I thought the performance of the offense has been pretty good lately… maybe a shuffle of O-Linemen would help, but we certainly moved the ball easily thru the big guys from Ill-noise yesterday.
But IMHO, NU has always had more trouble recruiting people for the Defense, Fitz had a big hand in fixing that, and I wonder if our New HC is going to keep that D-Coordinator tag, or look for a like minded Defensive guy for his staff.
He could look to his assistants, MacPherson is already the “Associate Head Coach” suggesting (to me) that he is already working with Braun on the Defense. Genyk is also there, altho his background is more on the offensive side.
The worse thing they could do in Evanston right now is clean house of the assistants, but I know that won’t stop “them” if they decide heads must roll because half of the defensive staff played under Fitz and are therefore “tainted.”
I think Braun definitely has to think about the DC status. Perhaps hire a DC but split the job with them on the sidelines. May make it harder to find one though
Regarding our offense yesterday , first remember we got 3 TD’s off of turnovers , all very deep in U of I territory Secondly as the announcers kept pointing out , with injuries going in and in game injuries yesterday U Of I was severely depleted in its defensive secondary. In all honesty I think NU didn’t seem to take advantage of that with more passing
Even with injuries, you tend to stick with your game plan as long as it is working, and for much of the afternoon, the Ill-noise D had trouble stopping the ground game (at least a few of the zone plays).
I’m pretty sure the Cats are still operating out of the “run first” plan, and going to the short passing when they need more yards. The long stuff is good, when it works, but we saw Ill-noise crash and burn on a few long throws that didn’t work. (and a few that did).
I suspect we are a couple of linemen short of what we need to tighten up the Offense and get the passing a little more steady, but we did a pretty good job moving down the field, when we didn’t hold or do other stupid stuff.
I’m so-so on the OC, he seemed to get better as the season progressed, but Braun might get marching orders from higher up to 86 some of the coaches as ‘tainted’. Kind of depends on what the double-secret report said about staff involvement.
Does NU have a QB for 2024? The story of the last several seasons says they can’t win without a good QB.
Braun has already said publicly he will not call the defensive plays next year. That suggests he is ready to name McGarigle the next DC.
As for the offense:
1/ We almost lost yesterday because – even though we were playing against an Illinois team down one of its two best defensive linemen and a depleted secondary – we opted on our second-to-last drive to run into the line on three straight possessions. We have a quarterback with an arm strong enough to throw across the field to not one but three receivers who are going to get NFL looks. I about went berserk, again, at Bajakian’s playcalling. Cam Porter is not that guy. Sorry. He is not Justin Jackson and our offensive line is not of that caliber. For evidence, please see the four-down series at the goal line against Iowa.
2/ Bajakian is and always will be associated with the prior coach (for whom, let me be clear, I have the highest respect and who I expect will walk away from his lawsuit against the university with a most handsome sum). It is up to the current coach to decide what to do about that.
3/ We are heading into a new era in Big Ten football. Most of you do not live out here on the West Coast. You are not used to seeing SC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington on a weekly basis. I am.I was in the press box in Eugene a few weeks ago for the SC-Oregon game. If it is the case that those four teams are not going to enjoy playing in West Lafayette in 17 degrees and sleet, it is also the case that out here they play a far more wide-open style of ball and Northwestern is, and for that matter, the other 13 teams in the Big Ten, too, are going to have to adjust, because two of the three teams in the national playoff chase this year are those teams. Oregon and Washington are big and fast and play offense. So does SC. SC just doesn’t have a lick of defense. We are going to have to do the same – that is, get some offense. Woody Hayes is dead, dead, dead, people. Three runs up the middle is going to get our ass kicked, and that is not going to be pretty, especially in a new $800 million stadium.
I don’t think we are comfortable with what we have for a QB next year. I suspect we will need to look hard in the Portal. I could see a NFL aspiring kid from a non power 5 conference figuring he would get a lot of national ( and I do mean national in 2024!) exposure with a school in the BT and one where he would be slated as the starter
I was not big on Bajakian until we got Bryant back. Without Bryant we are offensively crippled as we don’t have the offensive line to have a ground-intensive attack with a running quarterback. With Bryant we are still weak in pass protection, but we can execute a balanced attack that can score some points.
Maureen wants MacPherson also(good call RSL), but I’m okay with anybody Braun is comfortable defensively. I would encourage Braun to give Bajakian another couple of years especially with no home field. If our offense looks more like the Sullivan-led version vs. the Bryant-led version than make a change coming into the NEW Ryan Field.
Note: I like Sullivan and I think he was very serviceable if we had a Justin Jackson, DA1, DA2, Tyrell, Noah, Jason, etc. but Cam is just not that back after his injury.
Teams that enter new conferences do not tend to dominate as their learning curve is steep after all 100+ years of familiarity has value:
- Penn State did well in 1994, but has generally struggled the next 25+ years. They are the best example of good adaptation.
- Nebraska’s entrance was pretty ugly.
- Texas A&M had a good year or two, but in general despite spending multiple hundreds of millions the results are sad.
- Miami(FL) has been ugly in the ACC
All 4 of those teams were rich powerhouses. Only USC qualifies at that elite level with Washington having good historical success.
Now people will bring up the B1G pathetic Rose Bowl records, however for almost every team making the Rose Bowl was the ultimate goal – BCS and playoffs ruined that. Winning the Rose Bowl was good, but unnecessary for a successful season. You build your team to win beat your conference mates not to beat an unspecified opponent in their home region with opposite season weather.
I don’t believe as a USC fan said on the Facebook B1G trash talk group “We’re going to come in and run this hillbilly conference”
The Nebraska of 2011 was not the Nebraska of 1995, even if it looked like Bo Pelini was bringing the team back to that level after the unevenness of Solich and the disaster of Callahan. But when Pelini was fired (and that was inevitable), Riley was an odd choice, and Frost was just not up to the job, either.
Will Rhule do it? Too soon to tell, and Nebraska fans have mixed emotions over what the 2023 season says about the future.
Oregon also has had a strong recent history. Lost to Auburn in the national championship game about a dozen years ago and made the final 4 a few years later And get this, they are one or 2 notches below UW in the polls, lost to them by 3 points a month and a half ago , but are 9.5 point favorites over them in the Pac 12 championship game! And I just might bet on them ! Since that wild loss in Seattle , all they have done is clobber just about anyone in their way.
I agree that going to the Rose Bowl has generally been the season’s main goal for the teams in the BT , not necessarily to win it. But both SC and UO have played wide open football and the old timers in the conference may be at a big disadvantage. UW was fortunate to get Michael Penix as the head coach at UW was his QB coach at Indiana and was able to grab him. I know UO and USC had some similar good fortune with their QB’s but their histories suggest they will be able to continue to recruit top flight players I think Michigan and Ohio state need to worry more about the newbies than about Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin