A PURPLE "WEBB" OVER THE HUSKERS, 42-21
HUSKER DEFENSE IS MIA; KSU TAMES HUSKERS, 42-21
BIG WED WAP-UP
Over the weekend, I went to the hospital to see a buddy of mine. I
made my way up the elevator, walked down the hallway, found his room
number and walked in slowly not knowing what I'd find. He was lying
in his bed; there were tubes in his nose and an I.V. attached to his
arm. He was asleep, so after waiting awhile, I turned to leave.
"Where do you think you're going?" he asked.
"I thought you were asleep. I didn't want to wake you."
"Can you stay for a bit?"
"Absolutely," I said. "So how are you doing, Red?"
I asked him.
"I had another rough weekend," he replied, trying to smile,
"but my doctors say I'm actually getting better."
He didn't look better, but I kept my thoughts to myself.
"Tell me what's been going on."
"Well, you see, I've been getting weaker for some time-several
years actually-just didn't seem to have my old spark anymore."
To be sure, Red used to be a robust, gregarious guy who loved competition
and was adored by many people. He was the pillar of strength, dedication
"Why didn't you tell me you were feeling bad?" I asked.
"I didn't want to worry you."
"Worry me!" I said incredulously. "How long have we
"A long time."
"Forty-two years to be exact. Why didn't you let me know you
were feeling so bad? Maybe I could have helped."
"I didn't say anything because I kept thinking things would get
better. That maybe it was all in my head. I mean, I'd hardly ever
been sick in my life, but I was in Colorado a couple of years ago,
and really got hit hard. It was so bad, I thought I'd bought the farm,
so to speak."
"I don't know, but I felt like I'd been run over by a train.
I didn't do anything at first, but I knew something was wrong-really
wrong, but nobody would listen to me. A couple of months later, I
went to California and bam, I had another attack. My doctors kept
saying that it was stress, or that it was all in my head."
"So then what did you do?"
"Unfortunately, it took me about a year after that bout, but
I realized I had to make some changes to my medical team. So I replaced
some doctors and technicians."
"So did things get better?"
"Well, on the outside, things did get better. My vital signs
seemed good and my new team of doctors said I had turned the corner.
They told me that I was on the road to recovery. But they were wrong."
"Why did you think they were wrong?"
"Because my strength still wasn't very good. I was still growing
weaker almost day by day and I got two more setbacks that year, but
my doctors kept saying things were okay."
"Then what happened?"
"Last year, the hospital got a new medical director. He'd come
from back east somewhere. He said he had seen cases like mine before
and knew just what to do to get me back on my feet. He said there
were some experimental procedures that would work, but that in the
beginning, might make me actually feel worse. Sorta like when cancer
patients undergo chemo and radiation therapy."
"You have cancer?"
"No. The director brought in a brand new team. They haven't painted
a rosy picture, in fact they even said it may be at least two years
before I show signs of getting better. But I'm willing to try anything
for a chance to be strong again. Doing what I was doing, wasn't working.
I just can't do that anymore. I might not be too pretty to look at
for awhile, so in the meantime, you might not want to visit me."
"Listen Red, I'll always be there for you. You know that, don't
"I'm glad I have friends like you, but I've had a lot of people
I thought were friends, who now don't bother to visit. Many of them
have turned their backs on me. They don't even bother to call or send
cards. It really hurts sometimes. You won't leave me, will you?"
"Of course not. How could you even think of such a thing?"
"Look, I don't know when I'm going to be back to 'normal', but
I'm doing the best I can. I'm really trying to make this thing work,
but right now I don't feel so good. The treatments are on schedule.
They say I'll have setbacks from time to time, but I will get better
in the long run.
Red looked up at me and smiled and a tear rolled down his cheek.
"See you tomorrow?" Red asked.
"Don't you worry. I'll be there for you."
THIS AND THAT
1.) Why is Barrett Ruud, the Huskers' all-time career leader in tackles,
not included in the nomination for the Butkus Award, given each year
to the nation's best linebacker? Could it be the rest of his team's
2.) I would urge you to see "Friday Night Lights", a movie
based on actual experiences about the Permian High School Panthers
football team in Odessa,Texas. The movie, starring Billy Bob Thornton
is one of the best sports movies to come around for several years.
The football action scenes are excellent. At one point in the movie,
when an official makes a horrendous call, the audience in the theater
made a collective "Oh no!" even though we were just watching
fake scenes. The coach's half-time speech is a classic. Don't miss
3.) To see how the Huskers compare so far this year with the rest
of Division I football powerhouses in the recruiting battle, go
here. (Thanks to Craig L. from Connecticut)
FROM THE EMAIL BAG
Dear Husker Dan:
One is a small number so one might think no big deal but for the Huskers
that is a really big number. We need 1 more win than you stated in
your Big Wed Wap Up to be bowl eligible. You even referenced Wasted
Illinois, that win doesn't count toward a bowl trip.
