Monday, April 30, 2007


Sorry it took an extra day to make this posting, I found out Sunday night that I had a presentation to do Monday night on my Iranian Revolution paper. I know my 10 devoted readers were devastated that I didn't have a posting. In any event, today's Monday Morning Linebacker is going to be devoted mostly to analyzing the situation that the recent Husker draft picks will be going into with their respective NFL teams. I'm also going to take a look around the other Big 12 players who were selected this past weekend. For those of you who are looking at the picture at right and saying "Jay Moore was a defensive end!", I remind you that he's been drafted to play Outside Linebacker........

We start with Carriker going to St. Louis. This is something a lot of people foresaw happening (myself included), and it was a sure thing once San Francisco took Patrick Willis. Carriker will be expected to man an interior line position next to La' Roi Glover. While most expected Carriker to go to a 3-4 team, one of Adam's biggest strengths is that he's large enough to go inside if need be. He'll compete with Jimmy Kennedy for the Nose Tackle position. Kennedy, a first round draft pick in 2003 out of Penn State, had 49 tackles and 2 sacks last year, which aren't great numbers, but it has to be kept in mind that the NT position isn't meant to have astronomical stats. That said, obviously he isn't performing up to snuff, otherwise they wouldn't have selected Carriker. The Rams finished 2nd-to-last in rushing defense last year, giving up 5 yards a carry and nearly 150 rushing yards a game. I think we could see Carriker have 60 or so tackles with 4+ sacks, as I think he is a better pass rusher than people give him credit for.

Brandon Jackson went to Green Bay in the second round, which surprised myself and many others who thought he would go in the 3rd at the earliest. He went ahead of several backs who were ranked ahead of him, including Antonio Pittman of Ohio State and Darius Walker of Notre Dame (who didn't even get drafted). This makes B-Jax's decision to come out look fantastic, and I'll admit I was wrong to say that he shouldn't have. Jackson's outlook for significant playing time is good, considering that of the 7 running backs the Packers have on their roster, 4 of them were/are Undrafted free agents (P.J. Pope, Brandon Miree, Arliss Beach, Noah Herron) and one of them was a 7th round pick (DeShawn Wynn). Barring the signing of additional free agents, Jackson's main competitor for snaps will be Vernand Morency, the former Oklahoma State standout who came to the team as part of a trade in September of 2006. The biggest advantage Morency has is experience, other than that his and Jackson's running styles are similar. Neither of them are overly powerful, both have good vision and can find the cutback lanes when they develop. While neither possess Reggie Bush-type breakaway speed, both are more capable of breaking big runs. Former Husker Ahman Green got the bulk of the carries last year, with Morency being the primary backup. I expect Morency to start camp as the starter and Jackson to establish himself throughout the season, finishing with 500 to 600 yards rushing, with the possibility of more depending on if he overtakes Morency or not, which isn't out of the question.

Stew Bradley going in the 3rd round was projected by most draft analysts, so there wasn't any real surprise there. The Eagles recently released Dhani Jones, who was previously their starter at the SAM position. They have promoted 2nd-year player Chris Gocong, another former 3rd-round pick, to the vacant position. That doesn't guarantee him the job though, as head coach Andy Reid indicated that Bradley will be in the mix:

"Stewart is a true SAM linebacker that can play MIKE and does a nice job over the tight end and will be a nice complement to our linebackers."

Stew will compete with Gocong (a former D1-AA defensive end) and free agent Tank Daniels for the starting SAM spot. Don't immediately count out Gocong, as he set a D1-AA record with 23.5 sacks his final year at Cal State-Poly. Even if he doesn't win the starting job, look for Bradley to get significant playing time this year in Philly.

Jay Moore went early in the fourth round to San Francisco as the 104th overall pick. He'll team up with first-round pick Patrick Willis as new linebackers in the 49er's 3-4 scheme. Moore will try to lose 10 or so pounds to ease help acclimate himself with his new position. I don't expect Jay to get as much playing time as the players mentioned above, mainly because he is going to have to transition to playing off the line and dropping into coverage more often. In addition to that, San Fran has a deep and talented linebacking corps that will make it tough to crack the lineup. The thing that makes it even tougher to predict this situation is that the 49ers are in transition from last year's 4-3 to the 3-4, which will definitely impact Jay's opportunities to get on the field. I expect Manny Lawson, a young and talented former NC State player, to take one of the OLB spots for sure. The question is if former Sooner Brandon Moore will play inside or outside, because if it's the former it could mean Jay getting a better chance to contribute. My prediction? He's a backup for a couple years.

Unfortunately, the draft was over for the Huskers after that. It was disappointing that Taylor wasn't drafted, but not really surprising. Both he and Matt Herian signed free agent contracts with the Bucs, who we all know run a very similar offense to ours. While some have bemoaned Taylor for signing there because of their QB situation, I think he made a smart move. It'd be one thing if they had Jake Plummer too, but he is sticking with retirement. That means Taylor will be competing with Chris Simms, Jeff Garcia, and Bruce Gradkowski. Initially it looks bleak for Zac, considering all three of those players have been starters at one time, and one (Garcia) is a former Pro Bowler. But let's take a closer look at this.

Garcia is 37 years old. And while he did a great job leading Philly to the playoffs last year, he doesn't have too much left in the tank. Most people say that Simms is going to be the long term guy at QB for Tampa Bay. That's tough to argue with, but his spleen injury last year obviously still has the Bucs brass concerned, and even before that he was hardly a standout in the NFL. His second season, he had a solid 81.4 QB rating, with a TD/INT ratio of 10/7 and completing 61% of his passes. Last year, before his season was ended by injury, he had completed just 54% of his passes with a horrible TD/INT ratio of 1/7. I still think they will give him every chance to establish himself as their guy (especially because they signed him to a contract extension last year), but let's hold off saying he's a sure thing just yet. Gradkowski, though he did a decent job last year in relief of Simms, hasn't shown he has the tools to be an NFL quarterback. His stats from his rookie year: 54% completion rate, a 9/9 TD-to-INT ratio and a 65 QB rating. Keep in mind though, he was only a rookie last year and will be counted on to be a long-term backup for Tampa Bay. It looks like a potentially loaded position, especially when you factor in Tim Rattay as a possibility as well (he's a unrestricted free agent, meaning he might be gone) but we have to remember that it's comprised of one senior citizen, two relatively unproven guys, and a UFA who could be elsewhere next year. I like Zac's chances of making the team, particularly because of his knowledge of the offense run there.

As far as Herian goes, I doubt he'll make the team. The Bucs have 5 tight ends on their roster, and it was recently bolstered by the signing of Jerramy Stevens, a former first round pick who fell out of favor in Seattle after off-the-field issues and his failure to recover from his bad showing in the Super Bowl. Herian has never been the same since his injury against Mizzou in 2004, and his chances don't look good. Hopefully he proves me wrong.

Dagunduro has an outside shot of making the Cowboy's squad...Dallas' d-tackle spot has three players listed on the depth chart: rookie Remi Ayodele, 10 year veteran Jason Ferguson, and former 6th round pick Montavious Stanley of Louisville. It's going to be tough for Ola, the Cowboy's 3-4 scheme doesn't present him with many opportunities, so he's going to have to beat out one of the aforementioned younger guys to make the squad, and that's not counting whoever is on the practice squad.

Barry Cryer will have to compete with Luis Castillo, Brandon McKinney, Jamal Williams, and former Husker Ryon Bingham. Castillo and Williams are the starters, which means if Cryer were to even make the 53-man roster (a longshot), he's probly do so at the expense of Bingham. I'm going with Cryer making the squad. The practice squad, that is.

A few other draft tidbits:

-I love how it's everywhere on the web how the SEC had more draft picks than anyone else. Is this supposed to be a surprise? It's the fastest and deepest conference in the country, we didn't need statistical proof to know this.

- While I was devastated that Quinn wasn't taken by the Vikings (I wanted to watch him suck the next ten years in my own city), I'm excited to be able to watch Adrian Peterson. While Reggie Bush is the best college football PLAYER I've watched, Peterson is the best college RUNNING BACK I've ever watched. As I've stated before, he is a terrifying runner who punishes tacklers.......I know, I'm saying crap you've heard a hundred times already, especially after this past weekend..........I'll shut up now.

-I've been watching ESPN the past couple of days, and I may be wrong, but I think JaMarcus Russell has waaaaaaay too many friends and family that he has to support. Judging by the coverage I've seen, there were three or four separate rooms filled with 40 or so people each that had some direct tie to him. I know he's in line for a 60 million dollar contract, but either way, that's way too big of a posse to support all of them. I think this is one of the biggest problems facing potential NFL draftees, the potential hangers-on who expect something simply because they are friends with the pick. One example is when Mike Vick got in trouble recently for having a house he owns (but doesn't live at) raided by police. They found evidence of organized dog fighting, even though the search warrant was for something else. In the story, we find out Vick is supporting 17 FAMILY MEMBERS with his money. Now, I'm all about helping out, but at what point do you realize that this isn't fiscally responsible?

-I'm in the "The Pats made a good move trading for Randy Moss" camp. As long as he's winning, he stays in line, and as the mainstream media has noted, he knows his legacy is directly tied to a championship, and that'll motivate him to behave. Besides, if he screws up New England can let him go after a year.

-If you haven't checked out my running diary of the draft, scroll down below this entry and check it out.

