How Nebraksa Can Achieve Grandeur Once Again
How the Nebraska Huskers Can Achieve Grandeur Once again
The Nebraska Cornhuskers rich history is often discussed and for a great majority of college football fans, is easily remembered. As the legacy of legendary coach Bob Devaney remains reminiscent, for many fans, the fact remains that each year that passes distances his contributions from memory. Devaney won over 80 percent of the games he coached but now his legacy is memorialized in statues and his name is on the University's new sports center. The sad truth is that college football fans are often in search of instant gratification and the value of history is rapidly diminishing. Schools like Alabama can point to a rich history but for an 18-year-old college recruit, history often pales in comparison to some of the enticements a university may offer. Devaney coached his final game in 1972, winning national championships in 1971 and 1972. That would mean that today, only people who are in their 40s or older lived through the Devaney era and the magnificence that came with it.
Likewise, the man known as Dr. Tom, Tom Osborne, may have remained visible in the state of Nebraska serving as a senator, running for governor, then following in Devaney’s footsteps by becoming the Athletic Director at Nebraska has been away from the sidelines for quite some time. Anyone in their early teens would have no recollection of Osborne’s glorious reign as a Nebraska football coach. Like Devaney, Osborne won over 80 percent of the college games that he coached and won three national championships.
This growing gap between national relevance is becoming an issue for some fans of the Big Red. A National Title would be great but the Huskers need a conference title first. Here is a look at some of the steps the Huskers should focus on taking to once again be a college football powerhouse.
The Huskers have a disadvantage when it comes to location in the recruiting game. The state of Nebraska lacks the weather and recreational/entertainment that schools in the south or on the coasts can offer. So what can the Huskers offer? They can start by continuing to focus on athletes like Ameer Abdullah. Abdullah was an outstanding high school athlete who was recruited by many SEC schools. He choose Nebraska because he did not want to play cornerback; he wanted to play running back and Nebraska told him he would have an opportunity to give it a try (the coaching staff made no promise that he would end up there but they did promise he would have an opportunity to prove himself). There are athletes like Abdullah all around the country who just want a chance to prove themselves.
Operate with Dignity
What does this mean? Nebraska fans are encouraged by the fire and passion their head coach has but it may be time for Coach Pelini to figure out how to control his passion. Excitement and enthusiasm may be a different route for Pelini to express himself. No one is asking Pelini to change who he is but perhaps to transition into the role of an elder statesmen and representative of the University. Pelini is still a young man and fans should be patient but ultimately they would love to see Pelini evolve.
Stop Turning the Ball Over
Plain and simple, when the Huskers get the ball, they cannot afford to return it to their opponents so easily. Turnovers have been by far the biggest hang up of the Husker's offense for many years now. In fact, fans cannot stand turnovers but interceptions are a little easier to stomach as many Husker fans are still in the process of accepting an offensive game plan with increasing passing and understand that a high quality passing quarterback may be hard to come by. It is the fumbles that are so deplorable. Hang onto the ball, Huskers
Play with more Maturity
Much like the problem with the turnovers, the Huskers cannot afford to make simple mistakes on the field that include blown coverage’s and missed assignments. Nor should the Huskers be committing the high amount of penalties that they are often guilty of. For a team that often produces multiple academic All-Americans, the Huskers seem to make plenty of mistakes. The Huskers are smart enough; they need to use their intellect on the field.
Play with the Talent Available
The option game is not gone but it is not what it used to be either. The Huskers need to be adaptive in their offensive game plan to the talent that they have. This is plain and simple and should be a reflection of the quality of coaching in place. A good coach should be able to change their offensive scheme to get the most out of the talent in place rather than asking the young players who have limited time in the program to change what they do best.
Clearly Establish Duties of Their Assistant Coaches and Keep Them
Recalling the Osborne era, it is amazing how many assistant coaches the fans can remember. Names like Frank Solich, Ron Brown and Turner Gill were household names. These men loved coaching at Nebraska so much that the idea of taking a job somewhere else was not often considered. These assistant coaches are a big reason the Huskers had the success they did. The current staff needs to pay special attention to a quarterbacks coach and a special teams coach in this offseason.