Au contrare!!! The NCAA allows one win over a I-AA opponent every
3 years to be counted toward bowl contention. The Huskers have never
had to use any of theirs. So two more wins and it's off to Shreveport!
I went to see our top orthopedic spinal surgeon in Rapid City who
happened to be Randy Schleusner, of Fumblerooski fame. After my exam
I told him I just had to ask, what was it like to run that play. He
told me it was in the book all year and practiced routinely but not
used. When Coach Tom Osborne called the play, he said he had seven
seconds to think about it and no time to get shook up.
He said only the older Husker fans remember that play. I said oh no,
most all fans know that play. He was somewhat embarrassed by my making
such a big deal out of it. He is a tremendous pillar of this community.
What a class act he is. He referees many high school games and is
just the most down to earth caring man you could imagine.
Rapid City, SD
I wanted to share my first Husker memory with you. My father was born
and raised in Omaha, so I was predisposed to becoming a Husker fan.
Yet, my love for the Huskers was cemented in 1969, when I was 9 years
old. My grandmother had a friend who worked in the Husker ticket office.
She arranged for me to visit Coach Devaney.
I will never forget the coach spending half an hour or so with me,
even though it was in the middle of the season. He gave me an autographed
media guide, and let me attend practice. He even let me run around
on the turf at the end of practice and had one of the players toss
me a couple of passes. That was 35 years ago, and I've never forgotten
it, nor will I ever.
My own son is
11 now, and although we live in Seattle, he has attended three Husker
games in Lincoln so far. He has a deep love for the Huskers, and I
know that he will pass that along to his son, who will pass it along
to his son, etc. etc. Some people may say, "it's only a game",
but they just don't get it. No matter what is going on in my life,
my passion for the Huskers has always been there. I know that my son
has the same passion, and some day his son will also. I also know
that whatever develops in my life and my son's life, we will always
have the Huskers to share. Nebraska football is one of the deep bonds
that he and I will always have. Thanks for the chance to share this
One thing more: When I brought my son to his first Husker game, he
was 7 (it was against Colorado). It was the 2000 game (the one we
won with a last second field goal). I'll never forget him standing
on his seat and screaming for a holding call--he yelled, "holding!!
Come on ref--he's holding!!" as the Buff QB dropped back to pass
and the Husker D-line attempted to get at him. A group of 70-something
fans in front of us turned around and one asked me how old my son
was. I said, "he's 7". The guy who had asked smiled, slowly
shook his head, and said, "awesome".
Readers: All of
you have a Husker memory or story you need to share with Husker Pride
Worldwide. Your story might be about the first Husker game you ever
saw; it could be about the last Husker game you shared with a loved
one, or maybe it's a story of what you had to do in order to get Husker
tickets. It could be a funny story or just a memorable one. Whatever
memory you have, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
and Husker Dan will post the best ones in his column.
HUSKER DAN SEZ
This is a game the Huskers can win. This is a game that has history
on the side of the Huskers. It's a home game. The Huskers have usually
played well at home. The stadium will be packed with 80,000 screaming
red clad Husker fans. The game will be on national TV. Missouri's
road record has not been good.
So with all that, the Huskers are going to win, right?
Not this time. The fate as well as what has been the bane of the Huskers'
existence this year centers on The Two T's: Turnovers and Tackling.
We've had too much of the former and not enough of the latter. Just
when you think the Huskers have turned the corner, here comes a semi.
The inconsistency of this young Husker offense as they've tried to
absorb the WCO is understandable, even after 7 games. What leaves
every Husker fan perplexed, is the defense. The Blackshirts have become
the Slackshirts. Tackling has been abysmal. And as the offense has
continued to shoot itself in the foot time and time again, the defense
has been put in terrible positions. The two problems are a destructive
combination that have helped to cause the defense to surrender almost
1,400 yards and 142 points in the last three games against unranked
teams. These performances have been an embarrassment to Husker Pride
There doesn't seem to be any fire on either side of the ball. Yes,
this is a young team that has been doing its best to cope with three
different offensive and defensive coordinators in as many years. The
staff changes shouldn't be an excuse, but it is a fact.
Until the Huskers can show they are capable of playing inspired, hard
hitting and turnover free football for four quarters, they will continue
to struggle. Obviously, the Baylor game was, well, just the Baylor
What very well could be a portend of things to come, is the ranking
of each team regarding turnovers. The Huskers rank 113th nationally,
while the Tigers rank 7th. You do the math.
This game could get as ugly as the K-State game. Don't be surprised
at a blow out.
Are the Huskers capable of winning? Yes, but as I said, the outlook
does not look good. Not this week, not this game, not this opponent.
Sorry to say this: