Official Husker Locker Blog
2009 Dec 14
Husker Monday Takes: And a Prince Shall Lead Them?
One with the Monday fun!
*The Heisman vote is a total bummer, of course; Ndamukong Suh should have won, and he had zero business finishing fourth behind, of all people, Texas' Colt McCoy. Clearly, a good chunk chunk of the voters didn't bother waiting until championship week. How thoughtful of them.
You know what else is a sham? Votes equally apportioned by region. Not only does that ignore the population quotient – the West Region has far more people in it than most of the geographical subsections – it hands 145 votes to the Northeast Region, which is, essentially, New England.
Want to guess how many Division I programs are in the entire region? Five. Army, Syracuse, Buffalo, Connecticut and Boston College. Even if one assumes that a good chunk of the votes go to ESPN (located in Bristol, Connecticut) you're still awarding votes to a region where baseball and college basketball reign supreme. How often – if ever again – will that region have a player in the Heisman running?
One-sixth of the Heisman race should not be decided by a region with no dog in the fight.
*Before pigskin pundits automatically hand the defense from Suh to fellow defensive tackle Jared Crick, may we gently suggest that the real heir apparent to Suh's excellence, in least in 2010, is cornerback Prince Amukamara. Surprised? Don't be. At 6-foot-1, Amukamara is the perfect size for boundary corner, and his first-team All-Big 12 selection was well-earned. Not only does he have the superior physical tools for his position – much like Suh had – Amukamara is surrounded by talent in what could be the nation's best secondary next year.
Not that Crick won't be excellent. I just think Amukamara is more symbolic of the defense's strength in 2010.
*Head coach Bo Pelini needs to use the bowl preparation as a laboratory for new players and ideas on offense. He doesn't necessarily need to unveil them in the bowl game. But he should use the time between now and, oh, Dec. 27 as a training ground for 2010. Open up the toolbox. Look hard at using the Wildcat – either with Rex Burkhead or Taylor Martinez or Roy Helu – for a power running game.
*Enough of this panic and nonsense over losing Tyler Gabbert to Missouri. Yes – it stinks because Nebraska wasted so much time on the kid. But, other than that: Develop what you have. Martinez didn't fall off the back of a produce truck. Ron Kellogg III quietly had a nice year on the scout team. Cody Green darn well better be ready to take over in 2010, given his experiences this year. Zac Lee? Had his chance in games. He practices too much better than he plays in games. Pelini, of course, always wants his guys to practice well. But he'll also reserve his final judgment for when “the bullets are flying.”
*Didn't write much about volleyball this year – but watched enough of it. John Cook squeezed as much juice out of this 2009 team as he could. In 2010, with another stellar recruiting class (and Penn State in slight rebuilding mode) NU can make a harder run at the national title. The key, to me? Turning the offense over to outside hitter Hannah Werth. Build it around one of the better athletes in Husker history, and get Lindsey Licht and Tara Mueller to fill supporting roles behind her. Make Werth a captain, too, for that matter. Will Cook, used to relying on quiet giants like Sarah Pavan, pull the trigger on the shorter, ultra-competitive Werth? If he wants to win the national title, he will.
*The Nebraska men's basketball team will round into shape as a defensive stalwart by the Big 12 season. The question is: Will the offense come around? It's not looking terrific so far. Against USC, Oregon State. Saint Louis and Creighton – the four strongest teams on NU's schedule thus far – the Huskers have averaged 51 points, and possessions have, once, again, ticked down to the end of the shot clock, with little ball movement on dribble penetration in sight. The Big 12 is just too grueling for NU to play like that. It's twice as tough this year as it was last, as Iowa State, Texas Tech and Kansas State – heck, even Colorado – are much stronger.
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