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Jan. 30, 2017

Suh & Incognito

Welcome, Husker Nation, to another glorious edition to the Carriker Chronicles, and right off the bat, you probably notice something a little different (viewers). Number 1: Yeah, that's right, the beard debate rages on in the Carriker household ... yeeeeahhh baby. Number 2: My voice doesn't sound quite as sexy as it normally does. (Good thing you're reading this and not hearing me then). I've been under the weather for the past two or three days, but I feel better today. Hey. There was no way I was going to miss recording the Carriker Chronicles; I LOVE doing this show too much! But, we're recording this Sunday night, right before the Pro Bowl is about to start, so I looked at the rosters and I saw that Ndamukong Suh is playing, and that Richie Incognito is a reserve as well. He's played in the past couple Pro Bowls, since the whole bullying thing, and I believe they were actually the first two Pro Bowls of his career, so he's bounced back nicely and kept his nose clean. Richie hasn't always had the most success doing that, so I'm proud of him for it.

What it did do, however, was prompt a bunch of stories, some from playing at Nebraska with Suh, a plethora from playing at Nebraska with Richie for three years as well as in St. Louis for three years. He was the left tackle at Nebraska, I was the right defensive end. He was the center/ guard in St. Louis, I was the 3 Technique/ nose guard most of the time. So, we went against each other day in and day out, for almost six years. Probably well over a couple thousand reps against each other. We have plenty of stories of going against each other.

I'm going to start out with Suh. I did play with him for a couple years at Nebraska and we know each other fairly well. I chose this one because it was the first real glimpse we had of what Ndamukong Suh's potential was. Buckle up. We used to do this drill my last couple years at Nebraska, called the Oklahoma Drill. There are many variations of this drill. The one we used to do was where you had the line of scrimmage, an offensive player, and a defensive player. Once the coach blew the whistle, it was on. You tried to drive the other player back. Sometimes it would go for five seconds, others maybe ten. Whenever the coach blew the whistle again. Whomever was on the opponent's side of the line of scrimmage when the coach blew the whistle was who won the drill. We used to have this tight end at Nebraska -- real fun-loving guy, a guy you wanted to go out and have fun with; he was 6'6, 260 lbs, a big target who loved to catch the football. Not the most physical guy in the world, he didn't like to block. So, our coach decided to teach him how to block (or teach him a lesson). He calls him up, 6'6, 260, and calls out the biggest defensive tackle -- not a defensive end, not a linebacker like he would normally go against. The biggest defensive tackle we have at the time, which was a young Ndamukong Suh. 315 lbs, maybe a little bit more at the time if I remember right. So, here comes Suh ...

Remember, he wasn't Suh just yet. He was just another young pup freshman trying to earn his stripes (hard to fathom now). He was really motivated; had a little chip on his shoulder. So, 320 lbs, steps in there, coach blows the whistle. The drill didn't last 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 5 seconds, it might have lasted 2 seconds. They hit, and Suh drove him back 10 yards, and it was a defensive player pancaking an offensive player. I mean, he pancaked him. The reason I shared that story, other than it was kind of fun to watch, is it was the first glimpse we all got of what Ndamukong Suh would eventually turn out to be.

Now, my Richie Incognito story was really hard to pick. Hard to pick just one. But, the reason I'm going to share this story is because had there been a camera on me during this story, it probably would have been hilarious. America's Funniest Home Videos type deal. So, now the team is in the North locker room. That's where the Tunnel Walk happens, etc. When I played, up until my Senior year, we were in the south end of the stadium and that's where we would come out. The South end used to have the cold tubs -- the ice bath tanks you'd sit in, and there was glass so you couldn't hear anything but you could see everything. Then you had the training room, so you could see guys doing exercises, getting worked on, getting taped, etc. So I'm in the cold tub one day, and I've got nothing on but my tights -- that's what you wear in the cold tub in case you didn't know, and little booties so your toes don't freeze. So I'm sitting there, nothing but my booties and my tights, chilling (ha) with nobody in there with me. I see a whole bunch of guys out there getting worked on. And then I see this receiver ... Let me back this story up and preface this story just a little bit.

