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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

2007 Defensive Line Performance

I hate to dwell too much on the 2007 season, but I have the data and feel I might as well not ignore it. Today, I give you my assessment of the play of the defensive line using a multitude of statistics only available via a closer look at play-by-play data from the previous season.

First off, let's start with what I said about the defensive line in my preseason preview of Nebraska:
"Defensively Nebraska must replace its entire defensive line from a year ago. That includes a pair of defensive ends in Adam "I must break you" Carriker and Jay Moore who were drafted in the first and fourth rounds of the NFL Draft. Barry Turner is being looked upon to take center stage in 2007 at one DE position. He's showed flashes of brilliance during the past two seasons, but must prove he can line up on every down. Turner unfortunately missed valuable practice time in the spring following shoulder surgery. Ndamukong Suh will anchor the line at one of the tackle spots and might actually be the best player on the defense. Finding someone to line up next to him will be a major task during fall camp. The wildcard might be Ty Steinkuhler who can play inside or out and has displayed an impressive motor in a reserve role. Ultimately, the group vying to replace the departures along the front four is heavy on potential, but light on experience. The bottom line is that a team rarely gets better by losing players like Carriker and Moore, along with defensive tackles Ola Dagunduro and Barry Cryer."
Well, I was certainly right about the drop in production and unfortunately Suh and Turner failed to live up to their billing in 2007. In Turner's case the blame might fall with the large amount of weight he gained heading into the season. With Suh, it might be a toss-up between a poor scheme that pulled him away from his strengths and a tendency to take plays off or at least fail to bring it on each and every down.

Now let's take a look at the actual numbers. For my analysis, I went a step beyond what you'll generally find in boxscores. I have included a set of statistics utilized by the guys at Football Outsiders in their work with the NFL. They employ a couple of interesting variables to examine the play of defensive players.

The first two are explained here:

Plays: Defined as the total defensive plays made, including tackles, pass deflections, interceptions, fumbles forced and fumble recoveries. These numbers come from official play-by-play reports and DOES NOT include special teams tackles or statistics.

TmPct: Refers to the percentage of team plays involving this defender. The sum of the percentages of team plays for all defenders on a given team will exceed 100%, primarily due to shared tackles. And here is a chart indicating the performance of Nebraska's defensive line on these two statistics. This is the type of analysis that can only be found at DXP.

Defensive Plays

Player TacklesPasses Def.INTsFFFR Plays TmPct
Zach Potter451111 495.44
N. Suh332001 36 4.00
Barry Turner292000 31 3.44
Kevin Dixon190100 202.22
Shukree Barfield150000 151.67
Ty Steinkuhler130010 141.56
Pierre Allen111000 121.33
Andy Poulosky70000 7.78
Clayton Sievers70000 7.78
Brandon Johnson30000 3.33
Ben Martin30000 3.33
Thomas Rice10000 1.11
Tony Sullivan10000 1.11

As these statistics illustrate, Zach Potter really separated himself as our most consistent defensive lineman in 2007. While he was nowhere near as productive as an Adam Carriker or a Jay Moore, he did make his share of plays and was underrated member of the Blackshirts.

The next three statistics take into account situational variables and determine a defensive player's ability to keep teams from moving the chains.

Stops: The total number of plays made by a defender that prevent a "success" by the offense. A successful play occurs when the offense obtains 45% of needed yards on first down, 60% on second down, 100% on third or fourth down. Therefore, a stop prevents one of these successes from occurring.

Defeats: The total number of plays made by a defender that stop the offense from gaining first down yardage on third or fourth down, stop the offense behind the line of scrimmage, or result in a fumble (regardless of which team recovers) or interception.

Stop Rate: Refers to the percentage of all of a defenders Plays that are Stops.

Stops and Defeats

Player StopsDefeatsStop Rate
Zach Potter281357%
N. Suh23864%
Barry Turner17455%
Kevin Dixon10450%
Ty Steinkuhler10371%
Shukree Barfield7247%
Pierre Allen7258%
Andy Poulosky4157%
Clayton Sievers2229%
Brandon Johnson2067%
Ben Martin2067%
Thomas Rice10100%
Tony Sullivan10100%

You'll notice that these numbers probably seem pretty low, but unfortunately I don't have comparison data at this point, so that is difficult to guage. Again, however, you see Zach Potter standing out. Suh also has some decent numbers which I think only highlight his potential. Overall, given our inability to get offenses off the field, you won't see big numbers in terms of stops and defeats.

