Published Sunday, September 9, 2012 AT 12:19 AM / Updated at 1:37 AM
Nebraska-UCLA: Five things we learned; five things we still don’t know
Rich Kaipust Omaha World-Herald

Five things we learned

1. The road back to the Rose Bowl requires getting better — way better — defensively. You don’t allow a 300-yard passer and 200-yard rusher in the same game and get away with it.

2. The Husker passing game might not be as far along as it looked last weekend, when the circumstances were far more favorable.

3. Judging by his 92-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Taylor Martinez is again able to find that top speed that he hit so often back in 2010.

4. Brett Maher kicking 54- and 43-yard field goals and booming four punts of 42-plus yards should calm some of the worries. Still, there was a miss from 37 and a 13-yard punt.

5. It might be only two games, but Jim Mora Jr. already has pumped some legitimate hope into a UCLA program that could use it.

Five things we don’t know

1. Who comes to the rescue of this Nebraska defense? The Huskers aren’t exactly loaded with All-Big Ten candidates on that side of the ball.

2. How would Johnathan Franklin rank in comparison with Montee Ball and Le’Veon Bell? The UCLA back was pretty dang good Saturday night.

3. What happened to that rhythm and tempo that the Husker offense played with last week? It was way more fragile and fleeting against the Bruins.

4. When does NU get Rex Burkhead back? The steady influence of the senior likely would have helped, whether the Huskers say they missed him or not.

5. Other than Ohio State and Michigan State, who should teams be scared of in the Big Ten right now after watching the first two Saturdays of football?

About Rich Kaipust

Rich Kaipust is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football. You can follow Rich on Twitter (@RKaipustOWH) or email him at


  1. Monica Bruns says:

    Rich, you have the same questions that I have. I am a very sad and frustrated fan out here in Washington State. I, myself have questions about O line coach B Cotton and Tim Beck. I also have questions concerning the promotion of Papuchis….I feel that Bo may have control issues…hence the promotions from within and not seeking elsewhere. I think we may have missed out on great opp’s. I know..u think…she’s a female! What the hell does she know? Well, I am a born and bred Nebraska girl and have been a football fan since 8yrs old!I lost my hubby and came to WA to be near my fam.I have a WA plate stating my allegiance HUSKERZ….damn! There’s another husker fan out here w/ HUSKERS! Which is great! Anyway…glad there is a place to express my views and see others as well!

    1. BleedingRed says:

      Monica, you are right on the money in my book. The fact that in the final 6-7minutes and down by 2, Beck chose for the entire game to be won or lost on our frazzled QB’s arm is beyond perplexing. I thought one of the things we promised parent’s is that we would look out for their kid. Somebody explain to me how applying more pressure to our QB (who was steadily regressing with each play as the pressure was mounting and belief was waning), protects the kid? Seemed a lot like Beck’s Ego at the expense of Martinez’s and all the Husker Faithful’s Ego’s. That s@%t don’t fly for me…Wondering what has been sacrificed in the name of Coach Pelini’s ego?

    2. Husker Hulk says:

      Some of the most knowledgeable football fans I know are females and personally, being able to enjoy games with both male AND female fans just makes it more fun. If someone thinks your opinion is less valid because you’re a woman, then that person is a sad example of the human race. You go girl!

  2. Waskel Wabbit says:

    Come on. Where are you D bags who thought we’d win by 30? Its time for Bo to hit the road! They aren’t the Blackshirts, they’re the Blackskirts!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. chicago11 says:

      Pelini has to hire old school friends because no one will coach with him – his best coach left last year for Indiana -Indiana folks. Didn’t that tell u something. Schools have been disgusted by his side line tantrums since he was DC and they are getting worse. all the excuses of hard to recruit someone to come to NE. Really, Bill snyder can get good players to Manhattan (have u ever been to Manhattan). Pap was not ready to be a d coordinator – why didn’t we try to find someone who was, Beck was not ready to be O coordinator. every year we have 6 -7 players leave the program – that has never happened before. Anybody remember the bowl game last year- after watching that u thought we would be competitive this year. congrats NU fans you got your mediocre team

      1. Waskel Wabbit says:

        You’re preaching to the choir….

        Mediocre team? You give them too much credit. I don’t know who sucks worse, Bo or Pelini.

