Thursday, August 30, 2007

F*ck you, Mark May

Thanks, Mark. Thanks a lot. I woke up today with a spring in my step, looking forward to the start of the college football season, which actually kicks off tonight with a number of games, highlighted by LSU's opening tilt against Mississippi State, along with a slew of other games featuring Louisville, Rutgers, and even Turner Gill's Buffalo team. But you ruined that. You took my fabulous morning and kicked it right in the teeth. And how did you do that? How did your douchebaggery and outright hatred for Nebraska (or worship of USC?) ruin that? Because when I hopped on Huskerboard today, I find that you went and opened your way-too-large mouth (honed by years of kissing Pete Carroll's ass) and said "I won't say USC will put 70 on them, but I will say remember that Texas Tech game a few years ago.."

What did the Huskers do to you, Mark? Did Dave Rimington sleep with your girlfriend? Was it because we beat your beloved alma mater, Shitsburgh, er, Pittsburgh, two years in a row (when we pretty much sucked)? Or is it merely because you are the most biased college football media member in the country? I dont know where your mouth and USC's ass begins. How do people take you seriously Mark? How are you still employed at the "Worldwide Leader in Sports"? Oh wait, I forgot that they hate Nebraska too. And bias among their "journalists" has never stopped them from keeping them on the payroll. This is the same network that let Kirk Herbsreit cheer on his Buckeyes in the 2002 NC game, then let him do the postgame show with a hoarse voice. It's owned by ABC, the same network that let Bob Griese announce his own son's games in 1997 when they were neck-and-neck with the Huskers throughout the season.

What maybe pisses me off the most Mark, is the dilemma you are putting me in. See, as a Husker fan, I've been raised to be as classy and courteous as possible. When your a Nebraska fan, you give the opposing team a standing ovation, no matter what the score, for their effort. You buy an opposing fan a beer and congratulate their team on a game well played. You turn the other cheek when some drunk asshole yells at you that your Huskers suck. And the more I hear that shit come out of your mouth, the more anti-Nebraska propaganda you spew, the harder it is for me to be the good Husker fan I was raised to be. And that sucks Mark, it really does. Because I don't want to be an asshole like a CU fan. I don't want to have to write stuff like this. But I've never encountered someone who seems so intent on bashing one single team like you seem to with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. What you have to take into account is that unlike some of the older Nebraska fans, my generation's generosity goes only so far. We'll only take so much abuse and bias against our team. And you are getting really close to crossing the line from being a mere annoyance to an outright asshole who loses all credibility.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Its Game Week, Bitch!

The excitement is palpable, is it not? I just want to talk about Nebraska football with the same energy as Samuel L. Jackson does when he is hawking his beer. No I can't stop yelling, cause that's how I talk! It really dawned on me when I looked at the kickoff countdown widget and it was less than 7 days till the kickoff of 4 months of college football. No more message board battles over last year's faults and failures, it's time for a whole new round of complaints, celebrations, and all-day beer consumption marathons.

I could write about the same stuff that every other Husker writer and blogger have already discussed, but I feel that we have said that all that can be said. The time for previews is done, just as camp is. My actual game previews, along with what to watch for, will be posted on Fridays (or, if I am going out of town, on Thursdays), so look for those every week, as well as increased posting throughout the week in light of the fact that we actually have new stuff to talk about.

And with that, here's the classic Chappelle skit that I mentioned earlier. Great stuff.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hooray for Kickers!

I'll be honest. I was never a fan of kickers. Throughout both my high school and collegiate careers, I had little respect for the position. Sissies. Converted soccer players. Little-used weaklings who avoided contact. At least, thats what I used to think of them. And some of those stereotypes may be true to a point, I no longer take them for granted. Not after watching missed extra points and field goals cost both my Bethel team and my beloved Huskers precious wins that were within our grasp, only to be wrestled away by the ineptitude of someone's right foot.

