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    by Published on 08-27-2014 11:07 AM  Number of Views: 6419 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football,
    3. Athletics

    Some of the ways Nebraska can have a big season in 2014 are quite obvious (give the ball to Ameer Abdullah, get solid production from Tommy Armstrong, reduce turnovers, establish a punt return game, etc.)

    But there are some other keys that have kind of flown under the radar. They may not be as self-evident as "keep the defensive ends healthy", but they are just as important.

    1. Move on from Taylor Martinez.

    Love him or hate him, he is gone. And yet, I cannot begin to count the number of times I've seen and heard Martinez mentioned since the Gator Bowl ended his eligibility. The program, fans, and media do not do themselves any favors by continually ...
    by Published on 08-18-2014 12:00 AM  Number of Views: 7726 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    As Nebraska's fall camp continues, there is a lot of positive news, hyperbole, and high expectations being placed on the Huskers. If you consume enough of the preseason Kool Aid, you can easily convince yourself that this Husker team is poised to win the Big Ten West and even challenge for a spot in the new football playoff.,

    On the surface, I agree. Those things are possible. But such rose-colored glasses thinking overlooks some very serious concerns on this Nebraska team. Things that easily turn a promising season into another four loss campaign - or worse.

    1. Quarterback. Despite some preseason noise about being pushed by Ryker Fyfe, Tommy Armstrong will be the starter and likely will get every opportunity to succeed. I think Armstrong did a decent job last year as a redshirt freshman coming off the bench for the injured ...
    by Published on 07-28-2014 12:58 AM  Number of Views: 3896 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    Before we turn our attention to the flood of coach speak and clichés from Big Ten media days in Chicago, let's review some of the things in the news recently:

    1. College Football country is in a Watch List warning.

    July is the time when every college football award puts out their preseason watch list. The Huskers were well represented with Ameer Abdullah, Randy Gregory, and Kenny Bell (among others) making a list. Personally, I've always thought watch lists were rather silly. The lists aren't exactly exclusive: do we really need to watch 53 running backs for the Doak Walker Award? That is over 40% of the starting running backs in FBS. Nor is the award limited to the preseason candidates - Jameis Winston won the 2013 Walter Camp Award, but he wasn't on the watch list. And there are the curious or obligatory choices: no disrespect to Mark Pelini, but I'm pretty sure it is a Rimington Award bylaw that Nebraska's starting center be placed on their watch list.

    About the only good thing watch lists do is help pass the time until the season starts.

    2. Attention recruits: Nebraska is not one big cornfield (and the people are nice too!)

    Nebraska ...
    by Published on 05-27-2014 11:54 PM     Number of Views: 3928 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    The initial installment of Husker Hot Takes was fun and fairly well received, so we'll do another round...

    1. The Athletic Department is advertising football season tickets for the first time in a long time. Should we be worried about the coveted sellout streak?

    Okay...technically, the ticket office is advertising the ability to join the wait list for season tickets. You go to a NU Ticket Office website, select how many tickets you would like, pay a non-refundable $25 deposit, and...that's as far as I went (I currently have tickets and don't currently have a need for more). My guess is in one of the next steps you're asked how much you'd be willing to donate for season tickets. My assumption is your response to that question plays a big role in where you end up in line. (Feel free to correct me where my assumptions are wrong).

    First off, does anybody remember the last time Nebraska was advertising football tickets for home games? In my freshman year at UNL (1993) a letter went out to parents of students giving them the opportunity to buy season tickets, but I'm not aware of anything since then. (Again, feel free to share information in the comments.) ...
    by Published on 05-15-2014 01:15 AM     Number of Views: 5180 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    For it being a relatively slow time of year, there is a lot going on the world of Husker athletics. Things that are getting a lot of local and even national attention. Things that I have strong opinions on.

    Unfortunately, my opinions on these topics tend to be too long for Twitter (damn you, 140 characters!), but not quite beefy enough for a full post of their own.

    Therefore, I give you Husker Hot Takes - seven servings of delicious opinion, hopefully with no bad aftertaste.

    * * *

    1. NU Baseball survives crazy road trip, but has to cancel game with Creighton.
    After NU's three game sweep at Michigan State, the Huskers had a hard time getting back to Lincoln. Cancelled flights, delayed buses, the fact that East Lansing is 725 stinkin' miles from Lincoln. I'm guessing during their 24 hour+ trip home, they quoted every single line from Planes, Trains, & Automobiles. As a result, Nebraska's game with Creighton had to be cancelled, and the 10,000 fans who bought tickets are likely out of luck. ...
    by Published on 04-13-2014 12:06 AM     Number of Views: 644 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    Nebraska held their annual spring Red-White scrimmage today. The highlight of the day happened before the game started. Head Coach Bo Pelini lead the team out for their traditional Tunnel Walk carrying a cat.

