Published Tuesday, September 6, 2011 AT 2:33 PM / Updated at 2:33 PM
Kinnie among several disappointed Huskers after opener
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

Senior receiver Brandon Kinnie wasn’t in the mood to acknowledge any potential excuses when talking with reporters Monday about his season-opening performance.

He had two catches for 7 yards in last weekend’s 40-7 win over Tennessee-Chattanooga. Three other passes (an out-pattern, a post over the middle and a slant near the goal-line) thrown his way all fell incomplete, even though they were catchable balls.

But hey, those throws could have been placed better, right? At least two were thrown slightly behind you. … And you had a defender all over you on one slant pattern. Pass interference? … What about the wind? It was pretty strong Saturday.

Ultimately, Kinnie said, none of those things matter. Just catch the football.

“There’s a lot more that goes into it, but at the same time, if you play wide receiver, you’ve got to catch the ball,” Kinnie said. “That’s your job.”

To make a basketball analogy, Kinnie compared his responsibilities to that of a 3-point specialist.

Not every 3-pointer will go in. Nobody’s perfect. But if you’re open and you miss, be ready to hear some criticism. Same goes for a receiver if he drops a pass.

“A 3-point shooter is supposed to hit 3-pointers,” Kinnie said. “That’s what you’re there for. You may not play as much, but if you come off the bench you’ve got to be ready to hit the 3.

“I’ve got to catch the rock. Can’t make any excuses.”

Kinnie’s self-critique mirrored the general sentiment relayed by the rest of Nebraska’s offense Monday. There weren’t many satisfied members of that unit.

Sam McKewon wrote Tuesday about offensive coordinator Tim Beck, who bluntly stated after practice Monday that the Huskers underachieved Saturday. Dirk Chatelain was pleased to see that side of Beck, a stark contrast to the always-optimistic perspective of his predecessor.

McKewon also broke down the mistakes of Nebraska’s young offensive line on Tuesday.

Yoshi Hardrick told McKewon that the players were “mad” about their performance. That was evident in meetings Monday, assistant coach John Garrison said to a small group of reporters after practice.

The entire offense met first to dissect the game film, and the linemen didn’t like what they saw.

“And once we got into the O-Line room, it was very quiet,” Garrison said. “You could tell that these guys, they were upset the way we played. … Not much needed to be said after we got out of that offensive meeting. They were already feeling it. They knew how they played.”

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: He welcomes feedback.


  1. Mark says:

    I love that they are upset. Get p***ed and take it out on the next opponent. The only way to get better is to acknowledge that you had something to work on and to work on that issue. I also like the accountability. No excuses.

  2. BallField78 says:

    Last time I rember “angry” and “mad” being used about a NU performance I think was the ’98 loss to A&M 21-28, after which they simply ran over Kansas 41-0. But they had a few other losses that year, TX, KSU, Arizona.

  3. jk thompson says:

    Re: Ballfield. ’98 was the last time you remember angry and mad being used about a Husker performance? Have you not read any Husker related stories since that game in ’98?

  4. Scott says:

    I grew up in Ogallala and have been a Husker fan since the late 50′s. Disappointed in the “NEW” offensive look. In fact I didn’t see any thing new about it. Seemed as though it was MIA. Things better change because the level of competition increases. No excuses. Someone can’t do the job, send in somebody else.

    1. Huskermaniac says:

      I figured out what to call our new offense! The Stumblin’ Bumblin’ offense. It is a genius plan really. If your players don’t even know which way they are going or what they are going to do, then how can the defense? It’s like they always say, a quarterback that improvises and can run is very dangerous and the most difficult to defend. We just turned our whole offense into that! All kidding aside, I think they will get much better as the season goes on but the problem is that the big games come early and will really test thier abilities more then the game plan because they will have to use thier talent to make it though those games. The very suprising thing is that we have so much talent that we aren’t running enough plays to pass it around and take advantage of it all. Most teams are thrilled to have 2 running backs that can make plays and fight just to get them enough touches. We have 4! Plus quarterback that is dangerous if you give him a 2 yard gap he can burn you for 6. If this team gels and learns the plays, they could be dangerous!

  5. The Big Red One says:

    After watching the game, the post game coach & player interviews and then reading this, I can’t help but wonder if they all played the same game…?????

    I’m trying figure out what Martinez and Burkhead were smiling about?? Lack luster, flat, mistakes, timing off, missed blocking assignments, offensive line for the most part being manhandled but a defense half their size, near fumbles, dropped passes, predictable play calling.. defensive corners giving up ground like it was free…Barney Cotton still running last years defense..Defensive Line looked like it stayed up playing X-Box all night…

    I promise you if that had been Texas, OU, Boise St. Washington, or any other metaphorical group gathering that can actually pass and run an offense, instead of some 3rd rate wannabe team from nowhere (sorry Chatanooga)…The score would have very likely been reversed..

    They played penalty free for the most part and the kicking game was flawless (as to be expected) which I guess is a start, but unless they wanna end 3-9 they had better stop patting each other on the back and get down to business…After watching the interview I am more optimistic than I was but I still think Martinez has a lot of growing up to do…

    I garuentee that Michigan, Penn State & Ohio St. (and everyone else in the B10) are watching films and studing those defensive corners…

    I sincerely hope Bo & crew are too..


