September 5, 2011

Husker Buzz: We'll learn much more this week

A lot of people walked away from Saturday's win over Tennessee-Chattanooga wanting to draw conclusions about Tim Beck's new offensive system.

You heard everything from "it didn't look physical" to "it resembled a lot of what you saw last year."

What was most interesting from Beck on Saturday is he showed a lot of different formations and looks. You saw everything from the pistol, shotgun, power-I, diamond and single back sets. It was almost like he wanted to put a little bit of everything out there just to experiment against live competition and throw off future opponents by making them prepare for several different looks from the Huskers.

"As Coach Beck kept saying, there's a method to his madness," senior wide receiver Brandon Kinnie said.

Head coach Bo Pelini made a similar comment on Monday by saying they played a lot of different players and used several different looks on offense to work on a few different things.

There's no doubt in my mind the Huskers could have probably lined right up and ran about five or six plays and scored a will on Chattanooga if they wanted.

"Part of what we were doing was trying to make an assessment," Pelini said. "Let's face it. You get to a certain point where, and I'm not trying to knock our opponent, but we were trying to work on and see some things. In retrospect, we didn't put our guys in the best opportunity to have success, but that wasn't always the goal every time.

"We wanted to run some plays and get some looks and watch our players to see where they were and executing certain things. We were able to do that. There is a method to the madness. I can't sit here and explain the whole thing. I think Tim (Beck) would have called a little bit of a different game if it were two or three weeks from now."

When the Huskers take the field against Fresno State on Saturday I expect to see more of a concrete game plan where they will attack specific weaknesses on the Bulldogs.

This past week they really didn't do that. They wanted to get some live work and use that experience to build on for later in the season.

Brown helped bring Maher along

When junior kicker Brett Maher got back to the locker room on Saturday following the Huskers win, he was greeted with a nice surprise.

Former Husker and NFL kicker Kris Brown sent him a text message congratulating him after his career day. Maher was a perfect 4-of-4 on field goals, averaged a net of 52 yards per punt and put 3-of-7 kickoffs through the end zone for touchbacks.

Maher grew up receiving lessons from Brown back when he was in grade school. At that time Maher's father Brian was the principal of Waverly High School and Brown did his student teaching under him before he graduated in 1998. Brian Maher is now the Superintendent of Kearney Public Schools.

"Kris (Brown) has been a great guy and has become a good friend of mine," Maher said. "I've had the opportunity to be around him a little bit and learn from him and take some pointers. I've just talked to him about the process of what's going on because this is something new to me and he's been through it at the next level.

"More than anything it's just been good to know him to talk to him about technique and to have someone to talk to through different situations."

After one week Maher currently leads the Big Ten in every single special teams category and he was named both the Big Ten's co-special teams player of the week, along with taking home the College Football Performance Award as the National Place Kicker of the Week. Who said Alex Henery and Adi Kunalic were irreplaceable?

Big Ten schedule vs. Big 12

You've heard a lot of things about how tough Nebraska's schedule is this year just from looking at the pure names of the opponents they'll be facing on their schedule.

However, one could argue NU's schedule in the Big 12 may have been tougher in 2011. The Big 12 currently has Oklahoma at No. 1, Oklahoma State at No. 8, Texas A&M at No. 9, Missouri at No. 21 and Texas at No. 24. Then you have to factor in Baylor will crack the top 25 after their win over No. 15 TCU this past Friday.

If the Big 12 still had Nebraska they'd have four top 10 teams and a total of seven ranked in the poll going into week two. That would be one tough road to get through this season.

SMU's Hunt a good story

Anybody else see the statistic on SMU's Margus Hunt? Through just over two years of football Hunt has blocked 12 field goals and extra points, including two in Sunday night's loss at Texas A&M.

The 6-foot-8, 295 Hunt is from Estonia and has only played football for two years.

He is actually best known for his accomplishments on the track, as he won gold medals in both the shot and the discus at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing, becoming the first junior athlete ever to win a shot/discus gold medal double. He is also the current world junior record holder in the discus throw.

I'm thinking Hunt would be a great feature one week on ESPN's College Game Day.

Anybody, anytime, anywhere

The first time I ever took notice of Fresno State was during the 2001 season when they went into Boulder and knocked off eventual Big 12 Champion Colorado. The next two weeks they beat Oregon State at home and Wisconsin on the road.

It's hard to find a better run in non-BCS history than what Pat Hill's 2001 Bulldogs did.

The 2011 Bulldogs are a far fetch from their 2001 squad, but Hill will have his guys ready to play and Memorial Stadium will not faze them one bit.

Around the state

***Hard to figure out where Giltner tight end and Iowa commit Drew Ott is on the radar screen for a Husker offer, but I do know one thing - NU needs tight ends. Nebraska has just one tight end commit in their 2012 class, and they don't appear to be on anybody else from a national level.

It sure didn't sit well with Iowa Hawkeye fans to see Ott on the sidelines in Lincoln wearing a Husker football t-shirt.

***Lincoln (Neb.) Southwest 2013 linebacker prospect Josh Banderas continues to impress. Banderas is emerging as one of the top 2013 names in the state, as he had around 20 tackles in the Silver Hawks 27-14 win over Omaha Westside.

***Lincoln North Star 2013 running back target Michael Minter had 237 yards rushing on 15 carries in the Navigators win over Omaha Benson on Friday.

***Grand Island quarterback Ryker Fyfe also continues to dominate as he was a perfect 8-of-8 with four touchdown passes in just 14 minutes of play in a 49-0 two quarter victory over Omaha Bryan.


Sean Callahan can be reached at sean@huskeronline.com and he can be heard each day at 6:50 am and 4:50 pm on Big Red Radio 1110 KFAB in Omaha during the football season. He can also be seen on KETV Channel 7 TV in Omaha during the fall and each week he appears on NET's Big Red Wrap Tuesday's at 7 pm.



 

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