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  1. 2011 Dec 02

    Husker Heartbeat 12/02: Pelini Denies FAU Move, Ron Brown Stands by Sacrifice and Initial NU Bowl Interest

    4,538 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - Nebraska defensive coordinator denies taking the head coaching position at Florida Atlantic

    - Running backs coach Ron Brown stands by the idea that success is forged off the field just as much as on it

    - No Big Ten Championship? No problem. Bowl game package sales are booming despite the lack of a Cornhusker contingent in Indianapolis.

    - The Husker volleyballers pummel Jackson State into a fine paste with a 3-0 sweep

    - Nebraska volleyball head coach John Cook gets a dig of his own in at the NCAA selection committee

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    Tags: carl pelini, ron brown, big ten, volleyball, john cook

  2. 2011 Dec 01

    Husker Heartbeat 12/01: Heroes Game Not Official, Selfish Nebrasketball and Volleyball's Blackshirts

    2,292 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - Runge: The Heroes Game isn't a rivalry until the Hawkeyes walk away winners

    - Doc Sadler's bunchwas simply too selfish in Nebraska's loss to Wake Forest

    - Nebraska volleyball puts as much emphasis on defense as Bo Pelini's Blackshirts

    - Shatel: This year's season taught NU volleyball head coach John Cook a thing or two

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    Tags: heroes game, iowa, basketball, volleyball, john cook

  3. 2011 Nov 01

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Press Conference Notes (Post-Michigan State)

    1,483 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    - On Sunday, Nebraska junior setter Lauren Cook was arrested for driving with a suspended license and fleeing from an accident just before noon. John Cook began the press conference by releasing a statement on the issue, as well as confirming his daughter is still on the team.

    - “Days like this, I wish my kid was a sorority girl. It wouldn’t be that big of an issue then,” Cook said.

    - Cook briefly discussed whether Lauren would play this weekend or not: “We’re working through with how we are going to resolve that. We have procedures in place.”

    - Bo Pelini started the press conference by saying this weekend’s game versus Northwestern will be a nice test for the team, “(Northwestern) has a well though out offense…they do some things that are fairly unique.”

    - For those who believe Pelini had a hand in the defense's performance this past weekend, the head coach said: “I’ve got a pretty good idea of what it takes to play a good defense.”

    - Pelini also talked about the process of attaining individual team goals saying, “You hope that each week you get a little bit better.”

    - Pelini fielded several questions about the Blackshirts, which were handed out Saturday after the game: “I think it’s a great tradition and it’s something we have embraced.”

    - “I don’t really care what people outside think,” Pelini said about the past traditions on Blackshirts. “When you feel the time is right, you go for it.”

    - When asked about his starting quarterback, Pelini said, “I think Taylor has come a long way.”

    - Pelini also praised Martinez’s game management saying, “He’s got that deep voice, like a 70-year-old man when he’s out there.”

    - Pelini finished the press conference by talking about Rex Burkhead and his much needed rest: “He’s actually feeling pretty good today, but we’ll limit him, especially early in the week.”

    - Brandon Kinnie talked about Martinez and his leadership: “It’s been great. It’s been good seeing him grow.”

    - “The tempo is finally coming around,” Kinnie said about the offense.

    - Kinnie said the team has come a long way and the losing to the Badgers brought them together. He also noted it inspired the team to work harder: “After the loss to Wisconsin, we knew we had to win out to get to the Big Ten Championship.”

    - Rex Burkhead admitted he is sore today. When asked where he is the most sore, he said, “Definitely legs, that’s where you get hit a lot during the games.”

    - “I love being out there. I love playing and competing with the guys,” Burkhead said about his team and playing with them.

    - While Pelini spoke about not completely overhauling his mechanics, Martinez said, "I think I have one of the quickest releases in the nation - a lot of coaches have told me that."