The issue was never more apparent than last year's Husker squad, which watched potential wins against Texas and Auburn go down the toilet due to the fact that our kickers couldn't kick a field goal longer than 40 yards, which is inexcusable for a D-1 college football team, particularly a program like Nebraska's. Having to go for it on 4th down from your own 35 was depressing to watch, which is why there is a big buzz coming out of camp about true freshmen kicker Adi Kunalic, who is a mere 6 feet tall and 175 pounds but is being compared by some coaches to Sebastian Janikowski, the cannon-legged beast now with the Oakland Raiders. Reports coming out of practice say he is making some 60 yarders, and while he probably isn't capable of doing that consistently, the fact that we at least have a chance with the game on the line is contributing to a growing optimism about our special teams, which were anemic last year when one combines a horrible kicking game with a return unit that can best be described as dog feces. As much as the linebacker in me wants to ignore the special teams aspect, there is no avoiding the fact that it cost us several games last year.

The other big news of the weekend: the return of Zach Bowman, the oft-injured but extremely talented corner who has been busy rehabbing after injuring his patella tendon during spring practice. Bowman, last seen dominating in the 2005 Alamo Bowl against Michigan, is yet another integral part of our re-tooled secondary, and while it's a guarded feeling of joy that I feel about his return, the fact that he is already back in pads practicing is nothing short of a medical miracle. Even if he isn't ready for Wake or USC, if he can be back for the Big 12 slate, our chances of stopping playmakers like Adarius Bowman and Limas Sweed increase exponentially. With the addition of Larry Asante, the maturation of Tierre Green and Andre Jones, and the emergence of freshmen Anthony Blue and Prince Amukumara, the Husker secondary has seemingly gone from an overmatched, depleted unit to one of the deeper position groups that the Huskers have. Obviously, we have to wait to see them in game action before we drink all the Kool-Aid that the Husker press has been putting out, but as I've stated before, now is the time for optimism and hope, and this young group of speedsters gives me a good feeling about our potential for a stellar pass defense this year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Huskers get little to no love from preseason previews

Some of you might be thinking, "But wait, what about being ranked in the top 20 in most of the polls? Doesn't that count?". And your right, that's not too bad, and it's certainly a ranking that we earned last year with our late-season swoon against the Sooners and Auburn. But what I'm referring to is the fact that not one "expert" from any major media organization has predicted Nebraska to win the Big XII title. Surprising? No, especially in light of the fact that we lost to 3 south teams last year. Yet the pundits act like the loss of our front 4 will single-handedly cost us a shot at the conference championship. But if you look around the Big XII, every team is dealing with circumstances that could cost them. For starters, look at Texas.

The Longhorns secondary, despite all the accolades and the presence of Thorpe winner Aaron Ross, was ranked 99th in the country last year in pass defense. Now, they have to replace Ross, Safety Michael Griffin, and underrated corner Tarell Brown. This is just as bad as losing your front 4 in my opinion, especially in light of the fact the Longhorns gave up a lot of yardage DESPITE those studs in the secondary. Husker fans can't raise that much of a fuss though, as we have yet to prove that we belong on that stage. The only way to shut up Mark May and the other morons over at ESPN is to win the Big XII, which is exactly what I expect to happen this year.

A few things from camp I'd like to touch on in today's entry..........

First off, the emergence of Quentin Castille is one of the most-publicized stories coming out of Lincoln, especially with the nagging injuries to Marlon Lucky (mild concussion) and Cody Glenn (who at this point just needs to get a prosthetic for his foot). Castille, a freshmen workhorse from Texas, was the #2 ranked fullback in the country according to, and his rise up the depth chart has been a relief to Husker fans who were concerned that there was no power back present for short-yardage duties due to the loss of Glenn, whose nagging foot injury has been an issue since last year's nail-biter against the Aggies.

