In the days leading up to the Holiday Bowl game
with Arizona, Husker head football coach Bo Pelini was asked if he thought it
would be necessary this year to get 10 wins to prove that the Husker football
program was, in fact, making progress over last year's nine win
Pelini dismissed such talk, referring to the
reporters in the room, "I'll leave it up to you guys." So getting 10 wins
apparently was no big deal to Coach.
Yeah, right, and Conan O'Brien is happy at
Know this, Bo Pelini wanted this game as much as
he's wanted any game. Ending the season with 10 wins was exactly the
way he wanted to be measured in his second year as the Husker head
coach. He got his message to all his players that not only did he want to
win the game, but he wanted to win big.
And it worked. The game was over before the
opening kickoff. Nebraska was in control all night. It was clear the
Huskers wanted this game much more than the Arizona Wildcats. Had
Nebraska had a better offense, the game would have resembled the Huskers'
dismantling of Florida in the '96 Fiesta Bowl.
And speaking of the Husker offense, it was nice to
see Shawn Watson putting in some new wrinkles for this game. We also
learned afterward, that Nebraska starting quarterback, Zac Lee has been playing
most of the season with a torn tendon in his throwing arm. That
explains a great deal about his less than stellar numbers this fall. It
does not, however explain the fumbles, dropped passes, missed assignments
and costly penalties that plagued the offense most of the season.
What is also very apparent is that the
coaching staff considered that an injured Zac Lee was a better player
than a healthy, albeit inexperienced, Cody Green. It will be interesting
to see the battle this spring for the starting QB slot. If Lee is
still rehabbing this spring, the door might be wide open for Cody
Green. If Green seizes the opportunity, he could be the starter this
fall. If not, he may not get another chance until 2011.
Texas coach, Mack Brown, prior to last week's
national championship game with the University of Alabama, explained his
team's near loss to Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship game as
being the result of an "off night." An off night? Are you
freekin' kidding me? The Blackshirts dominated that game and Mack is lucky
his quarterback didn't get permanently imbedded in the "Dallas Palace" turf that
night. It would have been classy of Brown (and accurate) to
say, "We were lucky to beat a tough Nebraska team that night and are going
to be in for another battle tonight with the University of
I commented just before the play that took
Texas quarterback, Colt McCoy out of the national championship game,
that Mack Brown was running a huge risk of getting Colt injured if
he continued to have McCoy carry the football. And unfortunately
for the 'Horns, it was Colt's last play of his college football career and
with his loss, ended the chances of Texas winning the game.
Actually, I am absolutely amazed that Colt wasn't
injured in the Big 12 championship game, considering the beating he took by the
likes of Suh, Allen, Turner & Company.
I predicted a Tide win, mainly because the Pelini
Brothers devised a blueprint to beat Texas. And Alabama had
the talent to execute that plan. 'Bama also showed that you can win a
national championship with an excellent defense and a not so spectacular
Looking ahead to this fall, the Huskers should be
favored in every game, including the October rematch with the Texas Longhorns in
Lincoln. Of course that doesn't mean the Huskers will win every game, but
unlike Pelini's first two seasons, the Huskers should be the favorites.
Having said that, the 2010 season's expectations are tempered with the
1.) Although the Huskers finished the season
ranked #14, the Huskers did not have a win over any team that finished the
season in the Top 25.
2.) Although the Huskers had two one
point losses over #2 Texas (neutral site) and #10 Virginia Tech (away),
Nebraska also suffered a 21 point loss at home to #21 &
#23 Texas Tech and a two point home loss to an unranked Iowa State team
that finished the regular season at 6-6.
3.) The Huskers have a huge task of
developing an identity on offense. The main focus is developing
consistency and depth at quarterback. The Husker also need to develop
depth at the running back position and desperately need to get a group of go-to
receivers. The offensive line is going to have to make substantial
improvement if it is going to be able to compete for conference and national
What speaks volumes about the Huskers this year was
that Nebraska actually moved up in the rankings after narrowly losing to the
'Horns in the Big 12 Championship game. And because of that recognition,
Nebraska's win over a good (not great) Arizona team got the Huskers their
final #14 ranking. Nebraska should ride that momentum this fall in the
preseason polls. Look for Nebraska to start the year ranked about
I'm hopeful that someone (Shot Kleen at
HuskerVision?) will put together a DVD montage of Ndamukong Suh's greatest plays
as a Husker. The theme music must be from "Carmina Burana,"
which is the most dynamic piece of music ever created. I can't
(Oh my gawd, he's doing another one of his dumb
(3 stars out of a possible 5)
"Avatar" (must be seen in 3-D)
Directed by James Cameron
Starring Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver,
This is "Dances With Wolves" meets "Apocalypse
Now." Thank goodness Kevin Costner isn't in this one. If you know
the plight of the American Indians suffered at the hands of their white
oppressors, you'll pretty much know where this movie is going. The movie
will (and should) win every award for special effects. I can't imagine
anyone wasting 2.5 hours not seeing this in 3-D. Some of the simulation is
so real, you'll find yourself ducking. Dudes (and dudettes) who love video
games will embrace this movie.
THERE WILL BE DANCING IN THE
Lt. Col. Todd Pennington USAF sent me the following
email and pictures taken at the celebrity flag football game, New Year's Day in
Thought you'd be interested in
seeing who came out to visit the troops in
Baghdad for the New Year's.
Tostitos and the USO brought out several
college stars and 2 great coaches
to play flag football with the troops.
During the Q&A session with all,
I asked Rocket Ismail what he thought of
the NU v ND game where husker fans
took over their stadium. His direct
quote was "I have no recollection
of that ever happening." The entire crowd
laughed at him.
The photos are: Brian Bosworth and me, CU
cheerleaders and interloper onto my photo op, Tommie and me, an old rival
and me, Tommie Bowden and me (gave up seeing his father's last game to
visit the troops) w/Bruce Smith in background.
Lt Col Todd Pennington,
MNSTC-I ITAM-AF/IAOC MiTT Chief
Victory Base Complex
I just wanted to take a moment to
say how much I appreciated all
the DVD's and care packages that I received
while over here in the Died.
I will be heading home soon and would like to
make a donation to the
cause for future Husker fans. Payment from out
here is tuff so if I
could get a address that would be great.
SMSgt Chuck Liberty
To donate to Husker Dan's Army, send your tax deductible donation to:
Northeast Kansans For Nebraska
3610 SW Woodvalley Terrace
Topeka, KS 66614
Make your check payable to the Northeast Kansans For Nebraska. Be
sure to indicate that your donation is to go to Husker Dan's Army. For
every $50 raised, we send Husker Care Packages to US military personnel who are
deployed in the Middle East. The Packages are filled and boxed by the Red
Zone Husker apparel store in Omaha. To register, write me at email@example.com
. We will
need the trooper's email address, APO address, branch of service and
how long he'll be deployed.
Thanks to all of you who have already donated. Our brave service
personnel don't ask for much. Your donation will help bring a touch of
Nebraska to them.