Teams: there a lot of 'em. In order to continue to bring you the finest mediocre college football coverage around, we have Corn Nation here to review Nebraska in year one, A.D. (After DistantoddballlonerCallahan. Not an awkward phrase at all, no.) Enjoy.
One: what color is your season? In other words, please explain the metaphorical state of your program through the metaphor of color:
If we don't return to being a physical team on both sides of the ball, we could continue to be the passive pink that goes with all the 'Hello Kitty' stuff that my daughter has. Our we could be back to a semblance of our true selves - Scarlet - the true color of blood. Or we could be Black, as the Husker defense finds themselves and begins to resurrect their 'Blackshirt' tradition.
Who knows what to expect from the 2008 Nebraska Cornhuskers? Was the team as lost on the field as they looked due to Bill Callahan's insecurities? Or did the players give up because they were lacking in heart and talent? No one knows, but how you feel about the subject right now is related to how bad you believe Bill Callahan was as a head college coach. Only you can answer that question, preferably in the comments section.
My cock is THIS much longer than Callahan's, boys. Measure it.
Two: What historical nation and period do you resemble most right now?
Biblical, Numbers 13, 14. Moses and the Israelites are about to enter the Promised Land - land promised to them by God.
They send twelve spies into the region to scout their enemy and ten of the spies come back and report that they cannot defeat the people there because they're very powerful and well-fortified. Only Caleb and Joshua say that they must trust God and enter the Promised Land and defeat their enemy. God forces them Israelites to wander for 40 years in the desert. The result is that one generation passes and (with the exception of Joshua and Caleb) never sees the land promised to them by God. Keep in mind that all this takes place after God delivered ten plagues on Egypt and parts the Red Sea, ala Charlton Heston in the Ten Commandments.
I said, that way! No, that way!
And so we are Nebraska. We allowed our vanity to turn us against our own traditions, our heritage. We didn't sin against God, but against ourselves. The question that remains is as to how long we must wait before we see the promised land. How long must we suffer? Hopefully not a generation. College football would like us to be good. Otherwise, you people will have to deal with Missouri or worse yet, Colorado. Trust me, you won't like it if you do.
Three: You have important players. Discuss a few of them hastily.
Marlon Lucky, I-Back. is the most complete back in the nation. He's the Big 12's only returning 1,000 yard rusher and in 2007 was the top receiving back in the nation with 75 receptions and 705 yards. Lucky will share time two other backs, Roy Helu and Quentin Castille, so while his overall numbers may not improve, his production is key to Nebraska having a good 2008 campaign.
Cue "Bittersweet Symphony" and its natural counterpart, "I Got 5 On It."
Armando Murillo, Cornerback. Murillo was one of only two defensive players who started 12 games last season, and the only returning cornerback with experience. He'll be counted on to cover the Big 12's best receivers and he has the quicks and size to do it. He'll get the call a lot this season because his name just rolls off the tongue. Go ahead, try it. Try it three times fast, even.
Matt Slauson, Guard. At most schools fans talk only about the skill positions. At Nebraska, offensive lineman are given equal treatment. Senior Matt Slauson will be our starting right guard. We won't be going back to the triple option, but we will establish a strong running game, and Slauson will be a key to making that happen. He will provide senior leadership on a line that must return to physical dominance.
Four: Name two games we might actually want to watch featuring your team.
Missouri. Missouri last won in Lincoln in 1978 (I was at that game). It will be the first Big 12 conference game of the season for both teams. Mizzou delivered a 41-6 ass-kicking on national television last season that featured a Mizzou touchdown being scored on a fake field goal in the fourth quarter. The Huskers will not have forgotten that. Even though the Tigers have been picked to win the Big 12 North by everyone in the nation, they won't waltz in and take it without a fight.
Texas Tech. The Huskers go on the road to face one of the most potent offenses in nation one week after facing Missouri at home. We'll find out if Bo Pelini's defense can handle the explosion that is the Red Raiders. Bill Callahan's first game against Tech was a 70-10 annihilation in Lubbock.
Four-A: Save us all some time and mention the game were better off NOT watching.
New Mexico State, San Jose State. Do I really have to say anything more than that?
Five: Every hero forgets something in their toolbelt. What does your team lack?
Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson is committed to a strong running game. We have a deep and experienced offensive line, a capable quarterback in Joe Ganz, and a good backfield. What we lack is a playmaker receiver than can stretch the field and make opposing defenses fear the long ball. One will need to emerge from a young and inexperienced group, otherwise we can figure on eight guys in the box and a less productive offense.
On the defensive side, Nebraska graduated four starters at linebacker last season. That left us with one who has any starting experience. The depth chart is so shallow that Cody Glenn is penciled in as a starter. Glenn is a senior and played his previous seasons as a running back.
Six: Describe your team with a Jimmy Buffett song. No, were seriousdo it.
Quite a discography to pick only one, but it'd have to be 'Changes in latitudes, Changes in attitudes'. The whole idea of drinking all night instead of reviewing the whole year makes sense for 2007. "Seeing departure signs in some big airports reminds me of the places I've been" - a metaphor for the longing for past success of Nebraska football, "Too much to see waiting in front of me, and I know that I just can't go wrong" cites the expectation and hope for the future, but the key line, "If we couldn't laugh we could all go insane." is the heart of the song and as Husker fans encountered horrible defense last season, they also encountered each other and it wasn't pretty. The screaming was loud and clear as the "greatest fans in college football" had to deal with whether booing was good, evil, or the result of too many runzas and beer, not necessarily in that order. Instead of laughing, we went insane. Too bad we don't have more Parrotheads in-state.
I tried to work "Get Drunk and Screw" in here, but.... well... that only works if we beat Missouri to start the Big 12 conference.
Seven: Were master wagerers. Give us a bet to place for up to ten dollars about your team.
Hmmm.... $10 isn't much to bet, so if it's going to be worth the while, it should have high odds but still be attainable. Here's what I'd bet $10 on - last season Nebraska was 112th in sacks. This year we're going to be in the top 20. To make that big a leap is a long shot. To say that our defense will be improved is to say that we didn't have any further to fall. To say that we'd be in the top 20 in sacks against the quick-bang offenses we'll face in the Big 12 is huge. I'd place that bet. Why not?
BTW, I've heard that Orson understands the phrase "quick bang" better than anyone alive. Is that true?
Totally true. For those interested in learning more about Nebraska football, the Library of Congress suggests you check out Corn Nation, the internet's finest Nebraska weblogsitemunity, or perhaps O.E. Rolvaag's "Giants in the Earth: A Prairie Saga."