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    Tags: lauren cook, john cook, bo pelini, northwestern, brandon kinnie, taylor martinez, rex burkhead

  4. 2011 Sep 20

    Press Conference Notes (Post-Washington)

    770 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    This weeks presser got off to a little late start, featuring as always volleyball head coach John Cook followed by head coach Bo Pelini and his team. This week featured Kenny Bell, Yoshi Hardrick, Rex Burkhead, and Ciante Evans. Here are a few of the highlights:

    - Nebraska’s head volleyball coach John Cook talked about the Big Ten opener versus Penn State. Said the atmosphere should be big and the reason people come to play for Nebraska. “When you’ve won four national championships, you obviously have a deep belief in what you’re doing as a program,” Jon Cook said about Penn State.

    - “It’ll be the showcase of college volleyball Saturday night,” John Cook said.

    - Kenny Bell was up first to talk about Saturday’s game: “We’re going to be looking to get better every week.”

    - “We’re going to treat it like every other week,” Bell on Wyoming. “You never want to be complacent or pleased with how you’re doing.”

    - Bell stressed that consistency is key: “We proved we can move the ball on the ground and in the air.”

    - When asked about the defense, Bell stressed that the offense and defense are very much one team: “I wouldn’t say we carry the defense. We have no resentment towards the defense. It’s a football game. No one can be perfect.”

    - Bell was also quick to note that the offense is working hard at putting points on the board: “As an offense, we are expected to put points on the board and that’s what we do.”

    - “You all got your stop watches on?” Bo Pelini immediately started Monday’s press conference by commenting on the media’s criticism of how long he spoke last week (1:56 to be exact). “It was 1:56 of questions,” Pelini said.

    - “We’re going to grow a lot from what has happened,” Pelini said about the defense. “You’re never at the point you want to be at Week Three.” He also stressed that that applies to the whole team, not just the defense.

    - On the changes the team will make going forward: “You just stay the course. That’s what I’ve learned over a long period of time. You don’t make rash adjustments.”

    - Status of Alfonzo Dennard from Pelini: “Dennard will practice today. I think he’s doing a lot better.”

    - “I don’t think we played very smart Saturday,” Pelini said.

    - Bo Pelini talked a little bit about Wisconsin, saying that it is all about the process and living in the moment: “I don’t worry about our guys looking ahead.”

    - “Practice means a lot around here,” Pelini said about his team.

    - Pelini on the size of Wyoming’s stadium (30,000 seats): “I didn’t know that until you said that. I’m sure it will be full and will be a good crowd. As far as I know, the field is still the same size.”

    - Yoshi Hardrick talked about the impact of keeping fresh legs in the game saying the offense rotated every two series or so.

    - “All we can do is get better,” Hardrick said referring to the team overall.

    - “Funniest game I ever played,” Hardrick said about new starter Seung Hoon Choi. Hardrick also had people laughing telling how Choi and Wyoming’s #74 were talking to each other and what they were saying.

    - Rex Burkhead talked and joked a bit about quarterback Taylor Martinez and his slides on Saturday: “He came over to me in the huddle and said, ‘Did you see me slide for the first time?’”

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    Tags: rex burkhead, bo pelini, yoshi hardrick, john cook

  5. 2011 Sep 08

    Nebraska Tops Creighton in Volleyball

    906 views

    By DrNaumann

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    The Nebraska Cornhusker Volleyball team defeated Creighton tonight in Lincoln. The "home team" was steady throughout the night winning all three sets.

    The Cornhuskers overcame an early Creighton lead, but that was soon forgotten as the team sailed to a 25-14 victory. The second set was much tighter at 26-24, but the third set was never close as Nebraska took an easy 25-16 triumph.

    Nebraska Cornhusker Volleyball, September 8: 25-14, 26-24, 25-16

    Tags: nebraska volleyball, creighton volleyball, john cook

  6. 2011 Aug 26

    Husker Heartbeat 8/26: Brion in Waiting, True Freshman OL Holds Top Spot and Doc's Dunking Fridge

    4,720 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - QB Brion Carnes is waiting for his time to shine

    - True freshman Tyler Moore is tops at right tackle

    - JUCO DE Transfer Joseph Carter makes a hard push for playing time

    - The Big Red offense continues to make progress

    - Doc Sadler gets a commitment from a "a 6-foot-9 refrigerator who can dunk”

    - John Cook sees the benefit of the volleyball team's start on the road

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    Tags: brion carnes, tyler moore, joseph carter, doc sadler, john cook

