Archive for August, 2008

Huskers Affected by NFL Roster Downsizing

August 31, 2008

The following players didn’t survive NFL cutdown day:

DL Titus Adams (Patriots)
G Toniu Fonoti (Panthers)
LB Steve Octavien (Chiefs)
LB Carlos Polk (Chargers)
WR Maurice Purify (Bengals)
LB Bo Ruud on Reserve/Injured List (Patriots)
LB Jay Moore on Reserve/Injured List (49ers)
RB Cory Ross on Reserve/Injured List (Ravens)

This might not be a complete list, as I just scanned the lists while I drank my morning coffee. If you know of more or actually follow the NFL more closely than I do and can offer some additional insight feel free to run with it in the comments.

Tunnel Walk 2008 – First Look

August 31, 2008

It was nice of the PPV team to give us a camera inside the tunnel, but us out of staters missed the actual video. Here is the first YouTube video of last night’s version. I’ll keep an eye out for better quality vids, and let me know if you have one or find one elsewhere.

Update – We now have the Huskers.com version thanks to huskeraddict:

2nd Update – Another version, this one includes the voiceover. Is that John Facenda of NFL Films fame? If so, where did that footage come from and how have I never seen/heard it? Very cool.

WMU Post Game Impressions

August 31, 2008

I had a nice time at the Houstonian for Huskers event. It was great to be around so much red, as we took over the whole bar by the end of the night. It was clear that most fans had no idea what to expect and that influenced the pre-game attitude, but everyone was all-smiles during the first half.

Anyway, here are my initial thoughts on the game.

· Cody Glenn is not only our best linebacker, he’s also the leader of the defense. These are both interesting surprises. I was impressed with his play. He was clearly lost at times, but he’s always around the ball.

· I loved our offensive efficiency early in the game. Ganz was in complete control and the playcalling flowed and made sense in a way that I haven’t seen in some time.

· I was extremely disappointed with the offensive line in terms of their run-blocking. The improvement I expected, just wasn’t there. WMU was stacking 8-9 guys in the box, but the blocking wasn’t even there at the point of attack. This needs to be fixed or we’ll be back to averaging less than 3 ypc. against talented teams.

· At the same, the O-line gave Ganz plenty of time to throw. With his ability to move the pocket he bought more time, and the receivers got open late. This adds a nice dimension to the offense.

· I’m still upset with our safety play. Asante is just not good in coverage and I don’t expect that to change. I’d like to see Culbert get a chance. O’Hanlon looked serviceable at times at FS. He got caught a little shallow a few times. Amukamara bailed him out with a great play once, but I expect teams to burn us deep often unless this is fixed.

· The linebackers really struggled with shallow crossing routes. Receivers were running wide open across the middle of the field all game long. When Hiller got time to throw he took advantage of this.

· I liked our special teams. We shanked an early punt, but everything else looked good. Niles Paul will flip the field in our favor a few times this year. Alex Henery is a damn fine kicker. He’ll get a chance to win us a game or two late and I feel confident in his abilities.

· The defensive line played inconsistently, but I like how they are being taught to play. Lots of using their hands to get off blocks and get up field. A refreshing change in scheme in technique.

· Zach Potter was our best defensive lineman a year ago, but he didn’t show me much last night. We need him to get some pressure on QBs.

· Ganz really struggled in the short passing game. He’s firing the ball in there and lacks the deft touch he shows in the rest of his throws. He also had way too many passes batted down.

· What happened to the screen passes? WMU must have practiced heavily against this, as there was someone on the back each time we tried. That was our bread and butter a year ago.

· WE HAVE TIGHT ENDS!! Watson’s playcalling is going to get them involved and we’ll finally see how that opens things up elsewhere.

· The wide receivers are blocking. This is a welcome change. Niles Paul looked especially talented at this.

· Eric Hagg is a nice player. He played well in coverage and also did a nice job in run support.

· We lost focus in the 2nd half and once again missed the chance to bury a team. This is an attitude issue that needs to be addressed.

· At one point we were blitzing or stunting on every single play. That has to be fun for the defensive players. We went a little more vanilla in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but our defense is certainly fun to watch again.

· I heart James Dobson. The best hire Bo made by far. Our team looks lean and mean once again. It is also clear that he focused on flexibility and joint mobility. As a result we are explosive and agile. Go back and watch Nate Swift keep his balance on that touchdown. Putting a hand on the turf as you cradle the ball and keep moving forward is not easy to say the least.