5 Things I'm Thinking About this Morning

1) I think Pat Forde wrote an interesting article over on ESPN about the lack of high draft picks from small schools. I've thought for a while that there would be more players taken from these conferences due to the fact they have had increased TV exposure over the years. Playing at a school like Central Michigan or Miami of Ohio no longer means you'll never be seen on TV, and talent has proliferated down to the lesser conferences. Having read this article, it's obvious that I may have been wrong. More and more players are looking at the opportunity to play in one of the Big 6 conferences, knowing that there is a better shot of them being on TV every week and getting into the NFL.

2) I was surprised (but not shocked) to see that 6 Penn State players have been charged with felonies after starting a fight at a party earlier this month. PSU, as much as I like to make fun of it, rarely has incidents like this occur in Happy Valley, but nothing is out of the question at any institution. Anthony Scirrotto, a starting safety, was the player who took the altercation to the next level. Evidently he got into a bit of an argument with three guys, then followed them back to a party. He called his teammates, they showed up, and all 6 preceded to crash the party and beat up the three guys Scirrotto had gotten into it with. Apparently this was a wild-west type fight, with beer bottles being broken over heads and a few guys getting kicked in the face when they were already down. This is obviously bad from a PR standpoint, but it could hurt the Lions even worse when taking into account that they will lose at least two extremely talented players in Scirrotto and Justin King (who was one of the top recruits in the country a couple years ago). Losing King off an already-weak offense could come back to haunt them early in the season (depending on the level of his punishment).

3) I think that it's unfortunate that players are selling their championship rings, but it's not something we should be surprised by. Former Longhorn O-lineman Terrance Young is selling his 2005 National Championship ring on ebay, where bidding is hovering around 10 grand. While guys like Vince Young might not need the money, former players who aren't bringing in NFL paychecks could probably used the cash. The worst was a couple of years ago when Lawrence Phillips hawked some of his Big 12 title rings to a pawn shop for a couple hundred bucks, only to see them be sold on ebay later for thousands in profit. Smart move, LP. Not that we should have expected anything different. Part of me says that the player should keep their ring, that it's a memento of a great season and a reminder of the times that you shared with your teammates. But memories are something that material possessions don't have control over, and if you need the money, I don't see how anyone can criticize you. Although part of me thinks that the University who purchases these rings should maybe be reimbursed.

4) I'm thinking that I'm not a fan of college recruiting. One of our standout o-line commits, Dan Hoch, is still hearing from teams despite his choice to play for Nebraska. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure NU still chases after guys who have already committed to other schools, but why can't coaches just honor the player's choice and focus on other prospects? You can't tell me that there is a shortage of high school players to choose from. A good example is Ryan Perrilloux, a sophomore QB at LSU who many were calling the next Vince Young when he came out of high school. He had committed to UT, but LSU kept up their recruitment, and he eventually switched to the Tigers. Some may say that the recruit should honor their own commitments, which is true. But I think that more leeway should be given to the 18 year old kid getting pulled in countless different directions than to the 50 year old coach trying to get him to renege on his word to another school.

5) I think Stewart Mandel wrote what most everyone else already thought: Les Miles isn't that good of a coach. LSU had four first round draft picks, five picks overall and 7 free agents signed. You would think with that mother lode of talent, they would have done better than a couple of 2-loss seasons during his tenure there. I know that 2-loss seasons aren't bad in the SEC, but for a team that has as much if not more talent than USC, you would think they would of at least won the SEC last year. I'll always remember one game where Miles (after an interception) was screaming at the refs for a timeout to stop the clock. Meanwhile, his assistants are dragging him away because they know (as any true football fan does) that THE CLOCK ALREADY STOPS AFTER A TURNOVER. How could he have possibly screwed that up? I've never been sold on him being a great coach, and when he was hired away from OSU I was surprised that LSU, who has been dominant this decade, would trust their team to him. I thought a better choice would be Bo Pelini, who is their D-coordinator.

And with that, here's a little something to keep you sane and stave off the hopelessness that comes with knowing we are still four months away from a Husker game:

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Running Draft Diary, Round 1

11:04—Welcome to the Husker Guy 2007 NFL Draft running diary. We’re coming live to you from my house in Bloomington MN, where we have relocated due to the fact our projector broke. We are all at least two beers in, and a huge development just took place: We went from a 19 inch TV to 60 inch big screen. We were just sitting here when my brother dropped it off, so this is a big upgrade, and we are ratcheting up the drinking in celebration. My buddy J is has already downed a MGD 40 ouncer, which he opened at 10:30. Good stuff.

11:09--- And the Oakland Raiders are on the clock. Just in case they haven’t figured out what they wanted to do over the past 3 months, they have 15 more minutes. Can’t we shorten this up? The first round could actually take 8 hours if they all milk the clock for all it’s worth. The Raiders have to take Russell, Andrew Walter just doesn’t cut it. Walter looks a lot like Keller, due to the ASU connection and similar builds. Plus, I could see Keller being picked next year in the same range that Walter did (3rd Round)

11:15--- “Jamarcus Russell can throw the ball 65 yards from his knees”…..That’s great Mel, if he ever is on his knees in the pocket, he’s gonna be in good shape, you douchebag. Man I wish I had NFL network here.

11:18 A boy scout came to the house....... He wanted perishable food items…..all I have is beer…..not sure that woulda went over well with the scout master……..

11:20--- JaMarcus Russell is the first pick. Wow. That is unbelievable, I never saw that one coming…..

11:21---Rienks says that JaMarcus has an ugly grandma……I thought that was a bit harsh, but to each his own. For what it’s worth, I am liking the black-on-black-on-black suit combination that Russell is wearing……I think that knowing what team is gonna draft you is important, you can match your suit for the hat.

11:23---They are playing Eminem’s song about Detroit, which is funny cause most of the crowd at this thing is middle-aged white guys. I bet they’re big fans.

11:29---Living in Minnesota, I think it’s hilarious that Brad Johnson is characterized as a key loss on the bottom-of-the-screen ticker…..any time a 56 year old man is a key loss, you know your team isn’t in very good shape…….

11:31---Calvin Johnson with the second pick…..I can’t say I disagree with it, the guy can’t miss……although they were saying similar things about a kid named Charles Rogers a couple years ago……but Johnson is a guy with great character, and despite the screw-ups they’ve had the past couple years in Detroit, I think you have to make that pick.

11:32—Calvin’s face is priceless…….”Wait, who is throwing the ball to me? Joey Harrington? Oh, nevermind. Shit, why’d I have to get drafted by these guys?”

11:33---My brother B, in an extremely sarcastic tone: "Man, Detroit's 4 wide sets in Madden are gonna be unstoppable." I used to love doing that with Texas on NCAA, I’d put Vince Young in when they still had Roy Williams and company and kill people.

11:35---Close up of Brady Quinn and his girlfriend. Rienks’ response: “That’s the best he could do?”

11:39---Interview with Calvin Johnson…………I didn’t hear the question we all want answered, which is “How does it feel to be drafted by the most inept franchise in the league?”

11:40---Rienks, after a closeup of Quinn’s girlfriend laughing: “Ha ha, I’m gonna be soooo rich, I’m set for life, I can’t wait to get a divorce and get half.”……..we’re nice guys here, I swear.

11:41--WHOEVER JUST YELLED JARED ZABRANSKY IN THE QUIET MOMENT NEEDS A BEER BOUGHT FOR HIM, RIGHT NOW! That is probly going to be the funniest moment of the draft.

11:41—The Browns select Joe Thomas…………..things that I’m hearing about Thomas is similar to what we heard about Robert Gallery coming out of Iowa a couple years ago….and last I checked, Gallery hasn’t been the dominant tackle they were hoping for…I’m not sayin Thomas is going to do the same, maybe he’ll be another Will Shields, but either way, it just shows how wrong these analysts can be.

11:46— My buddy Kels, who is a huge Notre Dame fan, is now terrified that Quinn could go to Minnesota. I am now rooting for this with every ounce of my being. Seeing Quinn tank for the next 10 years right here in the cities would be a lot of fun for me. I hate Notre Dame.

11:50— We don’t have any beer……this is bad…..what is worse that I have a wedding to go to at 4:00…..not that it’s going to stop me from drinking, but it just sucks that I have to move.

11:51— I think that Tampa Bay is going to take Gaines Adams. Hell, they probly already decided it. But for some reason they are gonna make us sit here for 5 additional minutes. Assholes.

11:53— Gaines Adams is rocking a 1991 haircut with the lines shaved in the side of his head….Kels: "Are we watching Hoop Dreams? Or did Arthur Agee turn into a standout defensive end?"

11:54— Shocking, it’s Gaines Adams with the pick……and the Jared Zabransky moment just got replaced by Adam’s moms mullet as the funniest moment of the draft…..I’d put all the comments my buddies just said, but I don’t think they are appropriate to print here.
11:56— BEER RUN, be back in a bit……

12:19— And we’re back. Rienks is facing a tough decision: start with the MGD 40 ouncer or the Steel Reserve girl. He settles on the 40. Smart decision. We’ve missed two picks, but one was an o-linemen, which isnt even exciting. The Redskins pick of Landry is crazy though….think about that, Landry paired with Sean Taylor at both safety spots? That is terrifying for every receiver in the league…..I have to go mix a drink…… I’m going with Silver Tequila (a 40 dollar bottle, not cuervo) and tonic with some lime…….it’s a nice refreshing citrus blend…… I’m not feelin a beer till later….