  7. 2011 Aug 12

    Husker Heartbeat 8/12: Pelini's 'Sanctuary', Big Red Around the Globe and NU Alphabet Soup

    2,864 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - Bo Pelini adapts to challenges outside his 'sanctuary'

    - BTN's online streaming options a.k.a.getting Big Red sports worldwide

    - More than X's and O's for Husker receivers

    - An optimist's look at the 2011 Cornhusker football season

    - Linebacker Graham Stoddard is pushing for playing time at SAM

    - John Cook: Nebraska has the elements to meet high expectations

    - Nebrasketball strengthens its schedule

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    Tags: bo pelini, btn, john cook, graham stoddard

  8. 2011 Mar 16

    Husker Heartbeat 3/16: Delany, Cassidy, Rex, Doc and Big Ten

    2,120 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.


    *We start with Big Ten commish Jim Delany this morning, who talked at a business ethics conference in Omaha, specifically about how the NCAA must be more transparent about its investigations. Delany even suggested that conferences start publishing self-reported violations, of which there are about 300 per year in the Big Ten.

    Lee B asked a perfectly good question: Why shouldn't the Big Ten just lead the way?

    "“If we do it by ourselves and others don't do it,” Delany said, “it looks like we're the ones who have all the issues and all the problems.”"

    And here is where Nebraska folks will begin to have a small-but-real frustration with Delany and the Big Ten. High talk. Not quite as much sacrifice to go along with that talk.

    *Austin Cassidy will play Peso or safety - whatever gets him on the field more quickly.

    *Ron Brown will help make the running backs a tougher bunch, Rex Burkhead believes.

    *More on UNO, as a state senator tries to save football and wrestling and Tom Shatel adds a few more thoughts to his two published columns.

    *Thanks to Huskers Brandon Ubel and Caleb Walker, Nebraska basketball has some sense of Wichita State

    *In volleyball, John Cook is preparing his team for a move to the Big Ten - where the volleyball is more about power than speed.

    *In Happy Valley, Penn State wants one of several young QBs to take firm control of the starting job. One of them, Robert Bolden, considered transferring after the year because he wasn't allowed to win back his starting job after an injury at Minnesota. PSU QB coach Jay Paterno took the appropriate heat for it:

    When Bolden got hurt against Minnesota, he got Wally Pipped. McGloin started the last six games, completing 118 of 215 passes for 1,548 yards with 14 scores, nine picks and a rating of 128.48. Bolden stewed through the second half and considered a transfer. A meeting with head coach Joe Paterno convinced Bolden to stay.

    “Bolden didn’t play much down the stretch,” Jay Paterno said. “He probably should have. That was on me, not on him. He wanted to know, 'Is the competition going to be realistic? Have you guys made your mind up?' Joe said no. Joe told him and his dad, ‘I’ve been doing this for 60-something years. I’ve built up a lot of trust. If I tell you it’s an open competition, you have to have a little faith in me.'”

    *South Carolina's Stephen Garcia has been suspended again.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, ron brown, austin cassidy, rex burkhead, john cook, mens hoops, tom shatel, big ten, jim delany

  9. 2010 Dec 02

    Podcast 12/2: Martinez Update

    10,497 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Please enable Javascript, or download the podcast here.



    See also: All-time NU-OU team

    Tags: podcasts, volleyball, mens hoops, john cook, taylor martinez, big 12 championship

  10. 2010 Sep 19

    VOLLEYBALL: Huskers Bump Buffs

    346 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    No drama for Nebraska’s volleyball team Saturday night, as the No. 4 Huskers stomped all over 3-5 Colorado 25-13, 25-7, 25-17 in front of 4,113 fans at the NU Coliseum.

    Lindsey Licht and Brooke Delano again were the keys, finishing with 11 kills apiece. Hannah Werth had 7 kills on 11 swings. Kayla Banwarth had a match-high 23 digs. The Huskers helped their own cause with five service aces, as well.

    Tags: volleyball, brooke delano, lindsey licht, john cook

  11. 2010 Aug 29

    VOLLEYBALL: Licht, Huskers Steamroll Kentucky

    366 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    On its opening night at the Runza/AVCA Classic in Omaha, the Nebraska volleyball team tried on the hype and found it fit like a glove.

