Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hook 'Em Billy

"Yeah, I know him. He's in my physics class."
- Texas defensive back Aaron Ross on an unknown until 2:30pm CST on Saturday Ryan Bailey, who kicked the game-winning 22-yard field goal.

Don't let anyone fool you. Bill Callahan wanted and needed and damn well should have had that win this afternoon against Texas. After finally getting that win in the Little Apple last week (a place where Frankie Solich NEVER won), Billy C wanted to beat the team that Solich never could in the regular season. In fact, many point to the 2003 loss at Texas as the game that cost Solich his gig. On the same day where Billy C is getting showered with praise for calling a great offensive game (which is a bit much to say -- a brilliant 49-yard run on a shovel pass to Brandon Jackson and the razzle dazzle of the halfback pass from Marlon Lucky to Nate Swift that should have won the game for the Corn are what stick out), he's also got to wear his usual big-game title of "Billy Goat" for pathetic clock management that essentially lost the game for the Corn. "We had an opportunity to close the game, and misfortune occurred," Billy C said, "and victory was more or less swept away."

A more apt description came from a poster Saturday afternoon on Deadspin:
  • "Bill Callahan time management 101: throw the ball on third and short with a 1 point lead and 2 minutes left despite no TOs for Texas, Texas drives inside the NU 10 yard line with a minute to go--don't use one of your timeouts till 30 run off, waste a TO on icing a kicker for a chipshot, take your final TO before the drive starts instead of having a play ready to go right after the kickoff. That was something to behold."

That pretty much sums up the afternoon, and Terrence Nunn needs to wear the choke title as well for two inexcusable fumbles. As our whipping boy Tom Shatel noted, there were several dropped passes. There were seven penalties. And of course the two Nunn fumbles. All of which means we got everything we thought about Billy C's 3rd year in Nebraska confirmed. He's recruited some serious talent, he's moving the Corn in the right direction, but he still can't get that major statement victory that finally justifies his hiring. But he's still intact to achieve his ultimate goal of the season, which is winning the Big XII North, which is likely going to happen (Shatel even noted that after the game, players from both teams were saying "See you in Kansas City" for the Big XII Championship game. Which of course means that NU is going to have a major letdown before then, maybe even next week at Oklahoma State). Of course if this happens, Callahan can get a revenge win against Texas -- just like Solich did in 1999 -- and as was the talk after the game, play in a BCS bowl.

Other tidbits:

