Sorry for not writing anything about our favorite team for the past couple of weeks, and yes it is just a coincident that my lack of articles was during the same period as back to back loses.
First off was the disappointment in getting blown out (at least on the scoreboard) to Texas Tech. Then our boys follow that up with more turnovers (eight) than a Wahoo bakery on Saturday morning, while falling 9-7 against Iowa State.
The Iowa State game reminded me of how my dad used to describe players who fumbled the ball a lot. He would say that they were carrying the ball like a loaf of bread. You know what I mean; you carry a loft of bread laying in the top of your hand without any pressure on it so not to crush it.
I saw a lot of that on Saturday. I certainly hope that the coaches drilled the skill position players on the fumble drill this week to eliminate that problem.
It does appear that personnel changes are coming on offense, whether it will be at the quarterback spot or not remains to be seen. However, according to Shawn Watson Khiry Cooper will be starting at the “X” receiver position replacing senior Menelik Holt.
Also redshirted freshmen receivers Steven Osborne and Tim Marlowe have practiced this week with the number one unit. None of these were the freshman skill player you were looking for?
I was not on the “bench Zac Lee” bandwagon after the Tech loss, but after watching Zac play against the Cyclones, I do now think that, maybe, yes Zac does need to sit for a while, if for no other reason, than to clear his head and to stop over thinking so much.
That is what I do see out of Zac when he is in the game, that he is simply over-thinking every play and instead of just throwing the ball to the proper receiver on his progressive reads, he is trying to guide the ball into the receiver’s hand. That has never worked for a quarterback and maybe some time on the bench watching a game will eliminate that.
Coaches have told the players that “every spot is open that if you want spots, go take them.” Green said that coaches haven’t designed any plays or packages, although they have been practicing the zone read more this week.
Remember folks, the zone read is what Cody ran for the past three years in high school and he had almost 2,000 yards rushing and more than 3,000 yards passing. Said Green, “We’re really starting to turn to that and it is really starting to drive me crazy because I want to get in there and run it and show people what I can do.”
It also appears very evident that Roy Helu is much more banged up than we are being led to believe. Roy just isn’t displaying that burst of speed that he had earlier this season or last season, and with the lack of experience at the I-Back spot that really does put our offense in even more dire straits.
Based on some research I have done our offense troubles seem to be isolated in the fact that we are not making the “Big Play”. Last year we averaged over five big plays (more than 20 yards) per game, this year the average is barley over three per game.
There are several reasons for this decline. Helu being banged up is one reason; another is the graduating combo of Joe Ganz and Nate Swift. Last season that duo combined for at least one big play per game (12) during the season. This season the only wide receiver who has more than one 20 yard play is Niles Paul and he only has a total of three through seven games.
Another big problem is starting each drive. Last season the Big Red averaged eight yards per pass attempt, this season Lee is averaging less than four. In the red zone last season the Huskers scored a touchdown 67 percent of the time. This season it is 29 percent, we saw that last week against Iowa State when four of the turnovers happened inside the Iowa State 10 yard line.
We all know that if not for our outstanding defense, both games would have been a lot worse that it was. Now again this week we are playing on the road in Waco against a Baylor Bear team that lost their offensive star quarterback Robert Griffin.
Since Griffin’s season ending surgery, the Bears have been just as anemic offensively as the Huskers, scoring just 24 point in three Big 12 losses, with 14 of those coming late in the 4th quarter after their opponent had built big leads.
So with the current status of both offenses it could be a game very similar to the Iowa State game. Although that game would have been a Husker 20-30 point win if not for the turnovers deep in the red zone.
Because I am a devoted, loyal fan, I see the Huskers finally bouncing back Saturday, and I do believe that Cody Green will play some and the Huskers emerge victorious by the score of 27-7, GBR!