      2. Plattcop2 says:

        Echoing some of the previous comments reference coaching (or lack thereof) – Same old story – same old song by Pelini. NU should put a life sized Peleini cardboard cutout in front of the microphone for the post-game press conference after every loss along with a tape recorder of Pelini saying “I’m disappointed” – “I’m embarrassed for our fans at the way we played” – “We just didn’t execute” – “Our fundamentals were terrible” – yada yada yada. The exact same excuses after every defeat. When are NU fans going to wake up and realize this imposter is at best a mediocre Defensive Coordinator but not head football coach material for a major college program? – Either in terms of leadership or taking accountability for failure to have his team prepared plus his on-field demeanor makes the NU football program a laughing stock in the national media.

  3. Frank Castle says:

    Why is it that at Nebraska, we have to say we need to give our coach and staff time to get their recruited players in place while at other schools across the college landscape we have seen time and time again, 1st year coaches (Jim Mora, Urban Meyer, etc.) turning programs around immediately in the 1st season? My point being is that it does not necessarily take too long to recognize progress is being made or if a coach or staff has the necessary intangibles to take a program to the next level. Certain decisions by the coach and staff can be key indicators. I consider myself a very open minded person and will admit that I think the time threshold given to a coach should be at least 5 years. Well, Bo is in his 5th season. I don’t want to be redundant and list everything that everybody else has said in the blogs so I will just point out Bo’s most recent staff decision from late last year. Why is everybody surprised by our Dline performance? We got our Dline coach from Iowa. . . Iowa!! When was the last time in history has Iowa ever had a championship level (national or conference) Dline! The evidence is out there and it should be questioned. Oh, one other thing . . .Nebraska shouldn’t be the place for on the job training for coaches. It becomes embarrasing when other 1st year coaches are “schooling” Bo on the field.

    1. NEBREDMAN says:

      Cone on people it was 1 game and a very good game at that yes there were some miss opportunities and mistakes made all around things can be fixed. t-mart did the best he could with the amount of time he had which was very little in the second half and was forced to make very quick decisions o-line has got to get better ,so does the d-line need some of that nastiness to come out . other than Compton our line backers are out of position yes even he was slow at times but where was our half time adjustments ? how many yards did they get on screen and flair pass with no one around for yards but yet every time our receivers caught the ball in the second half there was a guy in their grill and just for the record Wisconsin don’t look to scary right now!!!!!!

      1. Jeff_Georgia says:

        Were you watching the same game as the rest of us? You sure you weren’t rewatching NU-Miss St, NRM?

      2. Plattcop2 says:

        What halucinogenic substance got added to your corn flakes this morning? Based on the Pinkskirts’ performance last night, what do you think Dennard Robinson, Monte Ball and LaVeone Bell are going to do to our so-called defense? Poor tackling and lack of speed of the NU front seven not withstanding, you have to give credit to the UCLA’s Offensive Coordinator for exploiting NU’s weaknesses on defense. The UCLA RBs and their QB played extremely well. If their QB stays healthy – just think of the kind of numbers this kid is going to put up as Junior and Senior.

      3. KSU student w/red blood says:

        We had the 2nd worst defensive game in the HISTORY of Nebraska Football. It wasn’t a “good game”…it was a middle of the pack team running over a terrible defense. Do you think this defense could take on K-State this year and win? How about Ohio State? Michigan? Michigan State? NORTHWESTERN even finds ways of beating us. We play all of these teams (with the exception of my alma mater, of course) this year. I’m not wholly convinced we can win against Iowa after the show I saw last night. Embarrassing…

      4. dogfather says:

        NEBREDMAN: It was one game that tells us a lot! You don’t give up 300 yards passing and 200 yards to one runner and not realize you have some serious defensive issues. I thought this was last year again. Dropped passes, Martinez panicky and making poor decisions and the defense looking helpless. I support our team no matter what their record is, but the thought of Bo leading us back to the promised land of Top 10 football glory has long left my mind. With all his antics and constant excuses, he’s beginning to make Bill Callahan look good.

    2. NUCORNDEVIL says:

      Solid Post, two years late, but solid. :)

  4. Troy says:

    Frank, Iowa actually had a championship level d line in 2009.

  5. Seattle Husker says:

    We’ve a good offends but still need a consistent QB that handle the composure well in a tight game. Practically a red shirt freshman QB gad just schooled a Jr QB how to play a real game. If a player is good then he should be able to be in the field no matter if he is a freshman or not

    1. HuskerJosh says:

      consistent pressure ruins the game of every QB, great or not. Peyton Manning never completed a TD pass while laying flat on his back 2 1/2 seconds after the snap. you know nothing……

    2. KSU student w/red blood says:

      Offense did what they needed to. 30 points should have been enough… Like Bo always said, “Defense wins championships”. XD
      Think this defense is gonna win a championship?