    1. Husker Heenan says:

      Hey big red one. I agree with most of what you are saying but to bring up our defensive backs is ridiculous. The pass that went for a TD, the defender fell down and the other long pass play with the running back in the flat was a flat out missed assignment by L. David. Let’s just get Dennard back in there and see how bad our DB’s are then. On another note, how about Stafford, that kid is the real deal.

  6. kevin says:

    I was going to be critical until I read THE BIG RED ONE…. Let’s just sop the excuses, and play smash mouth

  7. milou says:

    I still don’t see the “reloaded” offensive lines of the Corrigan era. A bunch of freshmen and sophomores can’t possibly play as well as guys that have played together for years (no matter how talented). We can’t expect great results against the five or six really good big ten teams.

    1. pistol pete says:

      “The Corrigan era”? I think you are refering to the late Mike Corgan. and he was the runing backs coach.

  8. Poppy says:

    Being critical of your failures is pointless if you don’t improve from mistakes. We’ll see after Saturday night. Go Huskers!

  9. Greg says:

    I’ve said it before I will say it again…it all BEGINS with the offensive line. Any young QB with happy feet is going to struggle without pass protection and any time a line can’t run block the RB/FB/QB is going to struggle running the ball. I hope it is just first game jitters, the O-line jells a bit, they learn from the film, they grow and learn from mistakes, they stay healthy, and the coaches work with them in practice to fix whats broken….seems like a lot to hope for after the last 10 years of O-line woes. When you recruit talent on the O-Line and they consistently under perform, then coaching is a problem. Just my opinion.

    1. Chris sker says:

      Yeah but…if we don’t balance out the offense, how well do you expect the O-line to be when the defense KNOWS what we’re going to do!
      Some day before I die, I hope to see a balanced offense from the Big Red. If we do that, our best days could actually be ahead of us. What would our running game be if defenders couldn’t guess where we were going. You may see an entirely different result from our line as well. One dimensional offensive football is a thing of the past. Adapt or…

  10. Uncle Spammy says:

    Greg I don’t think Vincle Lombardi could have summed it up better than that!

  11. B1GHusker says:

    Please – hold the phone…40-7, 200+ rushing yards, young players on the line still learning a new system, excellent self awarness and critque, unsatisfied w/ performance. I say give the boys a chance to grow up in the system and get better before beating them up on paper. Go B1G Red!

    1. Paul says:

      While I do believe that people are being too critical after the first game in which we were intentionally conservative (don’t want to show our hand), I do have to agree with some of the concerns. I don’t agree with your comment about 200+ rushing yards being a great accomplishment. Taylor had a few long runs that accounted for the majority of the yardage, while the running backs couldn’t get anything going (outside of Burkhead’s one long run). Better teams will be able to stop Taylor on that speed option, so we will need viable alternatives, like the inside rushing game. We did play a lot of young guys, but it seems to be the same result every year with the o-line. Regardless of who plays, the result is the same. This leads me to believe that Coach Cotton may be the issue.

    2. Huskerfan69 says:

      I agree…. HOLD THE PHONE. Some people act like this is a system that has been together for years. It’s the first year and the first game. RELAX! I agree that they have a lot of things to clean up, but I’m willing to give them time to gell. Not a lot of penalties or turnovers is a good start. I think they will have a lot of growing pains this year, we all will have to be a little patient.

  12. john says:

    the team needs to get better quick or this is gonna be a long year. the D should be fine we should have dennard back this week(i Hope). that should help. the o line was horrible at best, without a good o line we are doomed

  13. n0 on3 says:

    Yes there was plenty to be disappointed with about the first game. Receivers dropped balls, yet we have plenty of young talent that didn’t get much action. Martinez showed little improvement. He will never be a great technical passer, but most of his flaws (not letting the play develop, not going through the progression, taking off running too soon) should improve with maturity. The play calling was terrible, but it was pretty obvious they were treating this as a practice game – trying out different things and pushing the same play over and over to try to get it right (although it was pretty disturbing that we never seemed to get it right).

    The only thing I’m really concerned about is the offensive line. Like Greg said, the most important part of the offense is the line. You can have plenty of talent at skill positions, but it don’t mean snot unless you win the battle at the line. In fact our lousy O-line play probably contributed more to losing 3 of the last 4 than a gimpy Martinez and an incompetent play-caller. Last year I was questioning whether we send Cotton the way of Watson and Gilmore. However, the fact is the O-line was not a priority until this past year. We recruited a bunch of linemen and have a bunch of line coaches (2 full time, 1 grad assistant and 1 intern). And Cotton’s philosophy did not jive with Watson’s the way it does with Beck. So I’m willing to give Mr. Cotton some more time. I just don’t think that this year we will live up to our lofty expectations if our O-line can’t dominate a much smaller FCS team. The good news is that our line, heck almost our entire offense, is young/inexperienced. If we really are on the right track, in a few years, watch out. If our O-line continues to drag us down, then Cotton must go.

  14. Jerry M says:

    Go Big Red~!!!!
    They are still going to surprise many of those ESPN gurus. I have always noticed the SEC getting all the publicity. They just play each other and mostly play their own. The Big Red are going to show them this year in offense and always the big “D”/Blackshirts.

  15. HuskerNLawrence says:

    I agree with Big Red One, sloppy all over. Our new kicker was the only one who keep his end of things, otherwise no one did well. Michigan, etc, are licking the lips just ready for us to play that way. First game sure, but there should be a significant improvement from game 1 to 2. Otherwise being “mad” doesn’t mean crap.