The final area to examine are the defensive linemen's sack numbers from 2007.

Player Sacks
Barry Turner 3
Zach Potter 2.5
N. Suh1
Andy Poulosky 1

What should immediately jump out is the complete lack of sacks up front in 2007. 7.5 goddamn sacks from our front four? That's all we got? In 2006, Carriker and Moore combined for 13 sacks just by themselves. Another way of looking at the defensive line's performance is by examining the percentage of the team's total sacks that they accounted for. In 2007, Nebraska totaled just 13 sacks (yikes!), of which the defensive line accounted for 7.5. In other words, the defensive line combined for 57.7% of the total sacks in 2007. That's way down from the 24 out of the 31 total sacks (77.4%) the D-Line accounted for in 2006.

2008 Outlook

The good news is that Nebraska returns almost everyone up front from 2007. But given their numbers from a year ago and the influx of a new coaching staff it is difficult to guage how they might perform. I think Zach Potter found himself last season and should continue his consistent play. Barry Turner has slimmed down and hopefully will regain his speed. If that happens, watch for Pelini to let him loose on the edge. Inside, Suh and Steinkuhler return as do Kevin Dixon and Shukree Barfield. I think Suh could be the one guy who benefits most from the arrival of the new coaching staff. By all accounts the guy has gobs of talent, but he's quickly running out of opportunities to showcase that at the college level. He could be one of those guys that underachieves in college, but explodes in the NFL simply because he will only be called on to deliver on 20 plays a game, with the depth NFL squads possess up front. Rotations like that mean a ton when you're carrying 300+ pounds.

Speaking of depth, Nebraska still lacks it up front. At DT, Dixon came on strong in Big 12 play and has drawn praise this spring as well. In addition, guys like Shukree Barfield and redshirt freshman Terrence Moore likely benefitted from Suh's absence this spring as he recovered from surgery. The somewhat strange departure of Seth Jenson, however, hurts the development of depth down the road and makes DT recruiting all the more important in 2009. Overall, the defensive line has nowhere to go but up in 2008 and I expect to see a new brand of intensity and pressure up front.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

So Cosgrove Was Just A Figurehead?

No wonder he didn't fire him. He apparently didn't have a job to be fired from. Husker Mike uncovers a gem from Matt Hayes at the Sporting News. According to him, this is how bad things had gotten in Lincoln:
"Compared with where the process was last fall in Lincoln, the Huskers have made bigger strides than any team this spring. How bad was the dysfunction? Consider this anecdote:

Former coach Bill Callahan was obsessive about his offense; he made the game plan and called the plays. Sources say before the Texas game -- and at the height of Nebraska's failures -- Callahan let his assistants build the game plan and said he wouldn't call one play.

After the first series, Callahan not only called every offensive play, he called the defensive sets, too. The Huskers gave up three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and lost, 28-25."
Part of me really wants to believe this, while the other part thinks this has to be some kind of urban legend that will now become an infamous part of the Callahan lore.

In case you've forgotten here are some Husker highlights from the UT game, followed by a clip of just a few of the 800 gazillion yards Jamaal Charles had in the fourth quarter.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Introducing Casey Connelly

Thanks to the great people at Busted Coverage, it was brought to my attention that there are more, more, and more pictures of Sam Keller's girlfriend. It's getting really, really, really hard to feel sorry for this guy.

Being the stalkers we are, we dug up this on Casey Connelly who describes herself as someone who 'recently moved to Lincoln, NE from Scottsdale, AZ' and 'is fun to work with, easy going, and not shy'. She goes on to say 'I've done shoots for Maxim Magazine, Corona Light, 80's Tees, Sobe Adrenaline Rush, etc, and I am Miss April 2007 for I am experienced'.

And what is her best feature? 'My smile, waist, butt, feet & hands'.

From now on, Sam Keller will be referred to as Casey's boyfriend.

Sam Keller's Girlfriend; Part Deux

Sam Keller, whose football career will be officially over after this weekend, has found a new line of work at I can't say I blame him as long as you get to have girls that look like this laying on you naked. Noticeably, the absence of Corey McKeon clearly reaffirms our thoughts on his sexuality. Corey has been seen in photos such as this and this. It's not rocket science.

