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Official Husker Locker Blog

2010 Dec 31

HOLIDAY BOWL: Report Card

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By HuskerLocker

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Here's our report card after the Holiday Bowl!

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: None. Kyler Reed made one excellent catch, but it's one play, not a whole performance.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. Played his corner spot with verve and anger all night, and made the game's best defensive play by stuffing Jake Locker on a goalline bootleg run to end the third quarter. Dennard was a blanket on his receivers, and the pass interference penalty called against him was garbage.

GRADES:

QUARTERBACK: D Taylor Martinez didn't get much help from his offensive line – virtually none at all, in fact – but his decision-making in the pocket was often poor. He took bad sacks in the second half after he was told by coaches to hang in the pocket more and bail less. Gee, that was a good idea, taking away the kid's scrambling talents. Martinez is not an intuitive quarterback when it comes to managing a game, down and distance, play clock, huddle, all that. He'll have to learn it – fast. Next year's schedule will not be kind. Cody Green played OK in mop-up duty, but missed too many open receivers downfield. Asked to run a two-minute drill against a fired-up defense, Green didn't deliver.

RUNNING BACK: C Rex Burkhead's first-quarter fumble was costly. He played OK for the rest of the game. Roy Helu seemed gimpy and uncertain and turned in another poor bowl performance. These guys just couldn't get untracked because of the lack of holes.

OFFENSIVE LINE: F As bad as any NU offensive line performance since the 2005 Kansas game in Lawrence, when the Jayhawks humiliated the Huskers 40-15. Washington's defense, however motivated it was, was depleted and awful, and the simplest power plays that gained 8 or 9 yards per play in the first game didn't make a dent this time around. Barney's bunch looked beat up and tired to boot. Where's the depth?

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: C Kyler Reed made a nice grab, as did Mike McNeill on a fourth down play. As a group, the wide receivers fall down too much, leave their feet too often, and give away their routes too soon. Niles Paul was, as we predicted, a non-factor.

DEFENSIVE LINE: D Pierre Allen made eight tackles and Jared Crick seven, but they were the quietest tackles you'll ever see. No push against Washington's power running game. No pass rush on Jake Locker. Poor pass rush discipline that allowed Locker to scramble. Two personal fouls on Crick and Allen, too. One of the poorest performances of the year, frankly.

LINEBACKER: C Lavonte David got sucked inside on a couple of those zone read plays that Locker broke to the corner. He made his share of athletic tackles, too, capturing the school's single-season record in the process, but David didn't always make his run “fits.” Only a fair performance.

SECONDARY: C The pass coverage was strong, as usual, although Eric Hagg got beat on a costly corner route that eventually turned into a Washington touchdown. The tackling was shoddy, especially from safeties Austin Cassidy and Courtney Osborne. Normally sure-handed, boy turned into Rickey Thenarse for a night with their one-shoulder takedowns.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D Alex Henery shanked a punt and never got the chance to kick a field goal. NU struggled in kick coverage again, handing the Huskies 30 free yards thanks to two face mask penalties. This unit, as a whole, probably underperformed this year.

GAME MANAGEMENT/PLAYCALLING: F Martinez doesn't manage a game very well, and the coaches can't do all of the game management aspects for him. Shawn Watson called a terrible game full of conservative power runs that never paid off and static-looking dropback passes that didn't pay off. He used the Wildcat sparingly, but it didn't hit for much. Time to put back the Rex Burkhead passing plays for the winter and think hard about dusting them off next fall – if Watson's still around. The 12 penalties have sadly become a common occurrence for the Huskers. NU looked flat, played like it, and lost soundly accordingly.

Tags: holiday bowl, report card, alfonzo dennard

Comments (14)

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djames91

First off, I must compliment the Husker fans. I am a graduate of the U. of Washington and a current season ticket holder for football for the Huskies. I was a student when you guys came to Seattle in '92 and attended the '97 and '10 games as an alum and you are the classy fans I have ever been around. You guys are loyal, confident and ready to have fun but not at other teams expense. That might be different towards Texas or Oklahoma but I don't know.

In our lost decade of football under NeuWeasel-Gilbertson-Willingham I have been around fans from Ohio State, Notre Dame, LSU, USC, oregon, (WORST FANS ON THE PLANET) and Oklahoma. They had no class when they were kicking our ass while you guys were great. Even Boise State fans were cocky a-holes and we beat them!

