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  1. 2011 Apr 05

    Husker Heartbeat 4/5: A Full Big Red Buffet

    2,705 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.


    *Bo and Carl Pelini never stop evolving as defensive minds, and a new spin on the 50 defense is their latest development.

    *In a fairly candid interview with the AP's Eric Olson, Bo talks about living and learning after the 2010 season.

    *The Big Ten Network rolls into town and likes what it sees from the Huskers' workouts.

    *No shortage of depth on the defensive line.

    *Brandon Kinnie is adjusting to life with a more vocal, encouraging position coach in Rich Fisher.

    *Both the Big Ten and Big 12 bloggers rank NU at No. 13 in their spring top 25. Not that it's worth a whole lot.

    *OWH's Tom Shatel figures NU's baseball team can benefit from the new TD Ameritrade park - even if Creighton plays its home games there.

    *LJS Sipple suggests that the NCAA find a way to get more money to college football and basketball players. Perhaps increasing the scholarship limit? How is that going to be Title IX compliant? How will schools that make almost zero money somehow afford that.

    *Punter/kicker Brett Maher is ready to fill the shoes of Alex Henery. Maher came quite close to beating Henery for the punting job last year. He'll at least have that job next year. More than that? We'll see.

    *Tom Osborne and Bo Pelini said no to the Big Ten Network when it came to broadcasting the Red/White Spring Game. Osborne and Pelini believe the full house for the spring game is a great recruiting tool for visits.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, bo pelini, tim beck, tom shatel, ljs sipple, brett maher, tom osborne, 2011 spring game, rich fisher

  2. 2011 Mar 22

    Husker Heartbeat 3/22: Big Ten Goody Bag

    2,610 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.


    *First, 4 new views of the Haymarket Arena, just released. What do you think?

    *Five Sleepers for Spring Camp - guys whose name you haven't heard yet - but will.

    *Changes abound in the Big Ten, as ESPN's Adam Rittenberg releases his final coaching scorecard. He also takes a quick look at Wisconsin's opening of spring ball.

    *A short feature on Ciante Evans. He'll be challenged for the starting spot more than this article suggests.

    *UNO will lose some booster bucks in the wake of shutting down football and wrestling. But apparently not the big booster bucks that Tom Shatel thinks will build the new hockey arena.

    *The Big Ten will make a six-team hockey league.

    *OWH's Dirk Chatelain thinks Kansas should have a smooth ride to the Final Four now that the bottom half of its bracket has been blown to smithereens. KU probably does. Of course, it's also KU - which makes a career out of choking in these next two rounds.

    *ND suspends Michael Floyd indefinitely for a DUI. He could, in theory, declare for the NFL's Supplemental Draft if he so chooses. Alabama's best defensive player, Mark Barron, was arrested, too.

    *Chuck Long finally sells his San Diego home - for a big loss.

    *The Purdue quarterback race begins.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, big ten, uno, tom shatel, ciante evans

  3. 2011 Mar 21

    Husker Heartbeat 3/21: QBs, OLs, Big Ten, Big 12, and More Tressel

    688 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.


    *First, some sweet Husker License Plates from Texas. Hopefully those Lone Star folks leave this great Big Red fan alone when he tools around with those on his truck.

    *Our Husker Monday Takes is jam-packed with good stuff. Is Barney Cotton actually Tim Beck's new "pair of eyes?" How does Sean Fisher fit in to the Huskers' defense? Plus, more thoughts on Doc.

    *Now to the Nebraska quarterbacks, where the offense is asking them to make more plays and be more confident with their leadership. Meanwhile, Tom Shatel looks for Taylor Martinez to evolve as a quarterback. He writes:

    This is the part where I’m supposed to say Martinez would do himself good to talk to the media. That facing the music every day would help him mature, make him the man who would lead the Huskers through the thorn bushes and to the Rose Bowl.

    There’s some truth to that, I believe. But the fact is, reporters want Martinez to talk because they want a story.

    Martinez looks like a fascinating story. On those rare occasions he did speak after games last year, he flashed a raw innocence. He wasn’t wide-eyed. But there was a certain naiveté about him. He was fresh.

    I’d like him to open the door and let us get a better look. A lot of us have questions. We like to think it comes with the territory of being the Nebraska quarterback.

    Would it help beat Ohio State? No. Will it make Martinez a more capable leader? Nope.


    We don't agree on two fronts:

    1. A silent Martinez has been, in a sense, a terrific story. His silence is the story. And man, does it have legs to it. That's part of why the kid should talk - because, after he did, he'd no longer be the kid who doesn't talk.

    2. As on-field leaders, quarterbacks should answer questions after losses. That's part of the deal. They speak for the offense. Martinez never spoke after a single loss, and he only had the reasonable "injury" excuse after the Texas A&M game.

    *UNO's loss of football could be Nebraska's gain if Mavericks' All-America kicker Greg Zuerlein can get eligibility granted by the NCAA to jump to Division I. Zuerlien's leg is every bit as big as Adi Kunalic's booming right foot. He'd play - perhaps quite a bit.

    *Nebraska finished third behind Texas and Oklahoma in terms of football-related revenue in 2009-2010. Texas won by, let's see, $35 million. Its gap over OU is larger than the entire revenue made by eight other schools.

    The Longhorns better not have another losing season, in other words.

    Here's the list:

    University of Texas $93,942,815.00
    University of Oklahoma $58,295,888.00
    University of Nebraska $49,928,228.00
    Texas A&M $41,915,428.00
    Oklahoma State $32,787,498.00
    University of Colorado $26,233,929.00
    Texas Tech $26,201,009.00
    University of Missouri $25,378,066.00
    Iowa State $19,974,924.00
    University of Kansas $17,885,176.00
    Kansas State $17,570,624.00
    Baylor University $14,355,322.00


    Is it becoming more clear now why schools like Kansas State, Kansas and Iowa State are pretty much doomed in the new league? The finances are hilariously out of whack.

