Articles by Tad Stryker

Stryker: Huskers want late-season surge to honor seniors

11/10/18 | Tad Stryker
Scott Frost is making the transition from frustrated father to a proud papa. No, I have no clue how his 1-year-old son is doing. I’m talking about who he deals with inside Memorial Stadium during Year One — the players he inherited and the players he recruited. In the relaxed atmosphere of his postgame press conference, just for a moment,…

Stryker Pregame Perspective: Bad-weather games bring warm memories

11/10/18 | Tad Stryker
In the Northern Great Plains, inclement weather inevitably collides with football Saturday, although not as often as we might think. Before Nebraska hosted Illinois on a windy, wintry day, I departed from my usual pregame surveyor 100 Husker fans, and went out in search of their bad-weather game stories. Most years, Lincoln experiences temperatures in the 20s or 30s in…

Stryker: Huskers enjoy family fun day, starters rest in Bethune-Cookman rout

10/27/18 | Tad Stryker
Nebraska players and coaches have kept their heads up after finding some brutally unexpected ways to lose games over the season’s first half. So after a baptism by fire, a little R&R and comfort food may not be a bad idea. That’s just what Nebraska’s football team and fan base got on a beautiful October afternoon. A picnic-atmosphere 45-9 win…

Stryker Pregame Perspective: Vedral has a large following

10/27/18 | Tad Stryker
Nebraska fans recognize that in freshman Adrian Martinez, they have a budding all-conference-caliber quarterback growing up before their eyes. But they also hope to see a local athlete make good as his backup. Noah Vedral, who played his high school football at Bishop Neumann in Wahoo, has a lot of fans anxious to see him get some playing time. He…

Stryker: Huskers strike early and often, end long winter by thrashing Minnesota

10/20/18 | Tad Stryker
As dusk settled over Memorial Stadium at the end of a gorgeous October day, the remains of a long nightmarish winter melted away, leaving the sensation of spring as it settled over the Sea of Red while the clock counted down the final minutes to Nebraska’s 53-28 victory over Minnesota Saturday. Long losing streaks aren’t supposed to happen at the…

Stryker Pregame Perspective: Ziggy in top form at midseason – again

10/20/18 | Tad Stryker
Devine Ozigbo has impressed Nebraska fans with excellent starts to back-to-back seasons, according to my surveys at the midpoints of the 2017 and 2018 seasons. On Saturday morning before the Minnesota game, I reprised my midseason survey of the previous year, with a slight twist. My question last season was, “Who was Nebraska’s most valuable player during the first half…

Stryker: Huskers add to bad reputation by puking up big fourth-quarter lead

10/13/18 | Tad Stryker
As Nebraska’s football family battles its way through unprecedented self-inflicted pain and suffering, there are no shortage of opinions on the best way to end it. And not all Nebraska fans are handling it well. You already know that if you listened to the postgame radio call-in shows. Nebraska’s dirty laundry is being broadcast throughout the nation. Some people look…

Stryker: In Madison, small steps better than none for Huskers

10/7/18 | Tad Stryker
Two steps forward, one step back. That’s progress, right? Except when you’re playing in Madison, where there’s precious little room for missteps. Wisconsin played its usual brand of wear-’em-down football, and Jonathan Taylor scorched Nebraska for another 200-yard, multiple-touchdown game. So the beat goes on for the 4-1 Badgers, who rushed for 370 yards and have positioned themselves well for…

Stryker: Amid team’s erratic behavior, Frost hasn’t made his peace with losing

9/30/18 | Tad Stryker
Warriors and wild men look similar much of the time, but when a pressure situation hits, they respond differently. Scott Frost got an unpredictable mix of both when he came to Lincoln, and so far the results have been interesting — flashes of brilliance mixed with totally irrational behavior — but ultimately frustrating. Nebraska ended its 2017 season with a…

Stryker Pregame Perspective: Fans give tips on keeping the faith

9/29/18 | Tad Stryker
The sun came up Saturday morning, although you couldn’t tell it for sure in Lincoln, where overcast skies and rain predominated. Yet despite the Cornhuskers’ current dismal seven-game losing streak, Nebraska fans continued their pilgrimage to Memorial Stadium to cheer for the Big Red as they have for decades. That’s the point in this week’s Pregame Perspective. I decided to…

Stryker: Husker line play disappointing, disturbing at Michigan

9/22/18 | Tad Stryker
If the football gods smiled on Nebraska when Scott Frost returned, the start of the 2018 season shows they’ve also ordained he will be tested by fire to begin his career in Lincoln. The first two losses of the season could be considered a fluke. Not so Nebraska’s 56-10 loss at Michigan Saturday, which was a thorough beatdown in every…

Stryker: Husker fans keep rooting for self-destructive team to break addictions

9/15/18 | Tad Stryker
When Scott Frost played football at Nebraska, losing home games was unthinkable. When Frost graduated, NU had a 42-game home winning streak. A generation later, when Frost returned to the Cornhusker family, he and his coaching staff confronted a discouraging array of negative thought patterns, which today are playing havoc with Nebraska’s on-field performance. Frost inherited a four-game overall losing…

Stryker Pregame Perspective: Fans Found a Lot to Like in Opening Loss

9/15/18 | Tad Stryker
A last-minute season-opening loss to Colorado was not the result of choice in Husker Nation, to be sure, but it showed a lot of promise. This week’s Pregame Perspective question attempts to discover what Cornhusker fans took away from the first game of the season, after the scheduled season opener against Akron was wiped out by a lightning storm. Early…

Stryker: Will fluky start be prelude to better days ahead?

