Husker Dan: Deja vu all over again for NU?
It’s fitting and proper that the biggest star to grace Memorial Stadium Saturday during the Purdue-Husker game, was legendary actor and funny man Bill Murray.
Murray, of course, is known for movies such as “Ghostbusters,” “Scrooged” and the cult classic “Caddyshack.”
So what’s the deja vu connection? Murray also made a movie called “Groundhog Day.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vmmTnDJnH0) In case you haven’t seen it (and shame on you if you haven’t), it’s about a TV weather man whose assignment is to cover Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He covers the event not only once, but somehow, the day keeps repeating itself. Each day, he wakes up at the same time (6:00 a.m.), to the same song (Sonny and Cher’s “I’ve Got You Babe”) and meets the same people and has the same experiences each day.
Murray soon catches on to what’s going to happen – he knows all the people he’s going to meet, the exact moment when he’s going to meet them, what they’re going to say and when they’re going to say it. And each day, day after day it’s the same thing.
So what’s the connection to Husker football? Because each week, Nebraska plays almost the same game: Gets behind by double digits, makes stupid penalties, makes costly fumbles, throws drive breaking interceptions, gives up long plays on defense, can’t convert on its own third downs and can’t stop opponents from making their third down plays. The bottom line, the Huskers have lost each and every game this season (and eight in a row dating back to last year) and at 0-4, is the worst start since 1945 (gasp!).
This is not meant to pile on a beleaguered Husker football program. But the Husker players need to take ownership for their play. All the self-inflicted problems can be fixed. They can be fixed today, but it will take a great deal of commitment and passion to do so. The question is, will the players get this thing fixed in time to salvage the season? I have no idea.
But for now, it’s Wisconsin week, it’s 6:00 a.m.
Are Sonny and Cher getting ready to sing? Let’s hope not.
PART FIVE IN A SERIES
This is the fifth installment of responses I received from former Husker football players when I asked them before the season began: “What does Scott Frost need to do to restore the Husker football program to national prominence?” Here’s what former Husker fullback Jeff Makovicka had to say on the subject.
• Husker RB and FB (1992-1995)
• Starting FB on the Huskers’ ’95 NC team
• (Many football pundits consider the ’95 Huskers the best college football team of all time.)
Generally, what’s been missing from the Husker football program are coaches who understand the way things were done in the ’90s. But Scott Frost has a high football IQ. He knows what works and what won’t work. He understands the importance of nutrition, having players who play physically and what having confidence means to the success of a football program.
Frost may get a couple more wins this year than people expect. I have full confidence that the Husker program will turn around under his leadership. But it will take time. You can’t easily turn around a program that for the past 15 years has been doing things the wrong way.
The former head coaches at Nebraska may all have had good intentions, but they should have just tweaked what used to work and then added their own wrinkles.
Frost has taken pieces from Chip Kelly and understands how essential that being fast and physical on offense and defense is.
I remember Jon Vedral, who played wingback (’94-’96) when I played at Nebraska. He would just lay linebackers out. He was a great blocker! That’s what Nebraska needs. Tough kids who hit hard and never quit.
I also remember Ryan Held (current Husker RB coach) when he played for Nebraska. He’s younger than I. He always bled Husker red. He’s a great X’s and O’s guy. Very passionate.
What every great team needs are players who have passion, who love to compete and who have a great work ethic.
The process will take 2-3 years. The first two years will require a lot of coaching and teaching. And by year three, Nebraska will be in the conversation for national championships.
The foundation is there (at Nebraska), it just needs to be re-built. Wisconsin has established a firm foundation and each year, they’re usually in the national championship picture. But what they (the Badgers) don’t have is Nebraska’s speed. The sky’s the limit for Nebraska. Expectations will be high and Scott Frost won’t be easily satisfied. And he’ll be upset with just some minor success.
But I think this year, the Huskers will fight to the end because that’s what Scott Frost is instilling in his team.
You may contact the writer at HuskerDan@cox.net