· Overall, I felt good watching the first half of the game. We have a chance to surprise some people if play like that offensively. Defensively, the passion is back. Guys are able to use their athleticism and make plays. We are going to force some turnovers when you combine our blitzing and pass rush with defensive backs facing the QB and watching his eyes. I’d feel better if we had a Josh Bullocks roaming the secondary and we need the LBs to continue to improve. We also need to continue to instill a killer instinct. It is intimidating to force your will on a team for four quarters. We’re just not there yet…

Houston Huskers?

August 29, 2008

Just a shout out to any Houston-area Nebraska fans as the season kicks off. Jeffie Husker will be making the trek to SRO, the Houston Watch Site for the Western Michigan game. I’ve been here five years and figured it was time I ventured out. The dawning of the Pelini-era coupled with PPV-only TV options will do that to the best of us. So, if you’re a DXP reader and planning on being at SRO on Saturday let me know in the comments or email me through the link in my profile and I’ll be sure to buy you a beer or at least bore you to tears with pedantic commmentary and useless statistical knowledge.

Take the Double Extra Points

August 27, 2008

Season: 0-0. (100%)

Finally. Eternity it seems.

First off, don’t forget to sign up for one of our two college football pick ’em contests. Click here to sign up for either ESPN or Yahoo. The two prizes for the winners this year are great documentary Husker DVDs from A&E that were sent to us. Jeffie will enlighten you all by his review soon. Even if you aren’t a Husker fan, contact ebay. Free money. Nonetheless, the documentary on Husker football they portray is awesome, trust me.

Speaking of free money, I like it. Study up here. Our stars are based on a 5 star system with 5 being the highest and 1 being the girl that A. Rose brings home on any given Friday night.

SAMMY VEGAS

4* KANSAS (-33)
vs. Florida International: White Owl had a premonition. In that hallucination, he told me they win by 52. I’m not going to bore you with stats on this one. The Golden Panthers are going to get skinned, buttered, and eaten by coach Mangino.

4* TROY (-12) vs. Middle Tennessee State: I’m never one to throw out a 4 star pick (let alone probably a 5 star) if I am not serious. Here I am. Troy returns super dual threat QB Omar Haugabook who threw for almost 3,000 yards and rushed for over 600 yards as a BACK-UP. Two 600+ yard running backs are back with Troy. MTSU has nothing returning and playing the first game on the road, expect them to lay down and play as if they are playing a scrimmage. They have Maryland and Kentucky on deck.


3* ARMY (-6) vs. Temple: Stan Brock takes over Bobby Ross as Army’s new coach. As a long time NFL player and successor to Ross, Brock gets the privilege of taking Carson Williams and his 1,770 yards passing in which he earned a 109 rating last year at QB. Temple will be better this year, but they are not within a touchdown @ Army.

A. ROSE

3* Clemson (-4.5) vs. Alabama: Clemson has more talent returning this year than the Spearmint Rhino on a Saturday night, and hopes are high in South Carolina. The Tigers were picked to win the ACC this year, marking the first time a Bowden that actually coaches games has been bestowed that honor in the conference. Playing at night on a neutral field in Atlanta will make the 4 1/2 points seem legit, but this is the same Alabama team that lost to UL-Monroe last year…..at home. The Tide has talent, but unlike the kind that comes to ‘Bama frat parties, this group might be too young and inexperienced to get the job done. Expect a statement game from Clemson, frequent score updates from the announcer with over half of the crowd unable to read, and 17,765 requests for 16 oz cans of Steel Reserve from concession vendors.

3* MICHIGAN (-3.5) vs. Utah: This one has me more nervous than an unemployed Morman roofer that doesn’t use protection on three underage girls, all complaining of early morning stomach cramps. Yes, Rich Rodriguez is a first year coach with a lot of first year players. Yes, a 1A team from the only part of the US without radio or telephone reception pulled a stunner here last year, but what are the odds lightening strikes twice? Well, it’s only 1 in 480,000, but that’s not the point. Utah might be a better team than Ron Prince, better known as Grimace’s alma matter (it all makes sense now, doesn’t it), but Michigan’s defense is more inpenatrable than the chastity belts on this year’s Utah sorority pledges (damn you Joseph Smith – or any other made up religion).