    *Of the 40 2011 recruits you need to know in the Big Ten, here's Nos. 30-21. Speaking of Big Ten, here's College Football News' Big Ten preview. Pretty basic, bland stuff there.

    *LJS Sipple cautions fans making too harsh a judgment on Jim Tressel. He writes:

    Think about it. Tressel every day sees those 102,000-plus seats in Ohio Stadium and understands his fervent fan base wants more, more and more. It's potentially intoxicating, the consistent success and pressure to expand on it.

    It can make a good man make poor decisions.

    Reading "The Winners Manual," it becomes clear Tressel is thoughtful, with plenty of humility. He stresses that he doesn't have all the answers and is searching like the rest of us.

    You hesitate to pass judgment too harshly on Tressel, because you understand that if he can stumble this badly, well, perhaps almost anyone in his shoes could. Many already have.

    "Jim Tressel's situation, that's jaywalking to me," former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer said recently. "This stuff has gone on forever."


    If we're Jim Tressel, we don't think we want Switzer being the voice of reason on this thing.

    We're not sure Tressel caved to the pressures of expectations, though. He could have built a perfectly good team without Terrelle Pryor and DeVier Posey last year. Maybe the Buckeyes lose, oh, three games instead of one. But the OSU fan base would have understood - and probably applauded Tressel for it.

    Rather, we think Tressel stepped outside the bounds of his job description - which is to manage an entire football team - to watch out for a couple of lost sheep. We can argue the merits of that - and whether there's a useful religious distinction to make. But we'd critique Tressel more as an enabler - a parent trying too hard to shield his "kids" from consequences - than a reed blown by the wind of every nasty fan letter.

    *Ivan Maisel, meanwhile, says fans shouldn't feel too bad for Tressel - considering he won't miss any prep time during the week.

    *Remember Tyler Gabbert? He's making his move in a bid to win Missouri's starting quarterback job.

    *ESPN's Adam Rittenberg tabs Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan as the best Big Ten player of 2010. The best returning player: Denard Robinson.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, barney cotton, taylor martinez, tom shatel, ljs sipple, jim tressel, big ten, big 12

  4. 2011 Mar 16

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

    2,120 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.


    *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

  5. 2011 Mar 09

    Husker Heartbeat 3/9: Bo, Beck, Doc, Logan Tressel and the Big Ten

    1,286 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.


    We got a big one today...enjoy!

    *Early reactions from Nebraska's stuffed spring football presser are in from Sam McKewon, LJS Sipple and Tom Shatel.

    We start with Tom, who gets a fireside chat with Bo Pelini after Bo's formal presser, allowing the head coach a considerably wide berth to explain his odd hiring and firing/parting ways/finding guys other jobs practices over the last two months.

    To the column!

    You want to know Bo? Don’t pay attention to the words. Pay attention to the actions.

    Pelini offered a peek into his soul this winter. Even as people were railing on about how he delayed the announcement of firings and hirings, Pelini was showing his wares.

    He didn’t want Watson or Gilmore on the streets until he had helped them find a job. Watson landed a quarterbacks coaching job at Louisville, without Pelini’s help. Gilmore landed at USC with Pelini’s assistance.

    “I had a plan the whole way,’’ Pelini said. “I knew exactly what I wanted to do, how I wanted to get there. I wanted to do it the right way for me, and for the guys. People may not agree with how I did it, but I have to do it the way I see fit.’’

    Would you do it the same way again?

    “Absolutely,’’ he said.

    “If I start making decisions based on what the fans want or what the media want ... I have to do it the way I feel is the right way. It may not be the right way for everybody. But at the end of the day, that’s how I had to do it. I stuck with it, and I’m happy I did.’’

    An ironic twist: Pelini said Watson wanted to leave. It was an amicable parting.

    “I consider Shawn a friend,’’ Pelini said. “He’s a tremendous coach. It got to the point where he couldn’t be right no matter what ...

    “There was such a negative air around everything ... It was his decision as much as anything. He had said, ‘I’ve got to move on.’ You get to the point where you get beat up the way he was getting beat up, I mean, he has goals. He’s done a lot in his career. It had become like the snowball was running so fast, it was out of control. He wanted to remove himself from the situation as much as anything else.’’


    Bo appears to be putting Watson's "parting of ways" on the fans and media. We're the source of negativity.

    To which we shrug. The recent past is still the past, but Watson was given parameters last year that made it very difficult for him to be right in the ways he wanted to be. Negativity wasn't that high on Watson through the first half of the year. Not even after the Iowa State game, when his Wildcat attack saved the Huskers' hide. But when Taylor Martinez returned as a starter considerably less than 100 percent, and Watson's up there using his usual "man, he's great" one-liners, it creates the wrong impression.

    LJS Sipple focuses on the potential strength of the defense and Carl Pelini's ascension to full-time defensive coordinator.

    *Ohio State's Jim Tressel gets atwo-game suspension and $250,000 fine after OSU self-reports a major NCAA violation. To hear Buckeye AD Gene Smith say it, a Yahoo report detailing that Tressel knew about a couple of his players selling bowl swag to a tattoo parlor dude eight months before his superiors did had nothing to do with the punishment. tOSU knew about Tressel's transgressions before the story hit the Interwebs.

    We buy that. What we don't buy were some of Tressel's ludicrous assertions about why he didn't alert his bosses to potential eligibility issues the minute he realized that two of his players were part of a relatively-unrelated federal investigation.

    ESPN's Mark Schlabach, who usually does a pretty middling job of writing anything, found a little anger for this one, and wrote perhaps the best of the national columns on the matter.