While I am estatic with the outcome of the Holiday Bowl, I know that Nebraska is so much better then they showed. While the Huskies did get better, we didn't get THAT much better then Nebraska. You guys looked like a 6-10 pro team playing their last game of the season and had stopped listening to their coach and that is too bad. Nebraska is better than that. I was hoping the Huskies would keep it close but I totally expected the Huskers depth and talent to take over and win in the end.

I wish you guys the best of luck in your move to the Big Ten and if neither of us are going to play for the National Championship, lets start meeting in Pasadena on Jan. 1

– Jan 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm

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Crimprof

It is leadership, pure and simple. Bo Pelini is not a leader of head-coach status. He is an defense coordinator. He is rough-and-tumble, blue-collar, in your face, junk-yard-dog and scrappy defensive coordinator material. But, he is not head-coach material. He does not present himself as a head coach. His game "attire" is embarrassing. Nebraska head coaches don't define themselves with gray, working sweatshirts. The gum chewing?????? The profanity??? The player abuse???? The referee abuse???? The press conference, press corp abuse????? Really, who does he think he is? What does he think his function is? He is the face of Nebraska football!!! He is the coordinator of the running of the team, not the guy trying to run the individuals jobs and mechanics of his coordinators (and, certainly not during the games -- You have 350 days a year to do that -- NOT on game days). If you can't trust them to do their jobs ............ If they can't do their jobs ........ fire them. That is what leadership entails. It's great to have "friends" , even relatives working for you; but, this is a BUSINESS. Watson should have been fired last year. Why are we waiting him to search for a full-time gig anywhere? We don't owe him. He was overpaid for what he hasn't done for us. Fire him and begin the search (which should have been started midmid-season). Barney Cotton. you are kidding me and NU fans, right? Is there a loyalty to keep someone who hasn't changed his philosophy since he played for NU? News flash ..... the world changed. Get with it. He has one of the most undisciplined, injury-prone, unresponsive, non-adaptable lines I have ever seen at NU. Loyalty is over. The Big 12 championship and bowl game validated his worth. Goodbye Barney. Ted Gilmore, be on notice. You either know nothing about receivers or you are simply playing favorites and leaving the talent on the bench. You have a young receiver (Hyland) who doesn't miss catches. You have missed the boat on routes and discipline. Good bye Gilmore. Bo Pelini embarrassed Husker nation with his pandering of Taylor Marinez. He set him up as the second coming of ....... Tim Tebow. How's that working out for you Bo? He can't make decisions. He folds under pressure. He fakes injury. He "threatens" to quit. We need his prima donna BS like a hole in the head. I will reiterate, Bo Pelini needs to step up to the plate and start acting and looking like a head coach. He needs to put his mind to running the coaches, not "being" the coach for them. If they are not doing their job, get rid of them ...... and, they aren't doing their job. Personally, we might not be winning as many games, but I would have liked to have seen Turner Gill as the head coach, Scott Frost as a quarterback coach or a co-offensive coordinator, and a few other ex-Huskers in the coaching positions. Keep the Husker tradition alive. Currently, the Big Red is being tarnished.

– Jan 1, 2011 at 11:40 am

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HarleyHusker

What happens in the fall of 2011? Lots of azz kickins if they don't get their **** together. Very possible to go 5-7 if something isn't done. Somebody needs to step up (hint hint Bo-Dr.T) and make the changes that need to be made. At this point there is no improvement going on. Just regression back toward the Callahan era.

– Jan 1, 2011 at 10:14 am

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arlyn

An absolute disgraceful football game for Nebraska

– Jan 1, 2011 at 10:10 am

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Husker87

How about First National Bank quit running the commercial with the Devany, Osborne and Peleni. I guess they are saying Peleni is the next great one? Please quit disrespecting Bob and Dr. Tom. Pelini's bravado statements, "Nebraska's back" and "our defense will be better in 2010" came back to haunt him. Bo's future place in NU coaching lore will be defined in the next 2-3 years. Right now he needs to man-up and make some changes on the staff. I hope Dr. Tom will allow him too. The offense went backwards this year. And can someone tell me why, why! can't we recruit one, just one, big time receiver??? Niles Pauls was not that guy the past few years despite everyone tryin to make him one. At this point we don't not have one big-time receiver returning next year. Lot's of questions in the off-season and not many anwers.

– Dec 31, 2010 at 4:30 pm

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BigSky13

We played poorly top to bottom, and were poorly coached, but to me the thing that stood out as the worst (especially considering the group they were going against) was the offensive line. They couldn't have been less effective if they'd all been standing on the sidelines.