12:26— I am absolutely giddy at the prospect of Quinn being drafted by the Vikings….Kels is terrfied…’s the pick…….DAMMIT, it’s Adrian Peterson, I’m devastated. I think it’s a good pick (although some say that he doesn’t fit the Vikings west cost system), but I really wanted to see Quinn suck up close. Oh well.

12:30— We now get to see Peterson running over everybody….I’m waiting for the inevitable highlights against the Huskers…..but they never come…..that’s a shock.

12:32— We are now debating what is the best college team of all time…..Kels says the ’01 Miami team and I’m going ’95 Huskers. He lists their talent level (Vilma, Portis, Shockey, etc.) and my argument is that they almost got beat 3 times whereas Nebraska was never challenged. This is an argument that is not gonna go anywhere.

12:36— Kels, faced with the fact that Quinn is dropping faster than Jenna Jameson’s pants, is arguing that he is better than Russell….whatever you need to tell yourself. I hate Notre Dame.

12:39— I don’t know much about Anderson out of Arkansas, but after watching his highlights, wow this guy is good. Then again, my highlight tape from high school made me look good, and I suck. So who knows how indicative highlights are of a player’s true ability. I think you gotta get game tape of the player’s worst game to see what he’s really like.

12:42— We’re recounting the times that we have each passed out in someone’s yard. Isn’t this what college is all about? 5 guys sitting around getting drunk, recalling the great times you’ve had. I say yes. Well, that and getting an education. But that’s #2 on the importance scale.

12:45— How pathetic are the people who paid 10 bucks to sit in their respective team’s training facilities to watch the draft? I bet those 7 dollar beers are delicious.

12:46— Wow, you thought the list of the Lion’s past draft picks was bad, you needed see the list of the Dolphins QBs since Dan Marino.

12:47— Steve Young’s keys to success as a QB: Leadership, Aptitude, and Accuracy. Reinks: “Really? You have to be smart and able to throw to play quarterback in the NFL? Who knew?”

12:50— The Dolphins need a quarterback. Brady Quinn is still available. Stop wasting our time and make the pick.

12:51— THEY TAKE TED GINN!!!! That seems like a HUGE reach, and Quinn has the “F***ing assholes” smile going. Kels is in complete shock. This is fantastic, my day just got a lot better. Mel Kiper is livid, based on his extensive playing experie….oh wait……..nevermind.

1:00— Just realized I don’t have m power cord, and my battery is running out. This might be a “first half of the first round” diary…..oh well……it’s 80 degrees out, I need to get out of this house anyway…..

1:05— Okoye gets picked by the Texans……I still can’t believe this guy is only 19…’s officially ADAM CARRIKER WATCH time.

1:08— Desperate Housewives promo….Morphin: “Is that still on?” ….Rienks: “Man, Eva Longoria is HOT”……is it just me, or has that entire cast started to actually look their real age? I don’t watch the show, but now the promos look like a bunch of 50 year olds…..and 50 year old women acting like sluts isn’t very appealing……well, except Eva. She can take her clothes off any time she wants.

1:11— Mark May makes his first appearance…….I’d like to take this opportunity to promote…………….between May and Herbstriet, I’m really not a big fan of ESPN sometimes.

1:16— Reading Sport’s Illustrated’s mock draft in the magazine, I think it’s important to note that they have 2 of the first 10 picks right. Glad we listen to the experts.

1:18— And the 49ers take Willis, the freak linebacker out of Ole Miss…… prediction of Carriker going to St. Louis is looking better and better…

1:21— Jason (who will be referred to as J) remarks after finishing another beer: “64 ounces down before 1:30…..not bad”……

1:23— The new Coors Light bottle has a logo that turns blue when your beer is the perfect temperature…… if you’re a complete moron and can’t figure out if your booze is cold, now your set.

1:27— Lynch is selected by the Bills at 12…..I don’t think he’s that great of a back….I mean, he’s gonna be decent NFL back, but I don’t think he’s a mid-first rounder considering you can get great backs in the later rounds. The Rams are now on the clock, so we’ll see if my prediction turns out right.

1:31—National Bingo Night promo……Rienks: “Are you f***ing kidding me? You gotta be f***in retarded to watch that….they must pull homeless people off the street and give them booze to come watch that s*** in the studio audience.”

1:34— Kels makes a Suge Knight/Alan Branch comparison…….fantastic.

1:35— Joe Thomas fishing on his boat……….how awkward is that for him? I’m pretty sure the guy went fishing so he wouldn’t have to deal with the dumbass press, so what do they do? Put a camera on the boat.

1:38— Where the hell are these Sonic food places? I saw one in Omaha once, but we don’t have any up here in the cities. How the hell does Omaha have one but not Minneapolis/St. Paul? Don’t get me wrong, I love Omaha, but I don’t think they are quite where the Twin Cities are in terms of size/population.

1:40— The Rams select ADAM CARRIKER……I’m obviously psyched…….the only comments my friends can make is that he’s really ugly (after ESPN showing his facial picture). Either way, good for Adam. Great to see a Husker in the first round, and I am now on par with Mel Kiper when it comes to draft accuracy.

1:45— The Jets fans go wild…..we’ll see what the development is that they are cheering about……yea, they traded up to 14…….probably to take Quinn…..I know they have Pennington, but that guy’s shoulder is weaker than Beau Davis’ arm…..and wow they gave up a lot of picks…a 1,2, and 5…..

1:46: Rienks: “Hey Kiper, SHUT THE F*** UP! Crawl back down that s***hole where you came from.” I agree……but take it easy champ….maybe sit the next couple of plays out, if ya know what I mean.

1:50— need another drink…..

1:52— Mortensen: “I just wonder why they were taking so long.” We were all wondering Mort, we were all wondering. They need to cut it from 15 minutes to 8, this is ridiculous.

1:53— They traded all that for Revis out of Pitt? Really? To borrow a quote from J, “Your that excited Jets fans? About an overrated corner?”

1:55— Timmons out of FSU goes to the Steelers……this makes Sports Illustrated 3 for 15 in their preview….let me note that I’m not saying I can do better. What I’m saying is that this just shows how all the pre-draft hype is just dumb.

2:01— A debate starts over who we’d rather sleep with, Rachel Nichols, Suzy Kolber, or Erin Andrews……and Andrews wins after we realize the other two aren’t that attractive……..

At the halfway point of the first round, the big story is without a doubt the fall of Quinn…..this is turning into an Aaron Rogers situation where he awkwardly sits until a mid-20s pick………and I’m loving it.

2:05— Me: “Morph, are you drunk?”
Morph: “No”
J: (raises hand and smiles)

2:06— I’m eating some Fritos, which boasts prominently on the front “0 GRAMS TRANS FAT!”…….which is great if you discount the fact that every serving (roughly 10 chips) has 100 calories of fat…….and they wonder why our country is obese.

2:08— Kolber is interviewing Quinn…….J remarks, in the Brady Quinn voice: “Um, I’m really just devastated cause nobody wants to pick me.” I’d say that’s more accurate of what he’s really thinking.

2:09— Chris Berman tells us for the 754th time that Quinn is from Ohio. Thanks Chris, you can feel free to shut up now. Isnt there a Yankees/Sox game we can send this guy to instead?

2:13— The Packers pick Justin Harrell out of Tennessee, which pisses off J, who’s a huge Packers fan. Nobody is happy with an unglamorous d-line pick, unless you’re a Nebraska fan rooting for Carriker. Thing is, if Harrell keeps guys off of A.J. Hawk, that’s a good pick. People gotta remember this.

2:52— Not much has happened in the 45 minutes we’ve been outside drinking and playing catch. Tennessee drafted Griffin out of UT, which I was surprised by because they let their main receivers go in free agency, I thought they’d take Meachum or Bowe for sure.

2:54— A great new development: they have moved Brady Quinn from purgatory, a.k.a. the green room, to a private room where he won’t be harassed by the cameras. Kels is near comatose right now. This is by far the highlight of my day. In other news, I have a wedding to go to in one hour, but I left the invitation at my house and I have no idea where the church is. I’m working the phones to find it.

2:56— Reinks: “ESPN, you got bitches running wild. Also known as Mel Kiper.”

2:58— Another Texas guy, Ross goes at the 20th pick……nice to see some Big 12 guys going…..

I think its worth noting that it’s the 21st pick but yet we are four hours in……I hate to be redundant, but let’s shorten this crap up……plus, my battery only has about 25% left…..

3:04— The Jags take Reggie Nelson, a hard-hitting safety out of Florida. Mel thinks he could play corner. I think Mel is a moron. Put this guy as heir apparent to Donavan Darius, and let the fireworks happen. I think this is a good pick. Then again, what do I know, I’m a former D3 backup….which makes me more qualified than Mel Kiper.

3:10— We’re talking about the dogs we have in the house right now….2 pitbull pups, 2 Yorkshire terriers (which are the ones that Paris Hilton puts in her purse)……J wonders aloud about the Yorkies: “I always wonder, how far could I punt a dog like that?”……sounds like we got another Mike Vick here, HEY-OH!.......yea, I got nothing….

3:15— Vince Young’s Madden commercial……I am a big fan of Bill Simmons’ theory that if we put Osama Bin Laden on the cover, we’d catch him in a month, that’s how powerful the Madden curse is. We need to make this happen.

3:17— The Browns trade up and take Quinn before KC can grab him… case you didn’t know, he’s from Ohio. I’m not sure if you knew that. Just making sure. Boomer needs a dropkick to the face at this point…..and you would think with all the people Quinn has, they would have gotten him on Proactiv to get rid of those zits…..

