The mailbag wasn't very full this week, but there were still some good questions from you guys. Brandon Vogel, Greg Smith, Jacob Padilla and Derek Peterson are back to try and answer them.
After a few games into the college basketball season… how do you think the B1G standings turn out compared to the preseason? What does Miles have to do this season to get an extension after the season? #Nebrasketball (@Dustin_Huber)
JP: Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Maryland and Purdue are the only ones that have played a legitimate opponent so far, so it’s hard to to take too much away from the first few games. But I have noticed some things. Northwestern’s lack of depth scares me; they had Bryant McIntosh and Vic Law both go supernova and still couldn’t beat Creighton at home. Wisconsin’s totally unproven cast around Happ has looked better than I expected. Indiana is bad. At this point, I think Sparty, the Boilermakers and the Gophers are probably in their own tier at the top with Maryland, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan in that next group in some order. I think Nebraska and perhaps Penn State are in the middle there trying to jump ahead of someone in that second group. Here’s a quick projection:
1) Michigan State, 2) Purdue, 3) Minnesota, 4) Maryland, 5) Northwestern, 6) Wisconsin, 7) Iowa, 8) Michigan, 9) Nebraska, 10) Penn State, 11) Indiana, 12) Ohio State, 13) Illinois, 14) Rutgers.
As for Miles, I think he’ll be fine if the Huskers finish above .500 and make some kind of postseason, or at least show significant progress in that direction. The Huskers should be poised to make a leap in 2018-19 so long as the team continues to improve throughout this year.
DP: I like Jacob’s order but give me Nebraska at No. 7 fighting to move up. I like James Palmer Jr. I could see this team winning something like 17, 18, 19 games this season and go dancing. That’s enough to bring Miles back for another go-around.
Not counting winning, what traditions should the Husker Football team focus on finding, bringing back, embracing over the next 1-2 seasons? (@Corn_Huskers)
BV: I don’t know if you can call it a “tradition” in any traditional sense, but if Nebraska’s going to get back to winning it has to get back to winning on the offensive line first. I don’t know what specific o-line traditions the Huskers may have had under Milt Tenopir, but I’m sure there were some. Basically anything that would set the standard of the past on the offensive line as the goal for the future would be a step in the right direction. Also, and this has nothing to do with anything other than I always liked it, put the Blackshirt stickers back on the helmets for the starting defense. Always liked that those guys got to carry a part of that practice tradition onto the field during games.
GS: Something I was thinking about yesterday along these lines was, could Nebraska do something like Miami, USC under Pete or Texas during the Vince Young era where former players populate the sidelines? I know they come to games and often sit in suites but how cool would it be to have guys cheering on the sidelines like we saw Ed Reed the other night for Miami vs ND? Seems like a small thing but with so much talk about unity here, it would be a nice weekly gesture.
Huskers often had phrases, mottos for the season like "Restore the Order" in the 90s. What should the motto be for next season? (@Corn_Huskers)
BV: These things can seem pithy, but I think they’re pretty important. So I’d start with something that may already be familiar: “Day by Day.” This program has a long way to go right now. If you focus on the distance it can be easy to not sign up for the trip at all. But if you make it manageable – here’s how far we hope to go today – you can actually get somewhere.
DP: Does the guy in Orlando, Florida, have a motto? If he does, that’ll be what you’re hearing next season. This season, Oklahoma wore shirts in the preseason that read “ATL” for attitude, toughness and leadership. Surprise, the national championship is in Atlanta this year. Those things seem stupid and juvenile and very PJ Fleck-ish, but that stuff works with college kids. Nebraska’s not going to a national championship next season but what’s something critical that’s been said about them this year? Soft? Put that on a t-shirt, put it in the lockers, put it on the board in the meeting room. Maybe not that exactly, but latch onto some painful part of this season that you don’t want to replicate again.
Do you see Tanner Lee coming back next year, regardless of who HC is? If not, who gets the start week one? (@IBeLionsBeats)
BV: Really tough call right now. If Lee is hearing the right things from the NFL and the coaches he came to play for are no longer here, I think he would declare for the draft. If those coaches are here, maybe that’s enough for him to stay and try to improve his stock. Either way, if Lee’s not here, I would probably pick Tristan Gebbia to be next in line for snaps next season.
GS: I too have a hard time seeing Lee here next season. The QB draft class is weaker than originally projected so a strong combine and individual workout could help skyrocket his stock. I’m on record as owning all the stock I could get my hands on in Tristan Gebbia so I will go with him too.