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Doug's Dugout: Not So Great is Four and Eight

Doug's Dugout: Not So Great is Four and Eight

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Unless there are some miracles forthcoming for the University of Nebraska football team, another 4-8 year and empty bowl season seem likely.

We all know the story. Nebraska started out 0-6 last season then won four of its final six games to finish at 4-8, the same record that Mike Riley had his last season in 2017. It appeared as if Scott Frost had his troops heading in the right direction.

Fast forward to this past summer. Nebraska had a user-friendly schedule, a spot among the top 25 teams in the nation, the favorite’s role to win the West division of the Big Ten conference, an improved defense and a quarterback that was a leader to win the Heisman Trophy.

Then … BOOM!

Nebraska started out 4-2 and at times played like they were worthy of those lofty expectations. There was that troublesome 34-31 blip on the radar at Boulder, but one non-conference loss was not going to ruin their season.

That brings us to today, 4-5, three straight losses, blown out by Ohio State and Minnesota and losses to Indiana at home and Purdue on the road. The last two are especially troubling since the Huskers could have easily gone after the jugular and won both games decisively.

Just like that and Nebraska is sitting 6-3 today with a trip to a bowl game locked up.

What happened?

If you ask 100 Husker fans that question you probably would get about 100 different answers. People are blaming it on poor play calling on offense, a porous defense that seems to be getting more and more suspect by the week and that same quarterback that we were praising as an award winner only a few short months ago.

You could rightfully take all those excuses and build a case for Nebraska’s recent collapse. The bottom line is, this team has returned to square one in a very negative sense of the word.

Once again, Nebraska has forgotten how to tackle. The Huskers are still turning the ball over at an alarming rate, especially when they are on a drive that would put an opponent away early.

Finally, they are also once again making the same outrageous penalties that have lead them to an abysmal 12-21 record since the beginning of Riley's final year.

If Nebraska had indeed turned the corner at the end of the 2018 season, all of that moment stopped in its tracks and headed back in the opposite direction in recent weeks.

We can blame the loss on lack of talent all that we want, but you can still learn how to tackle, how to hold onto the football, how not to throw the ball to a person wearing the other uniform and how not to make asinine penalties that keep opponent’s drives going late in games and put a stop to our own.

The lack of discipline on this team is painfully obvious. We are quickly learning that a lack of discipline often leads to a lack of heart.

The teams that Scott Frost played on back in the 1990’s in Lincoln were disciplined and it showed. The same can be said for the title teams of 1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, and 1997.

We have the coaches that can coach, we have the players who can win, we have the fans who are hungry and we have the supportive administration who are willing to put big bucks into the program. Now all we need to do is do things right once again.

No more excuses. No more feeling sorry. Just get out there and do it right!

Doug Phillips is a freelance writer for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at


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