Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Blood, Nick Thallas, An Open Invite To The Self Righteous Brothers: Your 2008 Nebraska Football Preview

We actually have a correspondent who is required to provide fun analysis this season for the Husker Games, however our "consultant" as we'll call the young lad doesn't want to ruffle a lot of feathers. Which of course we're all freaking about around here. At any rate, there's going to be a College Football Game played in Lincoln, Nebraska a week from Saturday, in case you haven't heard. And at least a few people seem to be rather enthused about this.

The problem with excitement over these pre-season practices -- and this is especially the case with College Football -- is how easy it is to work up. Mainstream media writers are on record in recalling the first, ahem, work-outs back in 2004, when a strapping young lad with the last name of Callahan landed a cushy gig with a storied college football program and brought along with him a 798 page playbook. And those practices were CLOSED off to everyone! So before we get to our consultant's notes, let's remember the immortal words of one Winston Wolff and not go sucking each other's dicks just yet. It's great to have 3-weeks of boot camp where you can beat up on each other and get into character, but until an actual game that means something is played, we really can't tell anything.

There's not a ton of breaking news to add to what everyone else has been providing because as we all know, there's a new sheriff in town. One who hasn't treated pre-season practices as some sort of top-secret event. We get it, everything from January, 2004 - November 2007 is treated like Major League Baseball treats the home run records of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa (for further proof, read up on anytime Ken Griffey Jr. hits another home run, it's almost like MLB put a ban on mentioning anyone he passes on the all-time list if the name is something like PALMIERO or SOSA). Every new brochure that comes from the University features pictures of Pelini and Osborne. It's a celebration of the best of the old with what we all hope to be a return to domination. This is the official passing of the baton from Osborne. Not to Solich or that fella who came from Oakland. As far as the University of Nebraska is concerned, the last four years NEVER happened. Instead of joking about their own mistake like George Clooney does about the time he played Batman, the University would just like to bury the Billy C era some place deeper than Starkweather's grave.

But a great thing came out of at least the latter part of that era which is going to lead to something really special going forward. It's name is Shawn Watson. Watson, of course, is one of the lone leftovers from the Billy C era who happens to be the Offensive Coordinator for your 2008 Nebraska Cornhuskers. This is a good thing for Husker fan, as Watson is what some are calling "the best offensive mind in college football." The mix of what Pelini wants to add with Watson's offense is going to pay huge dividends. But let's face it, Bo and his brother Carl are defensive specialists, and the defense was the major cause of concern from day one of the Callahan experiment. Watson is going to be a hot commodity at season's end, and reports on Quarterback Joe Ganz are impressive. Ganz is throwing the ball better than Harison Beck and Zac Taylor did, and he's been asked to run some non-WCO plays. All signs indicate Nebraska is in great hands with Ganz under center. The big concern and gripe Husker fan will have come January will be regarding Watson jumping ship. Anything Nebraska gets out of Watson after this season is a huge bonus.

The thing everyone needs to realize -- and start doing so with game 1 -- when it comes to Watson is that the days of keeping the same coaching staff at any program are long gone. And nobody can fault Watson if his offense puts up big numbers (which will happen in the first three games) for entertaining offers. His name will be bantered around from mid-season through January as a possible successor for anyone on the hot seat, college or pros. Pelini's the new king of the Corn, and can have a TO-esque reign if he wins like everyone thinks he will. Keep that in mind as Watson's star rises. And it will for media darling Linebacker Coach Mike Ekeler, who's hitched his wagon to Pelini's star in his coaching career but will gain much more national notoriety as the program progresses. Of course it'd be wonderful to see both Watson and Ekeler stay with the program for life. But we can't fault either of them should they have dreams of heading their own program some day. And we're talking about this before the Huskers have played a single game this season.

Speaking of linebackers, the other surprise coming from practices is the position change of Cody Glenn. Expect Glenn to be a key contributor at his new position. He's been given a new chance by a position coach who knows how to move the needle. We're expecting that both Glenn and Ganz to be named among the 2008 captains. But we're also on record of expecting a lot of things, and oddly enough we're expecting what this blog is predicting from the Huskers. (NOTE: The more time you spend on that page, the more you realize how well thought out The Bleacher Report's predictions are, even though we have a beef with the final one.)

