Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Quick hitters from the pre-spring press conference

Year Two of the Bo Pelini Era at Nebraska continues in earnest as spring drills get underway today.

Watching Pelini’s press conference Tuesday that also rekindled another reason why we Husker fans identify with him. Pelini does not shy away from the words “high expectation.” In an earlier “wine Country Husker” blog back in January, I posed the question, “what are your expectations?”

One thing that stood out to me when Bo Pelini was hired to replace Callahan was that he does not shy away from expectations. I remember very specifically an interview he did on the Jim Rome Show. For starters, I do not listen to Jim Rome because while he knows his material, his show reeks of too much adolescence for my taste. However, since Bo Pelini was his guest, I decided to make an exception and listen.I remember Rome using the word “rebuild” in one of his questions. Pelini replied with a statement to the effect of, “I’m not here to rebuild, I’m here to win now.” At the time I thought, well we probably won’t win big right away in 2008 or even 2009 but the fact that he’s not backing away from expectations was refreshing.

The Huskers started the Pelini era with a 9-4 record winning six of their last seven games including a come-from-behind 26-21 win over Clemson in the Gator Bowl.

It is refreshing to see the Huskers in a much different light than the psychologically wounded club that limped to a 5-7 season in 2007. Granted, the 2009 Nebraska squad will hardly evoke memories of the 1993-1997 teams that went 60-3 but you just get the sense that this Husker coaching regime is here to build a program as opposed to just survive from year-to-year.

A few other snap shots at what Pelini addressed as the Huskers begin spring practice:

-- The coaching staff is taking the right approach with true-freshman-to-be quarterback Cody Green, who is expected to miss at least the first week of spring drills with a hip injury. Green finished high school early and enrolled at Nebraska in December.

-- Linebacker LaTravis Washington (cousin of former Husker cornerback Fabian Washington) has moved to quarterback. Keep in mind, Washington was a high school quarterback. The departure of Patrick Witt also created a void. Does that mean the Huskers have fully closed the door on potential transfer Robert Marve (late of the University of Miami? Suffice it to say, I don’t think Washington makes the change if Witt is still in the program.

-- Offensive line was viewed as a position of solid depth but with Javoirio Burkes out indefinitely with a medical condition, the Huskers can ill-afford any more setbacks on the O-Line.

-- Lots of talk revolves around the quarterbacks but the best position battle might be at linebacker.

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