    Facing the biggest crisis of his career, Tressel never once apologized for knowingly breaking NCAA rules during a news conference on the Ohio State campus on Tuesday night. Worse, Tressel never owned up to not telling his bosses or NCAA investigators that he was aware that at least two of his players might have accepted improper benefits from the owner of a tattoo parlor in Columbus, Ohio.

    When Tressel was asked if he was worried the scandal would tarnish his reputation, he said he's always been his biggest critic.

    "I don't think less of myself at this moment," Tressel said.

    How's that for looking in the mirror?


    Here's another take from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

    We'll have our own take later in the week.

    *Speaking of the NCAA, it ruled that Nebraska pitcher Logan Ehlers must sit out 60 percent of this regular season because, the NCAA ruled, Ehlers hired an advisor to figure out whether he should turn pro or not. That advisor could have been construed as an agent. NU is appealing the decision.

    *Memorial Stadium is getting bigger and biggerby the day thanks to greater demand.

    *With his name being thrown around as a potential candidate for the Texas Tech job while he prepares the Nebraska men's basketball team for the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Doc Sadler says he's the coach at Nebraska so long as Tom Osborne still wants him to be.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, ljs sipple, tom shatel, shawn watson, big ten, ohio state, jim tressel, baseball, mens hoops, logan ehlers, doc sadler

  6. 2011 Feb 28

    Husker Heartbeat 2/28: Spring FB Creeping Closer

    1,515 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.


    *Will Bo reconsider more than just his take on the Husker offense? That and more in the Husker Monday Takes.

    *LJS Sipple chats Mike Ekeler, the new Indiana defensive coordinator who concurs that Big Ten offenses are much different than Big 12 offenses.

    *As for Big Ten offenses, BRN takes a nifty look at how the 2010 NU offense and 2007 Kansas offense would have stacked up in the league rankings.

    *ESPN offers a Big Ten spring football primer. The Nebraska writeup:

    New vision on offense: Nebraska likely will have a championship-level defense in 2011, but will the offense bounce back from a poor finish to last season? Tim Beck is the man pegged to get things back on track. Coach Bo Pelini promoted Beck to offensive coordinator, and Beck will begin to implement his vision for the unit this spring. Nebraska figures to stick with the spread, but what version Beck wants to use remains to be seen.

    The quarterbacks: Taylor Martinez stiff-armed the transfer rumors, and in January said he looked forward "getting healthy and getting my strength and speed back." The big question: Will he also get his job back as Nebraska's starting quarterback? Martinez can help himself with a strong spring, but Cody Green also is in the mix and things could get very interesting if Bubba Starling decides to stick with football rather than pursue a pro baseball career.

    New faces on staff: In addition to promoting Beck, Pelini hired three new assistants: Corey Raymond (secondary), Ross Els (linebackers) and Rich Fisher (receivers). Raymond takes over a talented group that must replace three standout players, including cornerback Prince Amukamara. It'll be interesting to watch Fisher, who most recently coached in high school and also served as a golf teacher, as he transitions back to big-time football.


    *Prince Amukamara makes his case for being a top ten prospect at the NFL Combine.

    “Who's your best friend?” asked former Nebraska safety Eric Hagg, who snuck into the media area.

    Amukamara looked at his longtime pal, smiled and replied: “My best friend is Eric Hagg.”

    Playing practical jokes and having fun with teammates is usually Amukamara's trademark.

    “He's just naturally a funny person. That's what God gave him,” Hagg said. “Everybody thinks he's funny. He lights up the room.”

    Amukamara, while remaining very businesslike in many of his answers Sunday, slipped in a couple of witty remarks to the amused media contingent.

    Asked if he follows mock drafts or draft projections, Amukamara replied: “I'm not someone who Googles themselves.”

    He was later asked if he expects to have an immediate impact in the pros. “That is my plan,” he answered. “I'm definitely not trying to redshirt in the NFL.”


    It's good to see Prince - and Hagg, for that matter - haven't changed much.

    *Meanwhile, Roy Helu's huge day the Combine puts him the "riser" category according to Sports Illustrated.

    *Nebraska holds its first Junior Day for recruiting. Considering NU is looking at a class of 13-15 next year - unless some major defections occur - this was a small, intimate gathering of players.

    *Bo gives a pep talk to the NU men's tennis team - read that again - which helps the Huskers beat Wisconsin on the road.

    *Tom Shatel likes the sports city Omaha has become in late February.

    *After a rather crushing loss to Iowa State Saturday, Husker Hoops Central - where the Descartes and Foucaults of the NU hoops program go to discuss the state of the program - asked a very salient question: What do you expect from Nebraska's program? Some of the answers are excellent.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, big ten, bo pelini, tim beck, mens hoops, ljs sipple, tom shatel, prince amukamara, roy helu, eric hagg, recruiting

  7. 2011 Feb 24

    Husker Heartbeat 2/24:Beck's New O, Bo, and NFL Combine

    2,643 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.


    *One day after we suggested Tim Beck won't get much patience from Nebraska fans to install his offense and make it successful, the two country gentlemen of the NU media, Tom Shatel and Steve Sipple, plead for it.

    Both positions can be accurate. Husker faithful should be realistic about what Beck is about to try and pull off. Then again, we were realistic about plugging LaVonte David into NU's defense after injuries to Will Compton and Sean Fisher, and David broke the school record for tackles.

    The Big Ten will be a gulag. No question. But, thanks to the Ohio State 5, a coaching change at Michigan and a rap sheet from hell for Iowa, 2011 might be a little more manageable than 2012, when the Wolverines and Hawkeyes surge to the top of the Legends Division.

    Beyond that, there's this: NU didn't hire Bo Pelini for 8-4 seasons. And Bo didn't hire Beck to produce a 8-4 offense. Everyone's pretty clear on this.

    *BRN's Tom Cudd writes that he's heard Beck's rap before - from Shawn Watson.