Let's see, what else do we have here...Don't discount Bo's brother Carl, who's an incredibly sharp defensive mind as well. Bo is going to get the lion's share of the credit for turning around what was a Chinese fire drill of a defense, but Carl isn't in town just because he shares the same blood. The guy can flat out coach.

Still not sold on this whole Barney Cotton story. He spent last year coaching high school, and the media seems to love the idea of him going back the high school ranks simply for the love of it, and now he's jumping in to be the savior of the offensive line. Barney is taking over what everyone considers to be among the best players left from the Billy C era, so he's got a great chance to succeed. I mean, this is the offensive line at NEBRASKA for chrissakes. Cotton is the guy who will be heralded as loyal and hard-working and will stick with the program for as long as Pelini's around. I guess there's no harm in that, but the thinking is there currently aren't a ton of people begging for Barney Cotton to come in and save their program. It's just when it comes to Barney, we just think of Larry David going, "Ehhhh."

Ron Brown coming back, and as tight ends coach, is something we will never, ever quite understand. It's sort of like in The Blues Brothers when Jake & Elwood needed to put the old band back together. There was the scene in the movie with Aretha Franklin where the boys really wanted Matt "Guitar" Murphy to come back, and "Blue Lou" Marini just happened to be in the back cooking the "best damn chicken in the state", and got the Queen of Soul's blessing to "go on" with the band. The difference is, we know Blue Lou could play the sax and was an important part to that gig, especially the scene when Cab Calloway re-did "Minnie The Moocher", and the way he said "Chicken WIRE?" when the band posed as the Good Old Blues Brothers Boys Band. Not so sure of the case with Brown here. Although the Blues Brothers were on a mission from God, so maybe it makes some sort of sense in that regard.

Nebraska will beat either Virginia Tech or Missouri at home, but not both teams. Still wondering how the Corn has their first five games at home, and a total of 8 in Lincoln and only four road games.

No matter how the season is going in November, the Huskers will flat out destroy Kansas at home. Load up on the Corn that week, no matter what the line is. There, we said it. Why so confident? Out of everything that happened in the last 4 years, those 76 points in Lawrence last year still sting the entire state. Don't think Pelini and Company don't recognize that.

Surprise team of the year? And by "Surprise" we mean this year's Hawaii. Ball State. Remember how they almost beat a down trodden Nebraska team in Lincoln last year? Just saying...

Not sold on Penn State at all. Or Illinois. And really not willing to bet the farm on Oklahoma in the BCS title game.

Billy C and Brett Favre sharing face time in New York this fall. Yeah, we saw that coming.

Our friends at The Bleacher Report seem to be the only one's concerned with Kevin Cosgrove's whereabouts. That sounds about right.

For you Nick Thallas fans, and really that would be all of us: Gregg Hoover from Schererville, Indiana would like to extend his thanks. Everyone is now just waiting to hear when Nick is going to teach that Hunter Safety Class of his again. There are, shall we say, some interested attendees who'd like to know when they can register.

Yes, the Double Nickel's fascinating memoirs have found a place on the New York Times Best Seller List for Hardcover Nonfiction. If you haven't done so already, please do click on the link that's on the upper right of this page and purchase the book. It's not recommended as something you should read out loud to the kids as a bed time story, but is a nice read that will give you pause and even allow you to look up and say, "Whoa" quite often. In an odd twist, former Eagle Don Felder's own book "Heaven and Hell" found a spot in front of Peter's on the list, months after it was first published. How both Felder and Peter turned up even writing books, let alone becoming New York Times Best Sellers, is something we should all just leave to the historians to decide.

No matter how year one of Pelini turns out, we do know that the holidays will be a whole lot brighter with the addition of the Self Righteous Brothers Christmas Album. Oh it's not on vinyl, even though we're pretending it is. Words can never do these guys justice for the joy they've provided us. We'll forever be happy to have lived a life where we were able to see them in person, and hope to be around for the next show in Hell.


Mac G said...

I see 7-5 and alot of angry skers. This defense is still horrible and there are no easy Big 12 outs on this schedule at all. Maybe Baylor.

I will email ya about Double Nickle book.

Todd said...

Great preview. I hadn't stopped by here in a couple weeks and a few minutes ago it hit me that Dirty Laundry might have a Huskers preview posted. Looking forward to your analysis as the season plays out.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that the hunter safety classes are going on right now. Sign up now!

Nick the Dick said...

I am the king of everything Blair. Get this shit off your site now.