9/8/18 | Tad Stryker
And so the Scott Frost era begins with an unlikely double false start. Nebraska showed tremendous potential and made some absolutely killer first-game mistakes, while Frost became the second man in more than a half century to lose his first game as Cornhusker coach. CU came from behind in the final two minutes Saturday to edge the Big Red, 33-28,…

Stryker Pregame Perspective: Old rivals reappear

9/8/18 | Tad Stryker
This week’s Pregame Perspective looks back at some Big Eight and Big 12 nostalgia and forward to future Cornhusker football schedules, which include Colorado (2018, 2019, 2023, 2024) and Oklahoma (2021, 2022, 2029, 2030). I surveyed 100 Husker fans Saturday morning before the Colorado game, mainly north and west of Memorial Stadium and in the Haymarket. I asked them this…

Stryker: The season opener that provided no closure

9/2/18 | Tad Stryker
The long wait for the start of the Scott Frost era seemed to have ended — and then it didn’t. The Akron game will be remembered as the night the football team put in a lot less work than the event management staff. Frost led his team onto the field with the crowd at a fever pitch, the Cornhuskers won…

Stryker Pregame perspective: Bowl game would satisfy most Husker fans this year

9/1/18 | Tad Stryker
I walked through Lincoln Saturday afternoon, talking to Cornhusker football fans several hours before Scott Frost coached his first Nebraska football game, and one thing immediately became clear: they’re virtually unanimous in their belief that Frost has started to do exactly what he said he would do — rebuild the culture of Nebraska football. Something else immediately became clear: Nebraska…

Stryker: Gebbia votes with his feet, hits the road

8/27/18 | Tad Stryker
Mario Verduzco provided vital input. Troy Walters gave his opinion. In the end, though, the only vote that counted belonged to Scott Frost, and he cast his ballot over the weekend. In the campaign that grabbed the attention of Nebraska fans all summer long — the battle for No. 1 quarterback — the margin apparently was narrow, but decisive. Adrian…

Stryker: Under Austin, NU o-line will improve enough to catch ’em by surprise

8/15/18 | Tad Stryker
Nothing looked less like Nebraska than the Cornhusker offensive line last fall. So it stands to reason that o-line coach Greg Austin had the most of any Husker assistant coach to accomplish when he moved to Lincoln last winter. Since media scrutiny has been limited, it’s hard to say with certainty just how far any position group has advanced, but…

Stryker: Big Red owes the Big Ten, big-time

7/28/18 | Tad Stryker
Many Midwestern football fans regard Big Ten Media Days in Chicago as the start of the football season. It’s a sign that the summer doldrums are nearly over, and every team from the top to bottom of the conference is infused with a renewal of hope. But when Scott Frost was first coach to the podium July 23, there was…

Stryker: Frost embraces risk by ramping up full-speed contact in practices

6/3/18 | Tad Stryker
Some would say Scott Frost took a risk leaving Orlando for Lincoln. After all, he walked away from a place where he enjoyed quick and profound success to pursue deeper challenges doing battle in the Big Ten for his alma mater, where expectations will always be higher than at UCF. So it’s no surprise seeing Frost embrace risk in another…

Stryker: Dixon represents movement toward speed on defense

5/17/18 | Tad Stryker
On Sept. 22, when Shea Patterson starts at quarterback for Michigan, he’ll see a former Ole Miss teammate on the other side of the ball. Breon Dixon will line up at outside linebacker for Nebraska in front of a full house in the Big House, likely as a starter. Patterson and Dixon are the most recent Southern players to head…

Stryker: Four quarterbacks show promise as sun rises on Frost era

4/21/18 | Tad Stryker
Scott Frost’s homecoming checked most, if not all, the boxes that Nebraska fans hoped it would. New offense on display. Energy and enthusiasm galore. No serious injuries. A bunch of 2019 recruits in the house. And Frost, the man himself, on the sidelines. Well, not exactly on the sidelines. Frost spent most of his day in the middle of the…

Stryker Pregame Perspective: Signs of Spring

4/21/18 | Tad Stryker
A four-game losing streak to finish a dismal 4-8 season predicted  a long, cold winter for Nebraska football fans, and that’s exactly what we got, although the hiring of Scott Frost infused enough energy into Husker Nation to prompt the first-ever sellout for the spring game. So to get a jump on what Cornhusker fans are thinking these days, I…

