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    by Published on 09-04-2015 01:13 AM  Number of Views: 109 
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    2. Football

    In taking an in-depth look at what to expect for the 2015 season, we've covered some reasons to be optimistic and reasons to be pessimistic. Between them, you'd think we have a pretty good gauge on how things will go this fall.

    But yet, lingering questions remain.

    Some of these may be evident by the end of the BYU game, while others may not be known until January. Here are some lingering questions, along with my best guess on how they'll be answered:

    Does Mike Riley fully understand what he's gotten himself into? This is a question that I've thought about many times this off-season. As you and I know, Nebraska is a unique place* and our singular focus and passion for the football team can catch outsiders by surprise. For an example, consider the two previous head coaches. I'm guessing each of them had a moment when they thought "Holy crap, what have I done?". ...
    by Published on 09-03-2015 03:22 PM  Number of Views: 73 
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    2. Football

    This is my countdown of the greatest Nebraska Cornhuskers to wear each jersey number, 1-99. For background on the project, click here. We're going to start at #99 and work our way down to #1. For each number, I'll list the best player to wear that number, some of the other memorable Huskers to don that jersey, as well as a personal favorite of mine.

    I love the disparity of numbers 39 - 30. At one end (39) is a fairly bleak field of candidates, while on the other end (30) you have two of the greatest I-Backs in school history. And with another mixed back of I-Backs, fullbacks, linebackers, corners, safeties, kickers, wingbacks, and others, it makes the picking rather difficult.


    Best Player: Andra Franklin, Fullback, 1978 - 1980
    Other notables: None
    Personal Favorite: Jeff Souder, Safety, 2005

    Comments: A starter in three different seasons, Andra Franklin was a mainstay at fullback in the late 70s. A gifted runner, Franklin averaged over 5 yards a carry during his Nebraska career, while also proving himself as an excellent blocker. Franklin earned All Big 8 honors in 1980.

    Jeff Souder only played one season at Nebraska, and did not do much more than cover kickoffs. But, oh, were those fun to watch. Souder was generously listed at 200 pounds, but that was 200 pounds of excitement, energy, and desire to go blow somebody up. I remember before kickoffs how he would jump around and excite the crowd like it was 4th and Goal with a national championship on the line. Even though his career didn't go as planned, that excitement was real.


    Best Player: Barrett Ruud, Linebacker, 2002 - 2004
    Other notables: Dan Alexander, Steve Forch, Bruce Pickens
    Personal Favorite: Dan Alexander, I-Back, 1996 - 2000

    Comments: RUUUUUUUD!!!! Nebraska's all time leader in tackles, second to Grant Wistrom is tackles for loss, and is on the short list of greatest linebackers in school history. A three year starter, Ruud was a force all over the field. He had a nose for the football on running plays, but also excelled in pass coverage, recording 12 break ups and two interceptions in his career. While he strangely only earned first team All Big XII honors once, he was a three time academic All Big XII performer.

    When I think of Dan Alexander, I think of two things: First, was amazing potential - the gifted athlete, seemingly chiseled from marble who captivated a fan base with his spring game performances - before knee injuries derailed him. And secondly, there is
    by Published on 09-02-2015 01:18 PM     Number of Views: 5621 
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    2. Football

    Let's await Game Day with another edition of Husker Hot Takes:

    Jon Schuetz is in (and then right back out) as public address announcer.

    This fiasco is not a good look - at all - for the University. First off, are they really setting the precedent that all social media posts are fair game, even those made months before you are a candidate for a job? I completely get not saying anything negative while a UNL employee, but the idea that something posted months ago disqualifies somebody from a job is concerning.

    Then, there is the perception that University leadership does not tolerate those who publicly criticize University officials. I am a supporter of Chancellor Perlman, especially for the things he has done for UNL (you know, the actual school - not necessarily the athletic department). But by this standard I'm likely disqualified from ever holding a public-facing job at UNL - as are the majority of people with a Facebook or Twitter account. I don't recall bashing Perlman here or on social media, but the odds are good that somebody could find something they find objectionable.

