After every Husker football game, I grade the Huskers’ performance on a report card over at CornNation. I’ll do the same tomorrow on the Huskers 21-17 loss to Northern Illinois. And frankly, it won’t be pretty. After last week’s Oregon loss, I wrote that Mike Riley’s offense wasn’t working at Oregon State, and it might not work at Nebraska.
After falling to 1-2 in a loss to a MAC school, I think it’s time to say that Mike Riley’s offense is broken. I didn’t think you could say that last week; this week, I don’t know how you can NOT say that.
It’s easy to point the blame at quarterback Tanner Lee, who’s thrown seven interceptions in the last two games. Two of those interceptions led to Oregon touchdowns last week; today, two more went straight into the end zone. He’s completing under 53% of his passes with a passing efficiency rating that makes Taylor Martinez look like Peyton Manning. But the problem is much more deeper than that; it’s starting on the offensive line. Lee struggles under pressure, and Northern Illinois brought the heat: three sacks and seven quarterback hurries.
That’s the offensive line, and that’s been a key issue with Mike Riley’s offense dating back to Oregon State. The folks in Corvallis wanted offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh gone, and they got their wish. Now he’s Nebraska’s problem.
Shortly after Mike Riley addressed reporters, Shawn Eichorst, the normally silent athletic director, stepped up to face the music. He told reporters that losses like this are “not acceptable.” That’s strong language, but meaningless if not accompanied by strong actions. And today’s loss calls for strong actions. I’m offering two suggestions to make right now – this weekend, before Monday’s press conference:Fire offensive line coach Mike CavanaughRelieve offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf of his playcalling dutiesNot after the season. NOW.