    The No. 2 Huskers smashed No. 14 Kentucky Saturday 25-9, 25-14, 25-20 in front of 5,863 fans at the Qwest Center, unveiling its 6-2 setter system and steamrolling the Wildcats with lightning-quick attacks from left-side hitter Lindsey Licht. who finished with 14 kills on just 20 attempts. Outside hitter Hannah Werth - picking up where she left off at the end of last year, was excellent as well, with 11 kills on 21 attempts.

    “It was fun, everybody was out there working hard," Licht said. "We all feed off of each other’s energy so when we’re out there playing it’s a great time, it’s fun.”

    Setters Sydney Anderson and Lauren Cook combined for 33 assists. Kayla Banwarth pitched in six assists and 20 digs, many of which kept alive Husker rallies and thwarted some of UK's best scoring chances.

    "That is something we’ve been talking about all year, trying to suffocate teams, keep the pressure on them with our serving and defense and of course, siding out," head coach John Cook said.

    Cook said the Wildcats looked tenative, and they did, hitting -.10 for the night. Some of UK's best attacks were dug by Banwarth. Nebraska hit just .267 - low for such a lopsided win - but had nine team blocks.

    Sunday: A match vs. No. 13 Florida, which gutted out a tough four-set win over No. 9 Iowa State.

    Tags: volleyball, lindsey licht, john cook, kayla banwarth, hannah werth

  12. 2010 Aug 25

    Husker Heartbeat 8/25: Buffalo Power Play?

    425 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.


    *Colorado threatens to stay for an extra year in the Big 12 if Dan Beebe and Co. don't budge on exit fees. Yes, CU's that hard up for money. Yes, so is the Big 12. What a wonderfully awful marriage that would be in 2011-2012.

    *Yet another Husker poster.

    *OWH: Bo may not think Eric Martin's has consistency, but Martin's still looking for it.

    *More on Tray Robinson and some of the obstacles he's overcome.

    *The things some folks will do tickets to the Nebraska vs. Washington game.

    *John Cook and Bo Pelini seem to be on the same page when it comes to naming starters before game one.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, dontrayevous robinson, dan beebe, colorado, big 12, john cook, bo pelini

  13. 2010 Aug 12

    NEBRASKA VOLLEYBALL: NU Picked to Win Big 12

    593 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    After finishing third in the Big 12 last season, Nebraska's volleyball team Wedensday was picked by league coaches as the overwhelming favorite to win the conference.

    NU received 9 of 11 first-place votes. Texas grabbed the other two. Because coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team, John Cook accounted for one of the Longhorns' two votes.

    Four Huskers - senior setter Sydney Anderson, senior libero Kayla Banwarth, junior middle blocker Brooke Delano, and sophomore outside hitter Hannah Werth - were selected to the giant preseason All-Big 12 team. None were unanimous selection.

    The preseason awards:

    1. Nebraska (9) 98
    2. Texas (2) 91
    3. Iowa State 84
    4. Oklahoma 65
    5. Missouri 63
    6. Baylor 52
    7. Texas A&M 48
    8. Kansas 38
    9. Kansas State 37
    10. Texas Tech 15
    11. Colorado 14

    PRESEASON ALL-BIG 12 AWARDS
    Preseason Player of the Year: Juliann Faucette, Texas -- OH, Sr., 6-2, San Diego, Calif./Westview

    Preseason Newcomer of the Year: Justine Young, Texas Tech -- MB/OH, Jr., 6-1, Sacramento, Calif./Des Moines Area CC

    Preseason Freshman of the Year: Molly Kreklow, Missouri -- S, 6-0, Delano, Minn. /Delano

    Tags: volleyball, john cook, sydney anderson, hannah werth, kayla banwarth, brooke delano

  14. 2010 Aug 12

    NEBRASKA VOLLEYBALL: Cook: We'll Consider Devaney

    634 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    One day after Lincoln voters approved funding for Haymarket Arena, Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne broached the possibility of moving the Huskers’ volleyball program from NU Coliseum to the Bob Devaney Sports Center once the basketball teams vacated.

