Mailbag: Let's Talk Nebrasketball
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Mailbag: Let’s Talk Nebrasketball

March 07, 2017

Let’s talk a little Nebrasketball, shall we? That appears to be the hot topic of the week, which was confirmed in the questions we received for this week’s mailbag. With that in mind, we’re talking Coach Tim Miles, Nebrasketball expectations and more. Plus, we have a little football and weather. Have to have balance, right?

Brandon Vogel, Jacob Padilla, Jake Jensen and Erin Sorensen answer your questions in this week’s Hail Varsity mailbag.

Q: Where did you think Nebrasketball would be at five years ago, today? – M.V., Omaha, Neb.

JJ: I thought Nebraska would be a more consistent player in the Big Ten; not necessarily competing for a Big Ten title every year, but consistently finishing in the top half of the conference and competing for NCAA and NIT berths. With the exception of one season, that hasn’t really happened though.

Q: Seeing how Nebrasketball finished right where everyone thought, is this reason really a disappointment? – K.B., Omaha, Neb.

JJ: Like I said last week, the expectations for Nebraska were extremely low after Andrew White III transferred, but expectations seemed to skyrocket after Nebraska beat Dayton and hung tough with UCLA during the Wooden Classic. After those two games, fans seemed to completely forget that Nebraska was a flawed team that:

  • Didn’t have a proven center to build their low-post offense around
  • Didn’t have a guy they could bring off the bench that could handle the ball
  • Was an offense that was completely built around the perimeter
  • Was extremely young

JP: It absolutely was in my opinion. Not because of where Nebraska finished, but because of the lack of consistency within the development of the freshmen and sophomores, some of the bad losses and the way they closed out the season. Personally, my feeling coming into the year was that the team’s goal should be to show development within those young players and to be playing its best basketball at the end of the year. I think it’s clear even that has not happened.

Q: Asked last week if Miles was really on hot seat. Outside Nebraska bubble, well…Brutal losses recently. Is Miles safe? – J.M.

JJ: I honestly have no clue. One thing that I think helps Miles is that there doesn’t seem to be a proven upgrade available on the coaching market. Dana Altman and Jim Larrañaga don’t appear to be in any hurry to leave their situations, and those would be the only slam dunk hires I can think off of the top of my head.

ES: I’m still in the camp that believes he’s fine for at least one more year. I can’t promise anything beyond that, but I can’t see Nebraska getting rid of him with so much young talent on the team. If things go south next year though? I think that’s when Miles’ job is truly in jeopardy.

Q: Stealing your Fan Poll question again… Do you believe Tim Miles deserves another season as the head coach of Nebraska basketball? – K.

JP: I personally don’t feel strongly about it one way or the other. I could easily put together a strong case for going either way with the decision. Ultimately it comes down to whether or not Shawn Eichorst feels like Tim Miles can get the job done. He’s privy to much more information than I am.

BV: Sunday’s loss changed things a bit for me. Prior to that, I was a tepid “yes.” After that game, however, things just felt a little too familiar — here was Nebraska again at the end of the season looking like it was ready to do almost anything other than play basketball. The Husker teams feel fragile (talking about chemistry and the touchy-feely stuff here) and that’s been a common issue. Does an offseason fix that? It seems increasingly unlikely. If that’s the case, it’s hard to make the case for waiting.

Q: Will Bob Diaco’s handsome looks result in commitments for Nebraska? – O.H., Lincoln, Neb.

JJ: It definitely won’t hurt when it comes to getting the “Mom Vote” for a kid.

It’s funny how many folks comment on the so-called “Mom Vote” when a
majority of those I’ve seen commenting on Diaco’s looks are men. I’d say
you have to feel pretty good about the “Dad Vote.”

Q: Say Hail Varsity is hosting an AMA. Who is your first call? (BTW – HV should host an AMA.) – M.S., Cook/Tecumseh, Neb.

As some mentioned already on Twitter, I think you have to call Kelly
. He’d be able to offer some really great insight into how life
works behind-the-scenes for Nebraska athletics. Beyond that, I think any former player – Kenny Bell, Tommy Armstrong, Eric Crouch, etc. – would be interesting. This list is honestly pretty endless and Nebraska has plenty of options so if Hail Varsity ever does host an AMA, I’m confident we’d find someone solid.

Q: Your prediction: Will Nebraska have their first ever 1,000 yard receiver this season? – H., David City, Neb.

Nope. I think Stanley Morgan Jr. will lead the team with around 800
receiving yards, with Demornay Pierson-El and Tyjon Lindsey both
finishing in the 500-600 receiving yard range.

JP: I will also
say no. I think Morgan has the potential to get there, but I’m going to
have to see Tanner Lee in action and Morgan as a number one wideout.

Q: Do you believe there is a serious quarterback competition this spring or does Lee already have the job?

I think it’s Lee’s job, but Mike Riley is being smart to pitch an open
competition. It wouldn’t make much sense to tell Patrick O’Brien and
Tristan Gebbia to pack it in this spring because there is no chance of
them playing over Lee.

JP: I think my answer to the previous
question revealed my thoughts, but I believe Tanner Lee is the guy.
Patrick O’Brien will get plenty of reps this spring, but Lee will be
taking the snaps come the regular season.

Q: Was Omaha’s weather today a marketing ploy by the Magazine? Hail? – B., Neb.

JP: If so, I was not involved and I do not appreciate it. I’ve got a few dents on the hood of my car I could have done without.

Q: Who will emerge as the Huskers knight and shining armor when football season rolls around? – C., Worthington, Ohio

BV: Bob Diaco. I think he is the key to Nebraska exceeding expectations, which in my mind fall squarely (and fairly) in the seven-to-eight wins range. If Diaco can turn the Blackshirts into a top 20ish defense, however, that’s a significant upgrade, maybe even enough to carry an offense that is going to experience some growing pains. You were probably asking for a player, but Diaco’s the lynchpin in my mind.

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