Richie Incognito went through the whole bullying thing. Everything I heard that came out of it didn't shock me. Especially the way the media portrayed it. Now, Richie is not a bully, in my opinion. A bully is someone who picks on someone who is weaker, because he can, and when that person finally has enough and hits the bully in the face, the bully backs off. Because the bully is weak and soft. That is not what Richie Incognito is. I've seen Richie fight an entire defensive line at once -- four on one -- he did not back down, he did not be quiet, and in fact he was going after them. He did not stop. I've seen him fight all eleven starters on a defense throughout the course of a season. He doesn't care how big you are, who you are, how many of you there are, where you are -- he does not care. Richie is not a bully. He is what I would call a badass who's kind of an ass. That's the best way to describe Richie Incognito. We have a mutual respect for each other. He's one of those guys you love when he's on your team, absolutely. Not so much when he's on the other team.

So, back to my story. I'm in the cold tub, I'm freezing my you know what off, and all of a sudden, I see one of Richie's best friends -- a 180 lb receiver, get really mad. This guy has a rather large mouth himself, and he's yelling at somebody. I can't see who because there's a wall blocking my view. He's yelling and getting louder and louder and louder. All of a sudden, I see this 330lb white blur come out of my peripheral vision, and he just takes this guy down, and he's about to do some ground and pound before it was cool. Probably more than just beat him up because he's so much bigger. Everyone breaks them apart, but this receiver will not be quiet. He knows Richie, and he knows how to push his buttons. They continue to try to go after each other.

In the meantime, I'm trying to get out of the cold tub. Keep in mind, I've been in there for about ten minutes, so my legs are numb. Frozen. I'm moving like an 85 year old guy who needs a wheelchair. Not that that's funny, but that's how I'm moving! I'm trying to get out there to do something; had there been a camera on me, people would have been busting up laughing. Nobody saw me, because I barely got out of the cold tub since I could barely move.

As the story goes, after that, I got back in the cold tub, cooler heads prevailed (so we thought). The receiver goes to the locker room. Richie went in too. Everyone thought everyone had cooled down. So what happened was, there was no one else in the locker room, and Richie was still going after this receiver. The receiver was no longer talking trash, he was running away from Richie and Richie was chasing him. We know this because some guys came in and had to break them up again. The receiver was no longer talking trash.

Ultimately for Richie, it was the last straw. A couple days later he got kicked out of Nebraska. That's not the reason I told this story. I told this story because it's funny (nobody got hurt). Also, I felt like I tore something trying to get in there and help and I barely made it out of the tub. So, it was just kind of a humorous story I thought you guys might enjoy and I'm also proud to see where Richie is at this point in his career as well.

Now, this is a Husker Football show. The point of this show is not to follow recruiting, but I'm here for all your Husker Football needs, ladies and gentlemen. So I'm going to give you an update on recruiting because that is the latest and greatest in Husker Football news. On Friday, we had Jamire Calvin, who had recently decommitted from Oregon State, commit to the Huskers (clearly, a very bright individual). He's not only an explosive playmaker, but he has the ability to stop on a dime. When I watched him on film -- it's a rare ability, some guys can cut fast, but he can stop on a dime. I'm excited to watch him play.

Also, earlier today, Kurt Rafdal (6'7, 230 lbs) decommitted from Indiana -- good move -- and chose us over Iowa; even better move. He's the 32nd ranked tight end in the country, and he is going to be joining the Husker's recruiting class this year. With these two commits, depending on which site you look at, we're ranked between the 15th ranked recruiting class in the country and the 20th recruiting class. We're just going to keep climbing. A lot is going to happen in the next 48 hours between today (Monday) and the end of Wednesday on National Signing Day. Because of that, on Wednesday, I'm going to give you not one, but two Carriker Chronicle shows. You're welcome. I'm going to post my first one at 7AM which is earlier than I normally post on HuskerMax, Real Ball Insiders, Facebook, and Twitter. That will be a very quick, in depth rundown of who we need, who we think we can get, which way guys are leaning, and when they're going to commit on National Signing Day. Later that night, I'm going to do my first ever interview (!) with one of the top recruits we have in our class. As soon as he signs, I'm going to do the interview and post it. Hopefully, it's 7 PM depending on when he signs. One of our top commits for this 2017 class. So, 7 AM and hopefully 7 PM on Wednesday. Double dose on Wednesday, so until Wednesday, Husker Nation, Go Big Red -- oh, shout out to Nebraska Basketball team with a comeback win over #20 Purdue! So until Wednesday, Go Big Red, and always remember ... to THROW THE BONES!