3* TCU (-6) vs. New Mexico: New Mexico hasn’t beaten TCU since Rod Tidwell was telling DXP to show him the money, and after 11 years, we’re not about to stop now. Like 50mg of Viagra, Gary Patterson also knows how to get his team up for openers against subpar talent. In its last three season openers, the Horned Frogs have given up a total of 17 points, as well as winning their last three road openers. There’s a better chance Google offers Jeffie YouTube money for the DXP website than the Lobos pulling the upset. Expect another TCU domination.

T. ROSE

4 * MIAMI (OH) (-3.5)
vs. Vanderbilt: In true DXP fashion, we thought only a group of assholes or Iowans would allow readers to go into the weekend only up a C-note. This Thursday night game on ESPNU is a revenge game where Vandy won 24-13. This game is a clear case of two programs heading in the opposite direction. The Redhawks return 17 starters as opposed to Vandy’s 9. Coach Montgomery places a huge importance on games vs. the SEC and expect Yager Stadium to be packed vs. an SEC team.

4* KANSAS STATE (-25) vs. North Texas: North Texas returns 6 starters from last year that ranked the WORST defense in the country (even behind Cosgrove’s pinkshirts). Coach Grimace returns 7 starters from an offense that scored more than 29 points in the last 6 of 7 games. I call for an improved Wildcat team that brings in 19 Juco transfers that they found stuck in a Taco Bell drive thru. Just kidding Mark Mangino, I know how proud you are of Dion Rayford. With Montana State and a bye on deck, this game gets ugly early and expect Ron Bell back in McDonald Land by the end of the 3rd quarter.

3* OLE MISS (-7.5) vs. Memphis: If you bet Memphis’ opener last year, you were as lucky as the scores of Indiana undergrads who get to experience the brilliance of Dr. D’s marketing complex two times a week. Is it 4 Ps or 7 Ps? Memphis won 5 games in 2007 by 3 points or less while having a 10+ turnover margin. Houston Nutt takes over an Ole Miss program that has 16 starters back from a team that went 3-9. Ole Miss starts Texas transfer QB Jevon Snead and highly touted RB Enrique Davis. The Rebels make a statement here under new coach Houston Nutt.

“DOUBLE EXTRA LOCK”

This is new. It’s also worth your time. This is a pick that all five of the contributors love vs. the spread. This week, it’s Missouri (-6) vs Illinois. Bet your house, car, and RV. This game is not going to be close.

Western Michigan Preview

August 27, 2008

Offense

Returning Leaders:
Passing: Tim Hiller
267-421, 3,021 yds, 20 TD, 15 INT

Rushing: Brandon West
183 carries, 848 yds, 4 TD

Receiving: Jamarko Simmons
84 catches, 980 yds, 6 TD

The starters are fairly talented, but there isn’t a great deal of proven depth behind them. QB Tim Heller is a veteran, but has had his share of problems with inconsistency and INTs. A year ago he threw for over 3,000 yards, but you never really know what you’re going to get. He threw five interceptions and just one touchdown pass in back-to-back losses to Ball State and Eastern Michigan, but cruised against Iowa throwing for 367 yards and three touchdowns.

Offensively the Broncos’ biggest weapon is WR Jamarko Simmons. Simmons is odd-sized at 6-2, 234-pounds, but has good hands and pretty decent speed. Nebraska needs to keep him in check as he began 2007 as one of the hottest receivers in the country with an eye-popping 38 catches in his first three games.

Running back Brandon West does it all for WMU. In addition, to his 800+ yards rushing a year ago, he also had 45 catches for 365 yards and two touchdowns and was great on kickoff returns averaging 25.9 yards per return with a touchdown. The team shouldn’t be overly dependent upon its running game and averaged just 3.38 yards/carry a year ago.

Western Michigan lost three seniors from its disappointing offensive line of 2007. The returners had a combined 28 starts last season. Rob Johnson is being counted on to anchor the line from his LT spot. His play along with the development of redshirt freshman Anthony Parker could be the key to a successful season.

Defense

Returning Leaders:
Tackles: Boston McCornell, 99

Sacks: Zach Davidson, Greg Marshall, 6.5

Interceptions: Several at 1

The WMU defense returns just about everyone from a team that was great against the pass, but will be looking to improve against the run. The defensive line is led by tackle Nick Varcadipane, who is a stud against the run and should be fun to watch against the Huskers interior O-line. He’s surrounded by two pretty good pass rushers at DE in Zach Davidson and Greg Marshall.