Although your QB skills left something to be desired, I think I speak for all of us and applaud you for your skills in other areas.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Timmy Rose's Draft Preview

Since this weekend marks the 73rd annual NFL Draft, I wanted to provide all of you DXP readers as well as metropolitan police departments, with some useful insight on the potential landing spots for the few (and I emphasize few) Huskers that are likely to be drafted by future out-of-work general managers. Don’t forget to enjoy the weekend with countless beers and numerous friends as football officially goes dark until August. You’ll also enjoy speculating on bigger busts than if you spent a weekend with A. Rose at the Spearmint Rhino in Vegas. And feel free to call A. Rose for some solid trifecta picks while you watch the draft at your local off-track betting establishment.

Before we give Maurice Purify the much-needed sobering news, let’s analyze Husker draft picks over the past 20 years courtesy of the new draft tracker tool at About the same time that Sammy Vegas was figuring out where his friends’ dads hid their stash of Playboys, Tom Osborne was taking heat for his lack of developing NFL-caliber talent and speed, mostly on defense. That was about 1990 in case you are counting. When you analyze past drafts it is clear that Dr. Tom got the message and had a solid run in his final 7 years of putting players in NFL uniforms in addition to the Lancaster County Courthouse.

Vegas and I broke down past Husker draft picks in four discrete time periods. We did not include any draft picks beyond round 7 since the NFL went to only 7 rounds in 1994 after marathon 12-round drafts up to 1992 and an 8-round draft in 1993. While having NFL talent on your college roster is no guarantee of success on the field (ask USC fans who’ve had more NFL talent than the entire Big XII North over the last 3 years, but have zero championships to show for it) , it is certainly difficult to win without developing talent in college. Notice I wrote ‘developing’ talent. Nebraska’s famed 1992 recruiting class was ranked a paltry 24th in the nation at the time, yet would go on to lose just 1 conference game, 2 regular season games, and 4 total games. The 1995 Husker defense, likely the best Blackshirt D of all-time, started 10 future NFL players. The only player not to wear an NFL uniform, Terrell Farley, was arguably the biggest playmaker on that defense, but decided he would rather be chased by the LPD than chase down RBs in the NFL. Clearly Dr. Tom did a masterful job in his final seasons of taking 3 and 4-star recruits and turning them into national title contenders.

Looking at the table below, one of the first things you will notice is that over Osborne’s final 11 seasons, he placed almost one 1st round pick per season and 25 total picks in rounds 1-3, for an average of 2.3 quality picks (a quality pick being defined as going in the top 3 rounds, which covers the best 100 players coming out of college) per season. From 1988-1991, Osborne placed only 5 total picks in rounds 1-3 and only 9 total picks in rounds 1-7, average of 2.2 total draft picks per season. Compare that total with the number of draft picks in his final 7 years as coach, where Big 8 titles were a given and drunk college kids like Dr. D hung off the street lights at 72nd and Dodge on three separate occasions in early January to celebrate National Championships. From 1992-1998, Osborne and his staff sent 43 players to the NFL for an average of over 6 per season. He also placed 20 guys in rounds 1-3 for an average of almost 3 quality picks per season or 1 in each of the first 3 rounds over his last 7 years as Head Coach.

NFL Draft Selections By Round

Coach (Years) Round 1Round 2 Round 3Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
Osborne (88-98) 10 5 10 7 5 7 8
Osborne (92-98) 6 5 9 6 5 4 8
Solich (98-04) 0 2 6 7 3 4 8
Callahan (05-07) 2 4 2 1 0 2 1

After Dr. Tom filled up NFL rosters in the mid-90’s, Frank Solich did everything he could to ensure former Nebraska stars ended up selling insurance for State Farm or became the token former Husker stock broker at the A.G. Edwards in Lincoln. Solich has zero, yes 0, first round selections while he was coach. He developed a paltry 8 players that would be taken in the first 3 rounds in his 6 years as coach, an average of 1.3 players per year, or roughly 40% what Osborne was able to do. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the Huskers struggled to develop All-Big 12 and All-American players in Solich’s later years. Either he failed to recruit or he failed to develop NFL talent. Either way, those numbers are not a recipe for success in big-time Division I football.

