Yes, a damn fine post Beaguljuice.I think so.
The last few years, they have been very easy to defend on offense. When you have a weak line, inaccurate QB and can't run the football; the results are predictable. While there is a lot of youth, a new system and a retooled OL, they will not be so easy to game plan for or defend. Teams won't have as much to go on preparing for them this year and there are some playmakers on that side of the ball .
Defensively, they have nowhere to go, but up. I'm not expecting a return to the vintage Blackshirts this year, but I do expect to see more effort, better technique, better coaching and more turnovers. They were so disorganized and hated Diaco, which only exasperated that Trainwreck .
Special teams have also been poor for a very long time. I think we will see marked improvements in kick returns and coverage. PK worries me, but I believe the sum of all these other parts can compensate to a degree.
The biggest intangible to me, this team had a lot of quit in them, especially last year. Physically and mentally weak. The mental part may have been more disturbing for a variety of reasons. I don't see them folding so easily when things get tough and they are also physically in much better position to stand up to the adversity.
The mid-October stretch will really tell is a lot more about this team.
3 of 4 on the road (MI, NW and WI) sandwiched around a home game with a Purdue team that won 9 games last season, is not going to be easy. The physical toll of road games with Mich and WI ( especially) cannot be discounted, no matter how red the kool-aid is right now. Finishing that stretch on the road against a NW team that has always played NU tough, may be the most dangerous of them all. How much will be in the tank after getting up for brutal physical road opponents in MI and WI?
It should be fun and I think it will be much better. They could very well give OSU all they want coming off a home game with Minn and then a bye, which could be enough time to recharge, circle the wagons and have many of the kinks worked out.
They are. I am very curious to see how they handle Frost and our uptempo quick paced offense. I think once we get in dialed in we will have our way with them. As Frost said, "they will have to adjust to us" or they won't stand a chance. I am not concerned about our offense putting up points. That will happen. My biggest concern is can our D Stop those slow, long drives.Wisconsin plays a slow down game, Diaco plays slow down defense. Wisconsin ran 66 plays and rushed the ball 49 times. They kept the ball for almost 37 minutes. They had 3 drives, in the second half that were 10 plays and on average of 6 minutes each. That’s 18 minutes of 30 on 3 drives and they scored 3 TDs. Unless there is a mistake, Wisconsin is a slow drip on the forehead type punishment and not a quick slit of the throat.
Offensive and defensive linesYes, our QB play will dictate the season. It is the determining factor whether games like Wisconsin, Iowa, and MSU are really winnable. We may or may not have the defense and other pieces on offense to keep us competitive in those games--that's an open question as well--but last year's game against Wisconsin suggests that we have a shot.
I think we flat-out lack the talent to keep up with OSU, depending on how the situation with Urban plays out. We may be facing a team whose national championship aspirations have been obliterated and who has little to play for, and so we may have a chance. I doubt it, though.
Assuming our QB play is serviceable to good, I think we beat Iowa. Fant could cause us problems, but for the most part that is just a guts game, and now I think our teams will be equally matched in the guts department.
Michigan gets us early, and with a stifling defense and a new QB wins pretty handily at home.
I have no idea what to think of MSU. Again, I think it will depend on our QB play and what they're playing for at the end of the year. I think they'll be playing for something and we lose, even at home.
Much of the same can be said for Wisconsin, though I think here the outcome is less contingent because we're playing them on the road and they will be playing to represent the west in BIG championship game. They don't kill themselves and we'll be a young team with a new scheme. I think we'll probably seal our own fate.
As far as I'm concerned, we should be expected to win the rest of the games.
All of this, though, is assuming that our QB play is serviceable to good. If it's less than that we're going to lose some games we otherwise would be expected to win. (Insofar as comparisons to Milton are apt, recall also that he was not an early enrollee, so hopefully Martinez/Gebbia can be more effective in year one. However, I'm not sure comparisons to Milton are apt, as that guy is really special. Hopefully it turns out he is a system QB and Frost/Verduzco are QB whisperers.) I think we'll know a lot more by time conference play starts.
Right now I've got us penciled in at 8-4. Losses to Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State. If the QBs struggle, 6-6 becomes a much more likely possibility.
I guess we shall see in a few days. I think the Badgers stand a chance! Do you think the Huskers will have thier way with them?They are. I am very curious to see how they handle Frost and our uptempo quick paced offense. I think once we get in dialed in we will have our way with them. As Frost said, "they will have to adjust to us" or they won't stand a chance. I am not concerned about our offense putting up points. That will happen. My biggest concern is can our D Stop those slow, long drives.