At linebacker expect to see Boston McCornell around the ball early and often. Dustin Duclo is another one to watch from his MLB spot, as he has a knack for steady play and smart decisions. The Broncos are looking to improve their pass rush, so expect some blitzing from the LBs on Saturday.

The Broncos’ best defensive player has a name that should be familiar to Husker fans, as London Fryar, the son of Irving Fryar, should push for all-conference honors in 2008. It should be strange to see Fryar shutting down the Huskers top receiver. Fryar is surrounded by three other returning starters in what could be the MACs best secondary. If Ganz is pressured into risky throws, these guys will eat up misguided throws. In addition, look for safety C.J. Wilson to light somebody up at some point.

Key Stats

Rush Defense: 179.1 ypg, 83rd nationally

Pass Eff. Defense: 120.85, 46th nationally

Total Defense: 399.25 ypg, 68th nationally

3rd Down Offense: 38.3%, 73rd nationally

Turnover Margin: -4, 88th nationally

Pass Eff. Offense: 130.94, 46th nationally

Total Offense: 398 ypg, 57th nationally

3rd Down Defense: 39%, 64th nationally

Pass Defense: 220.17 ypg, 46th nationally

Rush Offense: 130.42, 86th nationally

Pass Offense: 267.6 ypg, 31st nationally

The 2008 College Football Season Over/Unders

August 26, 2008


How many times on college football game days do you sit around with your friends and say, “damn, I wish there was a good sports book around here we could go to.” Worry no more. That’s what Sammy Vegas and A. Rose are here for. Our sports book is not Caesar’s Palace. Let’s just say it’s more intriguing and lacks valet parking.

So we bring you our opening week over/under future bets for the 2008 college football season. All wagers can be placed by contacting Jeffie, T. Rose, or Dr. D.

OVER/UNDERS

# of silent heart attacks Mark Mangino will experience during his sleep this fall: 3

# of times Mark Mangino will be declined a life insurance policy during the 2008 season due to failing medical underwriting: 7

# of times Tim Tebow will tell one of his Florida teammates to turn their head and cough: 43

# of boogers Chase Daniel will consume on the sidelines during Missouri games this year: 4


# of times football analysts blame a Michigan loss on the fact that Rich Rodriguez doesn’t have a quarterback to fit his system: 8,542

# of times an announcer uses a euphemism for white (like crafty, possession, gutty, etc.) to describe Nebraska’s starting receivers Nate Swift and Todd Peterson: 106

# of milligrams of Ritalin the ESPN College GameDay producers crush up and put in Lee Corso’s coffee before each show: 100

# of times Beano Cook references a football game from before the year 1960: 38

# of times Beano Cook states Joe Paterno is still the best coach in college football: 31

# of Heisman trophies Beano Cook still thinks Ron Powlus can still win: 2

# of pounds ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe will gain throughout the season: 21


# of consecutive weeks Lou Holtz will predict Notre Dame to win: 12

# of Florida State players to be caught cheating on online exams while wearing free shoes from Foot Locker: 11

# of USC Song Girls that get called into Pete Carroll’s office for “office hours” this fall: 8


# of Penn State football players to get arrested this fall and not be suspended: 14

# of bong rips Colorado coach Dan Hawkins takes with his team this year after wins: 7

# of BYU football players who will lose their virginity this fall after a win: 1/2

# of times Trev Alberts hires a henchman to break out a window and/or slash a tire on Mark May’s car: 53

# of Alabama season ticket holders that have a full set of teeth: 8,253


# of pass attempts Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell averages per game: 81

# of years Kansas State coach Ron Prince signs on to represent McDonalds as Grimace after he is fired this season: 4

# of double cheeseburgers the new Grimace will eat from dollar menu in one sitting: 18

# of college males that will masturbate to a fully clothed Erin Andrews on any given Thursday ESPN college football game: 289,497


# of times the word “parity” is used when referencing an upset this season: 765

# of weeks Syracuse coach Greg Robinson holds the #1 spot on coacheshotseat.com: 13

# of times ESPN replays Appalachian St’s blocked FG @ Michigan last year during this year’s game at LSU: 14

# of times Kirk Herbstreit’s sexuality is called into question during the season due to over the top flattering comments about Urban Meyer: 16

# of people at Memorial Stadium who will feel worse about themselves every time Larry the Cable Guy is shown on the jumbotron in his box suite: 84,450


# of gallons of warm Bud Light that will be spilled on the floor of Barry’s over the course of 8 game days in Lincoln: 565,788

% of guys that will be at the Brass Rail after a game that graduated from college in the 1990’s: 42

% of those same guys that will take off their wedding rings and hit on college girls on O Street like there’s no tomorrow: 93


Odds that DXP will make up part of that 42% of the 90’s graduates at the Brass Rail after the game: off the board.