    Finally, how do you make the hire ...
    by Published on 08-31-2015 11:55 PM  Number of Views: 6517 
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    2. Football

    Yesterday, the 2015 glass of Big Red Kool Aid was half full. Today, it is half empty.

    Let's face it, there is a lot of positive spin thrown at you during the off-season. Players are healthy and in the best shape of their lives. Coaches have the complete respect and command of their players. The team chemistry is so much better than it was last year. Leaders have emerged and the seniors want to go out on a winning note. The offensive line is poised to play like the Pipeline again.

    It happens each and every year. You read the articles and posts, listen to the radio shows, and talk with your friends and co-workers. Like one of those Magic Eye pictures, if you squint and examine the schedule just right, you can see an undefeated season.

    Then the season starts. Suddenly, the second coming of the 1995 team looks more like the 2002 squad, with flashes of 2007.


    That's our purpose today. We want to avoid the painful sting that occurs when a harsh reality slaps you in ...
    by Published on 08-31-2015 12:27 AM     Number of Views: 8042 
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    2. Football


    We're now less than a week away from the start of the 2015 season. Mike Riley and staff get to write their first chapter in the pages of Husker history. Will this season be a repeat of Bill Callahan's disastrous 2004 season or will it have the success and promise of Bo Pelini's first year?

    Here are ten reasons you should be optimistic going into this season:

    1. The schedule is favorable. Let's be clear: With two teams that finished 2014 in the top 20 (Michigan State and Wisconsin) the 2015 slate is hardly a cakewalk, but there are many things to like. What appear to be the toughest games (Michigan State and Wisconsin) are at home. The most challenging ...
    by Published on 07-23-2015 09:50 AM  Number of Views: 5175 
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    2. Football

    Today is the day that some of us look forward to and others dread: alternate uniform reveal day. Nebraska will wear these October 24th against Northwestern.*

    *Apparently, Nebraska is telling Northwestern "we'll see your ugly black uniforms, and raise you one."

    Let's dive in, piece by piece.



    Like last year, the lid was easily the highlight of the ensemble. When a picture of the matte black helmet with the classic sans-serif "N" was released late Wednesday night, I was cautiously optimistic that I would like this year's uniforms.

    In my opinion, this helmet represents what a Nebraska alternate uniform should strive to be: different, yet recognizable. Trendy, yet classic. Without question, this is my favorite component of any Husker alternate to date.

    Could this be the year that I go from grudging acceptance to full-on love? Could adidas redeem their battered reputation with Husker fans with a grand slam design?

    Grade: A





    Goodness...where to even begin with this thing? Let's start with the pattern in the jersey. The adidas press release says "the jersey's padlock system secures tension over the shoulder pads, while the bodymap fit adheres to the player, making it difficult for opponents to grab, hold or tackle."

    Uh-huh. Sure. Bummer about not being able to tackle us Northwestern.

    You can call it whatever you want. I say it looks like tire treads, which when combined with the diagonal slits going through the numbers, makes it look like the uniforms were run over by a truck (Wisconsin fans, feel free to insert a Melvin Gordon joke here).

    Speaking of the numerals, they are rather reminiscent of the duct tape numbers from last year's jersey. Hopefully, the addition of the silver - sorry, "forged steel" - outline will make them easier to read from row 47. I'm not optimistic.

    One of my biggest criticisms of adidas is how they put all of their schools through a generic template and fail to do anything unique - even for a once-a-year special jersey. For the most part, that holds true: compare these to the new adidas uniforms for UCLA,
    by Published on 06-29-2015 10:33 PM     Number of Views: 12298 
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    2. Football

    As a Nebraska football fan, I dread the months of July, and August. Not because those months are painfully slow for news, the season feels light years away, or I'm already tired of predicting the team's record for the upcoming season.

    I dread this time of year because I know that any day now the new Husker football alternative uniform will be released. If we've learned anything over the first three years of the "Unrivaled" series of alternate unis, it's that they are routinely bad, mediocre at best, and downright awful at worst.

