Spring practice, Nebrasketball Search and Husker Hardball traits

By at March 17, 2012 | 11:22 AM | Print

Spring practice, Nebrasketball Search and Husker Hardball traits

Every week, the Husker Locker staff sits down after being presented a number of questions addressing various aspects of Nebraska Cornhuskers sports. With no prior knowledge of the other panelists’ answers, here are their thoughts:

This week:

What’s the vibe you get after Nebraska’s first three spring practices?

Brian: That not only both sides of the ball have some serious competition going, but there is also a refining of roles, if you will.

There are the lines that we’ve heard before (Taylor’s footwork/confidence level, involvement of Kyler Reed, rotation on the O-Line). Did these statements just have the dust blown off a few days ago?

Do fans want these things to happen? Of course, but there’s a big difference between the first few spring practices, and a Big Ten away game in November with a BCS berth on the line.

Brandon: It’s hard to get much out of three practices, but if anything sticks out, it’s not just how willing new defensive backs coach Terry Joseph is to speak with the media, but how open he’s been. I like his style when it comes to earning your spot as a player and as a coach.

You earn the starting spot, but he also has to earn the players’ trust and respect. If that’s how it really goes down, I’m not nominating him for an award yet, but he has encouraging habits.

Pick a coach, any coach for Nebraska’s next men’s roundball gig.

Brian: Phil Jackson (you said any coach!).

I’m taking John Groce. What he did against Michigan proves how good of a coach he is. Furthermore, he’s built Ohio from the ground up with the Bobcats improving every year.

Nebraska basketball is going to suffer next year (at what level, who knows?), but Groce is the man you can trust to take a team at the bottom and improve them every year.

Brandon: I find myself getting more and more enamored with the idea of snagging Ohio’s John Groce.

One of the essential components of having a successful athletic program is a head coach who can scare the hell out of you. If Nebraska wants to make the official break for Groce, I’ve got bad news: Ohio can take South Florida.

After the Bobcats and Bulls both knocked off their higher seeded opponent, I see no reason Groce can’t take Ohio into the Sweet Sixteen.

Don’t think his value doesn’t go up with every step forward Ohio takes. I can’t even say they have no shot of advancing to the Elite Eight. If you’re a Nebraska basketball fan, you’re rooting for South Florida to win tomorrow.

Is there a trait you like most about Darin Erstad’s hardballers?

Brian: I do like that this team is relentless from the first pitch to the twenty-seventh out and beyond sometimes. The bullpen has also stepped up in a big way.

However, the two things that worry me are the slow starts on both sides of the ball and the pitching starters. While the bats went crazy yesterday putting up three touchdowns, Louisiana Tech did have 10 hits through eight innings.

Even though they scored only three runs, that’s one-plus hit per inning, meaning you have that many baserunners per inning. This has to get better before Big Ten play.

The team WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched) was hovering around 1.7 for Nebraska before Louisiana Tech, which is a horrible number. It needs to shrink to 1.35-1.4 prior to the conference slate.

Brandon: I can’t remember the last time I saw a college baseball team that looked so punch-you-in-the-mouth aggressive.

After years of Mike Anderson’s Wait-and-See approach, it’s refreshing to see a club that gets after it, and this is important, has faith that they’ll be successful by doing so. This is a team that people will pay to see night after night and rightfully so.

Who’s in your Final Four?

Brian: Wanna know how many brackets I filled out for this tourney? Zero. None. In my estimation, it’s much easier to enjoy something like this without worrying about what my bracket looks like. Final Four? Mizzo…wait, Duk…oh dear.

On a side note, yes we all know the lane violation is a rule, but please show me every instance it was called in the regular season and conference tournament season.

Both times this “rule” (which it turns out isn’t even a rule in the NBA) has cost the team charged with it a victory. UNC-Asheville and Notre Dame were victims of officials that wanted to control the game instead of letting the players decide the outcome, and that’s a shame.

The NCAA punished two players who hustled and got into position for a rebound, especially in the UNCA/Syracuse game. Quit being a Ted Valentine or Ed Hightower and making the game all about you. No one drops 90 dollars per ticket for a two-game session to hear you blow the whistle. Change the rule and get it right.

Brandon: I always promise myself I’m going to stop doing this next year.

It’s still intact (as of this writing), so that’s a plus. I’ve got Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina and Ohio State with the Wildcats beating the Buckeyes to take home nets.

Follow the panel on Twitter:

Brandon: @huskerlocker
Brian: @btbowling
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