Callahan has only 3 years of data as we wait to tally up this weekend’s Husker draft picks. He did better than Solich with 2 first-round picks and 8 picks over the first 3 rounds. Callahan averaged about 3 quality draft picks per season, but just 4total draft picks per year or roughly 66% of what Osborne was able to do in his championship years. We do understand that these guys were not all Callahan recruits, but nonetheless, the numbers do tell you that Solich and Callahan struggled to develop NFL talent the way Osborne’s staff did.

After that outstanding analysis, you will probably need three red bull vodkas to read the rest of the article without falling asleep. Don’t worry, there aren’t that many players to analyze.

Carl Nicks (Round 3) – Hot Carl Nicks saw his draft stock soar in late in the season and in the weeks leading up the NFL combine and turned in 31 reps in the bench press and a solid 5.22 40-yard dash. Nicks only has 1 season under his size 48 belt at OT and may project as more of a G in the near-term. He should benefit from the movement in the NFL to put huge road graders at G to match up with equally gargantuan DTs and reminds me of Deuce Lutui or a poor man’s Shawn Andrews, both of whom are playing solid at G and will move to OT in the future. Teams that have an immediate need for a versatile big man include the Seahawks, Chiefs, Steelers, and Falcons. Nicks could take some time to develop and his weight is a concern, but he has big upside and his versatility will attract a team in round 3.

Zack Bowman (Round 4) – Bowman was one of those guys I thought would be a can’t-miss first round pick after his performance in the 2005 Alamo Bowl. It was hard not too root for this kid after the injuries he’s been through and Zack is always welcome down here in AZ for a beer on T. Rose for gutting it out and never complaining. For all of the injury concern on Bowman, he turned in a solid 40 time at the combine (4.39) and an excellent 20-yard shuffle (4.21). He has excellent size and long arms combined with great ball instincts (see Wake Forest and Michigan games). A team like the Jets (Callahan?), Eagles, or Dolphins would be smart take a gamble on him in round 4 in a deep CB class.

Bo Ruud (Round 6) – There won’t be a single NFL GM who will confuse Bo Ruud with his brother in Tampa and even though he got progressively worse during his last 2 years at Nebraska, I see a team reaching for him in Round 6 based on a solid career, good size, excellent pedigree, and a solid 4.60 40 time at the NU pro day. He only had 18 reps on the bench press and I question his strength and agility. The Patriots, Packers, and Texans would be a good fit.

Maurice Purify (Round 6) – Maurice, if you want someone to blame for your draft stock falling this far, please call every player from last year’s Cincinnati Bengal roster. It’s kind of hard to show scouts that you’ve gotten over your ‘character’ issues when you get arrested at your own party the weekend before your pro day. Purify is an excellent red zone receiver and made some incredible catches in his final year. He abused projected first-round pick Aqib Talib for 7 catches, 158 yards, and 3 TDs at Kansas. Unfortunately, that performance was overshadowed by the 10 straight TDs that Cosgrove’s defense gave up. Purify ran a good 40 at the combine (4.54), but dropped some of balls and cut off routes. He doesn’t seem to get off the ball well and is poor at separating from DBs. Has good hands and could be a solid possession receiver. I would not be surprised to see the Raiders, Bengals, or Jags take a chance on Purify.

Corey McKeon (Round 2, United Indoor Football draft) – McKeon will be the top draft choice of the Blackshirts going in round 2 of the UIF draft to the Omaha Beef. We don’t see any NFL GMs wishing to get fired in the next 2 weeks and believe the NFL will steer clear of #13 after reading the following scouting report: “Watching film of McKeon playing against USC makes one wonder how the Nebraska defense was able to perform with only 10 guys. I’ve yet to see a player get cleared out as easily as he does. Is afraid of contact.” Unless of course that contact comes from Sam Keller.

Potential free agent signings

Tierre Green – Can’t tackle and doesn’t fill consistently against the run. Was a converted RB playing safety and always looked like a converted RB playing safety. I’d be shocked if he got drafted.

Sam Keller – There will be questions about his decision making as well as his late-season injury. Has flashes of making difficult throws look easy, but his overall accuracy and awkward release will be big drawbacks, not to mention the recent concerns about his sexuality. Could be an issue if he’s trying to kiss guys in the locker room.

