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H U S K E R    D A N




Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2005 3:07 PM
Subject: Marine in Iraq
Dear Husker Dan,
I have recently arrived in Iraq for my second tour there with the Marine Corps. This time I am going to be missing the entire season instead of the first half. There are five die-hard Husker fans here with me. We are all reservists out of Omaha and we are surrounded by fans from just about every other school. Unfortunately a bunch of them are from Texas and our boss is a Sooner. I am just as proud of being a Husker as I am of being a Marine. Please send me whatever you can since the coverage of the Huskers is horrible out here in a land where football is round. We don't have VHS, so any video devices will have to be DVD. My last Husker flag I left flying about my office in Al Taqqadum in the hands of another Husker fan and it is still flying out there. It is being passed from Husker to Husker. My wife is sending me another to put above my desk. But as a true Husker fan, enough is never enough. Please help us out because we are starving for information. What you are doing is magnificent and it just goes to show you that Husker are just like the Marines, we're all brother and sisters and we never leave anyone behind.
GySgt Smith, Gregg A.
CLB-8 Maintenance Company
Unit 73965 PO AE 09502 3965
(GySgt Smith sent the attached pictures taken of his group during his first tour in Iraq. In the photo of the soldiers holding up a flag, Gregg Smith regrettably points out that the soldier in the upper right hand corner holding the flag was killed in an automobile accident shortly upon returning to the states.)

(The following letter was sent to me the same day I received the above letter.)
Husker Dan:
I have made copies of the first 2 games on DVD.
Can you please let me know to whom I can send them?
I know that you have posted a few names on the Huskerpedia page, but certainly they have them by now. Do you have a “new’ soldier that can be my week by week contact for distribution?
PLEASE let me know and GO BIG RED!
J.R. Ewing
Los Angeles, CA
Dear Husker Dan,
I came across this page last night while searching to find any articles on my grandfather (Herb M. Potter, Jr.). He passed away yesterday, 6 hours shy of his 88th birthday. I was wondering if you had any other letters or emails he may have written you on Nebraska football, as since it was such a huge part of his life. Any of these would be nice to have in remembering him. Thank you for your help.
Benjamin Lou
(Readers: I responded to Benjamin's request and here's his response to me.)
Dear Husker Dan,
Thank you so much for the emails. Reading through them is almost like listening to my grandpa tell his stories again, and I'm sure I speak for the whole family in saying that these collections of his stories about Nebraska football will be treasured. He really was a loyal Husker. In fact his wish after he died was that he be buried at home back in Lincoln over at Wyuka cemetery, and he was buried with a red 1994 National Championship Husker polo shirt in lieu of the traditional suit. And if I know my grandpa, he's probably right now chatting with Bob Devaney and God about how long it will take before Nebraska wins another National Championship. Once again, thanks for your emails, they are greatly appreciated.
Ben Lou
Note: Ben composed his grandfather's eulogy which was read by Ben's father, Herb's son. Ben also mentioned that Tom Osborne was one of the speakers at his grandfather's funeral service.

Readers: This is an email that was sent to me this week. The author is unknown, but I think the letter is worth reading.
The Pete Carroll/USC Myth
Pete Carroll has done a great job at USC but it's incorrect to surmise he turned around the program in two years. He couldn't and it's both unfair and unwise to expect Bill Callahan to, either.
USC's decline began in 1989. The year before they had gone 10-1. Then they slipped to 8-2-1, then 8-3-1, then suddenly to 3-8. From 1991-98 USC's record was only 54-39-3.
It appears to me the turnaround started in February 1998 with the first group of recruits who would as seniors be part of the turnaround team of 2002, including future Heisman QB Carson Palmer, who would eventually win the starting job the last five games of the 1998 season as a true freshman.

They went 8-5. The following spring they added nine All-Americans and future turnaround team stars All-Americans Jacob Rogers, DB Troy Polamalu, and WM Kareem Kelly, among others. They were starting to build with great talent but they were young, inexperienced, and lacked depth (sound familiar?).