    *LJS SIp does a double dip, analyzing interviews given from Bo and Beck in recent days. Mostly, Sip spends the first half of his column defending Bo's media freeze-out:

    Pelini hasn't made any of his four new full-time assistants available for media interviews. Yes, Pelini has a distaste for some media members. Plus, he didn't appreciate that news organizations reported his new hires well before they were announced formally. But maybe, just maybe, Pelini's media freeze is for a more practical reason.

    Maybe his assistants are just too busy to bother with interviews. After all, spring practice begins March 12. For the first time at NU, the heat is on Pelini. Plus, listening to Beck, it seems he's overhauling the offense. Starting from scratch. He has a foundation to lay, he said. Foundations don't happen overnight.

    Imagine all the learning that new receivers coach Rich Fisher has in front of him. As for the new defensive assistants, well, I'm sure they know Pelini can be just slightly demanding. Plus, Pelini, whether you like it or not, likes to tone down media/fan fervor in the offseason as much as humanly possible. He's always been that way. It's probably good for the health of all of us (not that we always do what's healthy).

    Bottom line, if Nebraska coaches have a "Do Not Disturb" sign on their office doors right now, I'd tend to understand.


    To sum up: Dad's busy. Leave him (and them) alone. It's good for you.

    We disagree with Sip here. We don't really sympathize with Bo's freeze-out. You know why? Because it's not our job to sympathize with it. That's the job of Bo's media relations folks. And Bo himself. Us? We'd like to hear from the guy - and his new crew. We'd just as soon they take time out of their busy day to hold an hour-long press conference instead of conducting 15-minutes-at-a-time interviews on "Sports Nightly" that nobody in the media knew was going down - at least in the case of Beck. Most of the fans didn't either.

    Just so you know: We're never going to argue for the restriction to our - and by proxy your - access to the program. We can respect Bo's position without pretending it's good for you - and us, akin to eating our vegetables.

    *The NFL Combine starts Thursday, with nine Huskers involved in the proceedings. You'll notice that Mike Mayock of the NFL Network believes that Prince's performance against Oklahoma State Justin Blackmon should be thrown out.

    *How does the new Big 12 (10) stack up against the Big Ten (12)? Corn Nation examines.

    *In its tough loss to Kansas State, Nebraska bricks its shot at the NCAA Tournament, Tom Shatel writes.

    *Lane Kiffin and recruiting violations? Nah.

    *The NCAA requires Oklahoma to give its players whole week off because assistant coaches had pestered certain players - against NCAA rules - about offseason, voluntary workouts. Jay Norvell was one of them.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, tim beck, bo pelini, ljs sipple, tom shatel, jay norvell, big ten, big 12, men hoops, prince amukamara

  8. 2011 Feb 14

    Husker Heartbeat 2/14: The Legacy of Watson

    7,896 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.


    *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

  9. 2011 Feb 09

    Husker Heartbeat 2/9: Ready to Lift the Coaching Curtain?

    7,862 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.


    *A source close to Bo - who knows, maybe it's Bo himself? - tells the OWH's Tom Shatel that the coaching staff is complete. It is presumed that Tim Beck is perhaps the sole offensive coordinator. Dirk C writes:

    If Pelini hands the offense to Beck, Nebraska is likely to embrace the no-huddle, spread principles that swept through the Big 12 the past five years.

    “It’s high-speed football,” Warinner said.

    At Kansas, the system worked like this: Warinner surveyed the field from the press box. Beck stood on the sideline.
    Warinner called a play, and the Jayhawks lined up. He waited to see the defensive formation. Quarterback Todd Reesing looked at Beck on the sideline.

    If Warinner liked the original play, he told Beck via headset, who signaled to Reesing to run it. If Warinner wanted to audible, Beck signaled the change to Reesing.

    “That son of a gun, when he left (for Nebraska), we had to change the whole thing,” Warinner said. “We didn’t change any of the concepts, we just changed our signals and all our verbiage.”

    Kansas didn’t want an NU assistant knowing the secret signals.


    Well, only Bill Callahan in the Super Bowl thinks he doesn't need to change his signals, right?

    We know this: Beck was a huge assist in helping NU take down Kansas 45-35 in that big 2008 game - Bo's first truly solid win that year.

    *Meanwhile, Shawn Watson could be in line for a NFL job, Shatel writes.

    "A source close to Nebraska football says head coach Bo Pelini is working the phones with his NFL friends to land Watson a job in the league. And something could happen soon."

    That's nice of Bo, but, again - doesn't Watson have, like, lifelong friends coaching in the NFL? Like Bill Callahan? And others? It just seems odd that it's Bo working his contacts to get Wats a job when Wats could probably land one of those on his own.

    That's not to diminish Bo's effort here. But still...

    *Spring football dates for all 12 Big Ten teams.

    *LJS Sipple and Brian Christopherson make an early prediction that Taylor Martinez remains the No. 1 guy at quarterback. We think Cody Green will get a long, good look at the starting job. And he just might take it from Martinez.

    *Purdue has the Big Ten's worst recruiting class. For good reason.

    *Former Husker running back Kenny Wilson will play indoor football in Grand Island. Meanwhile, the guy whom Wilson was ahead of on the depth chart early in the 2006 season, Brandon Jackson, won a Super Bowl.

    *Arizona State: Your first Pac-12 South fave.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, bo pelini, shawn watson, ljs sipple, tom shatel, dirk chatelain, bill callahan, kenny wilson, brandon jackson, pac 12, tim beck, coaching search 2011

  10. 2011 Feb 08

    Husker Heartbeat 2/8: A Word from the Administration

    10,843 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.


    *We like to knock Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini for his lack of media acumen - but we'll praise him when the moment presents itself, too. And now that Scott Frost isn't coming to NU, he's doing a nice job of getting out his side of the story with the state's two largest newspaper columnists.

    First, it's OWH's Tom Shatel, who writes that the timing for a Frost-Bo marriage just wasn't right. We join the column in progress with point No. 3.

