H U S K E R D A N
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
A guy walks up to a man in New York City and asks what's the best way to get to Carnegie Hall.
"Dude, you gotta practice!"
Okay, so the Huskers (as far as anyone knows) aren't looking to get to Carnegie Hall any time soon, but they are looking to make a run at a football national championship this fall.
After Saturday's practice, Husker head football coach, Bo Pelini said about this year's Husker football team, "I don't want to make any predictions, but if we work hard, stay committed, there isn't a team on our schedule we can't beat." He added that his team has not arrived, but is getting closer.
"We were one second away from winning a Big 12 Championship last year. We are hungry and have the potential to do great things this fall,"
Bo went on to say that this year's team has more motivation and more depth than he's had at Nebraska.
"You will be proud of this team this fall not only on the football field, but outside of football as well. These kids are representing this program, the University, the state of Nebraska and Husker football fans by performing well in the classroom and by their behavior socially."
THE COLD FACTS
Getting back to practice. I attended Saturday's morning practice that despite wind chill indexes in the Siberian range, was held outdoors at Memorial Stadium. I thought we had an indoor facility, no?
Okay, so maybe I'm just too wimpy. Any way, this was my first practice of the Pelini Era. Husker fans wondering if Bo's promise to be more involved with the offense this year was just lip service, needn't worry. Bo and Shawn Watson spent all morning with the offense.
And Husker fans wanting to know which quarterback looks to be the one to beat this fall are going to probably have to wait until September to find out. I saw all the quarterbacks perform in live drills. The one who caught my eye was Taylor Martinez – not necessarily because he stood out beyond the rest, but because most of us haven't seen much of him. Know this, Martinez can fly and has a very good arm. "He has the legs of an Eric Crouch," linebackers coach Mike Ekeler said.
And to be sure, if none of his receivers is open, Martinez knows when to take off, hitting the edge like a bullet. Most of the snaps Saturday were taken by Cody Green and Martinez, but Ron Kellogg III, Latravis Washington and Kody Spano (wearing a green practice jersey) all saw action.
Even Zac Lee was in on some drills, one of which involved quarterbacks having to dodge giant inflated plastic balls thrown at their feet. The drill is supposed to improve their footwork. Lee probably performed the best while Cody Green had trouble at times.
Also, the coaches are trying to improve Green's release. He still has a tendency sometimes to wind up before he passes. But again, Spring Ball is for Education, Evaluation and Experimenting.
From the running back position, the surprise was how quick Trey Robinson is, despite bulking up to 230 pounds. His speed and power should pay big dividends this fall. Look for the Husker running game, led by a fresh Roy Helu, Jr. and a healthy Rex Burkhead to be much improved from last year's M*A*S*H* unit.
The O-line looked good. I can't believe how big Marcel Jones is. Yikes
PUTTING ON THE HITS
But because the defense is so stellar (last year's national leader in scoring defense) it might be very hard for this offense to shine in practice. Prince Amukamara is a stud-a flat out stud. And the linebacking tandem of Eric Martin and Alonzo Whaley is something to see. And in case you're wondering if the defense lets up on its own teammates, you have another think coming. On a keeper, Martinez was running at full blast around the right side and was just leveled by Eric Martin. Afterward, the two of them exchanged some smack. This was typical of the morning.
If the Husker offense can move the ball on this defense this fall, they should be able to move it on any team they face.
GEORGIANS FOR NEBRASKA
Kenny Hammer, president of the Georgians for Nebraska, wants me to remind all of you about a special event coming up Saturday, April 24th at the Cox Ballroom at Emory University. Special guest speaker will be Matt "The Catch" Davison. See the details here. Husker fans won't want to miss this one!
HUSKER FANS' SALUTE TO THE TROOPS
The Third Annual Husker Fans' Salute To The Troops event is coming up the weekend of September 18th-19th at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska.
AdoptaPlatoon is sponsoring 25 wounded warriors to attend this year's event. Veterans, troopers from any war, from any branch of service and their families are invited to attend the weekend celebration. We are still looking for donors to help with the costs. To register for the event or to donate to this tax deductible cause, go to www.huskersalute.org.
Remember, our brave men and women who have fought and died for our country don't ask for much. You can help honor them with your donation. Please check out this video about troopers who are reunited with their families.