Steve Octavien – Has flashes of being a solid LB at the next level and hits hard. Does not wrap up and takes plays off. He did post a solid 26 reps at the NFL combine and ran a 4.67 40. He’s worth the risk in round 7, but I don’t see him going at all in a solid LB class.

Jeffie, will your wedding look like this??

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Joe Ganz By the Numbers

Here are some post-Mexico, going on no sleep, thoughts about something that has been bothering me. It started with an interesting exchange between Husker Mike and AJ the Huskerh8r concerning Joe Ganz and his productivity in 2007.

AJ’s argument was as follows:

“Well for one, Ganz didn’t have to play USC, Missouri or a majority of the Texas game. He didn't play on the road at Wake, or in either of the home debacles against A&M or Okie State. The Three games he DID start, he faced the #73 and #89 passing defenses in the country in KSU and Colorado. And the KU team (with a statistically bloated passing D ranking of 12th) he faced was up by 40 points throughout most of the game. Think they were going to open the playbook up a bit at that point? Also, do I need to mention that the KU game was pretty much the only time when Mo Purify actually played like the hyped up All-American you claimed that he was?

Throwing garbage touchdowns against horrible pass defenses while down by double digits isn’t exactly a good way to guarantee greatness is it? Especially if your ridiculously wild expectations toward the last QB you backed didn’t exactly turn out the way you thought? (Although I pretty much nailed it.)”
And then we have Husker Mike’s retort, which challenged some of AJ’s points:

“In his nine starts, Sam Keller threw for 14 touchdowns. Joe Ganz threw for 16 touchdowns in six games (3 relief appearances, 3 starts). He suggests that Ganz's passing stats were inflated by garbage time when Nebraska was down by 40 points. Which isn't exactly true. Ganz did throw one touchdown pass when Kansas led by 45...but also threw touchdown passes to give Nebraska a 14-7 and cut a Kansas lead to 28-21 and 48-31.

But when AJ talks "garbage touchdowns," he's got his statistics all backwards in this case. Against Southern Cal, Keller threw two touchdown passes in the final five minutes of the game to turn a 49-17 deficit to 49-31. Against Oklahoma State (remember, #103 defense in pass efficiency), Keller threw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to avert a home shutout. That's four out of Keller's fourteen touchdowns in "garbage time". In contrast, Ganz threw two fourth quarter touchdown passes against Kansas State when Callahan ran up the score. So by my math, that's three garbage touchdowns for Ganz versus four for Keller.”
I’ve read both a couple of times, and I have to say I think both are on the right track, with A.J. highlighting more of my concerns. The bottom line is that Joe Ganz is still a question mark heading into 2008 (a point Husker Mike also deserves credit for alluding to). So, now let me add my point this discussion.

First and foremost, “garbage time” works both ways. Whether you are ahead or behind by three scores the mindsets on both sidelines begin to change. When playing from behind you’re more likely to put the ball in the air, take chances, and most importantly relax some as trailing by 15+ points doesn’t exactly register on the “clutch-o-meter”. You are also likely to be facing possible substitutions on a defense holding a big lead or a change in philosophies ranging from calling off blitzes, stunts or mixed coverages to the dreaded prevent defense.

When you’re ahead by more than 15 points the pressure again is likely to evaporate. Here your confidence is high based on your previous success and now you’re more likely to be facing an overly aggressive defense that has perhaps become undisciplined while looking to make a big play to get back in the game. Combine those and you have the elements of a blowout, or at least a more relaxed or poised QB.

In other words, a quarterback’s performance when either ahead or behind by 15 points is not necessarily indicative of his overall abilities or his normal or typical productivity.

So what’s my point? Take a closer look at Joe Ganz’s numbers from 2007. If you do, you’ll quickly notice that a lot of his playing time came when facing this exact scenario (e.g., Nebraska was either +/- 15 points on the scoreboard).