    It could very well be that the time is not right for the Frost/Nebraska fairy tale ending. Could that time come again? Absolutely. But I wonder if Frost isn’t missing a keen opportunity here, not only to be on the ground level of Pelini’s offense, but to join Pelini’s inner circle. What if Pelini stays here 10 years, 15 years? What if Tim Beck has boffo success and leaves to become a head coach? Would Frost have a better chance at the Husker OC job one day if he had been here and had Pelini’s trust?

    Since Shatel doesn't mention it, we'll talk about a different kind of timing: As in, when Nebraska got around to offering Frost any kind of job, much less one with OC duties.

    The time to offer Frost a lateral move - essentially Ted Gilmore's job - was about 12 seconds after the BCS National Championship game. Or, preferably, before that, with the heat turned up right after the BCS game. By more than a few accounts, that didn't happen. Instead, Frost turned into one of Oregon's best recruiting trail closers, flipping commits throughout the month of January.

    Remember how Bo said he didn't live on a timetable? Well, other people just might. We're not saying Frost accepts a lateral move...but he certainly couldn't make a lateral move after Signing Day. How would that look to the kids he had just helped sign? Much like it looked to Charles Jackson for 24 hours after Marvin Sanders resigned.

    In the Case for Scott Frost posted last week, note this passage: At this point, the offer to get Frost would have to be pretty sweet. And for each day that Bo waits, the offer probably has to get sweeter. A co-offensive coordinator job, natch. A salary north of $250,000 makes sense, considering Watson's salary of $380,000. A role coaching quarterbacks. Maybe playcalling duties.

    You can see how it came to pass.

    We just can't but think Bo's insistence on dealing with these matters his own way may have affected his ability to land Frost at a discount title.

    Shatel continues with an interesting closing argument on this timetable matter:

    So what about Watson and Ted Gilmore? Sources close to Pelini say the coach expects both to leave but is waiting for them to close on job vacancies elsewhere, including the NFL. An announcement on the changes could happen later this week.

    The media and public have insatiable appetites for information and news cycles on our timetable. Pelini has his own schedule. Say this: He’s fiercely loyal to his coaches, even those he is jettisoning. They have families. If they can find another gig and leave with some pride, that’s his wish. Either way, there will be changes. But for Pelini to risk his own public image in order to help a coach is why coaches will line up to work for the man.


    Yes, they do have families. We suspect they'd be well taken-care-of had Watson or Gilmore been fired. Because Watson and Gilmore - unless they were fired "with cause" - which they wouldn't have been - would have drawn some or all of their salary for next year. So let's not put this on families. Gilmore and Watson have several connections in the business; they could have found jobs on their own.

    Beyond that - which coaches are lining up to work for Bo? Perhaps many - we don't see the resumes that come in over the fax machine. But if those guys are lining up to work for him, and Bo still chooses to look at interns for potential promotions, we're not sure what that says.

    We always based our case for Frost on the names we were hearing, not the names who could be had. In the grand scheme of things, Frost isn't nearly the best candidate out there. But he was one of the best candidates for Nebraska and Bo, who isn't built like Will Muschamp or Mack Brown.

    Moving on to LJS Sipple's column about the same matters:

    It goes something like this: Imagine the clamor and excitement throughout the state if Frost was hired at Nebraska, even as a co-coordinator who wasn't calling plays. Frost would be an instant celebrity, constantly in the limelight, always in demand by media and fans alike. Would he have been completely comfortable in that environment?

    Yes, Frost would have to become accustomed to such an existence if he ever becomes a major-college head coach (those close to Frost say that's his goal). However, as a Husker co-coordinator/assistant who's not calling plays, Frost likely would've found himself in awkward situations. What if the offense was sputtering? Because of his exalted status in the state, media and fans would've turned to him for answers.
    If that were the case, one surely could understand why he might want more control of the offense.

    If the offense was flourishing, Frost might've been given too much credit.

    If he was in constant demand with the media, how would've older and more experienced staff members reacted? Egos easily could've been bruised. Staff chemistry always must be a consideration.

    Bottom line, Pelini has to consider myriad factors in deciding staff hires. Hiring Frost would've made sense in a lot of ways. He would've brought fresh ideas on offense and no doubt would've conveyed them well. He probably would've bolstered recruiting.

    No question, Frost would have been a popular hire. But would he have been the right hire at the right time?


    Good analysis from Sip. Our retort:

    ^Frost would have been available once a week. Just like Watson was - or Beck will be. Since when has media demand ever dictated anything around North Stadium? We're still waiting for Taylor Martinez's first mid-week interview.

    ^Sip's right that fans would have wondered, right from the jump, whether Frost should be calling plays. What interesting about him being right, though, is that it flies in the face of the constant drumbeat that Bo "doesn't care" what the media thinks.

    But we liked Sip's column more. We think it pinpoints the real concern: That Bo wasn't ready to look at Frost the way Frank Solich once looked at Bo. Remember that Bo, as DC of the 2003 staff, worked with guys who had more "experience" in college football. Jeff Jamrog. Marvin Sanders. Jimy Williams. Seemed to go OK, though, as we recall. Well enough that Bo invited Sanders and Jamrog back to the staff.

    *Tim Beck is used to tough rebuilding projects. Nice story that asks two of Beck's best players on the 2007 Kansas team - Todd Reesing and Jake Sharp - about NU's presumed new OC:

    Is the 44-year-old ready for the role? According to a couple players who saw Beck's work up close -- former Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing and running back Jake Sharp -- the answer is yes.

    Sharp doesn't like to use the term "player's coach" but uses it anyway to describe Beck.

    "He's not going to sit back and be the colonel and tell you to go and get your butt kicked," Sharp said. "He'll jump in the pit with you."

    Beck, who coached at Kansas from 2005-07, was the Jayhawks' passing-game coordinator in 2007 when KU went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl.