  • I love the retro look of super-imposing the announcers in front of the crowd for the pre-game. It looks just like the old days of Monday Night Football, when Keith Jackson and Dandy Don and Cosell would give their thoughts on the upcoming game superimposed over the crowd in the background. Only here, Bob Davie and Brent Musburger have to talk into microphones with ESPN flags on it, and the ABC logo is at the bottom of the screen. Enough already, we get it. ABC and ESPN are owned by the same conglomerate. Synergy baby!
  • Musberger is officially more amped up than ever. I haven't heard him this excited since he sat next to Jimmy the Greek. Seriously, what's in the water in Bristol? Between Sean Salisbury, Steven A. Smith, Michael Irvin and now a newly energized Brent Musburger, it's all becoming a big shouting match. "COSBY......IS......INSIDE....THE....TEN YARD LINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
  • To top it off, Musburger's wore that Indiana Jones hot that George Costanza adorned during the season 3 Seinfeld episode "The Parking Space and Bob Davie looked like he was going to walk down to Love Library and teach a Greek History class. Look guys, we realize it was cold, but no way were you going to wear that awful hat and scarf or a Cosby sweater in that heated booth for the entire game.
  • I can't get over how short Billy C is. Does he really have to stand in front of his 6-5 players to run out onto the field? This all makes sense though when you consider he's a war history buff and has a reputation for having a "Napoleon Complex". They should just change the Tunnel Vision theme song to "Short People" by Randy Newman and be done with it.
  • Is this how they convinced Vince Young to spend his bye week in Lincoln: "Alright, I'll come to the Nebraska game, but I need it in writing from ESPN or ABC or whoever's doing the game that for every close up shot of Colt McCoy, they gotta show one of me. I'll even give a long in-game interview and talk about how Steve McNair and I are still boys." It sure looked like that was the agreement.
  • Speaking of which, I don't care if you cough up a birth certificate, I'm still convinced that Mack Brown recruited his new quarterback to become a Longhorn Legend with the caveat that he'd change his name to Colt McCoy.
  • Billy C subs his I-Backs more than Tony LaRussa brings in relief pitchers. First three plays, and three different backs have touched the ball. How having four great running backs who never know exactly how much playing time they're going to get from week to week works so far this season is beyond me. I'm seriously surprised one of the fab four hasn't talked of transferring. At any time during any game, one these four show flashes of absolute brilliance, but none plays the entire game. Marlon Lucky, who was touted as the next big running back to come to Lincoln, had 3 carries for 5 yards, but then had the play of the game with that perfect TD pass to Swift that gave the Corn the lead.
  • Part of Billy C changing the entire culture included having all of the players get their pictures taken wearing jacket and tie. Legend has it that QB Zac Taylor doesn't even OWN a jacket and tie and had to borrow one for his photo. I'm thinking he's not the only one.
  • One of the things that drives me nuts with the Huskers is that two players can wear the same number. I mean, there are two number 13's (QB Zac Taylor on offense and LB Corey McKeon on defense). At Nebraska, they have this weird rule where they retire JERSEYS but not numbers. There needs to be a rule right now that immediately retires #'s 7, 20, and 30 (for the 3 Heisman winners Eric Crouch, Johnny Rodgers and Mike Rozier), and while they're at it permanently put away #15 for the greatest college football quarterback ever in Tommie Frazier. That's it, four numbers. And nobody gets to "share" a jersey number. You're telling me you STILL wouldn't have enough numbers left over for everyone to have their own? They suit up over 99 kids on Saturdays?
  • "Nebraska runs the ball 63% of the time." I can't tell you how many times we've heard this sentence this week, it took maybe three minutes into the game for Bob Davie to remind everyone about this.
  • Finally, they get the ball to the best receiver on the team in Maurice Purify, and what do you know, Touchdown Nebraska. This kid's got NFL talent, and he's not even listed as one of the starters. Maybe the Corn really does have an excess of talent, but I'd have this kid out there on every play. Purify's only a Junior, and next year I'm expecting Dwayne Jarrett stuff from him.
  • On Brandon Jackson's touchdown run, ESPN/ABC foolishly cut away to a shot of Jackson's excited brother in the stands. Seriously, they almost didn't SHOW Brandon scoring the touchdown. I swear ABC was more concerned about getting in as many shots of Vince Young and Brandon Jackson's brother than they were the actual game.
  • A TV reporter asked Billy C if the Corn could use the game to measure their progress: "I don't keep a barometer on the sideline." He also said that he left his "mood ring" at home. So that's where he keeps it.
  • I still can't find this anywhere on youtube, but I did get a couple of text messages about it so I'm pretty sure it happened: Five white guys went to the game sans shirts and painted their face and bodies black with letters like "Go Big Red" or "Blackshirts" or something. Gotta support the team. Gotta get your ass kicked on "O" Street after the game.


BSmokedTurkey said...

I saw the guys painted black and can verify their existence. No word here in Lincoln about an “O” Street ass-kicking.

I spent the first half of the game in the stadium and the second half watching it on TV at a tailgate (which was much more fun, as usual). The general consensus was positive. Nunn doesn’t fumble, we win. When we coupled that with the punt he let roll down to the one-yard line, we all felt he shouldn’t get to bang any cheerleaders for at least the rest of the weekend.

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Gorgar said...

The guys painted black have been at previous games. The first shot I saw of them was so brief that I thought they were wearing blackface to the game, and started banging my head on the table.

Play calling markedly improved from the USC game, but oh, those timeouts...

"Icing the kicker" is the football equivalent of an urban myth. Nobody can provide an example of it working, but everybody's cousin's barber swears that it actually happened to some team they know.

Anonymous said...

re: time management

If callahan burns a TO on 1st down, does Mack still call the fade on 3rd? Doubtful, and the clock still ends up running down. Doesn't excuse the timeout after kickoff, but I don't think the time management is as bad as some are making it out to be...

(Those painted guys were out at 8:30 am. real troopers)