I covered how much fun I had watching the game.  Now let’s break down what the performance looked like on the field.  Here’s a few things that I noticed during Nebraska’s 23-20 loss against the Sooners.

T-Magic’s New Nickname: Shakespearean T-Ragedy.

Taylor Martinez clearly isn’t healthy.  He’s got turf toe, a bad ankle sprain, arrogance-itis, tonsilitis, halitosis, and a bad case of every injury known to man.  Against the Sooners he accounted for a grand total of -36 rushing yards.  His long run for the day was a whopping 6 yard carry.  He passed for 200 less yards than OU quarterback Landry Jones.

So this begs the question, “Why was he in there?”

Why was Martinez in the game?  His explosive running ability wasn’t there.  Everyone knew it.  The 9-year-old sitting in front of me, whom I terrified with my wild bear-in-a-trap screams of anguish when Martinez was bumbling around, knew it.  And so, of course, did Bob Stoops.

The Sooners didn’t honor Martinez’s ability to run.  In fact, they seemed more wary of Bo Pelini’s breakaway speed than Martinez.  And they locked in on the run game, effectively shutting it down after the first quarter, struggling only with the Wildcat. 

“But wait,” you may be saying.  “It’s not like we had a better option.  The coaches clearly know what they’re doing.  Right?!?”

Maybe.  But consider this, if you will.  On Saturday we needed a game manager.  Nothing more.  We needed a guy that would play mistake-free football, which means throwing it away when needed and falling forward while being sacked instead of trying to Mike Vick his way to a huge gainer. 

We never threw the ball downfield with Martinez, so either Cody Green or Zac Lee could throw 5-yard slant routes and hand the ball off.  Every play that Martinez made that was a positive one, we’ve seen Lee and Green make as well this season.  Why not give Martinez a series off, a moment to compose himself while we let Green see if he can rejuvenate a sputtering, flat-lining offense.

Bo is known for his loyalty and his stubbornness.  This can be both a blessing and a fault.  On Saturday it looked more like indecision and panic to leave in a fragile, 40% healthy quarterback.  After the Texas game Bo said that he questioned removing Martinez from the game.  I question why he didn’t this time.

Watson Poaches Wildcat

I’ve been a critic of the wildcat at times this season.  I think that sometimes it’s boring and, prior to the last few weeks when Watson has allowed Burkhead to truly display his outstanding versatility, limiting for the offense as a whole.  However, I’m all for anything that gives our offense a chance to stop dragging ass down the field 2 yards at a time before punting. 

I don’t care if our offense is Alex Henrey taking snaps from a cheerleader and pitching it to Herbie Husker.  As long as we gain yards and play smart football, getting the win in a championship is all that matters.  When the Wildcat was working well, and was in fact the only thing that was working well, Watson made the inexplicable decision to stop.

When he was later interviewed about this blunder he claimed that he didn’t want to be “too one-dimensional.”  The only thing about our offense that was one-dimensional in the 2nd half of this game was that our offense was exactly one-dimensional.  Flat.  “Southpark” is more 2-d than our offense.

Where Have We Come Since Last Year?

This season started out full of hope and hype.  It ended up being pretty much like last year.  We won a few games against shitty opponents fairly handily.  We lost a few games against moderate-good opponents that were maddening.  Our offense, which looked so hot at the beginning of the year, turned out to be a lot like the team last year.

Offensively, it was like we rolled over after a great one-night stand thinking that we’d just gotten with a 10 on the “hotness scale” only to find out that we’d been beer-goggled all along and that we’re sleeping next to someone who looks like that girl from “Precious.”

Our offense was defined by the big play.  Watson himself said that we “missed Taylor’s explosiveness on offense.”  Wasn’t that why we paid Watson 6 figures this year?  To figure out a way to score that didn’t involve relying on 70-yard TD runs?

Watson, however, doesn’t deserve all the blame.  This year Bo was supposed to get his hands into the offense.  He was supposed to evolve into a well-rounded head coach instead of simply a defensive guru that kept the offense at arm’s length.  It would seem that Bo’s still got a lot of growing to do.

As the guy in charge of this team’s future, Bo should’ve grabbed Watson by his conservative-“multiple offense”-loving neck and forced him to run the Wildcat until Oklahoma stopped it.

The worst part about these complaints is that we had them all last year.  After a similarly heart-breaking loss, a mind-numbingly shitty offensive performance in which the defense plays their hearts out to no avail, we now find ourselves at a crossroads that I hoped we’d left in the rearview mirror in 2009.  Bo needs to choose which direction we’re heading, and fast, or we’re going to remain painfully “one-dimensional” as a team.

FIN

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Comments
  1. Sue Tolles says:

    you said it all, Watson has to go.

  2. Glenn says:

    agreed with your statements. i felt like the coaches didn’t want to win.

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