More specifically:

· 55% of Ganz’s attempts came when either ahead or trailing by 15+ points
· 58% of Ganz’s completions came when either ahead or trailing by 15+ points
· 753 of his 1435 yards (52%) came when either ahead or trailing by 15+ points
· And 9 of his 16 (52%) TDs came when either ahead or trailing by 15+ points

By comparison:

Chase Daniel
· Just 767 of his 4306 yards (18%) came when either ahead or trailing by 15+ points
· And 7 of his 33 TDs (21%) came when either ahead or trailing by 15+ points

Sam Bradford
· Just 906 of 3121 yards (29%) came when either ahead or trailing by 15+ points
· And 12 of his 36 TDs (33%) came when either ahead or trailing by 15+ points

Josh Freeman
· 970 of his 3353 yards (29%) came when either ahead or trailing by 15+ points
· And 9 of his 18 TDs (50%) came when either ahead or trailing by 15+ points

Blake Szymanski (Baylor)
· 1164 of his 2844 yards (41%) came when either ahead or trailing by 15+ points
· And 9 of his 18 TDs (50%) came when either ahead or trailing by 15+ points

That should maybe help put Ganz’s numbers into a bit more perspective in terms of the Big 12 conference. Right now Joe Ganz is our QB, and I think he can be more than serviceable. If he plays close to the way he played in blowouts in 2007, then we will have no room to complain. But all-conference? Top 5 dual-threat QB in the country? (see the comments from A.J.’s original post). I think we might be getting a little ahead of ourselves. If you disagree, however, I’d love to hear why and just how well you think Joe Ganz performs in 2008. I just tend to think we need a bit more evidence before making such claims, but I’m certainly all ears.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Unfettered Access to Husker Locker Room

Those are quite the moves as MTV's The Grind visits Nebraska's nice, new locker room. Oh, and someone please keep Mike Smith away from the dance floor. He makes Dr. D look like Baryshnikov.

Warning - Video contains locker room language.

jiggin in nebraska

Oh, and I'm back by the way. Mexico was amazing and Sammy Vegas did a swell job holding down the fort. Major bonus points for digging up photographic evidence of T. Rose's days as a County Seat model.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Glory Years

Just like Frank the Tank, I would love to go back and do it all over again - especially when you can dominate. From Bob Devaney to Johnny Rodgers to Tom Osborne to Mike Rozier to Tommie Frazier to Eric Crouch, it's all right here.

(editor's note: fast-forward from the 2 minute 42 second mark to the 2 minute 46 second mark while watching.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Husker Football (and Tailgaiting) Reborn

How great is it to see Joe Ganz, Marlon Lucky, and Phillip Dillard lead the team on the field with excitement, meaningfullness, and enthusiasm that has not been seen in Lincoln in almost 5 years?

ONLY in Nebraska is it possible to come off a 5-7 season and sell out your spring game with 80,000+ (second highest attendance ever for a college football spring game). Remarkable when you consider National Championship contender Missouri had over 26,000 fans which was 3 times their previous highest turnout (ever). The presence of our former players who once made our football program the juggernaut we were was reassuring. My new man crush is redshirt freshman WR Curenski Gilleylen who not only was clocked at 10.2 seconds in the 100 meter dash in high school but caught a 77 yard TD Saturday from Ganz. Finally, our first homerun threat since Matt Davison.

Besides 80,000 fans chanting "Go Big Red" for a scrimmage in the middle of April, gotta love the new Tunnel Walk. If anyone sees any reminescence from the Callahan era there let me know.


As Pelini, his assistants, and now DXP proclaims, we are done talking about the past four years. It's over. I did, however, have the privilege of walking over to the Runza tent, the Valentino's tent, the Amigo's tent, and finally the Fairbury Hotdog tent. We talked about how many Pro Bowls Mike Rozier has in his future and then they called us a cab.

The highlight of the day was not running into our old friend Grant Wistrom, who bought us beers, was looking hardly 220 lbs., and reads DXP (so he says), but trying to convince everyone that Timmy Rose's number on the back of his senior picture is legit...

The attendance for the game was 80,149. That number is greatly misleading as A. Rose and I never made it past the Champions Club, which brings the number down to 80,147.

Besides being sacked three times and going 4 for 9, Joe Ganz did have two touchdowns and threw for 131 yards and coincidently, hit Gillylen while we were doing a photo shoot....

Sitting in the trunk of a Red Cadillac with a license plate that reads 'PowrRed' is fun, but I bet Adi Kunilac had a better time kicking 7 touchbacks...

A. Rose is holding the keys in his left pocket...

Some youtube videos here...