    Head coach John Cook wasn’t too keen on that shift at the time. He expressed no interest in Devaney’s “leftovers,” preferring to explore building a new arena for the Huskers, or stay in the Coliseum.

    Cook changed course at his team’s Media Day Wednesday. He’s on board with a survey sent out by NU’s athletic department that gauges fan interest designed to see if there’s enough ticket demand for a retrofitted, 7,000-8,000-seat venue in Devaney.

    Considering NU hosted 9 of 10 largest crowds in college volleyball history - all over 10,000 at the Devaney or Omaha’s Qwest Center - it’s safe to say the demand is there.

    “I had a doctor’s appointment and I had the whole staff there begging me for tickets, including the doctor,” Cook said. “‘How do we get in? How do we get in? How can I get tickets?’ I think there is a pent up demand. We really need to grow our fan base.”

    Devaney could work, Cook said, provided Osborne and the athletic department could meet a list of “things I wanted” - including, potentially, skyboxes. The list had eight items overall.

    “We want it to look like a volleyball arena,” Cook said. “When you walk into (NU Coliseum) it feels like a volleyball arena when it is all set up. It has to have that feel. They are working on it.”

    If Cook was “in charge for a day,” he’d build a new arena, he said. Although shared with the women’s basketball program, Creighton’s Sokol Arena should help the Bluejays upgrade their program.

    "We have to try and look at what we have,” Cook said.

    “Devaney now is providing a possible opportunity for the expansion of Nebraska volleyball. I think that survey is going to tell us how much interest is there really.”

    Tags: volleyball, john cook

  15. 2010 Aug 12

    Podcast 8/12: Cook Confident

    326 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Tags: podcasts, football, fall camp, mike smith, bo pelini, volleyball, john cook

  16. 2010 May 21

    NU Volleyball Announces 2010 Slate

    890 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The names on it are perhaps a little less familiar, but non-conference portion of the 2010 Nebraska volleyball schedule features the same buffet of NCAA Tournament teams - plus a homecoming for All-American setter Sydney Anderson.

    "This schedule will test us throughout the year," Nebraska Coach John Cook said. "The reason we scheduled this way is because we want to be ready for start of the Big 12.

    NU released its slate Friday while on a three-week trip to China. The Huskers kick off the season with their customary trip to the Runza/AVCA Showcase at Omaha's Qwest Center; Florida and Kentucky will be the opponents there. Nebraska also travels to the BYU Invitational for three matches - one of them vs. the Cougars - to give Sydney Anderson, who transferred from Utah, a chance to play in front of friends and family.

    The annual Ameritas Classic field features Illinois, Dayton and Western Michigan. The Illini finished 26-6 last year and return five starters. Some tab them a potential challenger for Penn State's supremacy in the Big Ten. Dayton won 30 games last year. Nebraska plays two in NU Coliseum, and Illinois at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

    "We feel that the Ameritas Players Challenge is one of the premier tournaments in the country," Cook said. "We know Illinois is a top-five team. Dayton is an experienced team that beat everyone they faced in the spring and has the potential to be in the top 15 during the season.

    Nebraska also travels to Creighton's new volleyball arena for the first time.

    Tags: volleyball, john cook

  17. 2010 May 13

    Husker Heartbeat 5/13: Cook, Crick, Prince, Doc, Dan, Cruise and Cruz

    570 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.

    Cool? Cool!


    *Lindy’s makes Jared Crick and Prince Amukamara preseason All-Americans. We can definitely get behind that notion.

    *Steve Sipple and Tom Shatel both write pieces pondering the future of Nebraska basketball in the wake of the Haymarket Arena vote passing. Do not be surprised if Doc Sadler - regardless of how he does next season - gets a healthy amount of patience from both.

    *Now volleyball coach John Cook wants a new arena- not Devaney’s “leftovers.” A bit brazen, don’t you think? Plus, middle blocker Hayley Thramer will miss this year with a torn labrum.

    *Dan Beebe talks to 810 WHB and Kevin Keitzman, saying little to nothing. Keitzman tries to spin it into the story of the day.

    *The Pac 10 hires CAA, the agents of Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz, to handle its media deal and expansion opportunities.

