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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Brandon Jackson and the Also-Rans?

A recent article highlights that Brandon Jackson has separated himself from the rest of the stable of running backs. Jay Norvell notes:
"He’s really kind of separated himself I think, the way that he’s played. He’s made a lot of big plays the last three weeks."
I agree that BJax has made some tough runs, as well as shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. However, weren’t we saying the same thing about Marlon Lucky just a few weeks ago?

In fact, I don’t think the following graphs showing the season as a whole demonstrate much separation at all.

Number of Carries by Game (Click to enlarge)

Rushing Yards by Game (Click to enlarge)
We have the luxury of four talented I-Backs and a coaching staff that has done a tremendous job of spreading the ball around. Most importantly, the players still seem to be comfortable with the system:
"Like Coach (Randy) Jordan says, it’s still a running back by committee," Brandon Jackson said. “Whoever has the momentum, he says he’ll leave him in"
So why then does the media have an unrelenting need to seek clarification about which back sits atop the depth chart? Once again the Nebraska press is asking the wrong damn questions.

Here are some of the right damn questions:

· I totally understand that Maurice Purify doesn’t have a handle on all of the routes and plays within the offense. However, given that he is our best receiver, why not just call more of those plays that he DOES know?

· So, the week of the Texas game Steve Octavian’s hammy miraculously heals AND he is given back his blackshirt, thus allowing him to wreak havoc like a man possessed against the Horns. Are we missing something? Where is Paul Harvey with “the rest of the story?”

· Our execution of trick plays has been perfect on the year. Why are we less sound in our execution of more fundamental aspects, such as inside-out pass protection or defending deep sideline routes?

I’m just saying – use those column inches to tell us something more than, “Brandon Jackson has been playing well lately.”

Thank you.