As they introduced former Huskers’ and Chiefs‘ great Will Shields at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln this past Saturday night, I stood up and cheered. Not that I have liked any particular Husker, but I had to pay my respects to a great person and a great athlete. As I looked up and cheered I noticed an interesting sign in the background. A sign that said “The Power of Red.”
The Power of Red?
My immediate thought that evening as my Tigers humiliated the Huskers was that this phrase was a misnomer. This was further confirmed on Sunday with the complete and utter humiliation of the Chiefs.
OH MY the mighty have fallen!!!! Teams like the Raiders now invade Arrowhead and run roughshod over the Chiefs. A Mizzou team which had never really even been competitive in Lincoln over the decades rolls into Nebraska and pummels the Huskers. How does this happen?
It all goes back to Will Shields. Yes, Will Shields. You see, Nebraska lacks its usual dominating line, led by the likes of Shields, Dave Remmington, etc. All much in the same way the Chiefs lack quality lineman like Shields, Willie Roaf, John Alt, Tim Grunhardt, etc. Whether you like it or not, it all starts up front. Why can Larry Johnson rip off 200 yards one week and run for a paltry seven the next? Poor line play. Why are our QB’s terrified in the pocket, especially gun-shy Damon Huard? Poor protection by the line.
To further emphasize this point look at the game Saturday. Chase Daniel had time to make and eat a sandwich, while Derrick Washington had gaping holes in amassing his 139 yards on 14 carries. On the other hand, Joe Ganz was forced to roll out to buy time, while the Husker backs only totaled only 79 yards on 35 carries. The end result, well, we all saw the scoreboard. Unfortunately, we can’t really evaluate any QB accurately with such miserable line play. It’s no surprise that Damon and LJ can’t get it going back there, because even Dan Marino and Jim Brown couldn’t make it happen behind this patchwork line.
Lost in the afterglow of these disasters were two coaches with markedly different responses. Bo Pelini‘s response was “Its my fault–I DIDN’T DO A GOOD ENOUGH JOB IN COACHING.” Herm Edward’s response was “I can’t explain it–I will have to look at the film.”
Such is the state of the Power of Red.