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BIG RED HEAD ZONE

Colorado Game: November 25, 2005

By Jim Meier

THE CRUX:

POISE! Throughout this game the Huskers maintained a mental and physical state of readiness.
POISE! Throughout this game the Huskers were offensively, defensively and special team
synced and balanced
POISE! Throughout this game the Huskers had emotional stability.
Evident in many ways. Two defensive stands come to mind:
1) after the first CU play, the 45 yard ISO scamper and then forcing a 4th down field goal
2) after punting early in the third quarter from the 1 yard line and forcing another three and out
POISE! As this game moved on the Husker poise was carefree. So mentally important (see my write-up after the K-State game. Kevin Cosgrove has this right!)
Midway into the third quarter, with the score 27-3 this Husker brand of poise made room for a healthy dose of Husker panache. A big red swagger that has been a long time coming. And I do mean Husker brand. Not the pre-game type of bravado ignited by Ralphy’s boys which so often backfires. And backfire it did. There was fire alright. I lit Harry Husker’s whiskers. Kind of reminded me of Jimmy Stewart playing Mr. Anderson in Shenandoah when he punched the Confederate government lackey coming to seize the horses from the Anderson homestead. A brawl ensued, the horses stayed home and the government guys abruptly left. The Huskers like Jimmy Stewart’s character said “Enough is Enough” already. Then POW!
Yeppa…poise, carefree play and a little panache equaled pure poison for Barnett’s buffalo herd!

THE QUOTE:

“We said all week we had a ton of respect for Nebraska, but we came here to win. That was our mind-set”.

Remember that quote? It was the one I locked onto by Ron Whitcomb, the quarterback following the Maine game.

This prompted me to write in my first Big Red Head Zone piece (Sep 3)

“Given this quote, it seemed clear to me the Maine Black Bears fulfilled that mind-set throughout the game. (and that first stop was huge). An underdog that doesn’t play like an underdog can be pesky, and prickly like a pugnacious porcupine. It is wise to learn from your opponent. The Black Bears believed in themselves. That is the mental lesson to carry into the remaining 11 games (bowl game included).”

A question: When was the last time the Nebraska Cornhuskers won as a two touchdown or more underdog?

Mental Muscle:

Play with controlled confidence

No doubt about it, this was Nebraska’s best win in the Callahan era. A firm step to indeed be celebrated but only a step. The national dance is many, many big steps away.

Yet true poise helps get the Huskers there. It breeds the lynch pin goal that underlies the mental muscle of champions… true confidence.

Poise by definition has everything to do with five assets:
1) keeping cool, 2) staying in control, 3) balance (being in a state of equilibrium), 4) mental and physical readiness and 5) hanging momentarily in suspension.

It is much like a successful Zach Taylor pass: the football first cool and calmly poised in his grasp released with a controlled rhythmic motion then suspended in flight arriving to his receiver in a state of readiness.

I have strongly encouraged Husker faithful, the press, TV, radio and pundits to subdue the excessive criticism and toxic talk that has been so plentiful and available on the cheap. My little dog eared book, “Sages Say…” advises to also subdue rash displays of cockiness less we be subdued in future games. It is so much easier to bring down a strutin’ peacock all fanned out saying look at me. Quiet controlled confidence is the premium brand.

WEEKLY MENTAL GAME TIP:

Don’t think about it too much!