    *A St. Louis columnist suggests Missouri is a better fitfor the Big Ten than Nebraska.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, tom shatel, steve sipple, john cook, prince amukamara, jared crick, big ten expansion

  18. 2010 May 10

    Husker Heartbeat 5/10: More Big Ten, Arena, Harvey and the 2010 Bowl Lineup

    758 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.

    Cool? Cool!



    *Tom Shatel supports the arena in Haymarket. I’ll argue for it myself on Tuesday, but never trust we sports journalists on these matters. They never have to pay a dime to watch the games. Their self-interest lies in a state-of-the-art building; it makes their job easier, and potentially more fun.

    *LJS Sipple likes Harvey Perlman’s power-broker role in conference expansion chats. Agreed. Perlman’s had some rocky moments in his tenure as UNL’s chancellor, but he’ll go down as one of the most influential in history. And if NU gets into the Big Ten…

    *Now the Tulsa World wades into the Big Ten expansion debate, finding some anonymous source from down south to piss and moan about Nebraska and Missouri’s interest in leaving the league. It’s a regular game of telephone, with journalists utterly unwilling, it seems, to get a soul on the record.

    *Nebraska volleyball John Cook isn’t a drama queen like Urban Meyer, but he knows what it’s like to hit the wall as a coach - and he’s trying to do something about it.

    *The Tennessee attorney general decides that the SEC can restrict and put conditions on the kind of coverage newspapers and TV stations provide. Should this scare the media? Nah. Just take it to court. The U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary. If you want the rights, fight for them. Or, here’s a novel thought: Cover something else. Stop sending 11 reporters to a college football game.

    *The 2010-2011 Bowl Schedule.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, tom shatel, steve sipple, harvey perlman, sec, john cook

  19. 2009 Dec 14

    Husker Monday Takes: And a Prince Shall Lead Them?

    639 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Now that we've segued rather brusquely into the bowl season – which itself is the doorstep to the offseason, if you ask me – we'll be busting out these Monday columns, as usual, with a twist: Instead of five players we loved, we'll give you six strong takes on news in and around Husker sports. Don't worry – heavy dose of the pigskin, still. And we'll have a special bowl review, too.

    One with the Monday fun!

    *The Heisman vote is a total bummer, of course; Ndamukong Suh should have won, and he had zero business finishing fourth behind, of all people, Texas' Colt McCoy. Clearly, a good chunk chunk of the voters didn't bother waiting until championship week. How thoughtful of them.

    You know what else is a sham? Votes equally apportioned by region. Not only does that ignore the population quotient – the West Region has far more people in it than most of the geographical subsections – it hands 145 votes to the Northeast Region, which is, essentially, New England.

    Want to guess how many Division I programs are in the entire region? Five. Army, Syracuse, Buffalo, Connecticut and Boston College. Even if one assumes that a good chunk of the votes go to ESPN (located in Bristol, Connecticut) you're still awarding votes to a region where baseball and college basketball reign supreme. How often – if ever again – will that region have a player in the Heisman running?

    One-sixth of the Heisman race should not be decided by a region with no dog in the fight.

    *Before pigskin pundits automatically hand the defense from Suh to fellow defensive tackle Jared Crick, may we gently suggest that the real heir apparent to Suh's excellence, in least in 2010, is cornerback Prince Amukamara. Surprised? Don't be. At 6-foot-1, Amukamara is the perfect size for boundary corner, and his first-team All-Big 12 selection was well-earned. Not only does he have the superior physical tools for his position – much like Suh had – Amukamara is surrounded by talent in what could be the nation's best secondary next year.

    Not that Crick won't be excellent. I just think Amukamara is more symbolic of the defense's strength in 2010.

    *Head coach Bo Pelini needs to use the bowl preparation as a laboratory for new players and ideas on offense. He doesn't necessarily need to unveil them in the bowl game. But he should use the time between now and, oh, Dec. 27 as a training ground for 2010. Open up the toolbox. Look hard at using the Wildcat – either with Rex Burkhead or Taylor Martinez or Roy Helu – for a power running game.