    That year, Kansas was second nationally in scoring offense, eighth in total offense and 17th in passing offense. Husker fans will remember with a bout of sickness that KU put 76 points on Nebraska that year, scoring touchdowns on 10 straight possessions.

    "Coach Beck and (former Kansas offensive coordinator Ed Warinner) made that pass game something that was special for Kansas and one of the better spread teams around," Reesing said. "I think he's kind of got a lot of that knowledge base. And with Nebraska, if he changes things up, I think he can definitely bring some good stuff to the pass game. And from what I saw this year, that could definitely use some help."
    Reesing points to Husker sophomore-to-be quarterback Taylor Martinez.

    "Obviously, he is more of a running threat, but I think to get to the next level I think he's going to turn into more of a threat in the pass game and get some schemes that he can understand and execute well," Reesing said. "Because, if he can do that, with as well as he can run the ball, he can definitely be one of the premier guys in the nation."


    *Mike Anderson's formula for success this year? Late-inning relief pitching featuring Casey Hauptman and small ball on offense.

    You'll recall NU has tried in recent years putting one of its best starter in the closer spot. And it hasn't really worked. Hauptman, one hopes, can reverse the trend.

    *In Big 12 hoops, it's the Big Two - Texas and Kansas - and Little Ten. That's about right. The league is weak. Lee B's rankings, too.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, tom shatel, ljs sipple, bo pelini, scott frost, baseball, casey hauptman, big 12 hoops, lee b

  11. 2011 Jan 17

    Husker Heartbeat 1/17: Alex, Ameer, Big Ten, More Kiffin, and the Giant Lego Horseshoe

    5,553 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.


    *Teddy G talks recruiting with two weeks to go. Nebraska wants four more prospects, looks like.

    *The OWH's Dirk Chatelain ganders at the Big Ten in 2011.

    League standings
    Top Ten Lists
    [/url

    We'll get there after spring ball, and then again in the summer.

    *Tom Shatel, meanwhile, looks at how the Big Ten will use Nebraska as a [url=http://www.omaha.com/article/20110115/SPORTS/799999930]key weapon
    in the arms race with the SEC.

    *Alex Henery will take his kicking skills to the NFL. Considering the kicks missed so far in the NFL Playoffs, he should land a starting job immediately.

    *The newest recruit on Nebraska's radar, Ameer Abdullah, loved his Husker visit.

    *The Wiz of Odds finds another cheap shot from the Sugar Bowl.

    *The Ten Best Games of 2010, according to Dr. Saturday.

    *Behold the giant Lego Horseshoe.

    *People remain really weird in Tennessee.

    *LSU fires its offensive coordinator.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, alex henery, recruiting, ameer abdullah, ted gilmore, tom shatel, big ten, ohio state

  12. 2010 Dec 21

    Husker Heartbeat 12/21: Ek's Departure, Prince and Hagg and the $8 Million Miss

    8,380 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.


    *Mike Ekeler learned a lot at Nebraska, but he decided to move to Indiana because it was time for a change, LJS Sipple writes.

    *Eric Hagg and Prince Amukamara loved competing with and against each other for four seasons at Nebraska.

    *Sorry girls, Jake Locker's taken.

    *After a long book plug for the OWH's Big Red Rivals, Tom Shatel settles in for some sports takes.

    *Football stands in the way of justice at Auburn. Well, of course it does.

    *Tennessee football players got the VIP treatment in Knoxville.

    *The $8 million miss.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, mike ekeler, steve sipple, tom shatel, eric hagg, prince amukamara, boise state

  13. 2010 Dec 14

    Husker Heartbeat 12/14: Legends, Leaders...Lame-o?

    6,689 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.


    *Here's a full buffet of reactions about the new Big Ten logo and division names:

    Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald
    Big Red Network
    Chicago Sun-Times
    Chicago Tribune
    Cleveland Plain Dealer
    Dayton Daily News
    Detroit Free Press
    Dr. Saturday
    Quad City Times

    *Joe Paterno hopes to win his own trophy next year.

    *Hiring Will Muschamp is a bold, risky move for Florida.

    *Trouble brews at Iowa, where one running back has been booted off the team and another is suspended for the bowl game. This after Hawkeye receiver "DJK" is arrested and accused of running a drug house.

    Tags: big ten, tom shatel

  14. 2010 Dec 08

    Husker Heartbeat 12/8: Another Pedey Search

    4,352 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.


    *Former NU AD Steve Pederson, now at Pitt, embarks on his next search for a head coach after firing Dave Wannstedt. Will he do better in 2010?

    *The lesson of the 2010 Husker season? According to Tom Shatel, it's that Bo Pelini had the players' backs.

    He writes: Of all the images of 2010 — Taylor Martinez streaking alone toward the end zone at Washington and K-State, Roy Helu sprinting against Missouri, Eric Hagg at Iowa State — the mad night at Texas A&M summed up the entire season.

    That was the night Bo Pelini fought back. The coach put his image on the line in the interest of showing his team — and fans — that he had their backs. There's a better way to do it. Pelini knows that now. But the overall message of loyalty was priceless.

    Husker fans had Pelini's back, too. I've got the bruised and battered email address to prove it.


    A couple things here:

    *There are some who would argue Pelini didn't have his players' backs when he stood so solidly behind Taylor Martinez as his QB. Not saying I agree, but it's an argument.

    *The media gets battered and bruised these days when it reports anything the public may not want to hear. (And that doesn't include murder and mayhem; the public loves that stuff so long as it happens somewhere else.) Most people think the media is corrupt and full of liars. (And it is corrupt, and it occasionally does lie - although not in the way the public imagine.) We can debate just why they think that, but they've been conditioned, over the last quarter-century, to trust PR spin and "official authority" in ways never imagined just to spite the contrary story from the press. So to say, "well, the fans agree with Bo because I got angry mail" is like saying the majority of Nebraska fans want to hurt Dan Beebe because he got a few threats.