3:22—Kels nearly busted a nut when Brady came on for his interview with Suzy Kolber…….you can tell that Quinn is pissed that he dropped into the 20s………..followed by this exchange:

Morphin: “He’s probly happy, he’s going to Cleveland.”
Reinks: “Did you smoke Pacman’s stash while we were gone? It’s f-ing Cleveland. Nobody wants to be there.”

3:24— We just took three minutes trying to figure out who the Brown’s incumbent starter is…..a pretty good indicator of how successful a team is……that’s not a good sign when avid football fans barely can remember who your QB is.

3:28— I love the NFL apparel commercial where a Vikings fan and Bears fan go at it with their chairs and crap like that. I love it because the Vikings fan has no choice but to wear a Troy Williamson jersey. That’s the best they have, a receiver who drops 75% of his passes.

3:30—Reinks is getting visibly inebriated, mainly because he’s pulling a Joe Namath and making sexual remarks about Suzy Colber……I’d write them here, but I don’t think they are really appropriate…..

3:32—Chiefs select Bowe out of LSU…’s a pick they had to make, they haven’t had a good receiver since Andre Rison’s first year there, which was when I still cared about the NFL………..and don’t talk to me about Kennison, he’s been serviceable, but he’s no #1 receiver…….

3:41— They’re interviewing the GM for the Browns…….”What was your motivation to jump back into the first round for Brady Quinn?”……..I think I know what he was really thinking: “Um, I don’t know if you noticed, but our starting QB is Charlie Frye…I don’t think you need further explanation.”

3:44—Kels is trying to talk himself into Quinn going to Cleveland and turning the franchise around…….I don’t have the heart to try to talk him out of it……

3:46— I’m interested to see the Patriot’s pick here……they got an obvious need at LB and Safety……….here’s the commish…….Meriweather from Miami at Safety…….Kels called that, I thought he would slip because of character issues…..and by character issues, I mean when he was stomping on FIU players in the infamous brawl (which they just showed. Class act.).

4:06—My battery is dying, I don’t know if I’ll make it through the 1st round…..the Cowboys just took the DE Spencer out of Purdue…..they traded three picks for this guy….they must see something I don’t, because I think that’s a horrible pick. They needed a corner, an o-lineman, or a wide receiver (Glenn and Owens are both 34+ I think)…..and they take an overrated d-end……

4:11—I love the Coors Light commercials where they use footage from coach press conferences….”Playoffs? You’re talking about Playoffs?”……fun stuff.

4:12—Talking about the Saints right now…..I am glad Drew Brees is doing well, because people hate QBs who are only 6 feet tall…..if you can play, you can play, there’s no way around that. Look at Chase Daniel. Other than his love for mucus, he’s a great player, and he’s barely over the 6 foot mark. These NFL guys are just dumb when they talk themselves out of players who have the ability to make a difference.

4:15—I love when Berman tries to make a real anecdote or observation when the guy barely knows anything about football. There is a big difference between a real analyst and a TV personality, and he falls into the latter category. Another example is Dick Vitale. Anybody could yell the crap he does, but ESPN thinks he’s important because he has a cult following. Give me guys who know bring some real analysis to the table, not somebody who repeats the same catchphrases time and time again.


4:19—I love that they have 15 minutes, but they take 2 additional ones for Goodell to get up to the podium…….hurry up you assholes……
4:20—New England’s pick is the last I will write about, my battery is about to die and quite frankly I’m tired of sitting through this…….

4:22— The Patriots trade the pick to San Fran, who takes Joe Staley from Central Michigan...........and just like that, the Patriots stockpile more picks in the middle rounds….that’s why they are the best-run organization in the NFL……….

Well, my battery is gonna die, so this is gonna end today’s 1st round draft diary. I had a great time, if they shorten the time to 10 minutes a pick, this would have been really great. Hopefully Stew, Jay, and Brandon get taken the next two rounds.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What Grinds My Gears

As I sit here in my Introduction to Psychology class, I can't help but get annoyed at all the little freshmen jackasses that sit and ask pointless questions. I don't mind a professor being asked to explain something, but most of the queries being asked by my classmates are easier than Paris Hilton after a bar crawl. So why ask them? To suck up, to get some face time for the douche teaching the class. I hate that. To borrow a phrase from Family Guy, it really grinds my gears. And considering the class is talking about the purpose of the frontal lobes, I figured I might as well make an entry out of this and list some of the things that are grinding my gears this morning.

First off, let me remind you that I like the NFL Draft. When I say that, I mean the two day event, not the 3 month lead-up and oversaturation that we are now dealing with. Even two or three years ago, they didn't start breaking down the draft in detail until about two weeks before it. Now? They have NFL Live segments every day at 2 and 6, the whole time discussing the upside potential of picks, which teams might trade up or down, so on and so forth. And I'm f***ing tired of it. What I'm getting at, as evidenced by this article by Tim Layden, is that the draft (and perhaps the NFL as a whole) has become TOO BIG. There is way too much information and speculation as to where people will go, and it's getting nauseating. Another good indicator that the NFL is way too over-exposed: the two hour special ESPN had when they released the schedule for next year. Do I really need to know the exact date when the Colts and Patriots play six months in advance? Its not like I'm marking it down on my calendar or anything. And if I don't, I'm pretty sure that ESPN and company will remind me when the time comes. So please, can we bring this whole thing down a notch?

Female empowerment songs. Beyonce sings to a guy saying that he should never think he's irreplaceable, Pink sings about how she's not here for our entertainment and that we're not taking her home tonight. Look, we get it, ok? Good for you, you don't need a man, blah blah blah. What these people are doing is making songs for immature 16 year old girls who are probably too ugly or awkward to get a boyfriend. So the girls identify with it, and unfortunately for anyone who has a radio, keep requesting it. Oh, and another thing: Who in the hell would want to take home Pink?

The next generation of kids. I'm 23, which I don't think qualifies me as old, but more and more I feel disconnected with the kids who are currently in high school. Their role models are Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, they live in a culture where they are bombarded with the message that to look appealing you have to dress like a whore, and where sexual promiscuity is encouraged. Look, I thought it was cool when I was 17. But now the envelope is being pushed farther and farther, and at what point do we stop it?

Bo Pelini's job. When is this guy gonna get a head coaching gig? The man has been in charge of some of the most dominant defenses in the country for the past five years, and he's got the attitude and background to be a great head guy somewhere. I realize that his name doesn't have the star quality of Nick Saban, but if Tim Brewster can get the Minnesota job, why can't Bo get something? The man knows his stuff, hell of a coach.

Miller Lite . Congrats Miller, you have half the carbs of Bud Light. I might care about that, but when you drink 15 of them in one night, I don't think it really matters what the nutritional value is. Oh, and did I mention it tastes like ram piss? Yea, cause that's important. I still think the commercial where they are hanging the "World Beer Cup Champion" banner is hilarious, only because there is no way in hell that beer would win anything.

New horror movies. Did anyone else see the preview for the one about the dead ventriloquist who apparently kills people? What the hell do these writers do for story ideas? Throw darts at a board with words on it and fill in the blanks? Do they have an Mad-lib book for horror movies? I don't know what is more pathetic, the fact that these movies keep getting made, or that people are dumb enough to keep going to them.

TBS dropping college football from their programming. Really? What is the reasoning behind this move? Did they buy extra Seinfeld and Friends episodes that they need to show? As the article points out, there weren't always great games on there, but at least it was an option. It was exposure if nothing else. I think this is a bad move, college football ratings will continue to improve, and TBS is dropping the ball by giving up these games. And while I'm on the subject of TBS programming, let me say this: Not everybody loves Raymond. In fact, I hate that show. I hate the brother, I hate the whiny wife. The only character with any redeeming traits is the Dad, who constantly bitches about his wife. I've only met one person who even LIKES that can we please stop selling this s*it into syndication?

And now, the clip that inspired the rant above:

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Big Red Roundtable: Post Spring Game Reflections

For those of you who are familiar with the Husker blogosphere, you know that there are a few of us (Big Red Network, Double Extra Point, Corn Nation, Hi-Plains drifter, Husker Mike, etc.) who take part in roundtable discussions about various stuff. For the first time, I was invited to take part in this. Let me say that it's an honor to be included. Here is my installment, make sure you check everybody else's responses to see what they had to say.

1. Keller or Ganz. Pick one, then give three reasons.

Keller. The three reasons:
1) Better arm

2) More game experience

3) No hesitation to stand up to bad female drivers who take his parking spot

2. The most impressive guy at the Spring Game.

After watching the first half of the game, my opinion that the most impressive guy was Todd Petersen, who had over a hundred yards recieving and looked good running after the catch. This in no way means that we'll be seeing a lot of him this fall considering the collection of talent we have at the reciever position, but he played well in the spring game. My other nominee for mose impressive was Suh at d-tackle. He's an absolute beast, and I look forward to Musberger and the other retards who announce our games butchering his name this fall.

3. If you were the Athletic Director, what would you do with the

While I especially like Double Extra Point's suggestion of throwing a party to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of our '97 title team, I say give half to the memorial for the families of the Va Tech victims, the other half to the West Virginia University police force to protect the populace from Pacman Jones, who will be training there and will have way too much time on his hands. The co-eds who strip to pay tuition are salivating.

4. Do 54,000 people show up at Nebraska's Spring Game because there is
really nothing else to do in Nebraska OR because we're more in love
with our Huskers than anyone else is with their team.

