Husker Football Preview: Crick-in-a-Box, P-90Rex, and T-Illusionist

Posted: September 2, 2011 in Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“The Blackshirts are coming, the Blackshirts are coming.”
–  Paul Revere’s great, great, great, Grand-nephew Ed Revere.

(*Author’s note: that’s a lie.  And not even a very good lie, honestly, but I was distracted by football.  Glorious, live, non-replayed football.)

Football arrived last night.  It crashed upon a parched nation, a pandemic tsunami of pep bands and bratwurst, fight songs and recklessly passionate fans; turned whispered promises and summer heat into the fresh start of Autumnal optimism.

In Nebraska football will break over the state like a prairie dawn.  Bright. Hopeful.  Chalk full of potential and struggle and survival and power.

It will electroshock a slumbering state of 1.8 million from the entombment of minor league baseball and rampant speculation; will jolt the zombied masses like a copper wire touched to the tongue.  Collectively these hibernating creatures will lurch from cobwebbed stagnation to a collective mass of red-clad humanity all looking to the Mecca called Memorial.

The Huskers are taking the field this Saturday and, as you may have guessed from all my above-written hyperbole, I couldn’t be more excited.  When the season starts, it’s like the entire state just did a big line of blow.  Manic, fired-up, giddy men, women, and children and balding veterans who stormed the beaches of Normandy find themselves with vested interest in the pride of a prideful state: their team.  Our team.

Here are some interesting things to watch with our team this fall.

Crick in a Box

The hype surrounding Jared Crick has been, at once, massive and deserved.  The Cozad native has turned into a more spellable, only slightly more blockable, version of Ndamukong Suh.  A pre-season All-American whose draft stock stands to rocket upwards faster than hybrid, mutant, cornstalks, Crick’s name should be in virtually every defensive award watchlist box imaginable.

Recently chosen by ESPN’s Big Ten bloggers as the best player in the Big Ten, Crick’s ability to control the line of scrimmage against the hulking, man-beasts on conference O-lines will be a truly fascinating storyline this year.

With the DaVincis of the D-Line, master craftsmen Bo and Carl Pelini, watching over his ascension, watch for Crick and his chinstrap goatee to play a massive role in the Huskers’ success in 2011.

(*Author’s note: and look for me to repeatedly reference him exclusively “Crick in a box.”  Sorry in advance, the world.)

Rexbox 360

The offense is currently in a state of flux.  How big a state is currently up for discussion, namely because head coach Bo Pelini has been keeping the offense under Communist Block levels of secrecy. Apparently it will be a faster paced, downhill running attack. Couple the new offense with the departure of Roy Helu and one thing is clear: we’re in for some Rexual Healing this fall. Rex Burkhead, long lauded for his hard work and multi-faceted game that even sees him take a few snaps out of the Wildcat formation, should be a focal point of the running game.

The coaches certainly want to emphasize keeping Taylor Martinez healthy and, while there are several very promising young rushers backing up P-90Rex, we should see Burkhead get his time to shine.

Long live Deus Rex Machina. Keep an eye on Rex to emerge this season.


Taylor Martinez has been getting high praise this off-season from Bo Pelini. Almost suspiciously high praise.  Bo compliments his players as often as a drill sergeant praises new recruits and to see him heaping love on “T-Magic” over and over again has had the opposite effect he intends it to.

He repeatedly mentioned Martinez’s leadership, development in the passing game, and has told us multiple times that Martinez’s ankle is good to go. Of course, lest we forget, Bo has a diploma on his wall as a graduate from the Bill Belichik School of Communication and Media Relations. He would tell a reporter that his player was “fine” if the guy’s head just got guillotined off at the 50 yard line and kicked through the goal posts.

I just feel like Bo’s trying to pull some kind of weird, reverse psychology on the masses.  We know that Martinez struggled last year.  We know that he struggled in the spring game.  Past that?  We can’t really say.  All we know is Bo is either supremely confident in a guy that had a Chuck Sheen-esque relapse, falling apart as the team’s signal-caller and looking less confident in himself and his grasp of the offense with each snap, or he’s trying to rebuild a shattered QB with bravado. 

Either way, Bo’s sleight of has me worried that when we whip back the curtain on this T-Magic show we’ll see that there’s just the same old guy back there using cheap parlor tricks.  I certainly hope not.  Make no mistake, I want Martinez to succeed and recognize that for a time last year, he was an elite running QB and a serviceable passer.  However, unless he’s turned into the man Pelini wants to convince us he has become, it could be a rough season in the Big 10.


We know that our defense can take us to the city limits of the Promiseland.  But that’s been exactly as far as we’ve made it thus far under Pelini.  The outskirts of greatness.  Inevitably the offense has de-railed us.  If you think about a football team like a car, you have 4 wheels: the offense, the defense, special teams, and coaching.  For the past 2 years we’ve had 3 wheels on the car at the most.  It’s no wonder we’ve ended up in the ditch, gazing longingly at the BCS’ gorgeous skyline.

Will this be the year we pull into Promisedland on all four tires?  Can Bo patch up the holes and get the spare tires in place as needed?  Tune in tomorrow as we gas up the car.  It’s time for a road trip.


  1. Sue Tolles says:

    I don’t doubt the defense, they looked good saturday. Martinez and his group………………. needs lots of improvement.

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