    *Tom Osborne isn't going anywhere soon as AD. We applaud that - he's brought a lot of important projects to the front burner in a hurry, but we do wonder about how long a leash he's willing to give coaches Mike Anderson and potentially Doc Sadler.

    *A portrait of a great volleyball mom, Anne Banwarth.

    See also: Husker Heartbeat 12/7: Rumorville, Bo, Martinez and Watson

    Tags: husker heartbeat, bo pelini, tom shatel, tom osborne

  15. 2010 Dec 07

    Husker Heartbeat 12/7: Rumorville, Bo, Martinez and Watson

    12,087 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.


    *Bo Pelini is frustrated by persistent rumors surrounding Taylor Martinez, says LJS Steve Sipple.

    A quote:

    "It's hard to deal with it, because people are going to believe what they want to believe. It affects the whole program, that's what people don't understand."

    Pelini also says it's "crazy" to think Martinez operates under a different set of rules. But he adds that: "I'm going to do what I feel is in the best interest of a kid and the team at the same time."

    I've talked to Bo about this issue once before, and he's spoken about in press conferences, too: Different players need different approaches. And he's right. They do. Bo's approach with Taylor isn't the same as his approach with Joe Ganz. The principles behind it are the same, but the application of those principles has to change based on the personality of the kid.

    What the column doesn't mention - and perhaps Sipple didn't ask - is why Bo thinks it is a good idea to let Martinez run silent with the press, which in turn is forced to ask all of Martinez's teammates about the kid. And they're tired of talking about him.

    Part of the maturation process is doing the hard work of answering for your mistakes. It's called accountability. Bo's disregard of the press - and by proxy Nebraska fans who like to read about the team - creates a bad perception around Martinez.

    *The Omaha World-Herald is officially turning in all of its stock on Shawn Watson.

    Tom Shatel calls Watson's playcalling in the Big 12 Championship "indefensible." Shatel isn't one to veer mindlessly into a harsh, caustic opinion (I've been known to do it from time to time) so his words would represent a sea change:

    This was a flashback to the days of Bill Callahan, where a smart guy outsmarted only himself by trying to change up what was working. In a three-point game, the best kicker in the country was left wasting on the sideline. Like the Yankees not calling on Mariano Rivera in game seven of the World Series.

    There’s something Norv Turneresque about Watson. Smart offensive guy. But there’s always a flaw in execution or plan or management. One game it looks great, the next leaves you wondering. By the end of the season, you’re right back where you started.

    Watson’s had some very good games this year. But after
    Martinez’s injury, it was like the offense was based on the 80-yard run. Where was Plan B?

    Or he can’t stand prosperity. Against Iowa State, the Wildcat was brilliant. Then it went away. Watson rammed the ball down Mizzou’s throat. But he couldn’t stick with that plan against Oklahoma?

    Offensive coordinators are like Thanksgiving turkeys. They all get picked apart until there’s nothing left. But at some point you ask: What’s going on here? Where is this going? This isn’t just about scheme. Being an OC is about development, adjustments, game management. Sometimes it’s there. Sometimes it’s not. Winning championships is about consistency.


    Those aren't small words.

    *Meanwhile, the OWH's Dirk Chatelain, who often does a terrific job of marrying stats to a larger narrative, looks at what Shawn Watson did in pressure situations - when trailing or tied during the second half. The results are not encouraging, although perhaps a big small in sample size.

    We'll stand on this: It's easy to point the finger at Watson and suggest he doesn't know how to call plays, that he refuses to stick with the Wildcat.

    But let's be perfectly clear: The only team I've ever seen run Wildcat for a whole half is Arkansas in 2007. And let's recap the three guys the Hogs had running it:

    -Darren McFadden, two-time Heisman runner-up, first-round draft pick and the NFL's 11th-leading rusher this year.

    -Felix Jones, first-round draft pick and the Dallas Cowboys' top running back.

    -Peyton Hills, the 2010 breakout star of the NFL who's 10th in rushing and tied for second in touchdowns.

    Arkansas used McFadden as the trigger man, Jones as the sweep back and Hillis as the dive back. Three NFL guys - all the best running backs on their respective teams - running the triple option.

    Now, yes, that combo will work for a whole half.

    Rex Burkhead out of a single wing with Tim Marlowe as the sweep back and Roy Helu as the dive back will not.

    So, at some point, you gotta pass. And if that's Taylor Martinez, with his bad mechanics and injured feet, you roll the dice.

    The question: Is it Watson's call to play Martinez? Or Bo's?

    Furthermore: Watson has changed the offense five times in three years.

    -After the 2008 Mizzou game, Watson shifted from his preferred, two-tight, ace-set running game to a shotgun-based running game that he had begun to develop in 2007.

    -After the 2008 season, he further refined the shotgun running game, adding counter sweeps, more of the zone read and a two-back running game.

    -Midway through the 2009 season, because of injuries, he switched to the most conservative offense known to man, a triple-tight power running game with a deep playaction passing game.

    -Before the 2010 season, to accommodate Martinez, he switched to a heavy heavy zone read game with playaction passing sprinkled in.

    -Before the Iowa State game, he reintroduced the Wildcat and has run it quite a bit since then.

    Watson's done himself no favors by putting the sunniest possible disposition on everything, including Martinez's passing skills. And he vacillates too easily between conservative and desperate.

    Maybe Watson's biggest weakness is that he's too amenable. He had an offense in mind when this season began, and it looked like the offense in the 2009 Holiday Bowl. Instead, Nebraska rode Martinez in a West Virginia/Michigan offense, without any of the easy throws that Michigan and West Virginia use to help a quarterback. Why? Because Watson adheres to a West Coast passing principle that emphasizes big receivers running combo routes.

