Bo Pelini is not a firm believer that the first Saturday of the season dictates where your team is going for the year. Rather, it is a baseline for the rest of the season to find things to continually improve on.
Coming into the 2012 season, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are looking to make a run at a Legends Division title in the B1G 10 conference. While the Huskers do have some stiff competition, they can only control one variable: themselves. With that, the Huskers have three big question marks entering the season.
1. Did Taylor Martinez Really Improve His Passing?
This is the question Husker nation has been wanting to know the most. The passing game, and really the whole offense, lies on the right arm of Martinez. If it is just as terrible as it has been in season’s past, the Huskers are going to be in for a long, long season.
If Martinez has improved his mechanics and can deliver throws, for the most part, on the money, then this offense is going to be dangerous. Defenses will have to account for an improved passing offense, which should leave Martinez and Rex Burkhead lots of room to run.
2. Will The Secondary Improve?
Husker fans were spoiled the two years prior to last year. Prince Amukamara and Alfonzo Dennard created a fierce secondary that defensive coordinator Carl Pelini felt comfortable leaving them on an island. The Huskers shut down All-American quarterbacks Jake Locker and Colt McCoy just to name a few.
Last year, immaturity and inexperience haunted this defense. This season, Andrew Green and whoever starts opposite of him have a lot more experience than they did last year. Communication has improved, which should lead to less big plays due to mixed up coverages. If the defense plays a little more physical, expect it to be a true blackshirts defense.
3. Have The Huskers Matured?
If you had to think of one single part of football that has defined the Huskers under Pelini, besides his temper, what would it be? Inconsistency? Immaturity? Both of those became crucial factors as the Huskers racked up yellow flag over yellow flag.
If Nebraska wants to be good this year, they have absolutely got to find a way to get rid of the penalties. They cannot continue to take silly penalties both offensively and defensively and expect to win games. If they have matured, then they will stop committing these dumb penalties.