Paige, Karen, and Summer - the photo we warned you about...

And the obligatory drunk college girls who hopped the fence...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Off to Mexico...

I'm leaving today for San Miguel, Mexico for a little wedding planning and many, many margaritas. I'll likely be without phone and internet access until next Wednesday, so DXP will be in the capable hands of Sammy Vegas. You might remember him from such patently offensive posts as the one below. Just kidding Sammy. Let's not pretend to be above such stuff as a fanbase given other notable accomplishments like "Sal is dead, Go Big Red!" and death threats to coaches or the harrassment of their children. The Power of Red, indeed. Besides if you noticed, you can't go seven paragraphs - in an article written over a decade after the fact, no less - without encountering some mention of Lawrence Phillips. If Nebraska is saddled with a mentally ill, violent offender as its poster boy, VT just might get stuck with Seung-Hui Cho, as well.

The Sisters of Mercy just released their Top 10 worst mismatches of the upcoming college football year. Oklahoma vs. Chattanooga? Charleston Southern vs. Miami (FL)? Southeast Missouri vs. Missouri? Impressive. What is Nebraska's non-conference schedule you ask? Tougher. I think.

Nebraska vs. Western Michigan (8/30)

WMU has true 6'6 sophomore Colin Kaepernick, who threw for over 2100 yards and 19 TDs in 8 games, battling it out with future NFL QB Nick Graziano, who threw for 1200 yards and 10 TDs in only three games last year before injury. WMU finished 5-7 last year but returns a heap of talent and should contend for the West MAC title. The most intriguing part of WMU for Husker fans could be watching what they do at Buffalo 10/11. Ball State? Remember?

Nebraska vs. San Jose State (9/06)

Old U. of Arizona coach Dick Tomey begins his 4th year at SJSU. Remarkably, in his first year in 2005, Tomey lead the Spartans to their first back to back wins since '97 and then followed it up with a bowl appearance in the inaugural New Mexico Bowl where they defeated New Mexico in '06. Tomey has coached 5 first round NFL players, 20 All-Americans, and 43 All Pac-10 players. I'm not saying SJSU is good, but gotta love a coach who finished 12-1 and finished 3rd in the AP in 1997 at a football powerhouse like Arizona. Hungry for more? Check it out. However, they are not as hungry as Jenn Sterger who is a huge DXP fan.

Nebraska vs. New Mexico State (9/13)

When Wikipedia has nothing on your football program that means you are not good. New Mexico State, however, does have some significant Nebraska ties. Tony Samuel was in Tom Osborne's first recruiting class and coached the linebackers at Nebraska for ten years. In those ten years Samuel coached 6 first team All-Americans and 12 NFL players. The juggernaut Aggies fired him despite a 15-20 record over his last 3 years. Kenton Keith, an Omaha Benson grad, is the second string running back for the Indianapolis Colts behind Joseph Addai and had barely over 2,000 yards for his injury plagued career at NMSU. Keith is probably most known as the two time MVP of the Council Bluffs Rams 'Iowa Friendship Bowl'. I am most known for the two time MVP of the Council Bluffs 'Razzle Dazzle Credit Card Bowl'. Eerie.

(side note: Tony Samuel coaches Southeast Missouri now who plays Missouri as mentioned above. GO REDHAWKS!)

Nebraska vs. Virginia Tech (9/27)

You'll win.

DXP wishes to give all of those affected and struck by the tragedies of the horrific events that took place on April 16, 2007 our deepest condolences.

However, this guy packs some serious heat. Herbie was born in September.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring Game Rosters Set


The rosters for Saturday’s sold-out Red-White spring game were set following a draft on Tuesday afternoon. The Red squad will be led offensively by quarterback Joe Ganz, I-back Marlon Lucky and receiver Nate Swift, along with returning starters Lydon Murtha and Matt Slauson on the offensive line. Defensively, the red team has returning starters Zach Potter and Armando Murillo, along with middle linebacker Phillip Dillard.

The White team will be quarterbacked by Zac Lee and Patrick Witt and also includes I-backs Roy Helu, Jr. and Quentin Castille along with senior wide receiver Todd Peterson. Up front, the White team’s offensive line includes center Jacob Hickman, guard Mike Huff and tackle Jaivorio Burkes. On the defensive side, the White squad features senior linemen Ty Steinkuhler and Barry Turner, I-back turned linebacker Cody Glenn and junior safety Larry Asante.

