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Commentary by David Max
The Pelini era has officially begun and there is no mistake that the passion is back in Nebraska football. The swagger is starting to come back. The players play like they expect to win. The home field advantage is becoming a reality again. The connection to the past has also been restored. The Tunnel Walk opened with vintage footage of Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne as well as highlights of great plays of the past. It was great to see Milt Tenopir and Charlie McBride honored with a Husker Vision video at the game.
Another highlight of the past for me was knowing that a resident of my home town of Page, Jerry Lamason, was attending his first game ever in person at Nebraska. It's about time. He'll be 100 years old next May. Another former Page resident, Rick Allen, who now lives in Grand Island found out Jerry hasn't made it to a game in Lincoln even though he has been a Husker fan since before the Devaney era and gave him tickets in the club section. I am sure Jerry had a great time watching the Huskers play in person for the first time. Rick needs to bring him to more games. Jerry and my Dad bowled in the same league for years in O'Neill. Page is also the home town of former Husker walk-ons Matt and Adam Ickes.
Jerry Murtaugh stopped by our tailgate and spent some time talking about his playing days at Nebraska and told a few stories. Saturday was also the premiere of his radio show on 590 AM in Omaha which will air every Saturday year round from 8-9 AM. His first guests were John Melton and Marc Munford. The podcast is available on his web site. He also has video interview clips on the web site. Jerry wants to work with alumni and booster chapters to bring former Husker players to their events. If you want a former Husker to speak at your event get in touch with Jerry. He will be at the HuskerPedia reunion dinner of players from the 1970-71 teams the night before the Virginia Tech game.
I will leave the X's and O's analysis to all the writers on the game page and just make a few comments. It was great to see defenders flying to the ball. The first series of three and out got the crowd pumped up. My pre-game prediction in the Home Game Magazine (another premiere publication on Saturday that was distributed free to 25,000 fans) was NU 38 - 14. I was pleased the offense got more than 38 but disappointed that the defense gave up more than 14. The good news in my view is the mistakes on defense can be fixed. The player of the game was obviously Cody Glenn with his 12 tackles, 9 of them solo. Moving to defense was a stroke of genius and he will have a great year and his NFL draft status will improve as the season goes on.
The student section was "blacked out" as they all got black shirts from the ticket office when they picked up their tickets. It looked good seeing that black out section. There has been a lot of talk about a complete stadium black out against Virginia Tech. It has created a lot of discussion on talk shows and bulletin boards. The opinions are split between those that think it is a good idea and those that think there's a reason we are called the Sea of Red. I personally go along with the second school of thought. I think the student section should be the "black hole" for the entire season and the rest of the stadium be the Sea of Red. The worst thing that could happen is half and half and have that shown on national television. We created the image of a Sea of Red at home and on the road, especially at Notre Dame and I wouldn't want lose that brand identity looking like a Texas Tech home game.
It was great to be back in the same seats for the start of the Pelini era that have been in the family since the south end zone was built in 1964 sitting behind Arleen Heibel. She and her husband bought their seats at the same time as my parents did and she still gets that little girl excitement and twinkle in her eyes when the Huskers make a big play. Her energy is infectious and we all have a great time high fiving each other after a big play. Yes, it is good to be an older Nebraska fan and to remember the past. It is also great to be a current Nebraska fan and to know that the Nebraska Way of the past has been restored. The final win-loss total for 2008 remains to be seen but it is a given that the 2008 Huskers will make us all proud to be Husker fans.
Just my 2 cents. What about yours?
GO BIG RED!!!