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Missouri 2007

My apologies for the brief column drought. I am as unnerved, disturbed, and perturbed as the next person. I’ve also been traveling a lot, relative to my new book, including a jaunt to Alaska (where, sadly, I finally found an area that appeared to be a Husker-free-zone – no watch parties, no radio affiliates, etc.).

A few weeks back, I didn’t write the following fact in my post-USC column, but I’ll share it now. Leaving the stadium the night of our loss to the Trojans was the first time I’d ever gone to a Husker game and felt like I wanted my money back. The best part of that game — the part Bill Callahan doesn’t control — was the pre-game atmosphere.

Yes, USC has been the monster program of the past five years, Stanford beat them. So there, USC.

Not that I want to relive what happened at Missouri, but, well, okay I’ll be brief. The running game was absent. Again, the loss of Brandon Jackson from last year has left us entirely dull and unimpressive running the football against teams that have equal (or superior) talent. The pass attempts on 3rd and 1 and 3rd and 2 never cease to amaze me. What does this offense need in order get one or two yards running the ball on 3rd down? A six-star running back? An all-NFL line?

And the defense…wow…we looked like we were playing the Indianapolis Colts. Some Missouri player talks trash before the game about beating the Huskers by three touchdowns…the Huskers brush it off…MU proceeds to win by five touchdowns.

How is it possible that at Nebraska, the defense once proudly known as the Blackshirts now gives up 40 points half the time they take the field? When does the “blame Solich/give Callahan more time” line exhaust its statute of limitations?

I’m sure there has been a lot of soul searching in Nebraska this week. If things don’t change, there will be a lot more.

Personally, I’ve done a little of it myself. I’ve discovered that, without really realizing it until now, I’ve always viewed good football from the Nebraska Cornhuskers as some sort of entitlement. It shouldn’t be that way. I’m simply a fan. I may be a dismayed fan these day and I call it like I see it. But certainly, no one “owes” me anything — players, coaches, or otherwise.

I simply cannot relate to people who feel the need to boo 18 to 22 year old college students playing a game. Even struggling coaches deserve respect — maybe not contract renewals, but some basic human respect. That’s my $.02 worth right now, for better or for worse.


I won’t be able to watch, but I hope the team “brings it” on Saturday. Last year, I thought we were the better team against Oklahoma St., but we still managed to get beat. This season, we might be equal. The Huskers have talent. Do they have the will?

Here’s hoping Husker fans who have class turn out in droves to scream for the scarlet and cream. The team will need each home game this year (more than any since ’05) to simply make a bowl.

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.