Nebraska-Baylor: Cornhuskers Need To Pick It Up And Dust It Off

Josh KleinCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2009

COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 08:  Quarterback Zac Lee #5 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers celebrates after passing for a touchdown during the game against the Missouri Tigers on October 8, 2009 at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

It's time to pick it up and dust it off guys. 

I'm talking about the egos that were stroked immediately following fourth quarter comeback in Columbia, Missouri.  These same egos were dashed, and maybe even crushed promptly in the next two games.

It's obvious to diagnose, at least for me.  The problem has been haunting this offensive unit ever since the Virginia Tech game.

The problem: Confidence. 

Where did it go?  Did it disappear amongst a myriad of penalties or sketchy quarterback play?  Did it waft away with the stench of turnovers and the onset of inconsistent line play?

Whenever it was lost, it's the cause of our problems on offense.  The offensive line has not confidence, the running backs are losing theirs and I'm not sure the wide receivers ever had any.

Not to mention Zac Lee, whose lack of confidence was apparent in the final two drives of the game on Saturday against Iowa State.

This offense needs to be confident in something.  And it starts with Shawn Watson, Barney Cotton, Tim Beck, and Ted Gilmore.  We, as fans, are calling you out, coaches.

The Nebraska offense needs to know what it is good at. 

Is it the zone-read option offense? No. 

Is it big play run and gun?  Not a chance. 

Is it pounding the rock?  Maybe, but we'll never know if we continue to run stretch, sweep, and option plays to the short side of the field.

Nebraska's offense doesn't know who they are, and they need to find out soon.  And it better be against the worst defense in the Big 12 in Waco, Texas.

Baylor sports two great defensive players, Jordan Lake and Joe Pawelek, but other than that they are prime for the picking. 

This is just what the doctor ordered for the Huskers.  Not that Baylor is a bad team, not by any stretch of the imagination, but they aren't as good as Oklahoma or apparently, Iowa State.

This Saturday, at 11:30 am on Versus, we may have the opportunity to see an offense wake up.  Not that it should instill too much confidence, but any type of improvement would be a welcome change to the display Husker fans have been forced to watch the past two weeks.

Where does it start?  Not where you think.

No, It's not about the quarterback controversy, the offensive line, wide receivers, or even the running backs.  Although it does include all of them.

It's about red zone production.

In the Texas Tech game Nebraska was in the red zone five times, and came away with 10 points. Two for five is 40 percent. 

Against Iowa State, Nebraska entered the red zone a grand total of five times. Three times they fumbled the ball and were intercepted once.  That's a 20 percent success rate in the red zone.

Combine those rates and Nebraska is a paltry three for 10 in the red zone.  That's only a 30 percent success rate in the red zone in the last two games. 

No wonder why we lost.

It obviously all comes down to scoring and capitalizing in the red zone.  You get in the red zone five times you better score five times and at least two of those better be touchdowns.  Otherwise any team in the NCAA can hang with you.

That's what it comes down to this weekend in Waco. Nebraska, regardless of who the quarterback is, needs to convert in the red zone. And by convert, I mean score touchdowns.

If there is a chance to turn around this season it is this weekend, and I think they will do it.  Baylor has lost its spirit and leadership in Robert Griffin's injury and their confidence is also shot with a three-game losing streak and an 0-3 start in Big 12 play.

I think Nebraska does this.  Remember we started last year 4-3 and ended 8-4.  It is not impossible to do that again, but it starts with the coaching and it starts in Waco.

I think Nebraska wins this one, rediscovers its identity and beats the Baylor Bears 24-9.