Stryker: Rumors of Frost power infusion have nation talking Huskers

4/19/18 | Tad Stryker
It’s still too early to say Nebraska football is nationally relevant again. That has to be earned on the football field, something that cannot possibly happen for at least five months. And it’s premature to say the Cornhuskers are ready to contend for the Big Ten West title this fall. But it’s time to say that Nebraska will be taken…

Stryker: Unity, toughness, NFL-style versatility will transform Nebraska under Frost

3/27/18 | Tad Stryker
Nebraska football fans look back with fondness at the careers of Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah, as well they should. Burkhead’s combination of toughness and versatility have been hard to recapture since he left at the end of the 2012 season. Abdullah’s ability to compensate for a subpar offensive line and make defenders dizzy with devastating jump cuts have been…

Stryker: Will Frost’s NU offense follow his ‘no-superstar’ UCF script?

1/21/18 | Tad Stryker
There’s an old saying in sports that goes something like this: “It’s players, not plays, who win championships.” Scott Frost’s success at UCF — at least on the offensive side of the ball — challenges that wisdom. It’s certainly not the way it played out in Orlando last fall. UCF put together a 13-0 season while leading the nation in…

Stryker: Frost era sweeps in with promise of unity, toughness, focus

12/3/17 | Tad Stryker
One dark December day, 60-year-old Tom Osborne called a press conference that nobody saw coming. It set into motion a chain of events that reduced Nebraska football to mediocrity.    Almost 20 years later, another press conference that almost the entire state of Nebraska eagerly anticipated sent chills up the spines of most who attended, and signaled a reversal of…

Stryker: With Riley out, Bill Moos Party seeks unifying candidate

11/26/17 | Tad Stryker
There’s too much political discord in the nation. I’m speaking of Husker Nation, of course, where pro- and anti-Pelini and pro- and anti-Riley factions have been at each other’s throats for a decade. The discord is largely the result of poor decisions made at a high level, resulting in a proud football program underperforming since 2001. This binary, two-party bickering…

Stryker: Husker commentator can’t recognize once-proud football program

11/11/17 | Tad Stryker
On the whole, Matt Davison would have rather been sitting courtside with Kent Pavelka at Pinnacle Bank Arena to watch the Husker basketball team open its season. Instead, the Husker Sports Network’s color commentator, who knows what a cohesive, well-led team looks and feels like, had to witness a Nebraska football team which has become convinced it belongs in the…

Stryker: Questionable competence predicts weak finish for Riley

11/4/17 | Tad Stryker
Mike Riley’s last stand in Lincoln ended just the way you might have predicted it would. When one last push would have clinched a victory, when the Cornhuskers could have given themselves and their embattled head coach some late-season momentum, they could not deliver the blow. At crunch time, with shadows lengthening and the game — and Riley’s last realistic…

Pregame Perspective: Current of dissatisfaction runs deep

11/4/17 | Tad Stryker
This week’s Pregame Perspective reveals a Nebraska fan base that clearly was looking for something better than a .500 football season. Three-quarters of those surveyed said they are not satisfied with NU’s 4-4 start. Late Saturday morning, before the Cornhuskers played Northwestern, I talked to Husker fans along 12th Street, near the Nebraska Union on campus and around Memorial Stadium,…

Stryker: Early Husker retreat fails to ward off home-field massacre

10/15/17 | Tad Stryker
Going into Saturday night, Ohio State had never won a game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, but it really didn’t take long to change that once the game kicked off. Within the first ten minutes of playing time, it was clear to anyone watching the game that Nebraska was a thoroughly beaten team, simply waiting for the inevitable outcome. It…

Stryker Pregame Perspective: Ozigbo, Morgan cited as most valuable Huskers for first half

10/14/17 | Tad Stryker
With half the college football regular season behind us, this week’s Pregame Perspective focuses on which Cornhuskers have performed best thus far. On a cool, drizzly afternoon before the Nebraska-Ohio State game, I asked 100 people this question: “Who ws Nebraska’s most valuable player during the first half of the season?” Two clear leaders emerged, both on offense. In a…

Stryker: Soft September in Lincoln

9/16/17 | Tad Stryker
Endless Summer. That sounds like carefree days indeed. Were the Beach Boys thinking of Mike Riley’s Nebraska football program when they recorded that album? Unfortunately for Riley and his coaching staff, it’s September now and they have to play real football games. After a brutally disappointing 21-17 loss to Northern Illinois, the Huskers are 1-2 and reeling. A coach who…

Stryker: Scary B-movie finish ends well for Big Red

9/3/17 | Tad Stryker
Did you ever have one of those dreams where you’re almost safely home, but out of nowhere, a pursuing monster comes closer and closer, and the harder you run, the slower you move? Yeah, a real B-film climax. That’s what Nebraska-Arkansas State degenerated into. Luckily for Nebraska fans – at least the ones who stayed to the final play –…