  6. Real Husker says:

    To all you people who are saying it’s just one game. Yes your right,…. BUT YOUR DRINKING THE BIG RED KOOL AID, Bo doesn’t know crap about anything. Our coaches, aren’t that great. Honestly, if Bo loses more than 3 games (he will) he should resign or take another job somewhere else. I’m embarassed. I would almost want T.O. to come back if he wasn’t so old, but at least he’d know how to coach.

  7. Husker39211 says:

    To Jeff_Georgia…..get a clue! We did not play Miss State! We played the University of Southern MS. Miss St. would have likely beaten us. This is another 9-3, probably 8-4 year at best the way those guys looked on the defensive side of the ball. I think the offense can out score enough people to go 8-2 or 7-3 the rest of the way……oh yay!

  8. Jeremy says:

    How many TFLs did our defense leave out there last night? I can’t remember a game where we had so many opportunities to get tackles in the backfield, but instead let the guy get away and gain huge yardage. The worst was that one on the fourth quarter where two Huskers had a shot at Franklin in the backfield and he ended up gaining 54 yards. Using my supercomputer and a team of mathematicians, we’ve nearly calculated how many missed tackles Nebraska had last night.

    To me, other than the defense, the other biggest problem was that the O-line played like a bunch of little girls in the second half. How do they get manhandled like that against a mediocre PAC-12 defense? I just don’t understand it.

    One other thing, and I’m not making an excuse here, but did that missed Maher field goal look good to anyone else? Even when I watched the slo-mo replay, I still thought it looked like it snuck inside the left upright. I’m not saying we would have won the game if that call goes the other way, but I was definitely surprised when they said it was wide.

    1. Waskel Wabbit says:

      Maybe it was good, but the zebras didn’t lose the game for us…good ol” Bo strikes again.

      1. Jeremy says:

        I never said the refs lost the game for us, I was just curious if anyone else thought that fg looked good.

  9. D. Mark says:

    You would think that something important happened on Saturday night, it was just a football game! The sun came up on Sunday morning and life goes on. We do not have great coaches and great players, live with it!

    1. Waskel Wabbit says:

      “it was just a football game!”

      Yet, you felt compelled to get on your computer, look at this website, read this article, read the comments and then write this. Strange huh? Maybe its not just a football game!

    2. Real Husker says:

      What great coaches. I didn’t see any on the sideline?

  10. AKHusker says:

    What I find so frustrating is the seemingly lack of adjustments made by the coaching staff. Compton was attempting to chase down much faster running backs and several of the DBs were trying to make the highlight reel hit instead of wrapping up the ball carrier. Break out the tackling dummies this week please.

  11. Husker Mick says:

    It all boils down to Bo can’t have anyone who isn’t kissing his tookus. We had a shot at getting a Stoops for a D Coordinator (a guy whom Bo was the Best Man at his wedding) and we didn’t what’s that tell you. He can’t even get his friends to work for him, because they might show him up. Ekeler was a better coach than Papauchis (the linebackers actually tackled people under Ek, at least kept their heads up) and we lost him to Indiana (Indiana! No one wants to coach football at Indiana unless they have to) because he saw the writing on the wall.

    We couldn’t get Scott Frost to return to his alma mater because he didn’t buy into Bo’s scheme which is apparently abandon the run and make yourself one dimensional so it’s easier on the opposing defense at a critical juncture of the game, then admit you made some dumb calls. Contrition does not help when we already know you made dumb calls, you’re getting a almost 7 figure salary you’re not supposed to be learning on the job. Making multiple dumb calls is not supposed happen. But it’s okay that you’re so far in over your head that you can see the soles of your shoes because you’re Bo’s buddy.

    And don’t even start on why Cotton hasn’t been shown the door years ago. His sole contribution to the program has been his sons, because his line can’t block ANYONE! There are swinging doors that offer more resistence.

    It’s year five, we’re getting worse. Please Coach O don’t hesitate like we did with Callahan and Solich. Stop the bleeding now and clean house, I know you have an innate loyalty to your hires but our program is reaching Iowa level now, real soon we’ll be in the Kansases. We have world class facilities, a rabid fan base, locale can’t be an excuse looks at Ann Arbor, South Bend, Happy Valley, Columbus not exactly Spring Break hot spots. The only thing that is holding us back is a coach out of his league.