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Mailbag: X’s and O’s Gon’ Give It to Ya!

Bry D. -

Mail call! It’s been a hot week in Nebraska coupled with some storms that jostled a few branches and knocked over some patio furniture. There’s no time to cry over tilted backyard swings, though. Queries run amok through the minds of Husker Nation. Let’s get to addressing.

Excellent first question. Honestly, I’ll be looking at the same main two statistics that I do for any defense under any coordinator during any season. First, I’ll be watching for how well big plays are prevented. These large movements down the field (I like to call them “Chunk Plays”) are something that head coach Mike Riley takes under careful consideration when grading games and players. It turns out that I’m no different.

Have a look at Bob Diaco’s work to prevent these type of plays while he was at Notre Dame versus Mark Banker’s during his stint at Nebraska.

 Diaco (4 years/52 games) Banker (2 years/26 games)
Average 15-yard+ Rush/Game 4 4
Average 25-yard+ Rush/Game >1 2
Average 15-yard+ Pass/Game 4 5
Average 25-yard+ Pass/Game 1 2

Secondly, when it comes to defense, I’m a bottom line kind of guy. Yes, a team can give up a ton of yardage during a game, but the opposition can’t win if it can’t score. Seems like a simple notion, but there’s a common theme when it comes to teams that are in a position to take home the biggest of prizes.

During the College Football Playoff’s existence, its teams have averaged a final ranking of 21st overall in scoring defense with Nos. 1, 2, 6, 8 and 10 all represented during that time. The only true outliers were the 2014 Florida State and Oregon teams that went head-to-head and the 2016 Penn State team that upset an Ohio State squad with a No. 3 scoring defense itself.

While I don’t know the particulars of Elijah Blades’ current status, it’s my understanding that Riley expects all of the recruits from this past cycle to make it to Lincoln safe and sound.

Ah, a repeat from last time! Well, there’s been a whirlwind of activity during the past couple of days. If you’ve been following it, I hope your neck isn’t too sore from your head spinning around. That said, all of the information I’m aware of points to Moore being a Husker, so I’m going with that.

As far as you guys, though…

Oh wow. Testing my memory here. The last game I wasn’t at would be last year’s Music City Bowl, though I was present at all home games. You’ll find me in Lincoln more often than out of it on game day. My number of away games is rather limited, unfortunately.

Now, the game I didn’t watch much or any of I remember very well and for a rather sad reason.

In 2005, my father passed and it hit me hard. Once the season came and Nebraska was ready to take on the Maine Bears, I wanted to watch. I wanted to go on living life the way my father would’ve liked me to on that day, but I just couldn’t. The game apparently ended up being pretty awkward and disjointed, but I couldn’t tell you. I don’t remember much about the game and I’ve never gone back and re-watched it.

Sorry to ruin your buzz.

Aww, you know just how to cheer me up! I’ll even do you one better than drawing it.

Gregory has a great set of skills that allowed him to be successful at Nebraska and obviously he’s good enough for the Dallas Cowboys to have jumped on him. That said, when you require a handler and you’re still violating the rules, you’re making a statement about your priorities. I’m not here to judge anyone as Gregory’s life is his own to live.

Ricky Williams had a great career, but we also associate him with failed drug tests that really put a stain on his resume and to me, that’s a shame. Ultimately, Gregory’s future is up to him.


Occasionally, I get the urge for a sub. These days, if I have my way, I’m not at Subway or Jimmy John’s (that’s right, you’ve been usurped). I’m at Jersey Mike’s and a big reason that this is my new go-to spot is thanks to their Original Italian Sub. I had a Buy One Get One coupon, so I figured why not try the place out?

Great decision and what a sandwich! They slice the meat as you order, so it’s not prepped to slam on the bread like at the aforementioned franchises. The Original Italian features provolone, ham, prosciuttini, cappacuolo, salami and pepperoni. I get mine prepped Mike’s Way, but without tomato or onions which leaves lettuce, an olive oil blend, red wine vinegar, oregano and other spices.

What’s awesome about Mike’s is that they have a size that truly fits any appetite. The smallest sandwich size isn’t available for the OI, so you can go with the regular which is about your standard sub or a giant which I would only advise getting if you haven’t eaten in about 16 hours, if you know you want leftovers or if you want to win a bet. You’re going to pay a little more at Mike’s than you would at Subway, but you’re going to get a much better sandwich.

Music of the Week

Follow Brandon on Twitter (@eightlaces)

A member of the Football Writers Association of America, Brandon has spent over a decade reporting on and researching college football, both the sport itself and recruiting.

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