They only went 6-6 that fall (1999). In 2000 they returned 15 starters after recruiting a solid class that included more future stars WR Keary Colbert and LB Matt Grootegoed. They had a young, improving roster but a losing record at 5-7 and fired their coach in November. Pete Carroll was hired three weeks later.

In his first recruiting class Carroll got, among others, Mike Patterson, Shawn Cody, and Matt Leinart. Later All-American Lofa Tatupu transferred to USC as well. That fall his first team returned 14 starters including now 3rd year starter QB Carson Palmer. For all that veteran and new talent, they only went 6-6, losing 10-6 to Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl.

That winter in his second recruiting class Carroll signed 16 All-Americans including DB Darnell Bing, TE Dominique Byrd and WR Mike Williams. So in addition to two top ten recruiting classes, the 2002 Trojans returned a slug of now maturing stars. Even then they started slow (3-2). But by the end of the season, they were probably better than NC Miami.

The winter of 2003 he had his third straight recruiting bonanza, another top rated class including the likes of QB Josh David Booty, WR Steve Smith, RBs LenDale White and Reggie Bush. Add them to 12 returning starters and the surprise emergence of Matt Leinart, and USC's turnaround was complete. The dynasty was now beginning.

Unlike Bill Callahan, Pete Carroll and Norm Chow inherited a number of future All-Americans just coming into their prime, not to mention a Heisman quality quarterback. Pete Carroll inherited a storied program that had already bottomed out, languished for a decade, and was back on the upswing a reality lost in the W-L record. Bill Callahan inherited a storied program on the decline after its most successful decade in history. And he's already started to build it back!

Here are some theories on why the 'Clones have had not performed well at times this season:
In their opening game with 1-AA Illinois State the 'Clones struggled because they were looking ahead to their annual in-state battle with the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The reason the 'Clones struggled with Army, was, well, the 'Clones were looking ahead to Nebraska.
The reason why the 'Clones have struggled this year is because Iowa State is a team that rises (or sinks) to the level of its opponent.

Take your pick.
As for Nebraska, the Huskers' have struggled largely because of a weak and inexperienced offense.
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how'd you like the play?

The coaches insist that the offense is just a block or two from clicking. The question is, how soon will the offense start to gel? And on which block?

As far as this week's match-up between Iowa State and the Huskers, this is a pick 'em game. Which 'Clone team will show up Saturday-the one that beat the Tate-less Hawkeyes in Ames, or the one that had to rally in the fourth quarter to beat winless Army?
If ISU is to be given credit for nadding out a win out on the road against a weak but inspired Army team at West Point, New York, then the Huskers should also be given some credit for beating Wake Forest and finding a way to win at home against an inspired Pitt team.
To be sure, neither ISU nor Nebraska is exactly setting the college football world on fire with their offenses. (In total offense, ISU ranks 91st; the Huskers,107th.)

But defense will likely make the difference Saturday when the Huskers host the 'Clones in Lincoln for a 2:30 regionally televised (ABC) game.
The Huskers' not-so-secret weapons Saturday will likely be special teams and defense (Total defense: NU #6 nationally, ISU #40). The Blackshirts should make the afternoon a long one for Bret Meyer & Company.

And if the Huskers' "Hamburger Helper" offense can have even moderate success moving the ball (no turnovers, few penalties) the Huskers should prevail.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out the 'Clones game plan: Use their height at the receiver position to take advantage of Tierre Green and Courtney Grixby's lack of same.
And to counteract the Huskers' pass rush? The 'Clones will try to use 3-step drop passes.

The Husker linebackers are going to have to hit and hit hard. The Blackshirts will try to stop the run and force Meyer to beat them with his arm.
Methinks, the Blackshirts are going to be a nasty bunch come Saturday. Iowa State has not won in Lincoln since 1977-back when Husker Dan's hair was dark...
But the Sigh Clones have had problems winning conference games on the road. In the last 10 years under McCarney, the 'Clones record is 8-31, but 7 of their 8 wins have come since the 2000 season.
So history doesn't appear to favor the 'Clones and by Saturday afternoon, ISU will be history. And Husker fans are hoping that the 'Clones don't make history by winning Saturday but they become history by losing yet again in Lincoln.

The Huskers win a nail-biter.


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