Mailbag: A Little Quarterback Talk
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Mailbag: A Little Quarterback Talk, a Little Thanksgiving Talk

November 22, 2016

So, the whole quarterback thing could be a little interesting for Nebraska this week. That makes for quite the matchup against Iowa. Beyond that, Thursday is also a holiday. That means this week’s mailbag questions centered around quarterbacks and food. That’s not too bad, right? We didn’t think so.

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

Q: Who starts at QB on the Hail Varsity football team? – C.H., Lincoln, Neb.

JJ: Me.

JP: Anybody BUT me.

BV: I’m out, too. I was a pass catcher not a pass thrower back in the glory days. Thus it looks like we’ll have a QB battle between Erin and Jake, unless Erin is also out.

ES: I’m in. Bring it on, Jake.

Q: Where does this Iowa team (as of this week, not season long) rank among the teams NU has played this year? – G.M., Omaha, Neb.

JJ: I’d put Iowa a little bit ahead of Minnesota in terms of quality, but they are a significant step down from Ohio State and Wisconsin.

BV: Third or fourth. That’s where most of the advanced-stats ranking systems have Iowa. If you don’t like that method, you can try to use head-to-head results but then you’ve got an interesting logjam for that third spot — behind, as Jake mentioned, Wisconsin and Ohio State — between Iowa, Northwestern and Minnesota. Minnesota beat Northwestern, Northwestern beat Iowa, Iowa beat Minnesota. Best team on their best day? I’d go Iowa, Northwestern, Minnesota, in order.

Q: What are the chances of a Nebraska-Colorado bowl game? Would it be as fun as it sounds? – T.W., Sioux City, Iowa

JJ: I think the only way it happens is if NU and Colorado both lose this week. Then they could meet in the Holiday Bowl. I think it’d be awesome, Husker football needs villains to defeat and there aren’t many better villains than the Buffs.

BV: The most fun and not remotely likely option: Nebraska wins Friday and Wisconsin loses Saturday, putting the Huskers in the Big Ten title game. Colorado beats Utah this week to advance to the Pac-12 title game. Both Nebraska and Colorado lose there, combined with a Clemson loss in the ACC title game and an Oklahoma loss to Oklahoma State. That maybe puts the Big Ten champion (assuming it’s Penn State) and the Pac-12 champion (assuming it’s Washington) in the playoff alongside Alabama and Ohio State (assuming the Buckeyes beat Michigan). Then the rankings just need to show that Colorado and Nebraska are the next-best available teams in their conferences. That’s all it would take to get a CU-NU Rose Bowl. Easy, right?

Q: Maybe it doesn’t mean much, but how many P5 coaches have had an undefeated home season? – M.S., Cook/Tecumseh, Neb.

ES: Ever? Or just this year? This could take some work if it’s the former. Let me know before I start doing too much research… We can follow up in the forums.

Q: Does Jaylin Bradley have interest from the Huskers?

JJ: Yes. If Nebraska does offer an in-state guy late, it will likely be Bradley. He just needs to get some grade issues ironed out and then he’ll receive an offer.

JP: Here’s what his high school coach, Michael Huffman said about him after the state title yesterday:

“I know the Big Red likes him, and we like the Big Red. So let’s hope it all plays out … He’s got some issues. He’s got to work a little bit harder than the rest of us do. We’ve got a path mapped out for him and he’s on that path. Nebraska’s aware of that path. If he can get it done, he’s going to be down here. I really believe that. I don’t think those guys would be lying to me. So we’re excited about that. But he’s got to get it done. He needs to attack the classroom like he does here and he’s done a great job since last spring doing that. Let’s be real honest. I talked to him at the end of his sophomore year. I said ‘man, you need to pick it up.’ He goes ‘Well, Coach, I’ll be fine.’ And it didn’t happen. Now it’s what we like to call gut-crunch time, and not just on the football field but in life.”

Q: Have the Huskers offered Jaylin Bradley or Moses Bryant?

JJ: Not yet. If Bradley fixes his grades he’ll get an offer. Bryant will likely get his offer during the downtime before Nebraska’s bowl game.

Q: What’s your favorite moment from this year’s home games? – K.B., Omaha, Neb.

JJ: When the balloon fell on the 27-yard line against Maryland.

