Huskers V.S. University of Jake Locker: A Preview

Posted: September 17, 2010 in Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Nebraska Cornhuskers vol. 2010 have started the season in much the same way they began last year.  They played a few teams that would barely beat UNO.  This saturday the Huskers will face their first legitimate road test since they played the Texas Longhorns on the completely un-neutral field of the Big 12 Championship game.  Hopefully this time the refs won’t go out of their way to bend us over and aim for. . .well, my mother advised me to “avoid the sleaze” on this blog, so I’ll leave it at that.  At any rate, as the Huskers head towards the land of grunge music’s birth, and a place where coffee is king, there are some very real, very interesting storylines and things to watch for.

1.  I’m Honestly Tired of Writing His Name, But I Have to at This Point: Jake Locker

Locker’s a defensive coach’s nightmare.  He’s a top-10 NFL prospect on virtually anyone’s board, has a big arm and is fast as hell.  However, he has parlayed all of that amazing talent into a winning percentage that’s about as high as the blood alcohol percentage of a nun on Sunday.  Actually, he’s around 25% which would put the aforementioned nun at 16 beers past hammered.  The point is this, Locker seems to lack the killer instinct that many of the other elite-level passers in the college game have.  While many compare him to a “west coast Tebow” he, frankly, lost more games in one year than Tebow did in his entire collegiate career.  He looked fairly ordinary in the Washington-BYU game but was much sharper looking against the Syracuse Orange.  Of course, lest we forget, everyone looks pretty sharp against Syracuse.

While Nathan Enderle is a good quarterback, and will probably be drafted at some point this spring, Locker will be the best QB this year’s Blackshirts have faced.  After picking off Enderle 5 times, ruining his homecoming and making him look more like Idaho’s least favorite son, Ryan Leaf who was born there, than I’m sure he would ever have hoped, my confidence in the secondary is about as high as it can get.  But questions remain: will the safety’s play more like calm, poised veterans or will they commit foolish penalties and make costly mistakes?  Can they handle the threat of Locker’s arm on deep balls while having to honor his ability to make plays with his feet?

I feel confident that Locker will have trouble squeezing the ball into his less-than-stellar receivers’ hands with Alfonzo Dennard and Prince Amukamara locking them down.  My worries with the safeties will hopefully be resolved with approximately 3 ints.

2.  How Will Taylor Martinez Hold Up in His First Big Road Game?

Ever since Martinez set his ultra-shifty feet onto UNL’s campus there’s been one word bandied about in reference to his name: confidence.  As his star has risen in the program it seems like Bo and Co. have broken out the thesaurus and thumbed through the multiple pages that could help them say “this dude’s a smooth operator” in more ways than one.  However, he’s still a young guy.  When I was a sophomore in college I was trying to skip “Intro to Public Speaking” classes and dodge academic probation, not lead the #6 or #7 team in the nation to a road win in front of 65,000 people.  His poise thus far has been admirable, but it will be truly intriguing to see how he reacts.

Personally, I think Martinez will take it all in stride.  In very fast, explosive stride.  My greatest fear is that Shawn Watson will try to overextend the young QB and have him come out throwing the ball.  I, personally, hope that we stick with what seems to work best: the read-option that Martinez has shown himself to be so adept at operating.  While I have no doubt that Watson knows his offense, and his young quarterback’s frame of mind better than I do, I do hope that we can keep Martinez’s patented calm intact in a hostile environment.

3.  Have The Huskers Taken the Antidote to Their Severe Strain of the Turnover Virus?

Last game the Big Red fumbled the ball 8 times.  Thank God we were only playing a team nicknamed after a crime.  The Vandals were not able to capitalize on these mistakes like a better team undoubtedly will.  Martinez looked shaky in his ball handling abilities, Niles Paul continues to have issues with hanging onto the ball and his counterpart at WR, Brandon Kinney has also been seen with the ball out and away from his body.

Rest assured, if we fumble the ball 8 times against any team from this point forward we will lose.  Iowa State was able to beat us when we coughed the ball up that much.

4.  The Bottom Line is This:

If the Huskers can avoid turnovers, cut down on the stupid penalties that haunted our team against Idaho, and ratchet up the defensive intensity like we were able to last year down the stretch, Washington will be overmatched and outclassed.  Martinez will likely do what Martinez does, run the read option well and throw a few short out routes to our talented WR’s.  If he can do this, while minimizing the mistakes, the game should be in hand.  This may seem like a long list for Husker fans to endure sweating through, but the simple fact is we need to do all of these things in order to get to the championship level football that we all claim to want so bad.

Go Big Red!

FIN

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Comments
  1. Sue Tolles says:

    I’m add this after the game. We did all that and as for Locker…… BFD.

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