Kevin Cosgrove continues to tinker with the defense in hopes of adding more fronts and confusing opposing offenses in the lethal Big XII. While some in Husker nation have bemoaned the addition of the 3-4, it has been one of my favorite developments of camp. With the proliferation of 4-wide sets in the conference (and throughout the country, for that matter), the 3-4 is becoming a more widely used defensive front, as it gives the defense more coverage options, as well as adding more blitz packages to it's arsenal. Now, let me admit something: When I played at Bethel University, we ran the 3-4. So I am partially biased in writing this. But from a player's perspective (particularly a linebacker's), the 3-4 is a very exciting set that provides ample opportunity for game-changing plays. Which isn't to say the 4-3 is a bad defense, I love it, particularly against the run. But when you have the depth Nebraska has at linebacker (and when you lack it on the d-line), adding the 3-4 is a no-brainer. With a 3-4, you can roll a safety over the top to the strong-side receiver, blitz an outside backer (like Octavien), and not have the QB be prepared because you can wait until the last possible minute to show it. I've seen it in action, and there are significantly more hurries on the QB, which leads to bad decisions with the ball, and as a result, more turnovers. My favorite play was what we called "Nasty Games", which calls for a blitz by all front 7 players. Being an OLB, I'd always call an "X-you", meaning that the D-end would go first, luring the tackle outside and leaving a HUGE alley for me that led straight to the QB. The D-end hated it because he was a decoy, but wow were there some collisions. Either way, I just love defenses that are attacking, and the 3-4 lends itself to that more than a 4-3, which tends to be a more read-and-react set. The only thing that worries me is that when you run multiple sets, there can be no room for confusion, so hopefully Cosgrove is drilling these guys into the ground when it comes to film study and repetition. I've never fully believed in Cosgrove, but I am optimistic about this year's personnel being able to execute his new schemes.

The last thing I want to mention is the news that the Huskers are breaking huddles with the phrase "National Champs". THIS IS THE MENTALITY WE NEED. Winners don't hope for glory, they EXPECT it. The meek may inherit the earth, but they don't win national titles. Confidence and belief in your team are paramount, and to be national champs, you have to KNOW your going to win games. When I heard this, I was thrilled, because it signals to me that we are finally ready (at least mentally) to make the leap back to where we belong.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Hope Springs.........

Is there a more exciting time than fall camp? Yes, obviously game day has it beat for pure excitement, but what I'm referring to is the uncertainty, the unknown variables that we have yet to see play out on fall Saturdays that make the difference between an 8 wins or 11. From a player's perspective, few things in life can compare to two-a-days. You get to hang out with your best friends from 7 AM to 10 PM, and all you have to do is play, talk, and sleep football. No class, no stupid inconveniences, just football. All around the country, teams gather at their respective campuses and open a new chapter in the history of their school. Whether it be at a tradition-laden program such as Nebraska or Oklahoma, a new power like Louisville, or a team on the verge of a potential breakthrough (USF), everybody is undefeated and the season holds nothing but possibilities. A national championship? It could happen. Nothing is out of the question right now, which is why fall camp is so intoxicating. Complaints have yet to surface, and everybody is counting down the days until kickoff.

That especially applies to the Huskers, who face perhaps the most important season in the history of their program. While that may seem a like a over-dramatic proclamation, I think it rings true. Bill Callahan, entering his 4th year at Nebraska, faces a salivating and impatient fan base that expects, at worst, a Big XII championship and a BCS bowl. With the talent that he and his staff have brought in, that is not an unrealistic goal. Unfortunately for the Huskers, they face a daunting schedule on top of having to replace their entire defensive line and the Big XII Offensive Player of the Year.

But it matters not. Now is not the time for worrying. Now is the time for hope. For unbound optimism, for dreams of Keller-to-Purify touchdown calls, and for national title aspirations. It's time to Restore the Order.

I'll be posting throughout camp, and a Big Red Roundtable is in the works, so look for that in the next week or so.