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October 1, 2012
It's no secret that in order to get a win on the road this week against Ohio State the Huskers are going to need to start fast on offense.
This past Saturday against Wisconsin Nebraska fumbled the ball three of their first nine plays and started the game with field position inside the 20 their first two offensive possessions.
If you are going to go on the road this week in win at the Horseshoe that can't happen. Playing at home the 12th man gives you a better chance of overcoming early mistakes like we saw Saturday, but on the road it doesn't always work that way and we saw that a year ago at Wisconsin and Michigan.
"If I would've saw it coming I probably would've done something different," head coach Bo Pelini said on Monday. "I thought the kids were maybe a little too keyed up for the game and maybe got outside of themselves a little bit. They didn't have their emotions under control I don't know? They are 18 to 22 year old kids. We didn't play well in the first half.
"I thought they did a good job of coming back in the second half. The execution got better as the game went on. We've got to get that fixed. You aren't always going to be able to survive the mistakes we made in the first half."
Junior offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles said the Huskers need to do a better job of channeling their emotions and not letting it play against them in a big game.
One of the challenges this week will be sitting in a Columbus hotel room all day for an 8 pm kickoff.
"Turning the ball over is never going to be a good thing," Sirles said. "Even just putting the ball on the ground if we don't lose it, it's still a lost play, a loss of down and a loss of yards. We really have to make sure we take care of the football and that we don't come out so excited that we aren't focused.
"I just know I myself came out super excited after sitting in the hotel for what felt like forever. We have to find ways to be mature enough to handle the excitement, but to also stay extremely focused."
One interesting thing last week is Nebraska won the coin toss and they actually chose to receive instead of deferring to the second half.
Typically if you win the toss most teams tend to defer. I like the aggressive mindset by Pelini to send an early message by jumping up on Wisconsin with your offense, but sometimes that can also backfire if your offense doesn't establish an early tempo on their first drive.
"It's very important," Martinez said of a quick start this week at Ohio State. "(We) just need to establish a rhythm for the game and just know that we can put points on the board and that our defense can stop them."
Abdullah provides change of pace
I love the change of pace sophomore running back Ameer Abdullah gives this offense with Rex Burkhead and Martinez.
Each one of them runs a different way. Martinez brings that straight ahead speed, while Burkhead is a tough runner that physically can punish a defense. Then you throw in Abduallah who brings great speed and agility, which really throws off a defense.
The more NU can utilize Abdullah it shows how important it is to have a second running back to compliment Burkhead.
It almost makes you wonder why Wisconsin didn't try running James White a few series against Nebraska to see how his different style might throw off the Husker defense.
Eichorst a name to watch for AD job
A new name to watch as an outside candidate for Nebraska's Athletic Director job is Miami's Shawn Eichorst.
The Wisconsin native worked under former legendary Badger head coach Barry Alvarez as his Deputy AD from 2009 to 2011. Eichorst also worked at South Carolina in a similar capacity from 2004 to 2006.
Eichorst has strong Big Ten roots and I think he's a much more realistic outside candidate than names like Iowa State's Jamie Pollard or Oklahoma's Joe Castiglione.
"He's got a tremendous background," Alvarez said of Eichorst in a quote on his University of Miami bio page. "He was a college athlete. He has a law degree, practiced law. He was his own boss, ran his own program, albeit Division III initially. He worked at South Carolina, oversaw football with (Steve) Spurrier, (Lou) Holtz. I've given him a lot of responsibilities here. He's very bright. He knows athletics, understands coaches and athletes. He's a guy that works extremely hard, gets along great with people."
Around the state
***Papillion La Vista quarterback Alec Ditoro may not be a major Division I prospect, but it's hard not to notice what he's done thus for the Monarchs. In a 49-42 loss to No. 1 Millard North on Friday, Ditoro finished 23-of-31 for 482 yards. If anything, it's also a testament to Papio head coach Jeff Govier and the system he's put in place on offense.
He's definitely an up and comer in the coaching business and I wouldn't be surprised if he got some opportunities to coach in college someday.
***2014 Omaha Westside running back Lane Yates continues to put up impressive numbers. In a 42-25 upset victory over No. 2 ranked Millard South, Yates finished with 31 carries for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Yates also had a 98 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
***Husker linebacker commit Josh Banderas scored four touchdowns and had 118 yards of total offense in Lincoln Southwest's 34-0 win over Lincoln Northeast.
Three and out
***Wonder what the over/under is for the week on how many times Nebraska's players and coaches will be asked about their difficulties in slowing down mobile quarterbacks like Ohio State's Braxton Miller?
***The Big Ten Network's Tailgate 48 show was in Lincoln this past weekend for the Wisconsin game. Look for their Nebraska show to air this upcoming Thursday night on BTN.
***Robin Washut, Dan Hoppen and I look forward to trying out legendary burger joint Thurman's Friday afternoon in Columbus. Thurman's was featured on Man vs. Food for their 24 oz. "Thurmanator" that features two 12 oz. hamburger patties stuff with ham, bacon and cheese. Word is Dan is going to take on the challenge.
Sean Callahan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.