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The straight scoop from
Colonel Mustard

Oct. 20, 2009

Saturday’s game was a tale of two units. The defense was terrific despite being burned by penalties, unlucky bounces and a stagnant offense. Holding Tech to less than 300 yards and 24 offensive points should have been good enough to win the game. The offense was at times inept on Saturday. Zac was rattled and the line was struggling in pass pro and the run game. The WRs were doing their best imitation of a tombstone and the TEs were invisible. Zac is very slow on the trigger and locks in on one receiver.

As everyone has said, we need to find an offensive identity. Adding to our problems is that our best offensive player is banged up. Green is obviously a player with terrific skills. But he is inexperienced and is prone to throw into coverage. The coaches have difficult decision to make this week on the QB job. But if you give Green the job, stick with him and live with the rookie mistakes. If Helu is seriously injured and Burkhead is out, Green becomes our best running threat. We could use Green like Frank utilized 7 earlier this decade — the effect was to make the QB into the I-back.

We have a championship-level defense and the rest of the schedule sets up very well. We have to come up with some way to move the ball consistently as Watson did last year with the controlled passing game.

• • •

Please indulge your humble correspondent a little personal reminiscence time. This is a very personal story, but one that many of you have experienced in your life. Saturday will mark the 300th home game I have attended. What follows is a tribute to the man who made it possible and instilled the tremendous passion that I have for Nebraska football.

My Dad was a grain trader at the Omaha Grain Exchange in the early ’60s. Their habit was to work on Saturday mornings, and in 1961 there would be unused tickets sitting on the trading tables. ’Sixty-one was the year before the Bobfather saved us from football oblivion.

My first game was North Dakota in ’61. It was Band Day, but it was muddy and the bands couldn’t march, which disappointed my Grandma. In ’61 I saw Ernie Davis play in Lincoln and still have the game program to prove it. We saw John Hadl and Curtis McClinton play for Kansas that year. The Kansas game is historic because it marked the last time I left a game because it was too cold. In ’62, tickets became harder to come by and we only made it to the K-State game, which ironically was the last non-sellout game. The Missouri game started the sellout streak and was on TV. That game marks the last time I have watched us play live in Lincoln on TV.

At the start of the ’63 season my Dad obtained season tickets from his boss. For 13 years, we sat 25 rows up on south 40 in the West stadium. My Dad always sat to my right. In ’63, I saw Gale Sayers run 99 and two-thirds yards down the west sideline for a TD. We settled into a pattern over the next years where my Mom and my Grandpa would each go once a year. Unlike my friends whose families had tickets, I always got to go. For that I will be forever grateful.

My Grandpa was a big Iowa fan, and we would ride the train from the Burlington station in Omaha to Haymarket in Lincoln. He was a Big 10 guy and in ’65 on the way to our game with Wisconsin, he asked, “Have you ever seen a Big Ten team play?” I said that I had not. “Well, you are in for a treat, then,” he replied. We won 37-0 and with the honesty of an 11-year-old I said they looked a lot like everybody else that we play. My Grandpa replied with a great deal of muttering about how deep those Cornhuskers were.

In ’76 I graduated from NU and moved to Illinois for a job opportunity. I missed two home games that year. Instead of going to the game, my Dad stayed home and kept the phone by the radio so I could hear the game. It was a disappointing season, so we ended up playing in the now-defunct Bluebonnet Bowl on New Year’s Eve. It was a tight game and we managed to pull out a win. I watched the game at friend’s house in Peoria and afterward headed out for the evening. My father died that night of a heart attack shortly after the game.

For the past 33 years the greatest man and Husker fan I have ever known has been sitting to my right at the game, and I know he will be there Saturday.

Thank you, Dad. GBR.
-- The Colonel



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