so it is with great pleasure that I write a first-hand Scarlet Commentary
report on the sold-out spectacle known as the Nebraska Spring Game.
about six rows up from the field in the northwest corner of Memorial Stadium,
my brother-in-law and I endured sunburns and an afternoon of not knowing
who to cheer against. Attending this game as a fan among the 80,000+ others
was a distinct treat. Go Huskers! Go Valentino’s! Go Runzas! It
doesn’t get much better on an April Saturday, does it?
was something cleansing in the air this past Saturday, and a reinforcement
that all that is good about being a Husker fan will continue to be so.
Cue the Hallelujah Chorus…
2008 Cornhuskers might not be National Championship material, but they
have the chance to be a team that sets the tone—and helps build
the foundation for another run.
a quick rundown on who I personally thought looked particularly good in
much of a surprise here, but I like his swagger going into his senior
year. He certainly sees the field (and open receivers) well for not being
all that tall.
moves. Explosion. Might have been the best running back on the field.
freshman DL whose name kept getting called over the loudspeaker.
safety who makes sure tackles, whether bringing down a backup WR or Quinten
guy whose name kept getting mentioned for having made a play. Our most
then there were several other players who had me asking the guy next to
me (a cool gent from Papillion named Kirk), “Hey, who is number…?”
Thankfully, Kirk had a roster in his pocket. Smart man, that Kirk.
were both marveling at #18 in warm-ups. Turns out he’s last year’s
#4, Menelik Holt. Watching Holt, who also played well for the Reds, it
makes you wonder if Maurice Purify is somehow still hiding out on the
roster. #39, DB Lance Thorell, made a couple of nice plays and seemed
to be in the game a lot. RB Austin Jones, #31, looked pretty good for
being someone I’d never heard of before.
kicking and punting were both stellar, but the punt fielding was rough,
particularly with Marcus Mendoza (who played a nice game otherwise). The
return game was nil because, apparently, the coaches wanted it that way.
Too risky, I guess.
Ganz was sharp on offense, and I really like the way Zac Lee both passed
and ran. He’s going to be good for us next year. The short screen
passes—whether to Lucky, Castille, or Helu—have the chance
to be a strong weapon for us in the fall. Get Castille out in the open
space and he is devastating. Needs to hang onto the ball, though.
offense has a formation this year where the big-bodied Holt, the perpetually-open
Nate Swift, and the speed-demon Curenski Gilleylen all line up on the
same side. Lucky is the lone back and Mike McNeill is the tight end. I
realize the Red offense wasn’t “officially” the first
team, but I still really like this set. Someone is going to be open, even
if opposing defenses have three great cover men to put on our WRs. Lucky
is an exceptional receiver out of the backfield and McNeill looks like
he can bring another added receiving threat from the TE spot.
defense, Armando Murillo played another good Spring Game, just like he
did last year. I mentioned Wortman already. Here’s one other snapshot
from the game that I’ll never forget: There is something surreal
about seeing Cody Glenn in on a tackle with Marlon Lucky as the ball carrier.
Never thought I’d see that image. Such are the delights and surprises
SUNBURNS AND SCARLET APPEARANCES
week I will continue my tour of Nebraska and will be having a number of
book signings. If you are in the Omaha, Lincoln, or Kearney areas this
weekend and have an interest in saying hello and/or talking Husker FB,
please stop by one of my bookstore events.
be at Hastings Entertainment in Kearney on Friday evening, the SouthPointe
Barnes & Noble in Lincoln on Saturday afternoon, the Midtown Omaha
Borders on Saturday evening, and the Kearney Waldenbooks on Sunday afternoon.
(If you show up and I still look slightly sunburned, the scorching Spring
Game rays were the culprit.)
have a special web page at http://www.jeffreyleever.com/huskers
with all of the times and details.
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
has been known to include a tribute to Tommie Frazier and
other Nebraska references in his novels. His website is www.jeffreyleever.com.