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Interviews with the Enemy: A Q&A with Corn Nation

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This week we talk with the crew at Corn Nation

NCAA Football: Colorado at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

This week we have multiple responses! The entire crew over at Corn Nation like to repsond to Q&A requests, so here is what they have to say on Nebraska prior to Saturday:

T-Mill: So... Scott Frost. Did Riley leave the cupboard this bare or are Husker fans turning on him already? I ask because his comments about a great practice and being close to a breakthrough from today after a blowout sound Hazellian, so it raised some alarm bells.

Uglydog56: Now you’re scaring me. Did you see Frost’s hat brim in his last press conference? What if that’s a thing?

IMHO, there’s a combination of factors at work here. First, although there’s talent on the roster, there have been some recruiting misses and lack of development at key positions that have really hurt. It doesn’t matter how amazing your wide receivers are if the offensive line can’t keep the quarterback clean long enough to get the ball to them. Let me harp on this development a bit more. It takes time to build an offensive lineman. Two or three years, realistically. One off-season isn’t going to repair years of problems. This is a hole that’s going to take some shoveling to fill in.

The other factor at work is work ethic. Some of these players have never had to work as hard as it takes to build a winning program. This is another thing that takes time and effort and processing of personnel to fix. There’s no quick fix here. I think some fans had talked themselves into a better season than they had any right to. A young team, thin at key positions, learning new systems on both sides of the ball, having experienced significant leadership turnover throughout their college career? Nothing happening this season thus far should be that big a surprise.

Nate M: At this point I don’t have any clue why Nebraska looks this bad. I don’t know why Frost continues to play the same guys if they are the ones who are not “buying in.” It might be because there are no other players who could play behind them. If that is true, then that means the cupboard is bare. Frost made the comment that some younger guys are getting closer to playing at the guard position on the OL. Maybe that is what needs to happen.

Jon: What Nate said. I don’t understand why we continue to play the same guys when nothing appears to be changing. We’ve digressed from the first game of the year, and at this point the team needs something good to happen, like a win over Purdue. The biggest problem is when things go bad, the team appears to come apart. It’s like they’re going to have to learn mental toughness or move on.

Andy: I think people are just starting to realize the damage that not only Riley, but former AD Shawn Eichorst and former Chancellor Harvey Perlman did to the program. Much of damage Riley did is mental and reared its ugly head against Michigan. The first two games actually showed great improvements both offensively & defensively, but self-inflicted mental mistakes and breakdowns killed them.

Against Michigan, the tide began to roll over them as it did in the last 3 games last season and the indecision and lack of fire looked like a rerun from last season. However, there was a difference as you could see some players hitting and fighting to the end this time. It was a small victory, but it was there.

T-Mill: What has been the larger problem so far, the offense or the defense?

Uglydog56: This question reminds me of a scenario that was posed to us in the Navy quite often: Which is worse, having half a telephone pole up your ass, or a whole telephone pole up your ass? The answer: special teams.

Nate M: While I was never in the Navy, I think a half a telephone would be worse because that means there’s probably splinters from it being broken in half. Or wait never mind it may just mean that....

It’s the Offense which is what ails this football team right now, and particularly the offensive line. It may not be fair to those five big guys up front, but if you cannot get a first down then you are continuing to put your defense in bad situations. Last week against Michigan, Adrian Martinez didn’t have but a half a second before he had defenders in his face.

Yes, the defense played like horse crap. But you know what is worse than horse crap? Dog crap because I’ve never had horse crap in my yard. I do have dog crap though and while some of it is from my dog, there is a lot of it from this dumb brown dog that is loose all over town and appears to enjoy crapping in my yard.

The offensive line has played like dog crap.

If the offensive line blocks for Martinez, it gives him a clean pocket which gives more time for the WRs to get open which opens up the run game which allows them to get first downs and doesn’t put the defense on the field after a 20 yard net punt from our punter. Just a bunch of crap.

Crap.

Jon: The offense needs to score about 40 points a game. They’re 118th in the nation in scoring offense at 19. 19 points a game isn’t going to beat anyone. The offensive line has been mentioned - it’s a huge problem and I’m not sure what they’re going to do there because they’re playing the same guys most of the time.

