Nebraska Should Empty the Bench Early vs. Idaho State

J.P. Scott@TheJPScottSenior Analyst ISeptember 20, 2012

Sep 15, 2012; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez (3) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a touchdown against Arkansas State Red Wolves at Memorial Stadium in the second half. Nebraska won 42-13. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE
Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

Next to talent, depth is arguably the most important part of having a successful college football team.

Depth is not just about numbers. It is about having guys on the bench with actual game experience who won't feel lost or overwhelmed when they are called upon to spell a starter.

Saturday's contest is the perfect opportunity for Nebraska to work on depth at every position. There is absolutely no reason for the Huskers not to have at least a four-touchdown lead at halftime against Idaho State. Once that happens, there will be no excuse for Bo Pelini and his staff not to empty the benches.

If the goal of the team this season is in fact to win a Big Ten title, posting a 70-0 victory should not matter. There is no reason to attempt to impress voters with a blowout victory over an FCS school. Rather, the Huskers need to secure the win and think about the future.

What Nebraska will face on Saturday is an offense with inferior talent running a pass-first system that caters to the strength of the 'Husker defense. And it is an offense unlike anything the 'Husker defense will see the rest of the year. What's left on Nebraska's schedule after Idaho State are teams who run pro-sets, run-first spread offenses and two-tight-end sets. All of these offenses use players on a different talent grid than what Idaho State will bring to Lincoln on Saturday.

Given this information, it makes sense for Nebraska to take out its starters on both sides of the ball as soon as possible in order to prevent meaningless garbage-time injuries in what is essentially a meaningless game and play as many different guys as possible.

With the Big Ten schedule on the horizon, it may be the last time many of the players see the field until they are called upon to replace a starter. When that happens, the Huskers will want guys with some game experience doing so. 

It's one thing to get reps in practice. It's entirely another to focus on a play with 86,000 people within spitting distance watching your every move.