Three-Point Stance: Nebraska, USC, Roderick Robinson
Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney has thoughts on Nebraska’s coaching search, how USC could be a sleeper national championship contender and the insane start to four-star running back Roderick Robinson’s senior season.
CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100
NEBRASKA NEEDS COMPLETE OVERHAUL
For anyone who watched Oklahoma’s destruction of Nebraska on Saturday, it’s clear the Huskers need a complete overhaul whether it’s now or after the season and a complete refresh is needed in Lincoln.
That statement does not come lightly since people will lose their jobs but football is a show-me game and what Nebraska is showing is incompetency at all levels. This is a team that lost to Northwestern in the season opener and the Wildcats lost to Southern Illinois this week. It’s not a great football team.
Nebraska was tied at halftime against North Dakota before pulling away. The Huskers lost to Georgia Southern and gave up 642 yards in Scott Frost’s final game in Lincoln. They were so comically unprepared in that game that if you didn’t laugh about it, you’d cry. Many Nebraska fans did and rightfully so because they deserve so much better.
Oklahoma was by far a better team but after Nebraska went up 7-0 early and showed some signs of life – even I believed for a second the Huskers might pull off the impossible – the Sooners woke up from their slumber and dismantled the lesser team. It was 14-7 OU by the end of the first quarter and 49-7 before the Sooners relented and felt pity for their opponent.
This is not Nebraska football – needing second-half rallies to beat North Dakota (come on, name one player on that team), or losing at home in one of the best college football atmospheres to Georgia Southern or getting rocked by the Sooners.
Frost and his $15 million buyout for failing are gone. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander was shown the door Sunday. Any idea that Mickey Joseph would get the full-time job were probably vanquished Saturday as the Sooners went up and down the field unabated.
That’s the right move. Bring in Matt Campbell or Matt Rhule or Lance Leipold. Someone is going to take this job and have a monster rebuild ahead. But a completely new vision is needed if the Huskers are going to ever be stock up again, instead of a laughingstock.
DON’T LAUGH - USC COULD WIN THIS THING
I’m going to be so mad at myself for writing this if USC pulls the typical USC move and loses some game it was supposed to win but .... I’m starting to really believe this is not like years past.
A new coach who happens to be one of the best in college football and a great offensive mind. A serious group of assistants who require discipline and not inflating the egos of players who already think they’re oh so good. Some early-season roadblocks that were completely destroyed - winning big at Stanford, handling Fresno State with no issues on Saturday night. Those were games the old USC would lose or win ugly.
Now it’s just blowouts.
The transfer portal is a huge reason for this: Quarterback Caleb Williams (Oklahoma), top rushers Travis Dye (Oregon) and Austin Jones (Stanford), top receivers Jordan Addison (Pitt) and Mario Williams (Oklahoma) and top tacklers Eric Gentry (Arizona State) and Shane Lee (Alabama) all came from another school.
The upcoming schedule is another: At Oregon State is always tricky and then the Trojans have Arizona State, Washington State, a good Utah team, Arizona, Cal, Colorado, UCLA and Notre Dame to finish out the regular season. Cupcake city with some marginally tough games along the way.
USC averages more than 50 points per game this season. That should not relent. I just don’t see how the Trojans lose with so much fresh, hungry talent on the roster. And if they do, I’ll come back to this column and just hate myself.
ROBINSON MAKING NOISE
There are no five-star running backs in the 2023 class. That’s mainly because the NFL has devalued the position in the first round of the NFL Draft and so that needs to be reflected in our rankings.
And while we like the top of the running back positional rankings with Alabama commits Justice Haynes and Richard Young leading the way, San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln’s Roderick Robinson is off to such an insane start he could be pushing toward the top as well.
The UCLA commit who visited Texas A&M this past weekend and is also being pursued by Georgia and others has rushed 84 times for 1,096 yards and 16 touchdowns. At this pace, if his San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln team makes a deep run in the state playoffs, Robinson could legitimately rush for 3,000 yards and nearly 50 touchdowns – in one season.
Stats aren’t the end-all of recruiting rankings and it’s unlikely this pace continues as defenses load up to just slow Robinson down but his success so far has not been lost. The four-star who’s rated as the seventh-best running back right now looks like a million bucks, moves so well for his size and can clearly gain massive yards with the ball in his hands.