I'm here. If you're here, let's talk Huskers-Ducks.
@CDS: I fast forward through the commentary to each play when I watch back the game, so I honestly didn't hear much of what he had to say. I know the whole broadcast was getting a lot of flak, so you've got a lot of company in your opinion. Seems to me color analysts might be less popular than journalists, which means they are less popular than eating worms or getting stuck inside a Portapotty for two hours in 100 degree heat.
@Stevels: I wouldn't say none of it looks good. Nebraska's kick return game looks better and their kick coverage is fine. The stuff that hasn't looked good all involves around the punt game. I do think there's some truth to what Riley is saying about it being more difficult to return punts than it used to be.
But I also don't feel like Nebraska has been in an aggressive posture at all in the return game. It feels like they're playing more of a safe punt all the time, which isn't the biggest crime in the world, but certainly is going to tick people off who saw DPE lead the country two years ago. The net punting is actually a bigger concern, I think, this week. I feel for Caleb Lightbourn because he was planning on redshirting this year. And we all know how good Sam was going to do this year. But Lightbourn is a scholarship guy and they need him to be on the fast track in finding consistency. That last punt he had against Wyoming, which was about 45 yards, with good hang time, has got to become more the norm.
@Patrick: Pace battle is an excellent way to describe it. You explained one of the biggest keys in just a couple sentences. The other part is NU's defense understanding, yes, Oregon is going to have a few highlight plays. Short memory will be key. This game almost comes down more to the mental part than physical part for Nebraska, I think. Almost need that kind of mindset like they had against Miami two years ago, where it was clear they were going to match the other team's swagger all night long.
@AaronBuller: Put this game on the O-line as much as Tommy. If the O-line is owning things, so much pressure falls off both Armstrong and Langsdorf. Ideally, NU is chewing up four, five yards a play sort of like it did against UCLA. I do think Oregon has some of the same leaks that the Bruins had. So I think NU has to stay true to that running game, and then there are going to be a few big opportunities to suck them in, go play-action and hit a big pass over the top. Those have to hit and not be five-yard overthrows. It's why the Brandon Reilly injury deserves close monitoring. He's such a weapon when you do want to play long ball.
@Stevels: Crowd will be electric, I have no doubt that. Memorial Stadium isn't always the toughest place to play. But for certain games, certain moments, it's as loud as any stadium in the country. This will be one of those games so long as the Huskers do their part to keep them in the game.
@Darius: The line didn't surprise me. It's a toss-up game and NU is the home team. Lines aren't based on what a team was two years ago. They're based on the now. And right now, Oregon has a lot of leaks on its defense. It gave up 28 to UC Davis and 26 to Virginia. Those guys also pay attention to things like the bowl game when Nebraska pounded it at a UCLA team with a similar style. Both teams have their imperfections. Who covers them up the best and turns it over the least probably wins. But I get the line. I think Ducks fans wonder just as much about their team as you do about yours.
@Lorie: Cethan Carter. It hasn't been his fault he hasn't done a lot statistically. Frankly, he could have had about 80-100 receiving yards if Armstrong had hit him a couple times when he was open. But this seems like the kind of game where Langsdorf might have a clever way or two to get him the ball. Isolate him against some of those Oregon backers who are struggling. Maybe even spring him on that end-around play he runs really well.
@Stevels: I think whoever starts will be based more on the specific play call than some statement of who is viewed to be the top guy. Your take could turn out correct. Maybe this is a game where you let that big body back just wear on the D. But NU needs Newby to have a good day too. Newby is really good in that screen game and it feels like the Huskers were finally starting to find their way with it last week.
@ScottJacox: Appreciate the thoughts Scott. And yes, this is college football at its finest. Oh, and current forecast has it 75 and sunny. Ducks edge on special teams very well could be a turning point, because if you've picked up on it, NU has punt problems right now, with a true freshman punter still working on his craft. Also, Nebraska struggled with the fly sweep a bit last week against Wyoming's speedster, and the Ducks are only to rev it up obviously. I think it's going to be a game in the high 30s and don't think the over-under number of 72 is far off at all.
@chris_carstens: I'd guess you'll see five DBs on the field much of the game, maybe even six at times. Key guys no one will talk about but who I think will be important are Aaron Williams and maybe even Lamar Jackson if Husker coaches are willing to throw the true freshman into the fire in a game like this. The status of D-tackle Mick Stoltenberg also looms large. Can he come back that quickly from a knee scope? And if he does, can he have an impact after such a quick return. Discipline will be the word. It always is on defense, but more so against this team than most any other, because one guy botching his job can make the thing go off the tracks in a hurry.