Obviously there is nothing to do in Nebraska, but I still say it's the latter. We travel better than any fanbase in the country, and I think that's a good indicator of our passion for the Huskers. I know Alabama's turnout was impressive, but that had two things going for it: a completely psychotic fanbase who didn't have a NASCAR race to watch till the next day, and Nick Saban making his first spring game appearance. It'll be fun to see what happens when he leaves after three years and they have to do it all over again.

5. When you heard or saw Marlon Lucky was injured, your first thought

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME! (followed by me slamming the rest of my beer to ease the pain of losing our best back for a whole season)

6. Were you at all concerned by the fairly modest rushing performance
overall by the Red team or is that a sign there's some depth on the
defensive front seven?

I wasn't overly concerned. I don't think there is a ton of depth on our d-line, but I think the unit is coming along a lot faster than people had anticipated and that it will perform well this fall. While we weren't rolling up West Virginia-type numbers in the running game, Marlon still had 94 yards on 16 carries, and Glenn was absolutely punishing people, even if his stats didn't show it.

7. Callahan called the receiving corps the strength of the team.
Would you tend to agree with that or would you choose another aspect
(e.g. linebackers)

If I had to choose between the recievers or LB's, I'd have to pick the former just because of the amount of depth we have. I think our starting backers (along with Dillard and Covey) are going to be great, but the younger guys at linebacker dont have the same explosive potential as their counterparts at wideout (guys like Henry and Holt).

I think that one position group that has a lot of depth that people arent talking about is the QBs. Obviously we've beaten Keller vs. Ganz to death, but look at the situation we have here. Two guys who are both starter material, with wonderkid Patrick Witt breathing down their neck and JUCO All-American Zac Lee joining the fray in the fall. We have some quality depth there.

Hot Routes

With all the love given to Mo Purify and Nunn/Swift, I thought the man gracing today's hot routes should be the one who made the most noise in the spring game, Mr. Todd Petersen. He appeared to have a good rapport with Keller in the game, something that hopefully has some repeat appearances this fall. I had the pleasure of meeting Todd's parents at the USC game this past year, and they are some of the most gracious and patient people I've ever encountered. I call them patient because they showed a lot of that virtue when my brother and I repeatedly offered them some of our beer (we had been hitting it hard that day).

That said, onto the links.

For those of you who read my draft preview yesterday, here's a little more information on Adam Carriker. Me and draft "expert" Mel Kiper both have Carriker penciled in to St. Louis at 13..........which makes me wonder, how does one become a draft expert? Is there a school for this? Or do you just have to have bad hair and practically no actual football experience?

Over on, Brian Jones picks his top prospects on the offensive side of the ball heading into this season. His QB choice for the upcoming season? Pat White of West Virginia. Now, with all due respect to White, who is an incredible player, if I can choose any guy to run my team, it's not going to be him. Sure, he completed 65% of his passes. But his TD to INT ratio was a pedestrian 13-7. He only attempted 179 passes last year, which doesnt quite cut it when compared to the likes of Colt McCoy (318) or Brian Brohm (313). Jones picking White would be like someone picking Eric Crouch after his 1999 season, where he attempted 160 passes for 7 touchdowns and 4 picks. What I'm getting at is that while the White can run, he ain't my choice for a QB this year. I think that breaking that 200 attempts barrier is important. But Jones' article made me wonder, if I could pick any QB, RB, and WR from any team in the country this year, who would they be? I am imposing a no-Huskers rule to make sure I'm not biased and playing favorites. My three:

QB: Andre Woodson, Kentucky
Some of you might be scratching your head wondering who the hell Andre Woodson is. Those of you that already know might wonder why I'd pick him over other candidates like the aforementioned McCoy or Brohm, or USC's John David Booty. My reasoning is that Woodson led the SEC in TD's and passing offense with considerably less talent around him than his counterparts. Perfect is example is Booty. Now, I'm not saying Booty isn't a good QB. But there are a lot of guys who could look good throwing to Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith, and he's going to have just as many weapons this year with four former High School All Americans playing reciever for the Trojans. Look at McCoy, who had Limas Sweed to throw to and Jamaal Charles behind him. Woodson completed 63% of his passes for 31 TDs against just 7 picks, in the toughest conference in the country. He gets the nod.

RB: Darren McFadden, Arkansas
I almost gave this one to Johnathan Stewart out of Oregon, who doesn't get near the pubicity he deserves (he rushed for 981 yards with 100 less carries than McFadden). But ultimately, the heisman runner-up with 1,600 yards and 14 TDs gets the nod. My only problem with McFadden is his lack of production in big games (failed to break the 90 yard mark against Southern Cal, Florida in the SEC title game, and Wisconsin in the bowl game). It probably doesnt help that their passing game was so bad that he had to be the quarterback 20% of the time.

WR: Mo Purify
I couldn't resist.

Meanwhile, over at Iowa State, Gene Chizik continues to lay down the law, suspending three players and booting another completely off the team. All of this may be a huge shock to the Iowa State players, who had become accustomed to Dan McCarney's way of doing things. I think Chizik is a great hire for that program, but with the short grace period usually allowed coaches in these days, he better start ensuring he doesn't alienate his players. He's going to need all of them to compete this season.

I think I agree with the coaches in the debate over text messaging recruits. I don't think these kids need to be constantly harassed, but at the same time completely doing away with texting is a bad move. There are a lot of times where a simple text can be beneficial in answering a question and save the time of a phone call. Hell, I hate talking to people on my phone. There are times I'll ignore it when somebody is calling me just so I can text them back and avoid the conversation. This is usually the case when it's a girl that I really have no interest in. It's probly similar to recruits getting calls from Dan Hawkins. They don't want to talk to him, but they'll text him just to see what he wants. I think the NCAA should limit it to certain time frames of the day or week, just to make sure that it's not taking up too much of the recruit's time. That said, how would they go about policing that kind of policy?

The last link I'll pass along is a story over on ESPN about Wisconsin's efforts to replace tackle Joe Thomas and QB John Stocco. I hate the Big 10, but I like to support Wisconsin just because it is always fun to watch Gophers fans suffer. Plus, when I went to a Badgers-Purdue game, I found their fans to be passionate and knowledgeable, although their sportsmanship was a little lacking. Either way, a nice quick read.

New to Hot Routes: The Family Guy clip of the Day!

Monday, April 23, 2007

MMLB (Draft Preview Edition)

As many of you probably know (especially my fellow college football bloggers), we've hit that dead period in the year where really all we can do is wait for fall practice to start while watching YouTube videos of last year's games. It's getting dangerous financially as well. You might wonder how that could be, but I'm moving into a new house in a month and my love for Nebraska is making me consider some unneeded purchases that I would never get under normal circumstances. But that's what happens the week after a spring game. Your in withdrawal, and there's nothing to fill the void except being surrounded by Husker paraphernalia, thinking that maybe if you are surrounded by the stuff, it will make fall seem closer. I'm even looking at giant 10 foot throw rugs. I could go off the deep end, become a complete tool, and get one of those Husker Fatheads.

But I think that is where everybody is at right now. We're looking for stuff to read about, to write about, anything to help us pass the time between now and those glorious fall Saturdays. It's going to be even worse after this coming weekend's NFL Draft. While I don't particularly care for any teams in the NFL, the Draft itself is one of my favorite weekends out of the entire year. When else do you get two full days that are comprised almost entirely of college football highlights? The fact that Michael Irvin no longer works for ESPN makes this twice as enjoyable, mostly because he has never brought anything to the table other than the stories from his pseudo-gay relationship with Terrell Owens. What really tops it off for me though? This year's draft is the first time in a long time that there will be a significant number of Huskers in the talent pool. Expected to be among the first-day picks are Adam Carriker, Jay Moore, Stewart Bradley (pictured above), and maybe even Brandon Jackson. The second day may feature the rest of our defensive line, along with Zac Taylor (although that may be a longshot) and Matt Herian.

While I've already written about Taylor , I'll always feel bad for Herian. That guy would have been a first round pick had he never gotten injured against Mizzou a couple years back. I was watching the game on TV, and I knew right when he went down (even before the instant replay) that he would never be the same. His speed suffered greatly, and though he'll still get a chance in the league, he's no longer the sure-fire prospect he once was. Too bad, it woulda been pretty cool to have two NU guys in the first round (Carriker being the other). Either way, I'm impressed by his determination in coming back, as well as thankful for his contributions to the program while he was here. He was Joe Dailey's safety valve that first year, and probably contributed to keeping the current Tar Heel wideout alive and in football-playing condition. Despite the injury, Herian is the most accomplished tight end that Nebraska has ever had, finishing with 65 career receptions for 1,243 yards. Most analysts say that he is more suited to an offense that uses the tight end in a H-back role, the reason being he lacks high-end strength, is better at cut blocking, and is a good pass catcher who knows how to find soft spots in coverage. Also, his size presents match up problems, particularly in the red zone. Look for him to be drafted in the latter part of the second day.

