Saturday, February 28, 2009

Various Husker ramblings to close February

Pardon me for the hiatus between posts as I have been nursing a stomach flu the last handful of days but a few things caught my eye from the past few days pertaining to Husker football.

1) From the message board courtesy of Peter Fiutak:

Q) How long do you give Bo Pelini at Nebraska? 2 scenarios at work here: Bo resurrects the program, wins the Big 12 this year and goes to the Fiesta Bowl, then maintains a Bob Stoops-like 10 wins/season for the next 5-7 years, winning a few conference championships. Scenario #2: Bo takes his team to the Big 12 championship game every other year or so for 5-7 years, but can’t come up with a way to put OU or Texas away and win it. Osborne didn’t beat Oklahoma for several years after his hiring and nearly walked away in 1980. If Bo’s successful, do you think he’ll stick around and be the next Osborne or Beamer? Will he try to move back to the SEC where the talent is richer? As for scenario #2, I think NU fans are going to give this man a huge leash with which he can struggle to win the big games for a few years, but eventually turn the program back into a contender after the 5-7 year grace period. Your thoughts? - CM

A) I’m more on the side of scenario two. Oklahoma and Texas own Oklahoma and Texas when it comes to recruiting, while Nebraska has to be a bit more national in scope. The days of bringing in kids off the farm, beefing them up with, um, uh, lots of work in the weight room, and dominating the Big 8 are over. That’s not to say Nebraska can’t dominate the North. Kansas and Missouri have to prove they have staying power, and I’m not sold they can take another step up into consistent superpower status. Iowa State is, well, Iowa State, Kansas State is a mess at the moment, and Colorado can’t seem to get its mojo under Dan Hawkins. The division is ripe for the picking, and if Pelini rocks and gets Nebraska to the Big 12 title game on. – Peter Fiutak

My response:

I think reclaiming the Big 12 North on a regular basis will be the easy part for Nebraska. Iowa State maxed out in 2005. Seriously, can see the Cyclones going 9-3 or 10-2 on a regular basis? Bill Snyder returns to Kansas State but how many “coming home” stories turn successful? Not many. Colorado under Dan Hawkins has been long on frosting but short on cake. Missouri and Kansas went 12-2 and 12-1 respectively in 2007 while Nebraska took a nosedive in going 5-7. However, neither program strikes me as one that will have staying power. Keep in mind, Missouri entered 2008 with mega-hype and while a 10-4 record and a division title are not a failure, it was not the breakout year most anticipated. Other than 2007, the Tigers have chronically underachieved under Gary Pinkel. As long as the Jayhawks have Mark Mangino as head coach, they will not be an easy out because he knows how to maximize the talent on his roster. Nebraska, however, will generally always have a talent edge on KU, which means with equal coaching, the Big Red has the edge.

As for getting past Texas or Oklahoma, I see Texas as an easier hurdle. Both teams have similar talent but OU seems to underachieve less than Texas. Honestly, with the exception of the Vince Young years (2004-2005), the Longhorns have been a perpetual 10-2 caliber team that should be better. OU’s biggest problem is imploding on the national stage.

2) Red Bull Ekeler stays

Linebackers coach Mike Ekeler spoke on the Husker Sports Network's "Sports Nightly" show Thursday night about his weekend interview with South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt.
"First of all, when Coach Leavitt called Bo and talked about it, I told Bo point blank ... 'If you don't want me to go interview, I won't,'" Ekeler said on the show.

But Ekeler said Pelini told him the interview would be a great experience and he should do it. Ekeler had hoped no one would find out, but the newspapers in that area soon reported he had interviewed, the Tampa Tribune eventually reporting that he had turned down an offer to be the Bulls' defensive coordinator.

Ekeler didn't deny that an offer was extended but said both he and Leavitt agreed it wasn't the right fit at this point.

My response

We all long for the days of yore when Tom Osborne’s staff Milt Tenipor, George Darlington, Dan Young, Frank Solich Tony Samuel, Ron Brown, etc. stayed together for eons. Make no mistake, Pelini longs for such days too. He just understands that in today’s climate, continuity across the board for years on end is a tough proposition. He also understands that assistant coaches have different desires. Some wish to move up within the profession. Others are happy as assists. The assistant coaches owe it to themselves to find out on their own what the right move is.

3) Davison targets bullying

Former Nebraska wide receiver Matt Davison will always best be remembered for his miracle catch in 1997 against Missouri to save the Huskers bid for a National Championship. After his playing days, he has made his name well-known as a broadcaster.

Lincoln Journal Star columnist Steve Sipple recently wrote that Davison has created a nonprofit organization called, “Creating Captains,” which stresses to youth the importance of leadership while also addressing topics such as peer pressure, hazing, bullying, teamwork, drugs and alcohol, and the value of higher education.Davison plans to conduct summer camps across the state of Nebraska in which he will provide guidance and instruction in both football and life. He’ll also make presentations to high school teams and school assemblies.The hazing and bullying aspects of Davison’s message captured my imagination because I was unaware they were significant issues. Actually, “Hazing and bullying are huge issues in schools right now,” Davison says. He saw instances while he played for Nebraska from 1997-2000.

My response

I have always believed in a “law or order” approach to bullies but I know that passing a law to flog them from a tree in public won’t happen anytime soon. Personally, I think bullies are cowards and sissies deep down inside because they think that hurting those more vulnerable than them makes them “tougher” when in fact it exposes how pathetic they really are.

I have always believed that the best way to combat a bully is to take his best shot and then give him yours. You will have a much better chance of ending the process. I think we're teaching our kids to be way too passive. Does it breed more fear in them and keep them from standing up for themselves? If they get a black eye or a bloody nose for sticking up for themselves, it mostlikely will prove to them it doesn't hurt all that bad to take a shot or two and give them the knowledge that they can stand up for themselves. I just don't like seeing kids taking crap from some bully, who if they stood up to him/her, they would most likely leave them alone. Not standing up for themselves gives these types more power over them and others.

Anyhow, I think I have established that if I were a dictator, bullies would be killed on the spot.

Now for a more reasonable solution.

Bullying is a much bigger problem than people think and frankly gets swept under the rug by too many adults, who need to get on board in eliminating this problem or least curtailing it.

Good to see Davison do his part to address the issue.

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