So, we're sitting down with Corn Nation for a look at tomorrow's matchup against Nebraska's Huskers of Corn.
1) Pelini was on my short list for guys for ISU to take a look at during our coaching search. What's the general vibe around him and his short time with the program?
Husker Mike: Most fans were extremely high on the Pelini hire. Husker stores did a brisk business with "Bo" related T-shirts. ("Bo Big Red!" "Bo-fense!" "My Bo-friends Back!")
Pelini has taken some criticism for the unsportsmanlike conduct call against Virginia Tech, but most fans are blaming most of the team's current problems on the previous staff. We haven't seen any sixty or seventy point meltdowns yet, and were very competitive against Texas Tech. So most fans are giving him time.
Corn Blight: Not living in Nebraska has made it easier to stay objective. I didn’t get caught up in the kool-aid drinking going into this season, but I’m happy he’s our head coach. I think Husker fans realize now that success is going to take a while and that just by his showing up we aren’t going to win games.
2) What sort of effect will the Tech game have on the Huskers? Will it give them confidence? Or will they collapse horribly, like ISU did against Baylor?
Husker Mike: I'd like to think it will give them confidence, but I get the feeling this team is still fragile emotionally. I really think they are a handful of plays away from being 5-1 at this point, but we haven't seen this team play something even remotely close to mistake-free football. One eye opening statement I heard last week was that some players didn't think they could play with Virginia Tech, until they actually were able to. That tells you something about the mental picture of the Huskers.
Corn Blight: If it didn’t give them confidence, we may as well bench all the starters and start playing next year’s team. Mike’s statement above speaks volumes.
3. Who's got a better chance to beat us on Saturday - Joe Ganz or Marlon Lucky?
Husker Mike: Joe Ganz, and it's not even close. Marlon Lucky does some great things in open space, to be sure, but frequently, that's because Ganz gets Lucky the ball.
Corn Blight: I’m still upbeat on Marlon Lucky. He played well last week and he is explosive. I like Ganz, too, but truth is Ganz’ mistakes have cost us two games. I’m not saying he lost them all by hisself (he certainly had help), but he can make mistakes by trying to do too much.
4) Give us an update on the Blackshirts...
Husker Mike: They are still sitting in boxes, somewhere in storage. I frankly don't expect to see them until next season. It's going to take time for the defensive players to earn back the right to wear Blackshirts.
Corn Blight: We haven’t referred to our defense as “Blackshirts” since the middle of last season. What Mike is referring to is that Bo Pelini hasn’t handed out the actual blackshirts to the defensive players. They haven’t earned them.
How is our defense doing, however, is probably what you meant. They’re struggling to learn Pelini’s defense. We’re playing a fair amount of young guys, but there are still break downs in coverage. Our two top tacklers, Cody Glenn, and Phillip Dillard (LB’s) were injured last week, but should be back this week. They collectively tackle better than last year, but again, like the offense just too many mistakes. Pass coverage is (very) suspect.
5) Marv Seiler.
Husker Mike: The longest touchdown run I've ever watched. Not so much in terms of yardage, but rather in how long it took for Marv to go 91 yards. That play could have been clocked on a sundial. Watching Marv on that run might have been one of the most surreal moments I've ever experienced at a football game. One thing I didn't know at the time was just what a great story Marvelous Marv was. I was just talking to a former Cyclone who the year before, who had some great stories about Marv.
Corn Blight: Marv Seiler? Ack! I was that that game, in fact, I was thrown out by a policeman, but stayed and later helped ISU students tear down the goal posts. The whole story is chronicled at Corn Nation, and was published in the book Huskerville.
6) What's your expectation on Saturday? You do realize that an ISU win would result in a field-rushing...
Husker Mike: When a victory over Nebraska DOESN'T result in a field rushing, that's when I'm concerned. Iowa State seems to be somewhat schizoid this season; playing well in the 2nd half against UNLV and 1st half against Kansas, then going MIA at halftime against KU. Hopefully, they stay that way for another week, but I do know that Iowa State always gives Nebraska a fight in Ames.
I just want to see continued improvement from the Big Red this week. Can they keep a balanced offense that's productive both on the ground and in the air? Can they continue to reduce the number of defensive busts?
Corn Blight: My expectation is that we come out, play as well as we did on the road against Texas Tech, eliminate more mistakes (particularly holding calls) and we beat you by 10, let’s say 31-21.
I was there in 2002 when you guys won 36-14. I wouldn’t say I rushed the field, but I walked down to the field to watch a group of students try to tear down the goal posts, while a couple policemen stood around it and maced anyone who came too near it. It became this bizarre game between them - students running up to try to touch the goal post and the policemen trying to mace them. Very entertaining. I hope I don’t see it or hear about it again. Ha!