Stew Bradley is someone who most people outside of Big 12 country might not know about, but that hasn't stopped some of the NFL's best teams from getting to know about the largest linebacker in the draft. Over in an informative article done by the Omaha World Herald, Bradley's trek from walk-on to All-Conference performer is told. I've always been partial to Bradley because of the fact that he wasn't initially offered a scholarship, it adds a little more to the lore of walk-ons at Nebraska. Standing 6'4" and weighing 256 pounds, Bradley is the kind of physical freak that NFL teams drool over, particularly those that use a 3-4 defensive alignment (such as New England and San Diego). More and more pro teams are switching to the defensive scheme to take advantage of players like Bradley, guys who can come off the edge and pass rush but still drop into coverage. Look at guys like Terrell Suggs of Baltimore or Shawne Merriman of the Chargers for a comparison. While Bradley might not have the hype that those players had coming in, he does have the body type and ability to succeed in the NFL. He has the frame to add another 10 pounds of muscle without sacrificing any quickness. He may not have high-end speed, but he is a smart and consistent player who makes the right reads and will not hesitate to physically punish someone with a tackle. He's also a true "football guy", coach-speak for the players who spend the necessary time hitting the weights and in the film room. Way back when the first mock drafts were coming out, Don Banks of SI had Stew possibly headed to Baltimore at the end of the first round. Since then, his pedestrian 40 times have pushed him back to the second or third. If all else fails, he can always pull a Merriman and take some roids to boost his performance, since apparently the NFL (nor it's fans) really is concerned with steroid use (evidenced by Merriman's nearly-forgotten about 4 game suspension). Either way, I think Bradley is going to have a very serviceable career. I don't know if he'll ever be an all-pro, but being a solid starter for a decade isn't out of the question.

Jay Moore is the less-heralded half of the defensive end duo coming out of NU. Often characterized as a "high-motor" guy, he is a more than capable prospect that could be employed in either a 4-3 front (he'd have to put on weight), or as a stand-up guy in a 3-4 alignment. Let me take this opportunity to say this: does it strike anyone else as slightly racist that whenever a white guy is playing a defensive position and he has low-end speed, he's considered a "high-motor guy"? I never hear any African American prospect get called this. Even Grant Wistrom, one of the most consistent (not spectacular, consistent) guys in the league at his position the past ten years, was considered "high-motor". Which isn't to say it's a bad thing, being lauded as someone who hustles is a compliment, but at what would you start getting insulted that nobody was calling you athletic? ANYWAYS, Moore is seen as another potential second or third rounder. He gets high marks in both his effort (the aforementioned high-motor thing) and his ability to both rush the passer and drop into coverage, but the thing that holds him back in many draft "experts" minds is his lack of bulk and the fact that he's white, er...uh.... slow. That said, in a league whose teams are adding more 3-4 looks into their schemes, look for Moore to be a solid first-day pick.

Most of you probably know about Brandon Jackson's rise from middle of the depth chart to potential first-day draft pick. A lot of people criticized his decision to come out, saying that another year as the Husker's starter would have elevated his draft stock, but I beg to differ. While he obviously would have gotten a good share of the touches, Randy Jordan and the rest of the staff have shown that they will always offer Marlon Lucky and opportunity to establish himself. This, coupled with the return of Cody Glenn and the addition of Roy Helu, Marcus Mendoza, and Quentin Castille meant that there were no sure things if he came back this year. I wonder if he's had any second thoughts after our depth problems this spring. In any event, Jackson is seen by many in the NFL as a good change-of-pace back, one who makes good cuts and has good field vision when it comes to seeing lanes develop backside. While he ran a 4.4 at the Husker's pro day, many don't think he possesses top-end speed, which I disagree with considering we all saw him beat a lot of opposing defenses to the edge this past season. He has added value as someone who could potentially return kicks (he did it early in his career at NU), and versatility is something that is highly valued in the NFL, where you only get 53 roster spots. His drawbacks are that he may not be an every-down back, is a bit on the small side (only 210 pounds), and isn't as good of a receiver out of the backfield as some teams may like. Either way, I'd love to see him get taken the first day. I was shocked to find out from the article that NU hasn't had a running back drafted since 2001. Even more surprising? Ahman Green (an AMAZING back) also lasted till the third round back in 1998. To give you a bit of a reading break, here's a little video of B-Jax in action:

The last Husker I'll be talking about is Adam Carriker, who will be the Husker's first opening-round pick since Fabian Washington went to Oakland in 2005. Carriker's ability to play both the 3-4 and 4-3 well make the D-coordinators of the league salivate. A physical specimen (6'6", 300) who frequently commands double teams, Carriker is expected to go anywhere from Miami at 9 (probably not) to Denver at 21 (he'll most likely be gone by then). The popular choice right now seems to be San Francisco at 11, but one has to keep in mind that nobody shows their cards before the draft, which means we'll all have to watch to find out where he's really going. He is most consistently compared to Richard Seymour of the New England Patriots. The knock against Carriker is that he isn't a force in the pass rushing game, which might be attributed to the style of defense run by Cosgrove (this is what Carriker has pointed out in several interviews). I don't think he'll crack the top 10 like some are predicting, but either way he's gone by midway through the 1st round. Don't be surprised if St. Louis grabs him at 13, they fared pretty well the last time they drafted a Husker defensive end in the first round (Grant Wistrom, the 6th pick in 1998). Another plus for Carriker is the NFL's turn to players with good character (actually this helps all the Husker prospects).

That does it for the NFL draft preview for today. If I get bored later in the week (a good possiblity), I'll probably write something up for Ola Dagunduro and Barry Cryer, both of whom have a shot at being drafted late or getting signed as free agents. Person whose pro prospects I will not write about: Andrew Shanle.

Anyways, it's all kind of depressing for me to think about, considering my old college roommate had the nerve to SCHEDULE HIS WEDDING FOR THE DAY OF THE DRAFT!. Now, this guy is a huge NFL fan, so it's obvious that he had nothing to do with it, so what it comes down to is this: his wife, obviously having some vendetta against the male species, decided to schedule it on a rare holy day for both college and pro football. Of all the days, why this Saturday? Why couldn't we do this during the WNBA draft? I wanted to do a running diary of the first day (we usually get a keg for five guys and just watch the whole thing), but now that's looking unlikely. The lesson, as ESPN's Bill Simmons so eloquently puts it: Women are evil, pure and simple.

5 Things I'm Thinking About this Morning

1.) Optimism does not spring eternal after KSU's spring game. Our favorite de-commit Josh Freeman had a rough go during the outing, going only 9-22 for 44 yards and no touchdowns to go along with his two interceptions. While it's easy to point out the bad game by Freeman, the article doesn't give a glowing review of any aspect of the Wildcat's team, which could be in rough shape from the outset considering they open with a tough Auburn Tigers team on the road. Plus, from what I've read, the Purple Pussycats have relatively equal sides in their spring game, which might account for the fact that Freeman didn't have a Keller-esque spring game stat line. But still, that doesn't bode well for K-State fans. If your starter played crappy against a decent-at-best Big 12 defense, what is going to happen when he faces an elite one?

2.) Chase Daniels, a.k.a. the Boogerman, had a good outing in his spring game, going 8-11 for 95 yards and a score. The Tigers figure to be our toughest competition in the Big 12 North, and they are already receiving a solid amount of national attention, evidenced by this ESPN feature by Bruce Feldman. They can talk up this team all they want, but I am confident that the Huskers can handle them. While we've had a rough go in Columbia the past couple years, Mizzou always fades as the season progresses. It's going to be one of the most key games of the season, as we will be coming off a three game home stand before going against Mizzou, Okie State, Texas A&M, and UT in a four week span. The Missouri game will go a long way in determining if we play in the Big 12 title game again.

3.) While the Huskers have been making some small headlines with it's great recruiting start, it pales in comparison to the torrid pace being set by the Golden Domers over in South Bend. Notre Dame picked up two more commitments over the weekend, during which they held their spring game. QB hopeful and tool-of-the-decade winner Jimmy Clausen only attempted 7 passes, but nobody else impressed enough to determine who the next over-hyped Irish signal caller will be. As far as the recruiting goes, the Irish now have 10 commitments, which puts them 4 ahead of the Huskers. I find it asinine that there is a competition to see who has the best recruiting classes, all of which is determined by guys who watch a ton of high school film and then come up with star values to assign to each player. What perhaps is even more surprising is just how much attention is paid to these national rankings. Just look at the Husker's 2005 class. It might have been #1, but how many of those guys have become bona-fide studs?

4.) Nice job to the folks down at Alabama packing it in for their spring game. While big spring games are nothing new to those of us who are Nebraska fans, when somebody gets over 90,000 one can't help but be impressed. While some of this can be contributed to the fact that it was Nick Saban's Tide debut, it has other factors. Football has become far and away the most popular sport in the country, and the trickle-down effect from the pros to college can be seen in events like this. It can also be seen by looking at MTV programming, which now has shows like Two-a-days, which follows a high school program and it's players around. The largest thing to factor in to the record spring game crowd may be the fact that Alabama has sucked lately. They are 26-22 since 2003, which is even worse when you factor in that 10 of those wins came in one season (2005). If Saban doesn't turn it around down there, I'm terrified to see what 'Bama fans will do.

5.) This may not be a football story, but I thought it was worth mentioning here, because so often in sports are stories hyped as feel-good tales without them really qualifying as one. Josh Hamilton qualifies. As I'm sure most have you have heard, Hamilton was the first overall pick in the 1999 MLB draft. Over the next few years, Hamilton wasted his money and talent on drugs, and was kicked out of the league after testing positive too many times. He has fought his way back from the depths of his own personal hell and, at least for now, defeated his demons and is on the Reds' opening day roster, where he is doing quite well. I hope you all read the article I've linked to. Even more than that though, I hope Hamilton continues his Phoenix-like rise from the ashes. Stories like his are refreshing in a time when Pacman Jones and company rule the front page.

