ups and downs but many touchdowns so okay?
The film: I hate how much I respect Scott Frost. I hate that Michigan is going to be locked into playing against this guy every year while Michigan State gets to pad every conference record with Minnesota (that was OUR rival!). I hate that the only guy in the world who could have made Nebraska into NEBRASKA again is the kind of Nebraska fan who would take the Nebraska job when Florida and LSU were ready to chuck $Texas at him. I hate that I like Frost more for doing so. I hate that I couldn't get through two drives (both which ended in turnovers) without grabbing my forehead to make sure my skull had a little extra buttressing as it tried to process everything Frost was doing. I hate myself for clipping six out of the first 11 plays.
Anyway Nebraska Year Zero outgained Colorado 565 yards to 395, outrushed their old Big 8 rival 329 yards to 44, had a lead, and were driving deep into Buffalos territory in the 4th quarter when their freshman phenom quarterback injured his knee.
Personnel: My diagram:
True freshman starting QB Adrian Martinez missed most of his senior year with a shoulder injury, left the Colorado game late with a knee injury and did not play in Nebraska's subsequent 24-19 loss to the Troy Trojans of Troy (We're from Troy!) He's a game-time decision. When he's healthy he's a future star. If he can't go things drop pretty far: RS freshman Tristan Gebbia transferred when Martinez won the job, so if Martinez can't go it's back to walk-on QB Andrew Bunch, who started against Troy last week.
WR Stanley Morgan was 14 receiving yards short of 1,000 last year, second in the Big Ten only to D.J. Moore. JuCo transfer WR Mike Williams has shored up the spot opposite him so they can keep excellent Slot J.D. Spielman where he belongs, backed up by 2017 Top-50 recruit Tyjon Lindsey, who had a committable Ohio State offer.
All of the tight ends are receiver-ish and line up like receivers. Jack Stoll appeared in every game last year and spends as much time as a Flex TE as he does inline or at H-back. The other TEs in the rotation, Austin Allen and Kurt Rafdal are super-tall redshirt freshmen.
The line is experienced, and though they struggled at run blocking last year they kept former QB Tanner Lee upright (8th in 2017 adj. sack rate). The only one not back is former center Michael Decker, who left football with eligibility remaining. New C Cole Conrad is a poorer man's Graham Glasgow—the former walk-on started 12 games at guard or tackle over two season before moving to the middle this fall. RG Tanner Farmer is a longtime PFF favorite, however fellow longtime starter LG Jerald Foster tends to be really good against bad teams, really bad against good teams, and really REALLY grabby. LT Brenden Jaimes struggled last year when thrust onto the field as a true freshman, but he's up to 300 pounds on his NFL left tackle frame and starting to look the part. Right tackle is back to the guy Conrad replaced last year, Matt Farniok, who's bleah at pass protection and not much help on runs.
The backfied sorely misses feature back Tre Bryant, who retired from football late in fall practice. As befits a Scott Frost team they use a rotation of them. RB Greg Bell was the nation's top JuCo prospect this year, and is averaging a smooth 6.22 YPC; he has excellent vision and good acceleration but will get caught from behind. Freshman RB Maurice Washington caught up to Bell in carries and yardage by bouncing outside on Troy—he's lengthy but hard to bring down on first contact. Last year's nominal starter Devine Ozigbo actually has one more carry than Washington right now; he's a burly pile-mover and the designated short-yardage back.
[After THE JUMP: Inside the mind of a genius]