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Dear Readers: Last week, the winners of the "2007 Danno Awards For Excellence" were posted. But one of the awards was inadvertently left off.
Joe Ganz, quarterback

In a team sport such as football, it is sometimes difficult to single out one player for excellence. If one player does exceptionally well, much of the credit often is shared with his teammates. But this year's winner, in my view, does deserve special recognition.

Last summer, Joe Ganz entered fall camp in a race for the starting quarterback position for the Huskers. Ganz's chief rival was Sam Keller the much-heralded transfer from Arizona State. According to former Husker head coach Bill Callahan, both quarterbacks were "neck and neck" in fall camp with Keller emerging as the starter. Everyone felt Joe Ganz's disappointment with Callahan's decision, but Joe never seemed to complain-at least not publicly.

And to his credit, Keller performed reasonably well in leading the Huskers to a 4-1 record during the month of September. (The wins included a narrow victory at Wake Forest and a near loss at home to lowly Ball State.) However, the Huskers' fortunes quickly went south in October. The Huskers managed only two field goals in a 6-41 loss at Missouri October 6th and found themselves down at the half 38-0 the following week in a 14-45 home loss to an average Oklahoma State team. (The Huskers hadn't lost to the Cowboys in Lincoln since 1962).

The Huskers lost again the following week,14-36, to Texas A&M in Lincoln. Amazingly, not once during any of the blow-out losses was Joe Ganz summoned to try to spark the Huskers.

If the difference between Ganz and Keller was so slim, why didn't Ganz see action, especially in the Missouri and Oklahoma State games? What was Bill Callahan thinking? It wasn't until Sam Keller was injured in the second half at Texas did Joe Ganz see any meaningful playing time last year.

And Ganz was not chopped liver, either. He was a junior last fall, his third year in the program. Joe had worked hard, learned the offense and was very capable of moving the chains for the Huskers.

But not once during this time did Joe Ganz complain. He could have pouted or even given up. But he didn't. When his time came late in the Texas game, Joe Ganz was ready. He performed well enough that he almost singled-handily rallied the Huskers to a win.

Joe put up some unbelievable numbers the rest of the season. Joe emerged at the end of the year being not only one of the best ever Husker quarterbacks, but started to be recognized nationally for his talent.

Ganz handled a difficult situation with class and character. For that, Joe Ganz is more than deserving of this year's Husker Player of the Year award.

Husker Dan:
Hey, thanks for the kind words about Huskers Illustrated. It's much appreciated, believe me. Also, I appreciate your inclusion of Steve Sipple, Kevin Kugler and Mike'l Severe on your list. I agree with your assessment of them, though I should admit Sip is my best friend in the business, or out of it for that matter. Even so, he's on top of things at Nebraska like nobody else.
I would guess that if you were interested in shipping some Huskers Illustrated recruiting issues or yearbooks to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, that could be arranged. I would be glad to check with Brian Hill (HI editor) about that.
In any case, thanks again.
Mike Babcock
Huskers Illustrated
(Note: Thanks to Mike and Huskers Illustrated, copies of HI have already begun to be sent to soldiers on our Husker Dan's Army mailing list.)
Husker Dan:
I agree totally with your Danno picks. I enjoy your articles on HuskerPedia. Your pick of Kevin Kugler made me very happy. I taught Kevin when he was in the fourth grade in Holyoke, Colorado. We were both avid Husker fans. I recall that Kevin and I were the only Husker fans in that grade. Colorado beat the Huskers in football that year. Kevin came to me and said," What are we going to do? How can we defend ourselves?".....My answer was..." Tell them that Colorado had the better team THAT day." Needless to say, we both survived. GO BIG RED!!
Harvey Eurich
Retired Teacher
Holyoke, CO
Husker Dan:
Thank you for the “Danno” award to the American Soldier! I can’t speak for others but I can tell you that is my honor to serve and protect our great country and the great Americans, such as yourself, who appreciate the sacrifices the American servicemen and women endure to ensure our freedoms. Go Huskers!
Philip Wojtalewicz
Col. GS
A/CoS, Plans
316th ESC
Husker Dan:
One bit of information on the movie "We Are Marshall". Former Husker Curt Dukes was one of the football players in the movie. Remember, he is the kid Solich scared off?
Don S.
Husker Dan:
Thank you for the award you gave to Betty Walker. She is my cousin and although we are far apart, I'm in Texas and she's in California, her Husker spirit has always been prevalent. I have lived in Texas for the past 35 years and am married to a "die-hard" Texan, I still will always have a soft spot for the Huskers. Our oldest child was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in February, 1970 and I never missed a home game for the time I lived there. The Huskers will again be great with Tom Osborne at the helm and guiding the important decisions. Thank you and keep up the good work. GO BIG RED!
Pat Johnston
Longview, Texas
Husker Dan:
Here is a video your readers might enjoy.
Doug S. Omaha, NE
Husker Dan:
That's awesome! Thanks for the boost! I've really slowed the advertising down on my book because my wife and I need to focus on other things (like our first child in about a week and a half) so I hope this award helps out with sales. I'm indebted to you once again. Thank you.
David Kolowski
(author of "Diary Of A Husker" and winner of a 2007 Danno Award for Excellence)
Husker Dan's Army Update
If you are a Husker soldier serving your country in the Middle East and if you send us your name and mailing address, we promise to do our best to provide you (at no charge) with the following:
1. DVDs to all football games during the 2008 season courtesy of HuskerVision.
2. Copies of Huskers Illustrated.
3. A Husker Care Package from the RedZone during your deployment.
4. Husker game day tickets (when available) upon your return to the U.S.
5. Invitation to a tailgate party north of Memorial Stadium before each Husker home game.

If you'd like to give Husker Dan a piece of your mind you may email Husker Dan at huskerdan@cox.net.  For past Husker Dan columns, click here.