Husker-glorifying Quote of the Week

"Nebraska has the best fans, hands down. Friendly, good sports, happy to have you in town, even if they lose, which is rare."---Dan Jenkins, Sports Illustrated

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Little Tired of the Big 10

So I was checking out SI's college football page when I came across this article by Stuart Mandel, in which he talks about the rough spring the Michigan Wolverines have had in terms of injury and the loss of four defensive stars to the NFL draft. The initial outlook in Ann Arbor was a rosy one, and why wouldn't it be? They return a trio of talented playmakers at the key offensive positions: efficient Chad Henne at QB, the diminutive but powerful Mike Hart at I-back, and the versatile Mario Manningham holding down the #1 wideout spot.

Mandel also points out the loss of several key players off their "dominant" (for the first 11 games) defense. Which made me wonder, why is it that they were an amazing unit for those games but not their last two? Did they get tired? Were they worn out? Or is it really because they play in a weak conference with only two or three good teams? I tend to agree with the latter. The reason Michigan (and Ohio State and Wisconsin) dominated the majority of their respective schedules last year was because they were playing against the intramural teams that comprise the Big 10.

The big 3 from the conference last year (Wolverines, Buckeyes, Badgers) went an extremely impressive 35-4 last year. Or at least it looks impressive, until you look at the rest of the conference standings. The next-most-successful team was Joe Pa's Nittany Lions, who went 9-4. Not bad, right? I mean, that's better than the Husker's 9-5 record, isn't it? But take a closer look at PSU's schedule. Three of their wins came against non-conference foes 5-7 Akron, 1-12 Temple, and the tough but still I-AA Youngstown State. And that's not taking into account their wins against 4-8 Michigan State and 2-10 Illinois. This is the fourth-most successful team I'm talking about here people.

Hell, look at the next team down the list, 8-6 Purdue. They barely beat Ball State and Miami of Ohio. They lost to Hawaii and Maryland, which are decent programs, but by no means powerhouses of their respective conferences. Well what about Iowa? They're a pretty good team, right? Wrong. Granted, everyone has an off season now and then, but even with Drew Tate running the show, they went 6-7, losing to the likes of 4-8 Northwestern and Indiana before falling to Texas team that was using 7th-string players by then.

What I'm getting at is that maybe the reason that Michigan and Ohio State stormed their way through the 2006 schedule is because they were playing against horrible teams. I'm not trying to take away from their accomplishments, winning 11 or 12 games is tough no matter what conference your in, but at what point do you end the charade that this is the second-best conference in the country? Look at the bowl results. Both Michigan and Ohio State, with the media singing their praises going into their season-ending games, got unmasked (to put it lightly) by far superior teams. The other Big 10 teams that were bowl eligible went 2-2, with one of the wins coming against an Arkansas team that was imploding at that point. This conference barely was able to fulfill their bowl allotment.

I live in Minnesota. I'm ten minutes from the Minnesota campus. So I hear all about how "tough" the Big 10 is, how they beat up on each other so there's no way to have a lot of dominant teams. And to an extent, they are right. There are going to be some losses between the teams when they get in their conference schedule. But there is a big difference between mediocrity and parity, and I get sick of the eastern media suggesting it's the latter when it is clearly the former.

Couple of notes:

-I think it's hilarious that Wake Forest is trying to prevent being taken over by Big Red fans like Notre Dame a few years ago.

-The NFL Network has decided to re-broadcast the Husker spring game, so I have finished my spring game can find it by scrolling down, so if you haven't already, check it out.
Have a good weekend everybody.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Somber Hot Routes

At times like this, words seem so hallow, so pointless. Yesterday's tragic events at Virginia Tech have been well covered by all forms of media, so I'm not going to go into the specifics of the shootings. When something as shocking and horrifying as this occurs, the search for answers is ultimately pointless. I've always thought the search for answers is focused on too much, that instead of immediately asking questions, we should pause and remember the victims. 33 people who went to class yesterday never made it back to their dorm rooms. 33 families received a phone call that no parent should ever have to get. Already, debates are springing up about gun control laws, the influence of an increasingly violent society on it's youth, and other issues. The time spent engaged in these stupid arguments that solve nothing is time better spent praying for the victim's families and the Virginia Tech community. May the Lord be with them in this time of great loss and sorrow.

A little article over by the OWH on freshmen QB Patrick Witt. I was watching the spring game, and while he didnt have a great stat line (in his defense, he was playing against the blackshirts), but he threw some very nice balls and seemed to have a good grasp of the offense already. This kid and Zac Lee will be giving Ganz a great competition for the starting job next year.

Steve Spurrier decided to make a little bit of a political statement by saying that the Confederate flag had no place at the South Carolina state house. This doesnt have much to do with football, but I'm glad to see that the Ol' Ballcoach is flapping his gums about something worthwhile for a change. Good for Spurrier, and good for the state. While I respect the pride that the South takes in those who lost their lives in the Civil War, it has to be recognized as a war that was fought in large part (not entirely, but in large part) to preserve the bonds of slavery. I'm a history major, so I could write about this at length. I'm not going to do that, but I thought the article was an interesting little blurb worth mentioning.

Tim Tebow opens his campaign as Florida's full-time starter with a great spring game. Much like their National Title game counterpart OSU, I think that Florida will be hard pressed to repeat last year's success after losing 15 starters. Obviously they have a stable full of playmakers down there ready to step in, but that's going to be a tough go in the rugged SEC.

If you have some spare time, I suggest you shoot over to Double Extra Point to see a nice statistical breakdown of the Blackshirts. I agree with the thought that our defense will be improved this year, and I could see us holding teams under the 300 yds/game threshold, with the exception of UT and USC, who hopefully we'll hold to 400 or less.

I failed to mention anything about the Kansas spring game in the Monday Morning Linebacker yesterday, but I thought the good game from Marcus Henry warranted mentioning. Even if it is against backup defensive backs, six catches for 150 and 3 TDs is good no matter what. That said, it won't matter if they don't get good quarterback play, which is an issue that, like the Huskers' situation, will be worked out in the fall. Currently Kerry Meier and Todd Reesing are locked in a competition for the starting job.

Before I sign off on today's hot routes, I wanted to ask anyone who reads this and has knowledge of Lincoln what they think are the best Husker bars in town. I'm planning on attending the USC game and possibly the Texas A&M game this year, and last time I came to Lincoln I wasn't 21 yet. So if you have any thoughts, feel free to let me know.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Hope it was a relaxing weekend for everyone, mine was fantastic with the exception of the hangover I woke up to Sunday morning morning. Staying up till 4 in the morning playing FIFA 07 probably wasn't necessary. I'm am neither a soccer or hockey fan, but after NCAA Football, they are by far the best video games out there. Enough about that though, on to the football.

There is a lot of stuff I want to get to after a busy Saturday of spring games, starting with the Big Red. Here's a link to some video highlights of the game for those of you not fortunate enough to either attend or have the NFL Network.

First off, let's start out with the Quarterbacks. If you want a complete analysis, I suggest you check out the OWH's article that breaks down both of their respective performances, or the extremely fancy passing chart they made. As I've stated before, the media loves a QB controversy. It gives them a topic to write about whenever they need one. And after the spring game, they now have four more months to write about one. Neither definitavely seperated himself from the other. Keller had a bit of better game statistically, going 10-13 with 193 yards and a touchdown, whereas Ganz went 11 for 18 for 157 yards and a TD of his own. What terrifies me is that he did the macarena for his celebration. That alone should cost him the QB job in my opinion. In all seriousness, I think the real fun of a spring game is to see if some lesser known players step up and make some plays against the starters, or if somebody establishes himself in a position battle. We have four more months till camp in August, and I'll let other people worry about the QB situation till then. I was more interested in the other QBs thoughts? Beau Davis will never get off that bench. He had some downright atrocious throws, albeit he was playing against the blackshirts. Witt didn't have great stats, but he throws a nice ball and looks to have really good velocity.

One thing I especially loved was Cody Glenn's performance, especially in light of the fact he did it with a banged-up foot. I was able to watch the first quarter of the game (click here or scroll down to the posting before this one to see my running diary of it) before the DVR recording quit, and I was having a blast watching him. It literally took three guys to tackle him every time he carried the ball. Sure, he was playing against the second team, but dragging three guys for extra yardage is impressive no matter who you do it against. One play in particular stood out to me: Glenn caught a pass in the flats, turned up field and was met by two defenders after about seven yards. He runs over them both, and then drags a third guy an additional seven. He might have had a pedestrian stat line (11 carries, 44 yards), but you really had to see him in action to get an idea of the havoc he was wreaking. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do when he's 100%.

When talking about Glenn, one has to think of Lucky. The victim of what Callahan calls a "medial sprain" of his knee, he still logged 16 carries for 94 yards and a TD before he was felled by the injury. Times like these, fans always freak out about how he shouldn't even have still been playing, that the coaches made a mistake by keeping him in a meaningless exhibition or some other BS line. To which I have to reply: ITS DIVISION ONE FOOTBALL! IT AINT INTRAMURALS! It's a f***ing contact sport, injuries are part of the game. What happens if he hurts his knee in practice in August? Should we just keep Lucky out of any situation that involves him getting touched? At what point do you draw the line? I get so sick of people complaining when something like this happens. Anyways, the good news (at least as of right now, we'll see after the MRI) is that it isn't anything serious and that he'll be back to normal in a month. I thought that Brian Christopherson wrote a good article about Glenn and Lucky for the LJS. The bond between a position group is a powerful thing, and it's great to see that both guys are supportive of each other and rooting for the other to do well.

