3 big Huskers questions following the loss to Northwestern
LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - There aren’t any moral victories in sports. There are only wins and losses.
The Nebraska football team is now 0-2 after losing to Northwestern Saturday in a game they could’ve, and maybe should’ve, won.
That being said, like the Ohio State loss, there were some positives the team can take away from the game.
Some younger players, like redshirt freshman safety Myles Farmer, played well and showed what they can do, and Luke McCaffrey showed he can move the team down the field on the ground and through the air.
The outcome of the game left me wondering three big things:
1. Is it time to make a change at quarterback?
Adrian Martinez once again struggled, especially when it came to throwing the ball. He threw a very bad pick into triple coverage in the endzone while trying to hit Austin Allen and it got him pulled from the game.
Martinez did get some big chunks of yards on the ground, and maybe if it weren’t for some silly penalties that stalled drives then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Luke McCaffrey also threw a bad pick when he got in, but the offense moved a lot better with him taking the snaps.
The eye test tells me the team is better off with McCaffrey starting.
Perhaps the roles need to be reversed to where McCaffrey plays, and Martinez comes in from time to time for a QB run.
Prior to the Ohio State game, Scott Frost said if they had the same training camp but it was McCaffrey who had the experience, then Luke would’ve been the starter week one.
That’s telling. It also brings me to my next question.
2. Do younger guys need to start playing more?
Frost often talks about how it’s good to "be old and stay old.”
Personally, I disagree. I believe you have to play your best players regardless of age.
If a talented freshman is outplaying a senior, that senior shouldn’t get to keep his spot on the field just because he’s played more. That’s especially true in a free year where no one loses a year of eligibility.
The biggest example from the Northwestern game is Myles Farmer who played the first half for Deontai Williams who was suspended for a targeting call against Ohio State.
Farmer had two interceptions. One of them came off of a tip where he was just in the right place at the right time, but the second came off of a great read where he jumped the passing route.
Williams came in and was often out of position and showed poor tackling technique.
It was one half of one game, but Williams didn’t look great against Ohio State and he didn’t look good in week one against South Alabama in 2019 before he got hurt.
If younger guys like Farmer on defense, or McCaffrey and some of the young receivers on offense can come in and show off their length and athleticism, and it contributes to winning plays -- they should play more.
3. Can this team keep believing and turn this season into a positive one?
“The players need to experience something good,” a visibly frustrated Scott Frost said after the loss on Saturday.
He added that he believes the players see what’s happening and that they can see a turnaround for the program is coming.
If not now, then when?
Saturday was frustrating to watch, and I’m sure it was even more frustrating if you were on the Nebraska sideline.
ILB Luke Reimer, who led the team in tackles Saturday, said the team’s mood was down in the locker room after the game.
There isn’t a lack of talent on the roster.
This is a team that can compete and win in the Big Ten.
If they get their best guys on the field and clean up the mistakes, they can do just that starting against Penn State in the home opener next weekend.
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