For everyone keeping track at home, and I know I’m not the only one, the Husker football season is less than a month away. Nebraska started practice a week ago, and so far there are no major injuries to report, so that’s good news. Also, there has not been anything substantial to report on quite yet.
The offense looks ok according to reports, don’t look for major changes out of the offense. With a pro style quarterback, running the show we will see more progressions on pass plays, tighter spirals, and sharper passes. Not to worry though the Husker nation, we will still see plenty of opportunities from our stable of running backs. I don’t foresee us going to a strictly passing attack while abandoning the run. What I fully expect to see is far better execution, not only from the quarterback, but also from our offensive line. I feel in the past Tommy Armstrong Jr. made up his mind in the huddle whom he was going to throw the ball to, whether covered or not. You will not see that out of any of our quarterbacks this season. If a receiver is not open, they will continue to check down until they find an open man, you will even see the running backs catching more passes if that’s what the defense is giving us. I’m not too worried about the offense. However, the defense with Bob Diaco’s new scheme may give us some trouble.
The Blackshirts will do an excellent job. However, it will take some time for the defense to get completely comfortable in the new 3-4. We will see some guys out of position early on and maybe guys looking a little lost at times, there is always a learning curve, but once things start to gel, the Blackshirts will once again be a force to be reckoned with. This past week the Huskers also added Gary Darnell, as a defensive consultant to help install the new defense. Darnell will add considerable expertise on the defensive side of the ball this fall. Previously, Darnell was a defensive coordinator at Kansas St., Wake Forrest, Notre Dame, Florida, Texas and Texas A&M. He was also a head coach at Florida (interim), Western Michigan and Texas A&M (interim). Darnell was hired after the passing Coach Bob Elliott last month.
Also in the news last week, according to a report by the Lincoln Journal Star, the Husker athletic department is close to a new licensing agreement with Adidas. If the report is correct the new deal would significantly increase the money Adidas already pays Nebraska. Reports indicate the deal could be worth as much as 128 million over 11 years. Roughly half of the estimated dollars would come in the form of shoes and apparel for the athletes and coaches. Adidas and Nebraska have been partners since 1995, and with the new deal, they will remain partners for many years to come. Has anyone else seen the alternate uniforms they were unveiled last week. Usually, I’m not a fan of this; I prefer to keep things the same when it comes to uniforms and helmets. This year’s jerseys to be worn against Wisconsin are amazing. They are a tribute to the 1997 team, our last national title team. The jerseys will have mesh on the numbers and stripes on the arms as a nod to the jerseys worn by the ’97 team. I have a feeling these will be quite popular with the fan base.
Finally, the preseason Amway Coaches Poll was released last week with Alabama garnering the top spot. Four Big Ten schools were represented in the top 10 with Ohio St. at #2, Penn S. at #6, Michigan at #9 and Wisconsin coming in at #10. Nebraska received votes to come in at the equivalent at #36. I will now go on record and make my predictions for this fall. Nebraska will over-achieve and finish the regular season at 9-3. The Huskers will lose early at Oregon but will bounce back with a home win against Wisconsin on October 7. Nebraska will then fall the following week to Ohio St. but will bounce back two weeks later with a win against Northwestern. The final loss will come at the hands of Penn St. before beating Iowa to bring the season to a close. With wins against the Badgers, Northwestern, and Iowa, the Huskers will win the Big Ten West division and will travel to Indianapolis to take on the Michigan Wolverines. Look for the Huskers to give the Wolverines a good game, but they will fall just short but will be rewarded with a top tier bowl game and finish the season with a victory and a 10-4 record. I know, wishful thinking right? We’ll see come January.
Go Big Red.