    There's a lot of details to examine, of course. And if Watson's the guy who has to go, then Bo better find someone

    Tags: husker heartbeat, shawn watson, bo pelini, tom shatel, taylor martinez, steve sipple, dirk chatelain

  16. 2010 Dec 02

    Husker Heartbeat 12/2: The End of the Affair (OU and Otherwise)

    2,566 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.


    Lots of strong (and some misinformed) opinions today. Let's go!

    *OWH's Tom Shatel contends that Oklahoma ended the NU-OU series and, by proxy, put the Huskers on the clock to leave the Big 12:

    Go back to 1995. Conference realignment was on the fast track. The Big Eight and Southwest Conference weren't likely to secure large TV contracts in their existing state. So Oklahoma Athletic Director Donnie Duncan and Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds got together and assembled the Big 12 — the Big Eight plus four SWC schools.

    Where was NU Athletic Director Bill Byrne in this scenario?
    That may have been the first sign of things to come.

    As divisions and schedule rotations were set up, Duncan made a decision that would change history. With OU and NU in separate divisions, he decided that Oklahoma would no longer play the Huskers annually.

    Duncan told this story last May while he attended the historic Big 12 meetings on Kansas City's Plaza. I asked him why he chose to end a meaningful rivalry like NU and OU. His reply:

    “Oklahoma already had a rival in Texas. There was no need to play both Nebraska and Texas every year.''


    To me, it's proof of what I always have believed about the Sooners: Winning, really, is what matters. It's not the tradition. It's not the culture. It's the sheer number of wins and losses. That's why OU's been in seriously hot water with the NCAA two different times (in the mid-1970s and again in the late 1980s)

    *Here's two perfectly average anti-Nebraska columns from Jenni Carlson (who basically rehashes stuff from the Texas and Texas A&M games) and Jennifer Floyd Engel, whose attempt at humor - rooting on Oklahoma to beat Nebraska - falls pretty flat. Two good reasons why newspapers are dying. These pieces don't even rise to the level of dramatic. They're lazy, derivative shrug-worthy columns that will work up only the mouth-breathers among Husker fans.

    *More on the divorce of Nebraska and the Big 12.

    *Bob Stoops is showing his players old clips of Sooner Magic to motivate them for Saturday's game. Somehow I doubt Bo's doing anything of the kind.

    *Here's a dispatch from Husker Dan on the last NU-OU game.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, big 12 championship, tom shatel, oklahoma

  17. 2010 Nov 23

    Husker Heartbeat 11/23: Penalty Parade

    2,977 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.


    *The Omaha World-Herald examines each of the 16 penalties incurred during Saturday's game and the disparity between NU's flags and opponent flags in three games worked by Greg Burks' crew.

    Is this too much coverage on the penalties?

    *Tom Shatel doesn't like Bo's scary side and Steve Sipple wonders why Harvey Perlman landed a pre-emptive strike on Bo.

    *Now that the Magic is gone, can Cody Green step in?

    *The psychology of Bo Pelini's outbursts, and what some NU administrators and professors think.

    *Colorado is on a roll.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, bo pelini, cody green, tom shatel, steve sipple

  18. 2010 Nov 22

    Husker Heartbeat 11/22: Big 12 Conspiracy Theories and Offensive Woes

    14,831 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.


    *OWH's Tom Shatel takes a closer look at penalties called against Nebraska in the Big 12...and the lack thereof against NU's opponents.

    *LJS Sipple examines the negative energy surrounding the program right now.

    *OWH's Dirk Chatelain takes dead aim at Nebraska's offense, and suggests a major overhaul is necessary.

    *The Grand Island Independent calls Saturday's performance a "black eye."

    *NBC argues that Ben Cotton's kicking response was justified.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, tom shatel, dirk chatelain, steve sipple, big 12, tamu game

  19. 2010 Nov 11

    Husker Heartbeat 11/11: Husker-Pedey Collision Course

    6,736 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Photo from post-gazette.com

    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.


    *On Veteran's Day, a story about Husker and WWII vet Sam Francis.

    *Joe Moglia officially becomes a UFL head coach.

    *Cody Green - super teammate, says Tom Shatel. And one of the most likable Husker players in recent memory.

    *The LJS explores the possibility of a Nebraska-Pittsburgh Fiesta Bowl. Folks, it's quite likely, although one holds out hope that South Florida can run the table and grab the obvious Orange Bowl berth.

    Is Pitt really that bad? No. The Panthers run the ball pretty effectively, have the nation's No. 10 defense, are sixth in the country in sacks, and took a pretty good Utah team to overtime. What's hurt Pitt is having to break in a new quarterback, Tino Sunseri, who struggled through the non-conference season but has improved his completion percentage to 66 percent.

    *The LJS also talks to Jerry Palm, who sees Nebraska's potential berth in the BCS national title game as highly unlikely. Well, duh. We do not agree with Palm that NU would fall behind LSU and Stanford among one-loss team. First, LSU will lose again. Second, Stanford's numbers need significant help from teams like USC and Arizona, neither of which, we think, will win out.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, tom shatel, cody green, steve pederson, joe moglia

  20. 2010 Nov 09

    Husker Heartbeat 11/9: Deeper Matters at QB

    6,653 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.


    *The Hawk is officially out at Colorado. See ya, Dan-O.

    *ESPN locked up Texas to a long-term TV deal, which means in 2016, when the Big 12 falls apart, UT has a soft place to land.

    *The heat on Cameron Newton went up another notch when Fox Sports broke a story that Newton might have left Florida because he cheated too often in class.

    *Eric Hagg talks more about his dramatic play Saturday.

    *The QB depth Nebraska has been building since last year finally paid off at Iowa State.

    *Check out this awesome Husker Heroes event being held at the Hawks Center Sunday afternoon!

    Tags: husker heartbeat, eric hagg, tom shatel

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