Sunday, September 17, 2006

USC Post-Game: A Husker Hackett Job

So what was all the hype about?

Big Red ain’t so big.
Turns out Cornhusker fandom could muster only “pockets of Nebraska red” in a crowd “bathed in USC cardinal,” according to the Times.

Popping Huskers were humbled.
Looking short and just a little too slow, Nebraska’s big mouth cornerbacks Cortney Grixby and Andre Jones were beat, beat and beat again by USC receivers. Kirk Herbstreit, on ESPN's College GameDay Final, said Jones’ coverage of Dwayne Jarrett was “like air.”

But the best quote of the night came from none other than former domer head coach Bob Davie: “Andre Jones, you are not at Fresno City Junior College anymore.” He said this on prime-time national television as ABC showed Dwayne beating Jones for a TD to end the first quarter. Perfect.

Callahan can Hackett.
The most significant Husker hype-deflation came from Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan. Besides a beautifully executed fake punt in the first quarter, Nebraska appeared as if their primary strategy was not to lose by too much.

Trailing 14-3 with 2:52 left in the first half, Callahan – the guy who has sold Big Red on euthanizing the obsolete option attack for a "high flying" West Coast Offense – called four running plays to run out the clock. What the hell is that?

Trojan hater T.J. Simers of all people said it best in his column today:
When I asked why [Callahan] had his offense go into a shell, he disagreed, which goes to show you — once a Raider, always a contrarian.

‘We were continuing to run the football,’ Callahan said, and even two out of every three Husker fans could have figured that out. So maybe one out of three.

I came back with the same question only phrased differently so that he might understand, and he said, ‘We were doing what we wanted to do to win the game,’ and he might no longer coach the Raiders, but more and more he's beginning to sound like the other guy who has lost it and still owns them.

‘These are decisions we're going to continue to make,’ Callahan said, which is great news for USC, because the Trojans play at Nebraska next season.
Good news for us, and other major college football programs, indeed.

It’s fascinating how much Big Red appears to have bought into this b.s. from Callahan. It’s hard to believe that a fan base supposedly so knowledgeable and demanding would put up with accepting a 28-10 beat down as showing progress.

If Nebraska wants an accurate "barometer" for measuring the state of its program in Callahan's third year, yesterday's game vs. USC wasn't it. How about comparing apples to apples in terms of time frame? For example, Callahan's third year versus Pete Carroll's third year ... or Carroll's second year for that matter.

Have the Cornhusker fans really led themselves to believe that the way back to respectability comes through extended patience and a thick west coast playbook that takes kids more than three years to master? Do they not recognize the glaring lack of proper game planning and adjustments? How about teaching kids how to win, as opposed to playing not to lose by too much?

I actually feel sympathy for Big Red, because we at USC know better from experience. It all looks like a Hackett job to me.
east coast bias

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