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Official Husker Locker Blog

2011 Sep 24

NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Wyoming Game Day Thoughts

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By HuskerLocker

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Every week, the Husker Locker staff will be presented both questions addressing various aspects of that week's game and the opportunity to predict the game's score.

This week:

If Alfonzo Dennard plays, how do you expect the defense to perform? If he doesn’t, what do you expect?

Brian: If Dennard does play, this puts it on the staff to figure out if Ciante or Green is the other money corner. However, if Alfonzo does start and the same problems crop up with him in, it’s time to wonder if it’s the players, the scheme or the coach in charge. If Dennard doesn’t start, let's see how much rotation Nebraska gets in.

Erin: I think if Dennard does play, it will take more than just his presence to make the defense want to be a team. While he'll definitely be valuable to the corners and will bring some stability there, I'm more worried about our line.

There is just a lack of leadership, in my opinion. A group of extremely talented guys all playing for themselves. I've noted before that Bo has removed himself from the defense a bit this year, focusing more on the team as a whole versus the defense, and I'm wondering now if that's having an impact.

It shouldn't, but it might. Regardless, the defense needs to find it's swagger and do so quickly. Dennard will help with this, but it has to be a team effort.

Greg: If Dennard plays, I think it'll take a series or two for him to reach full speed. I think he'll bring the leadership to the secondary that they have lacked so far. If he doesn't play, someone HAS to step into that role. Based on the first three games, my guess would be Damion Stafford. Performance-wise, Nebraska's not playing Wisconsin (yet), but they aren't playing UTC either.

Brandon: It’s going to take Alfonzo time to get his “sea legs” back. Compton had the same issue coming back last year. Thankfully for Dennard, Nebraska’s only four games into the season and not halfway. He’s got natural ability and will make plays , especially if Wyoming tries to test him. I don’t expect to see him in for the entire game, anyway.

If he doesn’t play, I have to think that three games in, the Pelini brothers have switched things up. Andrew Green was scorched repeatedly, so it’s time to take him aside, work with him and shift people around. In the end, as long as Wyoming’s not getting huge chunks of yardage like Fresno State and Washington did, Bo’ll take the yardage if it means points don’t go on the board.

Do you expect Jamal Turner and Brandon Kinnie to be involved with the offense more this week?

Brian: With Brandon, it’s a simple matter of the process and how he is going to come through with flying colors. There is a point that in order for this offense to win the games that it shouldn't, Jamal has to be involved in more than 2-3 plays a game. Same with Ameer.

Erin: I really hope so. Turner needs the experience and Kinnie needs the confidence boost. I would hope to see them both more actively involved this week.

Greg: If not, expect the opposing defense (of any team) to key on the run, Enunwa, Kenny Bell, and of course, Taylor. They need to be utilized to maximize offensive options.

Brandon: No and yes, respectively, but not how you’d expect with Kinnie. Turner’s going to get a few touches to keep his motor warm before becoming the kitchen sink that is thrown at Wisconsin. I think that Kinnie’s going to get plenty of blocking work in. Before a game like Wisky, you want to make sure your playmakers stay healthy. Rex, Ameer, Braylon and Aaron all get their numbers called.

Do you foresee the altitude change affecting Nebraska’s performance?

Brian: Yes, it will make a difference. We will see how the depth all over the team will matter. Fans may or may not like what they see.

Erin: It might a bit, but I think adrenaline kicks in once the game begins and it really goes from there. They may get winded quicker, but I don't think it will have too much an affect. We have a really good staff and trainers who are equipped to prepare players for this environment and I have no doubt they have done everything to get the team ready.

Greg: If the altitude will affect the Huskers, it should be in either the first or the fourth quarters. In the first quarter, it would be an adjustment period. The fourth quarter, well, this is where conditioning comes in. The coaches will have the team prepared.

Brandon: Honestly, I don’t see how it can’t. Boulder’s elevation wasn’t brought up because it was a fun fact and Laramie’s at an even higher elevation. It makes me wonder about guys like Abdullah who’ve had cramping issues already. If he struggles with cramps again, watch for him to sit. The team’ll probably get gassed a little easier as a whole, but they should be alright overall.

What’s your score/overall performance prediction for Nebraska/Wyoming?

Brian: 38-21 Nebraska. I see Fonzie getting back in there, I see a few touches for all of our playmakers, and the with the crowd anticipated being heavy with Red, I definitely see it being like a Baylor or such. The defense won’t make anyone feel better, but there will be good things. All in time to start the hysteria known as Wisconsin week

Erin: 38-21 Nebraska is what I've been saying to most. Offense is going to be stellar, I have a feeling. Wyoming's defense is a bit slow for our offense, so I think we'll put up the points and get Brion Carnes in by the fourth quarter. As for our defense, I'd love to make a prediction but I'm going to say this one is up in the air. We won't know till we see it.

Greg: This is Nebraska's last chance to look like a top ten team before conference play. This game needs to be a statement win. Acknowledge the fact that this is a "border war" and that more likely than not, Nebraska fans will make their presence known. However, Wyoming will be equally vocal. Take the UW crowd out early with a stifling defense and ball controlling offense. Nebraska 47 Wyoming 20

Brandon: The offense keeps getting better every week and I don’t expect that to stop, but I do expect things to be as vanilla as possible heading into Madison. This is a game where Bo just wants to go in, get the win and move on to one of the biggest matchups of the entire college football season. The Cowboys are ranked No. 109 in pass defense. Expect a full dose of Bell, Enunwa and Reed.

The altitude’s going to take its toll, but Nebraska’s simply a superior team in all aspects. Wyoming will score, but no one in Nebraska will care if the Huskers win by one point in Laramie and go on to beat the Badgers. That said, look for the offensive line to open some lanes en route to a 44-27 Nebraska victory.

Follow the panel on Twitter:

Brandon: @HuskerLocker
Brian: @btbowling
Erin: @helloerinmarie
Greg: @thehooch36

Tags: predictions, wyoming

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