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09.06.2011 / Huskers start off their season with some unique offensive plays. Blog posting by Mike Babcock, Huskers Illustrated Magazine.

Fullback Tyler Legate carried on the first play of the Huskers 40 to 7 season opening victory against Tennessee Chattanooga. The senior from Neligh Nebraska gained 1 yard. The last Husker fullback to get a carry was Steve Kriewald in the final game of the 2004 season against Colorado unless you count Dane Todds in the 2007 Cotton Bowl when a fake punt went awry.

"I was disappointed we saw the ball on the ground a few times, Pelini said."

In any case, Legate’s carry represented a unique start to Bo Pelini’s fourth season as coach, and reflected, symbolically, the change in offense under new coordinator Tim Beck.  That change was apparent in the up-tempo pace. “I thought the operation of the offense was fine as far as getting up on the ball,” Pelini said. “I thought we got the ball snapped quick.”

What happened after it was snapped, however, was often less than polished.  “The execution of it wasn’t very good, too many busts, a couple of communication errors out there on the field, just a lot of things we need to get better at,” said Pelini.

“I just believe offensively you have to be very efficient. You can’t have many no-yardage plays, lost-yardage plays, things that really had nothing to do with what the defense was doing but were self-imposed by us. You’ve got to fix that because that’s how you lose drives.”

The Huskers also fumbled four times, losing two – the first lost fumble because of miscommunication fielding a punt. The other three fumbles were by the quarterback handling the ball. “I was disappointed we saw the ball on the ground a few times,” Pelini said.

Nebraska fumbled 45 times last season, losing 16. So ball security has been a point of emphasis, as has been reducing the number of penalties. The Huskers have broken the school record for penalties and penalty yardage in each of Pelini’s three seasons.

They were penalized three times for 33 yards against Tennessee-Chattanooga, only one of the penalties on offense for illegal procedure. And that drive resulted in a touchdown. Even so, the play of the offensive line was “very inconsistent,” said Pelini. “Really, across the front, it just wasn’t up to our standard.”

Such an assessment could apply in several areas, and on both sides of the ball. But that’s to be expected. As defensive coordinator Carl Pelini pointed out, the team was about “where you should be after week one. You make your most improvement week one to two,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of mistakes that we need to get corrected and hopefully come out next week and be just a lot sharper.”

For more great content on the Huskers, check out Huskers Illustrated Magazine and www.huskersillustrated.com

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