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I am Hated

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I know it has been awhile since I have updated here, but in the offseason there is so little to write about that it is worth the break. That, and I have been doing extensive writing for basketball of late through Hickoryhusker.com. Since the season is over, it’s time to think a little bit about football. Conveniently there is actually something to write about of late, and with the team being in the middle of spring practice we can begin looking forward to a new season.

That and I wanted some traffic for ads, so click away at the top! I have to pay for season tickets some way, and each click gets me 15 cents closer!

I must say that I am honored that I have been banned from practices now and singled out by coach Tiller. As a blogger I never expected to have such a profound effect on the program. Sure, I have never been overly critical of the team, but like many fans I am frustrated, and I have chosen this forum to voice my frustration in a polite but firm manner. Many of us were pissed off at the result and lack of effort in the bowl game, and rightfully so. Still, I find it hard to believe that Tiller actually reads my blog, or that many others. What he decides to do for the team is ultimately his discretion, and we’re just along for the ride. The only true difference we can make as fans is being in the stadium on Saturdays. Even then our influence is limited.

Stepping away from the sordid world of the internet, where the damaging words can only do so much, there has been quite a bit of activity off the field to say the least. For this, I am going to take Tiller and the coaching staff off the hook. There is one person and one person alone that can be held accountable in the case Mr. Torri Williams and Mr. Selwyn Lymon. That person is themselves.

For Torri Williams, it is obviously a case of his judgment skills being completely retarded. He is the one that got behind the wheel of a car and drove while intoxicated. Coach Tiller didn’t make him. His parents didn’t make him. His friends didn’t make him. He and he alone should be held accountable. The coaching staff cannot watch these kids every hour of every day. Ultimately they must be held responsible for their own actions. I am not saying they must live in a monestary and never venture out on the town. When I was a student at Purdue I certainly did my own share of venture out for an evening of spirituous beverages. Still, I knew I and I alone was responsible for my actions.

Now I was a lowly nobody, known only to my friends and the approximate four people that saw my show on BTV in the dorms. Williams has a much higher profile being a player on the football team, and therefore must be cognizant of his own accountability. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew what the consequences would be. Yes, this kind of thing that unfortunately happens all the time to any number of the 37,000 students on campus. Fortunately, he is not taking the Garrett Bushong defense in this one and appears to be facing his punishment well. Coach Tiller was right in blasting his players for their poor judgment, and I applaud him on it.

Lymon is a different case because of his injuries. He also should be held accountable because he was the one that put him in that situation. To my knowledge Nick’s is an establishment that you can go to if you are under 21, so if that is the case then age is not an issue. Obviously all of the details are not out, but if there is an altercation and someone else pulls a knife it is not your fault. The lone fault Lymon has sure is that he was there. Assuming Nick’s is an under-21 place, then there is nothing wrong with that unless he is violating team curfew rules.

Again, this isn’t an exercise in great judgment, but unless he started the fight it’s not his fault he was stabbed. What does bother me is Tiller’s callous attitude toward the incident. Lymon was in critical condition for a short time, and Tiller never once voiced that he was glad he was okay? I know that he may/may not have violated a rule, but the kid nearly died. Show at least a little compassion.

This all gives me a feeling of unease as the season comes closer. We are less than five months away from the first game and already too many off-the-field distractions are happening. When you forget all the position battles, strength conditioning, and injuries we must overcome there is still not an attitude of hard work around this team. I could be wrong since I have never seen a practice, but there hasn’t been much word of an improved work ethic. The news that Chris Summers attended a kicking camp over spring break and got some very useful instruction is a huge positive. At least someone is committed to getting better. He also appears to be kicking very well in practice, according to what few inside sources I have. With the length this kid has we can’t give up on him yet, and once he makes a few in a game last year will be forgotten.

We don’t know how the bulk of our recruits will perform, but because of what we have returning most of them look like redshirt projects for now. Brian Ellis was obviously a good pickup, but he may be the only one who can start right away. We appear to be set, for better or worse, at secondary, in the backfield, and at receiver. Everything else looks like it will have to come from guys that were on the roster last year, not some stud recruit.

It’s beating the phrase to death, but this year is a big year for the program. I think it is even bigger than the last two have been because of the drop off in recruiting we have seen. If we’re going to at the very least stay in the top half of the conference we have to expect to beat certain teams with this year’s schedule. We’re a Big Ten program, so we should never lose to a MAC school or lower, making Central Michigan, Toledo, and Eastern Illinois win at any cost games. Two of those three will be stuff, but we still should win them. Another critical factor is that most of the rest of our schedule will be breaking in a new, untested quarterback. We should therefore have at least some measure of an advantage against Notre Dame, Minnesota, Michigan State, Iowa, and Ohio State. Because of our experience we simply have to take four out of those five games, and personally anything less would be a disappointment and show our defense has learned nothing.

That is seven wins right there, and of the remaining four games Indiana and Northwestern certainly could be called on for two more. Is a 9-3 season and possible New Year’s Day bowl enough?

Until then we have to get our house in order. Unfortunately this season has a feeling a lot like the 2005 season. If we don’t come out rolling in that first game at Toledo we’re going to get rolled, and we could easily find ourselves in a deep hole early since our only guaranteed win early is Eastern Illinois.

Quite simply, it’s time to hold ourselves accountable. No more excuses.