LINCOLN NE - SEPTEMBER 25: Coach Bo Pelini of the Nebraska Cornuskers eyes his defensive coaching slaff during second half action of their game against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits at Memorial Stadium on September 25 2010 in Lincoln Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated South Dakota State 17-3. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
When we last spoke with our corn feed brothers in the midwest, we discussed the general background information. This week we take a look at Nebraska football.
What is the biggest difference from the Bill Callahan era (27-22) and the current Bo Pelini era (30-12)? Just the offense, or something more?
HM: Defense. In November 2007, Nebraska gave up nearly as many points in three games as they gave up the entire 2009 season.
Jon: Bo Pelini’s biggest fault appears to be how he handles the media. Bill Callahan’s biggest fault was that he couldn’t teach players his 500-page playbook, he broke Nebraska’s winning streak and bowl season streaks without giving them much thought and he pissed all over a number of Nebraska traditions on his way to total suck.
That and we have a defense.
It seems that Coach Pelini's name always comes up in the off-season for various head coaching positions and he has yet to pay them any attention. But what happens when the Ohio State job opens up (Pelini was a former co-captain and 2 year starter back in 1987-90)? Do you think Pelini would jump ship and head to a now conference rival?
HM: Hard to say. It’s hard to reject the lure of home. A lot depends on the roots Pelini puts down here. I get the feeling he likes it here.
Jon: Leave for OHIO STATE? WTF?
Are you happy with the move from the Big 12 to the Big 10? It seems that Nebraska has the academics and athletics to fit in nicely in the Big 10.
HM: Husker fans liked to ridicule Big Ten football in the past. But considering how things were going in the Big XII, we’re happy to be gone. The Big Ten is a nice home athletically, and a huge jump academically.
Jon: Not at all. I hate change. I would have loved to stay in a conference that could disintegrate at any time, is heavily skewed towards it’s southern members, and doesn’t have the academic prestige of the Big Ten. I’m particularly upset that I’ll be able to see tons of Husker coverage on the Big Ten Network and that my alma mater will benefit financially from a conference that does things the right way.
Mostly, though, I’m really disgusted at the thought of playing Iowa every year. How the hell have you people tolerated that all these years?
Give us your thoughts on the new look Big 10. Do you like how the divisions shook out?
HM: We’re all taking crash courses in the Big 10, but frankly, I don’t see how they could have done it much differently, other than maybe include Wisconsin in the west division. (Oops; I don’t think I’m supposed to say that.) But then you knock the division balance out of whack.
Jon: I mentioned Iowa, right? Then there’s Michigan, who probably won’t notice us much because they’ll be all worried about what Ohio State is doing every moment of the season. Minnesota... well, I live in Minnesota, so I’ll get to see more Husker sports live. Michigan State can play our former psychotic girlfriend (always interesting!) while Northwestern can get us a better job.
Then there’s you guys and I mentioned that I’m still not over 1982. Other than swapping Iowa for Wisconsin (for the beer, mostly) - what’s to hate?
And speaking of divisions, how do you feel about "Leaders" and Legends"?
HM: We’re the new guys, and so we’re supposed to only say nice things about the conference. So I’ll only mention that each division name has seven characters in it.
Jon: About the same way I feel about an ice cream beer float. What friggin’ idiot thinks that would be a good idea? (And then they did it twice.)
Was Texas the Big 12's big, bad, wolf as it seemed from the East Coast (and anywhere other than Austin) or did the media blow the hatred for all things Burnt Orange out of proportion?
HM: Well, we here think that Texas was the big bad wolf that the Big XII revolves around. From our perspective, Texas calls their shots and, for the most part, everybody else follows. It’s an unstable situation, and that was one of the biggest reasons why Nebraska jumped when the opportunity presented itself. Better to be proactive than wait and hope something’s available when Texas decides to bolt.
Jon: Texas is a really nice state full of really nice people and good looking women. Unfortunately, only the good looking women attend the University of Texas. That’s all I have to say about that.
Which Big 12 game will you miss the most?
HM: Nebraska vs. Oklahoma... now a part-time rivalry game, which really led to Nebraska’s departure when you think about it.
Jon: I’ll miss playing our former Big Eight counterparts because I spent most of my life watching them. I’m pretty sure I’ll get over it the first time we beat Michigan, you guys, and Iowa, so it won’t take very long.
Penn State is no stranger to awkward off-season QB news (especially this off-season). What's the story with your QB, Taylor Martinez? Now that he is staying, is the job still his? Or will it be an open competition (something PSU fans are hoping we have with our own Spring QB battle)?
HM: Once we get past the coaching drama, that’s the next one. Martinez was a redshirt freshman with incredible speed. He’s still learning how to play the game, and frankly, needs to learn to be a leader. As you may have seen in September and October, when he’s healthy, he has the potential to be one of the biggest game changers in football. But then he got hurt against Missouri, and his confidence suffered. We’ll see how he responds. Two freshmen will try to unseat him this spring: Jamaal Turner and Brion Carnes. I think it’ll be an open competition.
Jon: Second Mike’s answer. It’ll always be an open competition. Given that we have a new offensive coordinator, it might be more open than any of us think.
Entering 2011, what are your expectations for the Cornhuskers? Do you think they have a shot at winning their division (Legends) to earn a spot in the first ever Big 10 Championship Game?
HM: Wow, I don’t even want to think about that right now. We’ve got a lot to digest, and frankly, we’re moving into unfamiliar territory as we’re facing teams that we’ve only seen little bits of highlights of. I think they definitely have a shot to win the west (oops, there I go again) and make it to Indianapolis.
Jon: We will crush everyone in our path. I say that mostly because it’s February, and I’m as right as anyone else is right now.
Any key losses from 2010 that Nebraska will need to replace in 2011?
HM: Biggest ones are in the secondary: CB Prince Amukamara, safety Dejon Gomes, and nickel back Eric Hagg will be sorely missed. Those guys were rock solid. Can’t forget kicker/punter Alex Henery; how he didn’t get into the Lou Groza competition, I’ll never know. Offensively, I think it’s more of a matter of finding more consistency across the board.
Jon: See how Mike takes all the good answers? He always does that. We might miss Ricky Henry, our right guard. I am not sold on that, however.
Extremely early prediction - Nebraska's record in 2011?
HM: From my perspective, Nebraska could’ve and should’ve beaten everybody in their path this season. They dropped 4 touchdowns against Texas, and stumbled and bumbled their way at A&M. They had a lead on Oklahoma. But they didn’t...and that’s the X-factor. So now we get 11 new opponents that we’ve only seen on television, and really only just began to follow. We’ve got to do our homework on the Big Ten and our opponents. So I’m going to wuss out and go 9-3.
Jon: Didn’t I just say we’d crush everyone?