Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Big Red Round-Up: New Regime Edition

Husker Bloggers are asking questions. I thought I’d answer them.

(Still waiting to be invited to a permanent seat at the adult’s table, but then, this isn’t exclusively a Husker blog, or even a sports blog, so maybe I’m disqualified – but I digress).

The 2007 season finished with a disappointing 5-7 record. Very few people expected this. What went wrong?

Coing off a Big 12 North division title and a bowl game and a respectable 9-5 record from 2006, Husker fans expected a return to the nation’s elite, with the coming out party to happen on the September 15th USC game in Lincoln. Instead we got pummeled, 49-31, with the Trojans carving up the Blackshirt defense like a stuffed turkey. And an epic journey of historically bad proportions took place for the defensive unit over the course of the rest of the season, with the team allowing school records for yards allowed, points, and you name it. While the offense put up respectable numbers, Kevin Cosgrove did not have either the capablility or the motivational skills to inspire the defense to put together a better performance.

Bo Pelini takes over as head coach. Good move or bad?

Outstanding move, the up and coming defensive coordinator was my choice to take over the program four years ago when Bill Callahan was selected instead. The way the defense, and indeed the entire team, responded to him for the bowl game after the firing of Frank Solich was nothing short of spectacular. The issues with the defense from last year should be resolved in relatively short order as I am a firm beliver that there is a lot of talent on that side of the ball that was not revealed last season.

I also have a really bad sandwhich shop idea and even have a great T-shirt marketing idea sure to win over fans and promote unity in Lincoln and throughout the region.

Pelini’s Paninis – Offensively Affordable, Yet Defensively Tasty

Yes, you heard it here first, remember that!

Nebraska fans were divided after the last coaching change. Do you see fans finally uniting?

While there will likely be a few wait and see holdouts, Pelini was the overwhelming favorite of the fan base for the job, even ahead of favorite son Turner Gill. Given last year’s issues, as long as the team comes out and plays competitively with more intensity than they showed a year ago, the recently oft fractured Nation will reunite.

How would you like to see Bo Pelini fill out his coaching staff? Anybody or anything in particular you are looking to see?

I think we are seeing what I wanted and expected, which is a combination of old Husker coaches from the last Solich staff, particularly from the defensive side of the ball such as Marvin Sanders, and the retainment of some of new regime Callahan offensive staff such as Shawn Watson, who provide both continuity and hopefully a more balanced run-pass approach to the play calling. Barney Cotton, Carl Pelini, Jimmy Williams, and Ron Brown (already offically signed) are likely returnees, and it appears likely that Ted Gilmore and perhaps Randy Jordan will be retained as well as Watson.

I also expect a couple of surprises, Bo could go raiding from Les Miles' LSU staff as well after the Tigers finish their season against Ohio State in the National Championship game.

I still hold out hope to steal Tom Rathman from the Raiders, but don't see it happening realistically.

What do you think the expectations are for Bo Pelini? Do you think he needs to win x amount or do x by a certain date?

I think the first expectation is that the defense will improve markedly enough to make us competitive in almost every game, although I do not expect to see an immediate dominance on that side of the ball. I also expect to see an offense that can do it all – a balanced run and pass philosophy that can move the ball well utilizing different methods depending on the opponent. I’d expect at least a break-even record in year one (hopefully a winning record) and a bowl game, with a North division title in the not too distant future. We have eight home games, including the first five, next season, which should greatly aid the staff in gaining momentum and turning this thing around. Get off to a good start and who knows what could happen, the Kool-Aid could get pretty tasty.

Husker Mike's take is here, and he thoughtfully provides links to the other Local Yokels expressing their opinions at the bottom of his post.

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