A mathchup I was particularly interested in was the safety battle between Thenarse and Asante. While Thenarse would appear to have the better game based off the tackles comparison (5 compared to Asante's 2), one has to understand that when it comes to safeties, stats are not a good indicator of one's performance. Does he disguise coverages well? Does his pre-snap movement cause the QB to pause? A guy like Troy Polamalu may not fill up the stat sheet, but his impact can't be measured in terms of affecting an opposing team's gameplan. Another huge aspect of safety play is the ability to intimidate the opposing recievers. The fact that secondary coach Bill Busch is emphasizing the big hit bodes well for the Blackshirts, although bringing in guys like Asante and the development of Thenarse will go a long way in transforming this unit into the ballhawks that one always hopes for at the rover position. One thing I was glad to see was that Thenarse did well on kickoff returns, having one for 20 yards and another for 28 yards, respectively. As we all know, the return game was something the Huskers weren't especially good at last year.

While there may not be a position battle at wideout for the Huskers, their performance was still of great interest to me. We all know that Purify is going to be the main guy at the X reciever, but what about the Y on the other side? Some say that Nunn will be there, others argue Swift. According to many observers this spring, nobody established themselves through practice as the frontrunner. From what I've heard, reciever play has actually been somewhat poor in practice, which is surprising considering the talent we have there. In the spring game, Swift appeared to outplay Nunn, with 3 catches for 70 yards and a score, wheras Nunn had only one reception (although it was for a touchdown). That said, Swift also had a couple of drops that a third grader could have caught, so let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The real stud of the day was Todd Peterson, who had over 100 yards recieving (granted, 47 of them came on one catch, but a hundred yards is a hundread yards). Petersen and Keller were in sync the whole day, hooking up on a couple nice catch-and-runs where Keller hit him in stride for big plays. The thing I was disappointed about was how little of an impact the younger recievers had. Granted, it doesnt help when your playing against the starters, your offensive line doesn't give the QB any time to throw, and the QB's name is Beau Davis, but I thought we'd see a lot more of Will Henry and Menelik Holt, yet neither of them had a single catch.

One thing I was disappointed with on Saturday: fan turnout. I know we still probably had the largest or second largest (to Ohio State) in terms of numbers, but I thought with Keller and no ongoing stadium renovations that we'd get 65,000 plus, but the announced crowd was just over 54,000. Oh well. Speaking of the crowd, apparently they gave it the 'ol college try when it came to impressing all of the recruits on hand. I love the fact that our fans are that obssessed that they know all the kids by name when they come. It shows them just how much we care about our team, and the passion of Husker fans is something that often times awes recruits. Unfortunately, it didn't have that effect on heralded Riley Rieff, the 6'6", 235 pound d-line prospect. Despite attending our spring game, he commited to Iowa on Sunday, saying that the fact they were the first to offer was a big factor when making his decision. Rieff is widely considered to be the best prospect coming out of South Dakota, which probably isn't that hard when there are only 200 people in that entire state and only three football teams. Either way, a setback in our recruiting momentum, but it's still reeeeaaly early.

In other Big 12 spring game news, the Cyclones' spring game was won by the offense. Instead of having two seperate teams, they use a scoring system where the D gets points for turnovers, three-and-outs (something I call TKO's, which is what we called them at Bethel), and other factors. Bret Meyer looked good, which is expected when your playing against a defense that ranked next-to-last in almost every important defensive category last year. I'll be honest with all the Husker fans: I went to Iowa State my freshmen year. That was the year Seneca Wallace tore from the gates and led them to a #9 ranking, only to lose their last six games. So I know something about the Cyclone mindset, which is to say they are extremely poor fans when it comes to supporting their team (evidenced by only 7,000 people coming to the game).

Over at Colorado, a mere 6,000 people came out to watch the train wreck that is Buffs football. Apparently it's so bad that they have resorted to keeping stats for the QBs in 7-on-7 pass skelly drills. Against live competition, the two leading contenders for the job (Nick Nelson and Cody Hawkins) combined for a Jammal Lordesque passing line of 15 for 30, 150 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. In the 7-on-7 drills they combined for 430 yards and four touchdowns, which is great news for the Buffs if any opposing team ever decides not to send out a defensive line. Seriously, you keep stats for pass skelly? How desperate are you? When there isn't a pass rush, you can sit back there till someone gets open, which is bound to happen considering your defense sucks too. But then again, I'm just a former D3 player. And as coach Hawkins knows all too well, ITS DIVISION ONE FOOTBALL! The poor turnout for the game is really no surprise, considering they are coming off a 2-10 season and most of the student body was most likely passed out in the parking lot. I'm guessing the beer pong games being played outside the stadium was more enticing than the football being played in it.

In the Okie State spring game, Zac Robinson outplayed Bobby Reid, leading his team to a come-from-behind victory in a rare competitive spring contest. We shouldn't be surprised that Robinson out-performed him, considering I thought Gundy was an idiot for even putting Robinson in games last year. The lesson, as always: I'm an idiot. That said, I don't care who ends up starting, as long as we end up beating them. Last year's game against OSU was one of the most infuriating Husker games I've witnessed, and it was our season in a nutshell: play great in the first half, stake yourself a nice lead, watch the other team storm back in the third quarter assisted by our poor offensive playcalling, lose at the end. I remember watching that game and being so dejected afterward that I didn't even go out afterward. It's one thing to lose to USC and Texas (both of which were winnable games), but to lose to OSU after having a lead is inexcusable. If your looking for a few more things on Big 12 spring games, I suggest you head over to the Fanhouse, Jeff Adams has done a nice job over there briefly talking about some of the games.

5 Things I'm thinking about this morning

1) Great career, Will Shields. The former Husker was one of the best offensive linemen in NFL history, and he's hanging up the pads after 14 years playing for the K.C. Chiefs. The league needs more guys like Shields, who was one of the most active players in the league when it came to philanthropy. He won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2003, and was a consummate gentlemen. He will be missed.

2) For those of you that saw the spring game on Saturday, you may have noticed that Ndamukong Suh was an intimidating presence on the interior of the d-line. From what I've been reading, this guy has top-10 level ability if he keeps developing at his current pace. While I am nervous about replacing some other guys on our defensive front, I am not worried about the inside at all. Suh, who is working on developing a nasty streak this spring, will play a key role in whether or not there is a drop-off from last year on the d-line.

3) I, along with pretty much everyone else who follows college football, think that the Ohio State Buckeyes are in in for a long and hard season after last year's success. In the battle to replace Heisman runner-up Troy Smith, the unhearalded trio of Todd Boeckman, Antonio Henton, and Rob Schoenhoft combined for a sub-50% completion rate and four interceptions. It should be noted that the Buckeye's spring game allowed the QBs to actually get hit, whereas almost everywhere else in the country they are strictly hands-off. Still, this performance can't bode well for the defending Big 10 champions. They lost a lot of talent to the NFL draft and graduation. It's a good thing they play in a conference with only two other good teams (Wisconsin, Michigan).

4) Over at USC, they once again are having the good-to-have problem of having way too much talent. All-everything backup QB Mark Sanchez played well in an intrasquad scrimmage, which is important to note because he went against the #1 defense, a unit which, according to the USC media guide, is comprised entirely of guys that should be All-Americans. There are some saying that Sanchez could take the job away from Heisman favorite John David Booty by the time fall camp rolls around. My hope? That the two have a bitter falling-out, forcing other team members to pick sides, causing morale to sink and leading to a loss at Nebraska. Wishful thinking? Of course. But a guy can dream. When an entire team is made up of former Parade All-Americans, it's tough to be optimistic. The good news is that thanks to my ticket-broker uncle, I may be getting tickets to the NU-USC game for free. Words can't even begin to describe my excitement.

5) I usually would never comment on or link to an article on Miami football, but I thought Ivan Maisel had an interesting article about new head coach Randy Shannon over on ESPN. After descending into a lax state of discipline under former head man Larry Coker (whose early success I always thought was the result of the spectacular talent assembled by Butch Davis), it appears Shannon is intent on implementing a new attitude at "The U". Among his new rules: if a player has a GPA below 2.5, he has to live on campus. If Shannon ever gets a phone call after midnight about a player, that athlete will not play the next game. And hats will not be worn inside the football facilities (a rule I love, considering we had this same rule at Bethel under d-coordinator Jimmy Miller). I am about as anti-Miami as one can get, but I'm glad to see someone instilling some discipline in Coral Gables. After the brawl with FIU last year, it became apparent that losing games was the least of Miami's problems. Here's to hoping that Shannon can repair the program's image......well, repair it as much as he can anyway. Miami will always be Miami.

Just a little side note: beginning in May, I will be undertaking an extremely ambitious beer pong table construction project. I realize that I'm graduating, which means that maybe I should leave the game in my college era. But in my opinion, for fall Saturdays, nothing gets you the football mindset more than some pre-gaming competititon. You can take the kid out of the college, but you'll never take the college out of the kid. Anyways, it's going to be an exact replica of the Memorial Stadium's field, brought down to a 4' by 8' size. I will be putting a picture up upon completion.

Husker-Glorifying Quote of the Week

"I'm always proud when someone says to me, 'Where did you play?', and I can say, 'I played at Nebraska.' That makes me very proud."----Barry Alvarez