@HuskerBob: That's a fair viewpoint and, it seems to me, not an uncommon one with this fan base. When you've been wounded in big games a lot, it's fitting that fans would say, 'I need proof it's going to be different' before buying in completely. It's why I keep going back to this game being as much about the mental as the physical for Nebraska. It's why I also liked that Rose-Ivey was asking his teammates to just embrace this as being a big game not shy away from it. I don't think Rose-Ivey meant he thinks NU has to play super human to win or anything. I think it's more about setting an expectation, and Nebraska players saying, 'We're supposed to win games like this at this school' and not just be satisfied with saving face.
@HuskGuy: That's a football smart observation by you. I think they want to get the freshman experience when they can, but in Nebraska's nickel package, the best five DBs right now are honestly Jones, Kalu, Gerry, K Williams and A Williams. Lamar Jackson very well may be up to the challenge this week, but you have to be careful with that too. You don't want to put a kid in a position where he's not ready to have some success in. That's no knock on Jacks. That's just the reality that this is a tough game for a guy who just showed up in summer to perhaps step into and not get big eyes.
@HuskGuy: I think Parrella has gotten as much out of this group as he could so far. Dzuris just keeps leading the team in TFLs. You're right. They need a little more pop from Freedom in that pass rush maybe. I really liked what they had with Stoltenberg and Maurice, which is why I think his status for this game is so critical. Not that the twins can't step in and hang tough, but I think Mick's a bit ahead of them right now, as he should be as a third-year guy who has as much strength as he does.
@chris_carstens: I think a commenter explained it really well earlier. It feels like a game where it could be a battle to control paces. The thing Oregon does so well, in the games I've watched over the years, is some team will be trading blows with them and then, boom, the Ducks put on some 20-point spurt in six minutes. The other team loses complete control of the pace game, gets flustered, and is running uphill the rest of the way. I do think Nebraska is going to need a few punishing drives where they milk five, six minutes off the clock and finish it with points. And while Tommy can perhaps afford one bad play, he can't afford much more.
@JimNE: I don't disagree. I think two areas of special teams (punt returns and punt game) need to be significantly better than they are. Riley's point about it being harder to return the ball now is well taken. But from a layman's viewpoint, it appears NU isn't playing for big returns either, which I don't totally understand. It was asked about yesterday. Riley answered. We'll see if it gets better, but I do think that could lose them a game if both of those areas don't get better.
@BigAppleHusker: Sipple wears some flashy tennis shoes actually. I like to mix it up between what some would classify as boat shoes and some pretty sweet Nikes I purchased prior to the season. It's like going to school. You need a new pair of tennis shoes before each opener.
@Stevels: Still debating. I don't know who I'm going to pick yet. 38-34 or something. But who has 38?
@Clayton: If it's a hard-fought loss, I'm pretty sure the sun will rise on Sunday and NU fans will be disappointed but transition into the idea that B1G play starts next week and their team is 0-0 in the quest to win the West. But that's why I like Rose-Ivey's attitude. NU needs to put all its chips in here. Win a game like this. Get back in the rankings. Announce to people they need to pay you some attention. I think this loyal fan base needs that shot in the arm, too. They're so hungry for it.
In a weird way, I think the Huskers are in more danger against Northwestern if they win on Saturday than they lose, however. Anyone follow me in that thinking? There will be a lot of back slapping if they win and this staff will earn their pay making sure they're ready for that game in Evanston against a team that is 0-2 but still capable of biting you.
@JimNE: Strings. I've seen him tie them and everything :)
@Benchwarmer: I think that's a great number. I think Vegas put out 72. I'd be surprised if one team doesn't have at least 35, let's put it that way.
@Jerry: I think Riley has a good big picture view and understands that every game is large, because, say you lose to Purdue, suddenly the pitchforks are out. But yes, getting past all the coach speak, and how much the Ducks success has been right in front of his face, and probably made it difficult for his program to succeed, yes, I'd guess they want this one to the highest level you can want to win a game. Factor in, as Banker was talking about Saturday, that Oregon twice kept them from possible Rose Bowl appearances. And one of those games was decided by four points. Banker flat-out said, 'there's not a love loss' for that team.