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Orlando in hindsight PDF E-mail

So what do you take away from the Husker football season?

To me, it’s a little of the good, the bad and the ugly. The good was certainly the offense and all they accomplished this year, the miraculous comebacks and the thrilling plays.

The bad had to be the four losses and the defense, specifically four of the worst losses in Husker history, statistically speaking, which goes hand-in-hand with the lack of playmakers by the Blackshirts.

The ugly? My vote is for special teams, which broke down at key times or didn’t step up when they were needed the most.

Nebraska’s opponent in Florida was a very good football team with extremely talented athletes, the kind of athletes the Huskers used to put on the field.

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Aurora’s Andrew Rodriguez represented himself well this season in splitting time with Jeremiah Sirles at the right tackle position. And of course, offensive lineman only get recognized if they do something wrong, which obviously was the case in Orlando.

So I was curious -- curious enough that I reviewed every play A-Rod was in against Georgia, rating him on each effort.

Now obviously I’m no coach and will never pretend to be. But I’ve watched enough football over the years that I know a little bit about how a lineman should operate.

What I found out was he had a very good game against the Bulldogs defense. A-Rod was in on 24 pass plays, 19 of which I rated him as doing a good job, doing what he needed to do in order for the play to be successful.

On two occasions he let his man get past him, once making Taylor Martinez throw the ball out of bounds, and once giving up a sack.

He also recorded one pancake block in pass protection mode, had one false start and got called for holding against Georgia All-American linebacker Jarvis Jones, though that penalty was refused.

Also, A-Rod was in on 24 running plays and I rated him "very good" on six of those, driving his man out of the play for no chance at the tackle. Eleven plays I rated as good, one as a pancake block, two bad or missed blocks and then four plays where the former Aurora All-Stater had no defender to go against.

So in percentages, out of 48 total plays, A-Rod basically did his job or better on 42 of them, good enough for 87 percent.

So here’s a thought: if the defense could have played at an 87 percent level, or somewhere close to that, my hunch is the Huskers would have been walking off the field with the Capital One Bowl Trophy

And we all would have a more enjoyable off-season.

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One last thought: Where, oh where, has Nebraska’s screen pass gone? The Huskers were feeling the pressure of Georgia’s multi-talented defense down the stretch in the fourth quarter, a time when the offense needed to step up, and I kept hoping to see a screen pass to take advantage of the Bulldogs’ aggressiveness. It sure beats putting Martinez in the pocket with a target on his back.

Remember Zac Taylor, hitting Cory Ross on a screen pass? That always went for some big chunks of yardage and would definitely slow down the pass rush.

Sure, hindsight is 20/20. I just wish Husker coaches could see more clearly in real time.

 

DAVE BRADLEY

can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
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