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  1. 2011 Aug 25

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: The Most Overrated and Underrated Huskers of The Last Decade

    6,874 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    The words “overrated” and “underrated” come out often when you want to compare players, coaches, broadcasters and other sports personalities. Whether you have intense anger towards a player or coddle a coach, others are more than happy to tell you why you’re wrong. There’s no better evidence of this than on the internet.

    Why not join the fray as the days tick down towards Nebraska’s first kickoff of the 2011 season? Keep in mind, these are only my opinions and do not reflect those of anyone else writing for the site.

    OFFENSE:

    Underrated: Nate Swift, Todd Peterson, Terrence Nunn

    The reason I listed all three players is that when they were upperclassmen, there was no better receiving corps in the Big 12 and one of the top sets in the nation. Swift ended up breaking the record for receptions by a Cornhusker, Peterson seemed to never drop a ball and Nunn made a big play when one was needed on about a 99-percent clip. Yes, the fumble against Texas in 2006 was awful, but that’s one play.

    These three were fantastic together and only now do Husker fans realize what they had with this trio. Imagine if you took these three then added Brandon Kinnie and Jamal Turner to the mix. Then you add in Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead? Unstoppable, I say.

    Overrated: Sam Keller

    This list is admittedly a long one. While there were some candidates that stood out such as Josh Gibson, Harrison Beck and Kenny Wilson to name a few, the list is topped by Keller. Not only did he come to Lincoln following a spat at Arizona State, but it appears that he was essentially promised the starting job.

    This kept Joe Ganz off the field. He might have salvaged some of what was the chemical-filled train wreck that was the 2007 season. To give Keller some credit if you found him these days as he’s waiting for the EA Sports/NCAA lawsuit to finish up, he could make you a mean Tom Collins.

    DEFENSE:

    Underrated: Keyuo Craver

    Craver was a great cornerback under Craig Bohl. He broke Mike Brown’s tackle record along with racking up seven picks and blocking four kicks during his time in Lincoln. He wasn’t the biggest guy at 5’11” and certainly not the fleetest of foot in the defensive backfield (that was DeJuan Groce).

    He was a great man-to-man defender. His interception of Jason White on the first play versus Oklahoma during the classic 2001 thriller set the tone for the Blackshirts for the entire game.

    Overrated: Corey McKeon

    McKeon was talented enough to play, however Corey was a few cards short of a full deck. His frying of the fans during the 2007 season, especially his defense of former DC Kevin Cosgrove, was decried across Husker Nation.

    I don’t blame Corey for being upset, but there’s a fine line between having your coach’s back and telling your own fans that you’re playing hard when you clearly mailed in two-thirds your performances during an entire season.

    Could you imagine how this would gone if Bo, Carl and Mike Ekeler had been on watch? Thank goodness that Ndamukong Suh didn’t listen to McKeon’s ramblings.

    COACHES:

    Underrated: Scott Downing

    Laugh all you want. Scott Downing has been ridiculed for his time as head coach at Northern Colorado. His record wasn’t great, heck it wasn’t even good. However, Downing was not only the lone remnant from the Solich/Osborne/Devaney era once Bill Callahan came around, but he also was the recruiting coordinator for Callahan’s famed 2005 recruiting cycle.

    While that class had some extreme whiffs in Harrison Beck, Justin Tomerlin, Leon Jackson and Rodney Picou, those unfortunate signings were alongside Ndamukong Suh, Zac Taylor, Zack Bowman, Marlon Lucky, Steve Octavien and Cody Glenn’s.

    While he was in Lincoln, Downing did a great job coaching Kyle Larson, too. Could you imagine the work that Downing, Ron Brown and John Papuchis could do as a tandem?

    Overrated: Bill Busch and Phil Elmassian

    These two share blame for the mockery of what was the 2007 Blackshirt defense. They both had promising starts to their Cornhusker careers. The 2005 secondary was respectable ending the season No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 10 nationally in pass efficiency. However, the 2007 season saw numbers that could rival the worst video game beatings put up on the secondary.

    Only once in the final nine games of the 2007 season did the defense give up less than 35 points. In that single game (Texas), Jammal Charles destroyed the Huskers with 216 rushing yards in the fourth quarter alone as Nebraska surrendered 25 points in 20 minutes.

    The debacle in Lawrence followed where Nebraska actually outgained Kansas through the air in yardage 405-354, but the Jayhawks ran for 218 yards in the 76-39 rout. Both coaches also chose both their words and actions poorly from Busch reportedly having to be restrained from going after fans to Elmassian telling media members that sacks are overrated.

    Honorable Mention: John Blake

    Blake only gets mention because while he was a fantastic recruiter and coach for Kevin Cosgrove’s defense, he also ended up being a very shady person.

