First, let’s start with the Riley news. We learned over the weekend that Jordon Riley was entering his name into the transfer portal. It of course sparked numerous opinions such as “good let’s see what Hutmacher can do” or “we play mostly an even front anyway” which always leave me scratching my head. I always am so confused by the fans that see a player leave and their immediate response is “let’s see what Player X can do anyway, I wasn’t impressed” as if he didn’t beat out the other guys our fans are “wanting to see” for the entirety of 2021. And this is no different. Jordon Riley was our backup NG to our all-conference player Damion Daniels, and played 3 times as many snaps as guys like Nash. He had won the backup NG spot and was penciled in to start for 2022. But since he’s leaving, we are ok with it because we weren’t impressed in his limited action. Let’s save whether he’s good or not, my whole point is, when you lose depth that has actually played, I promise it’s not better to just have an unproven that was beat out by that person take their place.
The other thing that get’s thrown around is “well we play more of an even front 4-2-5 anyway” which is only partially true. But here’s the first series against Iowa this past year:
So you see there, we are in an odd front the first two plays (nevermind who made the first play behind the LOS). 3 down linemen, with our 2 OLBs setting the edge. On the third play, we are finally in an even front, but we still have 3 down linemen on the field. Here’s one more look at it from the first game of the season not the last:
So there you have 3 downlinemen with Nelson as the OLB up top. People are thinking that we run an even front that would have Nelson and Tannor as our DEs with only 2 DTs. That simply wasn’t the case most of the time for us. We typically had Stille, Robinson, and Daniels in on first and second down. So whether he was a 2 gapping NG or shading in a 1 technique, our NG is still a big part of things whether we are in an odd or even front.
What people are getting confused is our nickel package. On passing downs we would sub out our NG and have only 2 DL in the game (our DEs) and then Nelson/Tannor would be on the edge to rush. But you have to get them into passing situations first with our base defense that has 3 DL on it. I went into in this first post of mine on this site:
I think we many times have to just pump the breaks with what’s happening. The “we are shifting to a 4-3” is rearing it’s ugly head again as it did in 2020 and 2021 offseason. This is the 3rd offseason in a row that Chinander will then have to say “well we play a lot of even fronts too” and around the carousel we go.
One last point on this… Dawson made a comment to the media when he came back from the Giants that I found really interesting. One of the media members said “do you think the players are happy to see you back since you recruited a lot of them?” His response was “there will be guys really happy to see me, and then there will be others that aren’t as thrilled.” Could that have been what happened here? I mean, Riley is following Tuioti to a top 25 team in Oregon. Not a huge deal, those things happen. I’m just giving some foreshadowing a bit to the offensive side of the ball where we went all new assistants. Portal season will be fun for us in May.
For those of you that care, here is my 3-4 vs 4-3 debate:
I will say, it wouldn’t shock me to play more even this year with us getting zero transfer DL or recruits that can play in 2022. Because as of right now the alternative is putting Hutmacher as your starting NG, or shifting Robinson down there who struggled late in the season last year. More on that tomorrow in the DL preview.
I think I have NIL figured out
I remember back when this whole thing kicked off and people said “this will be great for us, no one has a better fanbase than Nebraska!” I tried telling people just what we were up against, there was no way our fans would be able to keep up with some SEC loser blowing his entire trust fund to get a kid to his school. No one believed me. And it was tough to keep beating that drum when these things saying SEC was 3rd best at NIL were coming out:
Or you had people like Mike Farrell putting us in the top 5:
I mean, when you look back at those, A&M isn’t even on Farrell’s list, but now people are all pissed because they paid so much to lock up the #1 recruiting class. If we take realistic and honest look at it, we aren’t going to be able to keep up. Especially since we aren’t winning. Heck, we didn’t even have our football facilities fully funded until Alberts made a play to have the boosters that wanted to keep Frost around pay for the outstanding balance.
But I figured out what it is and why there’s all this confusion. A place like Nebraska gets a guy like Casey Thompson all excited because they have a list of businesses that are willing to partner and help him make money. “Tweet this” or “wear this shirt” as an example. Our possibilities seem endless. Meanwhile, Texas A&M who is in the SEC and isn’t even on these lists I provided just signed the #1 recruiting class because the estimate is their boosters gave away 25-30 million just for signing on the dotted line. Or what BYU did:
Do we have walk-ons still paying tuition here? You bet we do. So in talking to ‘Native’ from the old site, it became pretty clear what was happening. Nebraska is probably top 5 in doing NIL the way it was intended. Once kids get here they can earn some real money by being associated with the program. Teams like BYU and A&M, while their pitch won’t have a litany of businesses, all you have to do is be a member of the team and you get a ton of cash. Sure, there’s some red tape and some things they have to show you did, but they are just taking it to a level that i’m quite sure Nebraska is not wanting to go to, and quite honestly probably can’t.
Let me rephrase it if you still don’t believe what i’m saying… if you think Nebraska is a top contender for NIL, why did we end up 11th overall in B1G recruiting rankings and for the first time ever did we have a bottom 50% average recruit ranking in 2022? If this was good for us, why did we have the worst class since Rivals has kept track in both overall and per recruit ranking in our conference?
Just a quick tidbit here… Mickey Joseph has been making the rounds up here and doing some great things.
For the record Barrett Ruud is still helping up there, it’s not like we weren’t getting guys like Prochazka and Henrich from up this way. But we needed some renewed energy in a few areas. And Joseph can help that.
I do want to point one thing out though, many times it wasn’t Ruud’s fault. I remember for one particular player he said “if it were up to me he’d have an offer already, we just can’t miss on in-state guys”. That led to other teams contacting and offering first. Something that rubbed a few of those kids/parents the wrong way. So we need to make sure we are on the same page as a coaching staff. And it seems like we are… all of a sudden we have offered a freshman from the OPS school district:
I like more focus on Omaha, I like the earlier offers (we beat Iowa this time), and I like the sense of urgency. I think things are on the up.