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2008 Spring Preview

With the dismal 2007 season now in the rearview mirror and recruiting signing day having come and gone, it’s time for the Scarlet Commentary to “harvest” at least 100 reasons to be optimistic about the future of Husker football.

Let’s begin with some numbers:

28. As in scholarship recruits. New blood in the program. The coaches were able to salvage a tough situation and came away with some gems. Can’t say which recruits that will be at this point, but it should be fun to watch as it unfolds.

30. As in the number of in-state walk-ons the Huskers have commitments from (a figure Bo Pelini shared at his press conference, though it differs from the announced list while paperwork is still coming in on some players). This renewed commitment to the walk-on program is refreshing, like high-quality H2O on a hot fall day.

25. As in another group of new faces to add to the active roster—players coming off of redshirt seasons from last year.

All told, that’s 83 new players (plus or minus a few) for a team that will be looking for some difference makers come fall.

Then there is a new athletic director, a new coach, eight new assistants (plus two solid holdovers who’ve inherited new responsibilities), a new strength and conditioning coach, a new assistant AD for football, and even a new play-by-play announcer for Husker radio. Toss in Marlon Lucky (wisely) deciding to return for his senior year…plus a probable sellout for the Spring Game. How cool is all this?

So there it is: 100 reasons things are looking up…and we didn’t even have to count the negative-positives about who won’t be around any more.

HIGH CHARACTER, PASSION, AND ATTITUDE

Hearing Bo Pelini talk, you pick up on his values. What he wants in his players and appreciates in his staff goes beyond catch phrases and sounds like a great fit for Nebraska. Somehow it doesn’t come off as simple coachspeak. That’s to his credit.

Changes that needed to be made have been made, and the right man just happened to be available to guide the process. In this season of politics, it’s fascinating to ponder the strange twists of fate. I’m not sure how many things on my list of 100 would be true were it not for Candidate Osborne failing in his attempt to become Governor Osborne. Of course, I wonder now if Osborne would view it as something beyond just fate.

THE FUTURE

The Husker roster has some talent to work with—with even more coming in. It was fun to see Ganz running some options late last year. It’s been a long time since I saw a Husker QB run for 28 yards and a TD (like he did against Colorado). It’s hard not to look forward to seeing Watson’s offense combined with Pelini-style defense running around in scarlet and cream.

There’s a lot of time between now and when Western Michigan comes to Lincoln in August. Time for the new staff and players to get to work. Time for good things to take shape.

I was optimistic before the start of last season, of course. Today, there are at least 100 reasons why things will be much different this season.

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The voice of the Scarlet Commentary is Jeffrey Leever, a Nebraska native who now writes for an advertising agency in Kansas City. He is a 1994 graduate of the University of Nebraska (Kearney) and author of the suspense novels Dark Friday and Even in Darkness.

He has been known to include a tribute to Tommie Frazier and other Nebraska references in his novels. His website is www.jeffreyleever.com.

Contact Jeff here.


 
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