JP: Anything with Sam Foltz is an easy answer, but I’ll steer it towards football. As the conductor of the Bryan Reimers hype train, seeing him make that touchdown catch against Oregon was pretty cool. There’s no table-pounding in the press box, but I definitely gave a mental fist pump.

ES: I’d have to say the missing man formation against Fresno State. I will never not cry when I see that.

Q: Do you think Zack Darlington plays QB vs. Iowa? – S.W.

JJ: I do. Even though it’s his non-throwing hand, I don’t think Fyfe will be able to play just five days after surgery and hamstring issues are almost always two week ordeals, so I don’t think Tommy will be able to go.

ES: Mark me down in the ‘Tommy returns!” camp.

Q: Is Beau Davis still on the roster? – B.M., Kans.

BV: No, not even a Matt Turman, either.

Q: What about Ozigbo? Radio guys said he was available Sat but didn’t play? – S.S., Neb.

JJ: I think part of it was Tre Bryant and Mikale Wilbon received all of Ozigbo’s practice reps while he was recovering, so the coaches felt more comfortable with those two in the game. Ozigbo should be a much bigger factor Friday.

JP: Also, Ozigbo isn’t blessed with a ton of explosiveness at full health as it is, so if he’s limited at all it’s going to be hard for him to make it out of the backfield or run with power. The other two were probably better options because they are as healthy as any player can be at this point.

Q: Is there a nightmare scenario where they burn Patrick O’Brien’s red shirt? – J.H., Denver, Colo.

JJ: Gosh, I hope not. Only way I see it happening is if Fyfe is unavailable and Darlington gets hurt. Even then I’d rather have them just toss DPE in the wildcat and run zone read all game instead of throw O’Brien in for just one half or three quarters.

JP: I suppose there could exist a scenario where both Fyfe and Armstrong are unavailable and the coaches go to O’Brien and give him the decision to keep his shirt or start the game on Friday. However, I don’t think that’s even in the cards right now.

ES: In my opinion, no. O’Brien is keeping that redshirt come hell or high water. I guess in that case, hell or high water would cause him to burn his redshirt.

Q: Is the reason most fans don’t want Iowa to be a ‘rivalry game’ because we don’t want to admit they’re our equal? – A.A., Lincoln, Neb.

JJ: It’s because they got tricked by the Big Ten into thinking the yearly rivalry would be with Penn State, which would have been AWESOME. But then expansion happened and Nebraska got stuck with Iowa as a forced rival.

JP: I have no idea why so many refuse to admit it on both sides. I live in Omaha, so maybe I’m closer to it with Council Bluffs 10 minutes away from my house. It may not be a historically significant rivalry like what Nebraska had with Oklahoma, but it is a growing rivalry.

ES: I think failing to acknowledge it on both sides actually benefits the rivalry. It only makes everyone hate each other a little more. #IowaHateWeek

Q: Is Tre Bryant in line to be the starter next year or is Ozigbo still on the mend? – A.A., Lincoln, Neb.

JJ: All I can say is that it is going to be a juicy spring battle to watch. Ozigbo, Bryant, Wilbon all battling for reps, I like it. Whoever Nebraska signs at running back this year (Bradley?) should redshirt.

Q: If NU wins out and does not make the conference championship, what is the most likely destination for the bowl game? – 3.L.C.

JJ: Outback Bowl against LSU. Bring on Ed Orgeron!

BV: Depends on the possibility of the Big Ten getting two teams in the playoff, but the Outback looks most likely and a fairly wide range of SEC teams are available.

Q: What’s your dream Thanksgiving dinner meal? Now, would you agree to never get it again for Wisconsin to lose? – C.S.

ES: One
that Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, cooks. Her Thanksgiving meals
look outstanding. As for giving that up for a Wisconsin win? I’m not
sure about that one. I’m a big Pioneer Woman fan…

Q: What are the necessities on your Thanksgiving plate? – T.W., Sioux City, Iowa

JJ: Mashed potatoes with stuffing and gravy and homemade bread rolls. Can’t top it.

I’m a turkey guy (shut it, haters). Sweet potatoes. Strawberry fluff
salad. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Dinner rolls and butter.  

ES: I’m
a big fan of stuffing. The more stuffing, the better. Beyond that,
mashed potatoes and green bean casserole are my runner-ups. Give me a
plate of those three and I’m happy.

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Tags: 2016, Mailbag