    Could you imagine if Blake was still at Nebraska and the allegations that came to North Carolina’s doorstep regarding his ties to a agent were in Lincoln instead? Talk about dodging a rather hefty bullet.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: nate swift, todd peterson, terrence nunn, sam keller, keyuo craver, corey mckeon, scott downing, bill busch, phil elmassian

  2. 2011 Feb 14

    Husker Heartbeat 2/14: The Legacy of Watson

    7,896 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.


    *Now that Bo Pelini's put his stamp on this coaching staff, the various scribes are beginning to weigh in with solid perspectives.

    ^Our Husker Monday Takes

    ^OWH's Mitch Sherman interviews Barry Switzer and Pat Jones about why coaches need to hire their guys.

    ^LJS Sipple chats up Frank Solich to unearth some praise for Ross Els. Sipple also suggests Bo might simply announce his coaching hires with a press release. That'd be just like Bo - but a mistake.

    ^Tom Shatel, meanwhile talks to Tom Osborne about his first major staff turnover in the 1970s. After a slew of ugly losses to Oklahoma and some other disappointing setbacks in the mid-1970s, Osborne began to alter his coaching staff to fit his own identity.

    Interestingly enough, when Osborne hired Bo Pelini to return to NU, he didn't let Bo exactly bring his own offensive staff. He suggested Bo retain Shawn Watson. A good idea for exactly one year.

    Shatel seems to think that was OK. We don't. Again: You hire a guy for the job, he's gotta hire his guys, whoever those guys might be. Bo could have hired Rich Fisher three years ago; folks might have batted an eye, but he would have been here. Ditto for Tim Beck being offensive coordinator. He's really no more qualified for the role now than he was in 2008, is he? If that was Bo's guy back then - why retain Watson?

    It goes back the complex nature of NU's program. And it's a tough ending for Watson. Here's a guy who could have gone to Alabama, coached a true passing quarterback (Greg McElroy) and probably won a national title. He stayed loyal, however, to a school that seemed loyal to him. It was supposed to pay off in 2010. It didn't. He's gone, probably off to the NFL. Which isn't where Watson belongs.

    ^Finally John Bishop's puts in his two cents with a Special Sunday School. Any chance Bishop can find his way back on Sports Nightly to replace the two mouthpieces who currently host the show?

    *Five-year recruiting ranking average for Big Ten teams. Ohio State and Michigan are on top.

    *2011 recruit Todd Peat Jr. had plenty of preparation for college football - his dad, Todd, Sr., played in the NFL. As for Todd's brother Andrus, another highly-touted recruit...NU will have start all over to recruit him.

    *Even Hollywood doesn't want Sam Keller to win his lawsuit against the NCAA.

    *OWH's Mitch Sherman interviews Barry Switzer and Pat Jones about why coaches need to hire their guys.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, bo pelini, shawn watson, tim beck, rich fisher, mitch sherman, tom shatel, steve sipple, recruiting, todd peat, sam keller

  3. 2010 Jul 14

    Husker Heartbeat 7/14: Sam Keller, Walk-Ons and the SEC-Big Ten Challenge

    412 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!


    *Sam Keller’s lawsuit vs. EA Sports has yet to be resolved.

    *How about a SEC-Big Ten challenge?

    *NET’s Summer Big Ten Special, on tape.

    *Why Wyoming transfer Scott Criss is chasing the walk-on dream.

    *A memorial in Vail asks for grieving family members to wear red in remembrance of the boy who passed away.

    *The California-Berkeley chancellor is considering gutting Cal’s athletic department.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, sam keller, football, big ten

  4. 2009 May 06

    Sam Keller Takes On The Man

    7,779 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    More than 18 months after taking his final snap as a Nebraska quarterback, Sam Keller is choosing to challenge more formidable opponents: The NCAA and EA Sports.

    Keller has filed a lawsuit against the two entities for, “blatant and unlawful use of [NCAA] student likenesses” in a number of EA Sports’ college football games during his time at Arizona State and Nebraska without paying him for it. The “NCAA 08” game, for example, lists Keller at his approximate height and weight.

    “With rare exception, virtually every real-life Division I football or basketball player in the NCAA has a corresponding player in Electronic Arts' games with the same jersey number, and virtually identical height, weight, build and home state,” the lawsuit said. “In addition Electronic Arts often matches the player's, skin tone, hair color, and often even a player's hair style."

    Player ratings tend to be tied the presumed skills of an athlete before the beginning of the season.

    The lawsuit also contends that the NCAA looks the other way when gamers download rosters names from the Internet. On the most recent Playstation 3 version of the college football game, EA provides an option to download rosters created by other users.

    Here's a copy of the lawsuit. You have to admit...it's compelling.

    Should NU allow booze in the skyboxes?

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    Tags: sam keller

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