    *Enough of this panic and nonsense over losing Tyler Gabbert to Missouri. Yes – it stinks because Nebraska wasted so much time on the kid. But, other than that: Develop what you have. Martinez didn't fall off the back of a produce truck. Ron Kellogg III quietly had a nice year on the scout team. Cody Green darn well better be ready to take over in 2010, given his experiences this year. Zac Lee? Had his chance in games. He practices too much better than he plays in games. Pelini, of course, always wants his guys to practice well. But he'll also reserve his final judgment for when “the bullets are flying.”

    *Didn't write much about volleyball this year – but watched enough of it. John Cook squeezed as much juice out of this 2009 team as he could. In 2010, with another stellar recruiting class (and Penn State in slight rebuilding mode) NU can make a harder run at the national title. The key, to me? Turning the offense over to outside hitter Hannah Werth. Build it around one of the better athletes in Husker history, and get Lindsey Licht and Tara Mueller to fill supporting roles behind her. Make Werth a captain, too, for that matter. Will Cook, used to relying on quiet giants like Sarah Pavan, pull the trigger on the shorter, ultra-competitive Werth? If he wants to win the national title, he will.

    *The Nebraska men's basketball team will round into shape as a defensive stalwart by the Big 12 season. The question is: Will the offense come around? It's not looking terrific so far. Against USC, Oregon State. Saint Louis and Creighton – the four strongest teams on NU's schedule thus far – the Huskers have averaged 51 points, and possessions have, once, again, ticked down to the end of the shot clock, with little ball movement on dribble penetration in sight. The Big 12 is just too grueling for NU to play like that. It's twice as tough this year as it was last, as Iowa State, Texas Tech and Kansas State – heck, even Colorado – are much stronger.

    Tags: husker monday takes, prince amukamara, doc sadler, volleyball, mbb, hannah werth, john cook

  20. 2009 Dec 12

    VOLLEYBALL: Texas Ends NU's Season

    387 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    For a set Saturday night, it appeared that at least one Nebraska team was about to pound a stake through the heart of Texas' national championship dreams.

    The tenth-seeded NU volleyball squad had just taken the first game from No. 2 UT in the NCAA regional final, and a hugely partisan Husker crowd at the Qwest Center – who had seen performances like this so many times before – were bubbling over with noise and confidence.

    But the senior-laden Longhorns – led by the best college athlete in America right now, Destinee Hooker – wiped the blood off their collective lip and unleashed some of their best volleyball of the season. Over the next hour, all the flaws of a tough-but-young Nebraska team – so-so serving, inconsistent defense, minor blips in communication – resurfaced, and Texas, quieting a stunned-but-impressed crowd, steamrolled to a 21-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-17 victory to advance to the Final Four in Tampa.

    “That’s a very experienced team, and they played better than us tonight,” NU coach John Cook said. “We don’t feel like we played our best, and I’m sure the girls will say that, but you have to give some credit to Texas for taking that and putting the pressure on us.”

    Texas (28-1) struggled in the opening set as Nebraska (26-7) used a quick, effective attack to build an early lead. Outside hitters Hannah Werth and Tara Mueller landed some early kills. Left-side Lindsey Licht continued her hot play. UT uncharacteristically committed eight errors, as the crowd of nearly 10,000 at the Qwest seemed to unnerve the favored the Longhorns, who had unraveled one year before in the Final Four on the same floor.

    “We came out a little bit shaky and made some uncharacteristic errors early in game one,” UT coach Jerrit Elliot said. “(We) never gave up, we showed a lot of mental toughness, and we battled from every aspect. You want the season to go on.”

    UT didn't waver in set two. Nebraska did, committing 10 errors. Werth hit wide several times – she finished with only seven kills on the night. Texas' middle block came over to neutralize NU's best offense for much of November, Kori Cooper and Brooke Delano. Once Texas took a 17-16 lead in the set, they rolled to the victory.

    Hooker, the 6-4 senior who the nation's best high jumper as well as one of the nation's best volleyball players, dominated the last half of the match. She finished with a game-high 18 kills and four aces. NU struggled to locate and defend her jump serve all night.

    “Our game plan was good against her, but she hurt us with her jump serve,” Cook said. “They move her around so it makes her hard to defend. She’s a special player and she’s a senior, and we’ll see if she can get it done and win a national championship.”

    Tags: volleyball, john cook

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