    Of course, this is also the time of year where I start to get my hopes up and think "maybe this is the year that adidas knocks it out of the park and creates some spectacular." Surely, the three stripe folks - having recently lost Notre Dame and Tennessee, and reportedly being on the ropes with Michigan - will bring out their "a" game. Right?

    Um....about that....

    * * *

    A post on entitled "Adidas: Sports Apparel Laughingstock" *chronicles a laundry list of screw ups and failings by adidas.

    *As ...
    by Published on 06-26-2015 12:33 AM     Number of Views: 9089 
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    2. Football

    On Wednesday, Oklahoma's president said the Big XII "should strive for" a 12-team league. Since it is the end of June, when you're more likely to see snowflakes than college football news*, several outlets pounced on the story and began speculation on who teams XI and XII might be.

    *Or at least, college football news outside of recruiting and arrests. Those two topics know no off-season.

    One of those pieces came from ESPN's Jake Trotter, who broke down 12 possible additions from most likely (BYU, Memphis, Boise State, Cincinnati, etc.), less likely (Florida State and Clemson, or other defectors from a Power 5 conference), down to the least likely: Nebraska.

    You're reading that correctly: somebody at the Worldwide Leader made a case for Nebraska going back to the Big XII.

    Now, before I rip his rationale to shreds, it is worth mentioning in Trotter's defense that he considers North Dakota State* - a current member of the FCS - a much more likely addition than Nebraska. Whether or not this improves Trotter's credibility is up to you.

    *Be sure to give Trotter credit for this spectacular factoid about the Bison: "They actually have as many wins against the Big 12 as Kansas does in the last five years."

    But let's face it: at best, suggesting Nebraska as a "new" member of the Big XII is an ...
    by Published on 04-20-2015 12:05 AM  Number of Views: 6471 
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    2. Football

    Even by their historically ugly standards, 2015 has been a very bad year for the Nebraska Basketball program.

    Let's recap Nebrasketball's low-lights since the first of the year:

    • A 5-13 record, with an average margin of defeat of 13 points.

    • NU was winless on the road and 1-8 against conference foes that made the NCAA tournament. (It should be noted that lone win was over Michigan State, a Final Four team).

    • The team was locked out of their locker room and banned from media contact by Head Coach Tim Miles after an embarrassing home loss to Iowa.

    • The Huskers fell behind 13th seed Penn State by 16 points in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. A late rally gave the Big Red a chance to take the lead in the final minute, but they ended up losing by four.

    • Walt Pitchford announced he's quitting basketball to focus on getting his degree. Three days later, he had declared for the NBA draft.

    • After appearing in every game, promising freshman guard Tarin Smith decided to transfer.

    • Star forward and leading scorer Terran Petteway announced that he's forgoing his senior season to enter the NBA draft.

    • Assistant Coach Chris ...
    by Published on 04-15-2015 01:48 AM     Number of Views: 7048 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    I've got a handful of post-Spring Scrimmage thoughts I'd like to share, but I want to focus on the two biggest Husker stories of the week:

    Former Husker linebacker and broadcaster Adrian Fiala passes away at age 67.

    Adrian Fiala was a standout linebacker on the Bob Devaney teams of the late 1960s. Although he graduated just before Nebraska won back-to-back national championships, he is widely credited for helping to elevate the team's play from 6-4 mediocrity to a 9-2 team on the cusp of greatness. Fiala was a two-sport standout, serving as a catcher on the Nebraska Baseball team.

    But for most Nebraska fans, Fiala's biggest impact was as a broadcaster. He was a fixture in the Husker broadcast booth between the end of the Pavelka/Sadlemeyer era and the current Sharpe/Davison team. He was a fixture on NET's Big Red Wrap-up show. He was blessed with a deep, booming voice, a humble folksy charm, and a level of preparation that inspired his colleagues. When you think of the greatest Husker moments between 1996 and 2010 - Stuntz to Crouch, Alex Henery's 57 yard field goal, and countless others - you could count on Adrian Fiala sharing your excitement and enthusiasm in the radio booth. Was he a homer for Dear Old Nebraska U? You bet your backside he was, and I never heard him apologize for supporting his home state alma mater with everything he had.

    Personally, ...