated by minute details. A lot of people in August talks about things with great assurance, 'This is W... This is a L....' The gap between teams is too close to do that anymore. Iowa is the perfect example. If a year ago in this chat I said I thought Iowa was going to win the West, people would laugh at me. But the Hawkeyes did the little things right, and while hardly far superior than most teams they played in the Big Ten, understood exactly what they were and, just as importantly, what they weren't. But each year, even if a team returns a lot of starters, a new chemistry has to form. I think Iowa and Nebraska are the best predictions because I think they have the best collection of talent and most favorable schedules. But like last year, I could see Nebraska being anywhere from a 7-win team to a 10-win team. The one thing I think people around here would love to see is the Huskers have a season where they at least break even in the turnover margin category. If you told me right now two things: Nebraska will be break even or better on the season, and in the Iowa game, in turnover margin, I'd tell you I think they will be in Indy. But that's a big IF based on the track record of late.
@Braden: Not right away, but what do I know at this point? Not a lot. I think that Jackson and Bootle are two guys to definitely keep in mind, but media has just seen one practice and there wasn't much on opening day that would allow you to form serious observations about a player. I do think NU needs at least one true freshman corner to have some sort of important role this year, whether it's a third corner or a possible nickel option. Jackson, on paper, might seem the most likely to be that guy, but I'll let the competition play out. Roles aren't won based off who was the highest-rated recruit. Braylon Heard and Aaron Green know this.
@FLhusker: Interesting name to throw out. Now that'd be a big leap. The only thing I'll say is I'm going into the season with an open mind. The past often enough can help in predicting the future, but certainly not always.
OK, everyone. I'm off to write about Mick Stoltenberg. Big role for him this year. We'll do it again next week.