Andy: The glaring problems right now as stated above are the offensive line and special teams. The O-line started declining under Callahan, lost more ground under Bo with his Barney Cotton follies and went off the rails under sack teacher Mike Cavanaugh who had the genius belief that five O-lineman should play every snap of the season unless they’re injured - in an unrelated story, we have no O-line depth and minimal experience!

I know it’s only three games, but special teams needs a shakeup on almost every unit.

T-Mill: Purdue has been burned by solid quarterback play as even EMU’s Tylier Wiegers threw for 300+ yards in the rain. Will we see both Nebraska quarterbacks?

Uglydog56: If you see both quarterbacks, it’s because you ran a train on us (haha, weak pun intended). Adrian Martinez will see all the snaps. He needs the experience. I don’t see this game getting out of hand either direction; the starters on both teams will play to the final whistle.

Nate M: If you see both quarterbacks, then that means the offense has derailed.

Eh?

But it would take a blowout one way or the other or an injury to Martinez for Purdue to see Bunch.

Andy: Yes, but hopefully only Martinez on the field.

T-Mill: How has Nebraska’s pass defense fared and are you scared of Rondale Moore, who has been the best receiver in the Big Ten so far?

Uglydog56: Nebraska’s pass defense is fine, unless you send a wide receiver with any speed, or route running ability, or pass-catching ability, or talent of any kind against CB Lamar Jackson. We can stop a pass on any play except on critical 3rd downs. As long as you don’t line up Rondale Moore against Lamar Jackson on 3rd down, we stand a chance. {Sniffles a little bit}

Nate M: If I was Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander, then I would think about having DiCaprio Bootle follow Rondale Moore around the field. Bootle has been our best DB and it isn’t even close.

And yes Rondale Moore could have a field day against Nebraska if the Nebraska offensive line can’t sustain drives.

Andy: It’s actually improved somewhat and fact that we actually pressure the QB on occasion certainly helps in that regard.

T-Mill: What are some of the positives you’ve seen from the Huskers so far?

Uglydog56: I’m positive the team needs significant upgrades in recruiting and development at all positions. Another positive: I was competing in an Extreme Cowboy Race last weekend, and was unable to watch the game against Michigan. Yet another positive: No one in the fanbase is going to be complaining about the next nine win season, that’s for sure.

Nate M: For the sake of argument lets say that coaching isn’t the issue, but that is it the lack of athletes and a bad culture then one positive I see is that Scott Frost is willing to do whatever it takes in the short term in order to build a sustainable foundation for the long term.

Oh, and Adrian Martinez.

Jon: Uh..... quarterback Adrian Martinez and maybe running backs Greg Bell or Maurice Washington. I guess our defense is playing a little better in one area. We have 11 sacks through four games after having only 14 all last season.

Andy: I had a nice long list last week, actually.

T-Mill: How do you see Saturday playing out.

Uglydog56: This is a game of (mis)-matchups: Lorenzo Neal Jr vs our center Cole Conrad, and Rondale Moore vs. our cornerback Lamar Jackson. Nebraska’s defensive line is going to have to bring pressure to prevent David Blough from breaking the yardage record he set against Missouri. The offensive line is going to have to double team Neal every play, and miraculously open holes somewhere else to get the run game going. Elsewise, I’m seeing another long day at 1 Memorial.

Nate M: Personally, I think Purdue wins by two touchdowns or more. Until I see something change, I’m not going to expect much from this squad this year.

Jon: I want to say 27-21 Nebraska. There’s no reason for that, other than I just want to see us get a win. It’d be nice to have something positive. Like Nate, my brain tells me nothing is going to change, however, and we’ll probably lose by 10.

Andy: I think Purdue -3 is a good line. They aren’t as talent-laden as Michigan, but they are playing much better the last three weeks. They actually give me that the Huskers can turn things around a bit based on the fact that they llost to Eastern Michigan only two weeks ago. The Huskers have a talent, but they have forgotten how to win. It wouldn’t surprise me this week to see them hang in there, take a late lead on a 2-minute drill touchdown...then inexplicably let Rondale Moore behind the safeties for a soul-crushing 29-28 loss on the game’s last play.