Keys to Victory………..Motivation

August 25, 2008

As the season opener looms just six days away, Pelini and staff will undoubtedly be looking for ways to maximize effort from every Husker player that sees the field. This sounds obvious, but I don’t think there is any question that last year’s effort, at least on the defensive side of the ball, was less than inspiring. Although I wasn’t in the locker room for any pre-game last year, I don’t think anyone is confusing Bill Callahan’s pep talks with Jim Valvano’s speech at the 1993 ESPY awards when he received the Arthur Ashe Award, which ranks as the only YouTube clip considered acceptable for a man to cry while viewing. Part of a college coaches job is to motivate players to leave everything out on the field and play with maximum effort. If you watched any of the arm tackles during the USC game last year, which were several, it didn’t seem like any of last year’s coaches motivated the Husker defense to play and play hard.

On the suface Bo Pelini seems to have a more “fiery” personality than any Husker head coach in recent memory. Who can forget the 2003 Kansas State game, where the first year NU defensive coordinator confronted Bill Snyder for running up the score in the 4th quarter? Prior to the 2007 Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame, LSU safety LaRon Landry had this to say about the biggest characteristic of the defense: “getting all 11 (pairs) of hands to the ball, wherever you see the ball that’s where all the defenders are; we give 110 percent all the time just being dominant out there, creating turnovers.” After this comment, all Bo Pelini’s LSU defense did was hold Notre Dame to two TD’s, picking off Brady Quinn twice, while limiting him to 15 of 35 through the air in a 41-14 embarrassment of the Fighting Irish.

I haven’t the slightest idea of specific motivational tools that Pelini and staff might employ prior to kickoff this year. I do think you will see guys play more inspired this year, compared to last. I hate to call out Kori McKeon again, but who could forget his mid-season rant about the game not being fun anymore? With walks ons like Wortman and converted RB Cody Glenn most likely getting starts this weekend, I’m looking for Pelini to inspire these guys to run through walls for him, and play with maximum effort. Whether you are a walk on from Grand Island or a 5-star recruit out of California, one key to winning ball games will be motivating guys to play with intentsity. Bo, if you are a DXP reader and looking for motivational tools, I’ll suggest the following clip from the best movie in the Rocky series, with the greatest motivational soundtrack ever assembled. I’m of course referring to Rocky IV and the scene after Ivan Drago kills Apollo in the ring and Rocky’s wife just tells him he can’t win. It almost makes you miss the days of the cold war.

Matt Slauson: The Biggest Loser

August 24, 2008

A lot has been made of new S&C guru James Dobson and the impact he has had on the conditioning of this year’s Husker team. I hadn’t given it a lot of thought, until I saw some recent pictures of Matt Slauson.

The big guy has gone from this:


To this, under the tutelage of Dobson:


Those are visible abs under that shirt!! Even more amazing, is it only took 10 minutes a day on one of these.

DXP College Pick ‘Em Mania 2008 (X)2

August 21, 2008

It’s time once again for the annual DXP College Pick ‘Em contest. This year, we have decided to up the anty. That’s right, we have TWO different contests with TWO prizes (which I’ll update you on next post.) The first will be the usual ESPN college pick ’em that involves picking 10 games weekly straight up and putting confidence points on each game. The second will be the Yahoo college pick ’em that involves picking 25 games weekly by the point spread. Feel free to join either or both.

To join the ESPN group and probably get dominated by some of the best handicappers around these parts, click here to go the college pick ’em homepage and the public group name is “DXP”. Make sure to read the rules as you not only pick winners but also rank your picks according to confidence.

To join the Yahoo group and definitely get dominated, click here to go the college football pick’em homepage. The group i.d. is “17638” and the password is “Huskers.” The group name should be DXP, and once again, pick the winners by point spread only.

One week away from the anticipated return of the weekly “Take The Double Extra Points,” in which you will see the return of Timmy Rose and in which will, as always, be loaded with the girls of college football. Here’s a tiny, tiny teaser…