Yea, football season is finally here! The Huskers have been working hard and we are about to see the results of that work. Mike Riley came in as the Huskers new coach last December, put his staff together quickly and has been working hard on embracing the Husker Culture and implementing a new system. To his credit, it seems like he “gets” what the Huskers mean to the State of Nebraska and is willing to fit his system to the talent he has….unlike some past coaches.
The word we get is that on Defense, the new system is simpler which allows players to understand their responsibilities more quickly and swarm to the ball quicker. The up side is to be better against the run…which was a problem at times for Pelini defenses (think Wisconsin last year). So what is the down side? The new system puts more pressure on the corners and safeties to play one-on-one with out as much help. This could lead a few big plays against the Huskers. Luckily, Nebraska has a talented bunch of corners and safeties that can help this defense succeed. A strong line lead by Maliek Collins is expected to put pressure on the the opposing QBs which should help.
It sounds like the offense is going to be more of a partial transition to Riley’s normal pro-style offence rather than a complete shift. The coaches see the ability that Tommy Armstrong has when he tucks the ball and runs, so it sounds like the QB run will still be part of the Huskers offense. One thing they have asked Tommy to do is step out of bounds and slide a little more to avoid getting hit so often. The coaches have been working really hard with Tommy on going through his progression of receivers, so we should expect a little more passing in the 2015 version of the Husker offense.
Special teams took a big hit this summer when DeMornay Pierson-El went down with a foot injury, but the coaches feel good about Jordan Westercamp filling in until Pierson-El can return. Current estimates for Pierson-El’s return are early October. The kicking game is looking strong.
The Huskers face one of the toughest opening season games in recent history this week against the Cougars of BYU. The consensus opinion on BYU is that they have a very talented and dangerous offense and a shaky defense. The Cougars are lead on offense by a talented dual threat QB Taysom Hill. Hill’s name was mentioned in the Heisman conversation last season until he was injured mid way through the year. He has some talented receivers and is a threat to run at any time.
Defensively, the Cougars have struggled. This could help the Huskers as they transition into a new offense.
One of the biggest determining factors of who will win this game is suspensions. We already know that 5 Cornhuskers will face suspensions this week, but don’t know yet who they are and what kind of impact it will have on the game. We also know there will be some BYU players suspended for this game due to a fight that occurred during their Bowl game last winter, but again we don’t know how many there will be, who they are or what impact that will have on the game.
This could very well be a close game, but more importantly, it will be interesting to see what the Huskers look like under a new coaching staff.
We hope to see you at Dukes this Saturday to help cheer on the Big Red!