    Yes. A football coach with a reputation for being surly carried a cat onto the field in front of 61,000 fans. And then proceeded to hold it up in the air Lion King style.

    The video can be seen here.

    Here is the quick back story: There is a Bo Pelini parody account on Twitter (@fauxpelini) that is brilliant and hilarious. The avatar Faux Pelini uses is Bo's face Photoshopped onto a guy in a sweater holding a cat. Bo has used Twitter to respond to Faux, and their tweets usually center around the cat. So far in 2014, Bo has taken the cat on a
    by Published on 04-07-2014 10:31 PM  Number of Views: 6344 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    It took a little while, but the report card is in. I've graded the members of the Nebraska football coaching staff on how well they coached their positions and developed their players. It is time to see who passed, who needs to consider summer school, and who should update their resume. Click here to see last year's grades.

    Methodology: Last year, my approach was rough. While I utilized the same criteria below, there was no hard and fast rule to how the grades were issued. Looking back, there are some grades that were tough for me to justify. So this year, I'll assign a letter grade (A through F) for each of my four factors and then give each coach an overall GPA (using the standard 4.0 scale).

    Here are the things I'm grading the coaches on:

    • On-field performance. Did the unit made the team better or were they a weakness? Did they live up to the hype or a big disappointment? Coordinators are also judged on the overall performance of their area.

    • Improvement. Did the position group play better in 2013 than in 2012? Better in November than September? Or did they take a step back?

    • Positional depth. How many players were in the mix for playing time? When injuries occurred, was there a noticeable drop off to the backup? I think this is a fair representation of "coaching up" the talent to a level where they can contribute and/or succeed on the field. If a starter playing at 60% health is still better than his backup, that says something about how the coach is getting his players ready to go. On the flip side, if a several guys are injured and the unit plays as well as (or better than) they have been, that reflects well on a coach. Obviously, things like injuries, suspensions, and protecting redshirts were considered, but recruiting busts do not. In my opinion, a good coach should be able to turn most lemons into lemonade - even if it takes a lot of squeezing.

    • My gut opinion. I was at every home game, ...
    by Published on 03-10-2014 11:59 AM  Number of Views: 10320 
    1. Categories:
    2. Athletics

    An open letter to Nebraska Basketball coach Tim Miles

    Dear Tim,

    I was wrong.

    When your predecessor, Doc Sadler, was fired I used this platform to lay out my thoughts for who Nebraska's next coach should be. In that piece, I was strongly against hiring a guy like you: ...
    by Published on 01-07-2014 10:56 PM  Number of Views: 4631 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    It has been said that bowl games originally served as vacation inspiration. Fans of teams in cold weather states should take a trip over the holidays to watch their beloved school play a game in some warm and sunny city (Pasadena, Miami, San Diego, Tempe, etc.). Along the way, the idea got all twisted and confused as decidedly non-exotic vacation destinations like Boise, Shreveport, and Detroit also got bowl games. But it is tough to argue with spending a week or two in sunny Florida - unless you're in Jacksonville during what appeared to be the rainy season.

    Despite the relatively poor weather, it appeared as if the Huskers had a good trip. Players were rewarded for a good (but not great) season, the seniors got one last chance to play with the "N" on their helmets, and most importantly, the team got an extra few weeks of practice that can only help their chances in 2014. Being able to beat a ranked team from the SEC? That is a just a cherry on top.

    There are some who say that bowl wins don't matter, but I disagree. This was a good win, for reasons we'll dig into below. Besides, it is good to return to the days when Nebraska was regularly beating the SEC in bowl games. Hopefully next time it will be as meaningful as the victories over LSU, Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee that helped Nebraska win four of their five national championships.

    So what did we learn?

    Husker Nation's glass will be half full until the Red/White Scrimmage, if not August 30. There is nothing like a bowl win to raise the mood of the fan base and their opinion of the program - especially when that win is over a ranked team from the big, bad SEC. The Huskers' win ensures that the discussions around the team will be more positive than negative, which has a huge impact on the collective mood of the state.

    Don't believe me? Just think of the doom and gloom being proclaimed from the radio hosts, message boards, bloggers, and print media writers if Nebraska had blown that lead against Georgia. What would your opinion of Pelini and ...
    by Published on 12-31-2013 10:52 PM     Number of Views: 1585 
    1. Categories:
    2. Football

    With a win over Georgia in the Gator Bowl, Nebraska would reach the nine win mark for the sixth straight year. For some, this is a crucial threshold that must be met. But does nine wins really matter? Does it hold the same level of excellence that it did 10 or 20 years ago? And should it be the standard for Nebraska's football program?

    I know what some of you are saying, nine wins isn't the standard that it used to be - assuming Nebraska becomes bowl eligible, they will play at least 13 games a season compared to the 11 or 12 games per year back in the 80s and 90s. Prior to the 2006 ...

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