If you've followed this space for any amount of time you'll already know this––if you haven't, well, surprise––but anonymous coaches talking about other conference teams is one of my favorite things of the offseason. Athlon pulls this together each spring and summer, and man do I enjoy being reminded that the coaching profession is just as petty as any other, full of personal beefs, professional jealousies and, in some cases, sympathy.
While those parts are all fun, there is also some insight here. After you get past some of the cattiness, you're left with peer reviews of programs. Who better to offer an opinion on the job someone is doing than those who should know what the job takes?
Here's one on Scott Frost:
“A team that got better on film week by week last season. You saw a much more disciplined group by November.”
That one's not about 2018 Nebraska, but 2016 UCF. This one is about last year's Huskers:
"Scott Frost is going to get it turned around. He's already set the tone, you can tell right away. That's a different team in terms of behavior and attitude on the sidelines. We noticed it immediately."
The similarity between those two statements struck me. That's the impossible-to-ignore comparison this offseason, right? How similar can Year 2 here be to Year 2 there?
It really is nothing more than a hypothetical discussion. Those are two different situations, two different teams, two different times. But isn't it interesting that two different coaches, independent of one another, noticed similar things from two different teams at two different times that shared one thing in common––the coaches.
(Aside: I'm trying to guess the team of the coach that supplied the "noticed it immediately" quote above. My top guess is Ohio State. Second-choice: Iowa.)
Athlon typically runs a few of these quotes in its season preview, and then empties the notebook and supplies them all online. Of those newly released comments about Nebraska, this one also caught my eye:
"Offensively, they're going to have more consistent playmakers this year. They're going to have more speed than you would expect from Nebraska in recent years."
As you know, Nebraska lost a 1,000-yard rusher at running back and a 1,000-yard receiver. Both of those guys were four-year contributors and pretty consistent, so more consistent is saying something.
Here are a few more about other schools for your amusement. Or maybe just mine. They amused me:
"The secondary is really thin. That's gotta piss Will off, because they've brought in some top guys in the front these last few years." – About South Carolina. That would piss me off, too, but the real payoff here is getting to think about Muschamp being angry, something you can see weekly on the sidelines each fall. It’s usually entertaining.
"Where the hell did they get a defensive line from? It's been a completely different deal for them on offense because they're not pressing anymore to score touchdowns every fifth play call." – About Washington State. Imagining Mike Leach's delight at this particular comment delights me.
"That's a program that really doesn't get enough credit for their player development. They're turning out NFL talent at a clip they have no business achieving. It's nuts." – About North Carolina State. It has been pretty nuts.
"You hate playing this team. They're always competitive; they're always fighting back and staying in games even when they're down." – About Indiana. Not surprised by this at all. The Hoosiers visit Lincoln on Oct. 26.
The Grab Bag
- Freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey is still young and a little bit raw, but he’s showing a lot of promise, too.
- There’s increased compeition among the Husker tight ends this fall, but better depth isn’t slowing Sean Beckton down on the recruiting trail.
- Greg Austin says the Huskers have more depth and better leadership on the offensive line.
- The latest Tom’s Time from Mike Babcock offers a look back at the Huskers’ 1985 recruiting class.
Today’s Song of Today