– Dec 31, 2010 at 3:53 pm

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oldqb

This off season we will see what Bo is made of. First of all the Martinez experiment needs to be done. What makes the spread offensive systems work at Oregon and Auburn is that their QB’s pass first and run second. Martinez can’t pass and he lacks the basic fundamentals of a QB, like stepping up in the pocket, going through the reads, by the time a QB hits his plant foot on a seven step he should be to his second if not his third receiver. Martinez hits his plant foot and if his first receiver is covered he freezes. Move him out to receiver where he can burn Dbacks all day long and give us a deep threat, not even sure if Prince could cover Taylor one on one all day, it will require a man over which will require them to pull someone out of the box. Plus we have a red shirt freshman that gave our D fits on scout team all year. With two deep threats we could be unstopable. Rumor has it that Carnes and Turner have the same quickness and speed as Martinez but are pass first QB’s. Move Green out to slot and use him like KU did Kerry Meier. Second it is time for Watson to move on, his lack of ability to be able to move away from the run when they were putting 8 and 9 in the box and calling a play action pass on a 3rd and 13 says it all. We need to open the check book and get someone in here. I would be all for Mark Mangini. He may be crashed at KU but you can’t deny he can get an O firing on all cylinders. If Bo can’t make these tough decisions then he isn’t the head coach we thought, just a really good D corr. Just an opinion of a man that used to throw it around the turf.

– Dec 31, 2010 at 2:05 pm

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Casker

Yes, this was embarrassing. It was clear NO ONE from Nebraska wanted to be there: fans, players and coaches.

Currently ranked #5 Wisconsin is going to give us a rude welcome to the Big 10 next year if things don't change.

– Dec 31, 2010 at 12:26 pm

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duke1234

The worse all around game in years. Watson, take your left over play calling and send them back to Steve Petersen and Bill C.(Maybe you should deliver them yourself). Next year it's the Big 10, in your face football. Not the weak Big 12 (North). Get back to real Husker football, ball control, wear out the opponent, take control in the 4th, and real "Blackshirt" defense. Bo, get it together quick, or 6-6 (at best) is on the horizon next year.

– Dec 31, 2010 at 11:50 am

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HuskerRick

ANOTHER PITIFUL SHOWING BY THE HUSKER OFFENSE. NO 1ST DOWN PASSES UNTIL THE GAME WAS OVER? ... DOES OUR OFFENSIVE GENIOUS OC WONDER WHY UW HAD 9 IN THE BOX EVERY SINGLE FIRST DOWN? WATSON IS HORRENDOUS AT ADJUSTING TO THE CHALLENGES OF EVERY BIG GAME, AND OBVIOUSLY OUR HUSKERS NEED AN INFUSION OF SOMETHING DIFFERENT OFFENSIVELY. ITS NO LONGER THE LACK OF TALENT OR THE PLAYERS’ MISTAKES OR THE SCHEDULE—ITS COACHING. BO NEEDS TO STEP UP AND SHOOT WATSON IN THE HEAD ASAP—GIVE HIM A GREYHOUND TICKET HOME—NO UNIVERSITY WILL HIRE THIS GUY AFTER WATCHING ANY GAME HE HAS CALLED AS OC. GBR

– Dec 31, 2010 at 9:58 am

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WyoHusker68

I am very disappointed. There should be some changes for Bo...Shawn needs to find a new home. Two years and no improvement on the offense. He did not take advantage of the talents of Martinez or the rest of the crew. I felt that at times the offense seemed confused as to what they were supposed to do. Watson doesn't know how to use the talent available. He tries to put a square into a circle, it is not going to happen. Some of the blame goes to the players but it has to be mostly on Watson. He has not shown anything that can spark an offense. I thought maybe Martinez changed teams when Locker was running around. Where was our containment and pressure. First we need an OC to turn our fortunes around. Watson has not and will not get it done and trust me he will not be successful anywhere else unless he let's someone else call the game. GO BIG RED!!! By the way where is the "Get rid of Watson petition." I want to sign it.

– Dec 31, 2010 at 9:20 am

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Butch40

What happens in the fall of 2011

– Dec 31, 2010 at 8:58 am

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Hunter

painful & embarassing to watch on TV.

– Dec 31, 2010 at 8:42 am

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SoyBeanGuy

The Huskers should be ashamed of themselves, the Bob Father is rolling over in his grave! SAD

– Dec 31, 2010 at 6:47 am

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