Link to rosters

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nate Swift: Mr. Forgettable?

So far this spring, we’ve seen the media’s attention granted to a host of Nebraska receivers, like Menelik Holt, Curenski Gilleylen, and Chris Brooks. Thus far, those three have accounted for a total of 5 receptions and 101 yards in their respective careers. Meanwhile, Nate Swift has moved his way into the record books with very little notice from the mainstream media.

As it stands Swift has compiled the following stats:

· No. 3 in Nebraska Career Receiving Yards (1,535)
· No. 4 in Nebraska Career Receptions (103)
· Nebraska Freshman Records for Receptions (45), Receiving Yardage (641), Touchdowns (7)
· Third all-time in career 100-yard receiving games with 3 (behind Johnny Rodgers and Irving Fryar).
· First-Team Freshman All-Big 12 (The Sporting News, 2005)
· Honorable-Mention All-Big 12 (AP, 2005)
· Two-Time Second-Team Academic All-Big 12 (2005, 2006)
· Two-Time Big 12 Commissioner’s Fall Academic Honor Roll (2004, 2007)
· Big 12 Commissioner’s Spring Academic Honor Roll (2005)

So, Swift needs just 41 receptions to pass Johnny Rodgers in career receptions. In addition, Swift needs less than 1,000 yards receiving to pass Rodgers in all-time career yardage and is just one more solid season from passing Terrence Nunn at the #2 spot in career yardage.

Yet few are mentioning Swift when discussing this year’s receiving corps. My question is why? In my estimation, he’s been our most consistent receiver for the past few seasons. Yes, Maurice Purify had more big plays and deserved the attention he received, but Swift also did some damage. For instance,

· In 2007, 28 of his 36 catches gained first down yardage (78%)
· On 3rd down plays all 11 of his receptions kept drives alive and moved the sticks
· In 2006, 16 of his 22 catches gained first down yardage (73%)
· On 3rd down plays 4 out of his 8 receptions kept drives alive and moved the sticks

So, again I ask: why is everyone forgetting about Nate Swift? Yes, we supposedly have a lot of talent coming up at the WR spot. But let’s not downplay the role of proven contributors like Swift and Todd Peterson. These guys know the offense, they’re skilled route runners, and they’ve proven their mettle in Big 12 play. The guys the media is currently spoon feeding us this spring? Not so much.

Just something to keep in mind when your college football fantasy (or real life spring game) draft comes around.

Nate Swift on YouTube:

Career Highlights:

My Favorite Highlight:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Callahan's Lasting Legacy: The Redshirt Diaries - 2005

The 2005 class was supposed to lead Nebraska to the Promised Land. Unfortunately, the ballyhooed recruits have left town, struggled, or slowly worked their way to respectability. That’s certainly not what fans had in mind as many penciled several of these guys in as immediate starters. Things didn’t quite workout that way, but 12 did play as true freshman. These are their stories.

Matt Slauson - Slauson was sort of a strange addition to the 2005 recruiting class. He made an impression early on in fall camp, however and quickly became a regular on Nebraska’s extra-point and field goal units. Slauson could have quickly become one of Callahan’s dreaded redshirting decisions, but then the coaches had an epiphany and Slauson entered the offensive line rotation late in the season. He would go on to start at right tackle against Kansas State, Colorado and Michigan after senior Seppo Evwaraye was slowed by a foot injury. Slauson’s performed well during this time helped the Huskers finish the 2005 season with three straight wins.

Barry Turner – With a lack of depth at DE and Turner’s great speed off the edge, the decision to burn his redshirt made perfect sense. Turner would go one to have one of the best true freshman seasons in recent memory. He played in every game and made a huge impact as a pass rush specialist, earning him first-team freshman All-America honors. Turner tied for the national lead among freshmen and set a Husker freshman record with six sacks. He also made 14 total tackles, with six hurries and two blocked field goals.Turner’s best statistical performance came at Baylor, as he set career highs in tackles (four), tackles for loss (three) and sacks (two). He had blocked field goals against Oklahoma and Kansas State, while also playing on NU’s kickoff return unit. There’s little doubt that Turner should have played in 2005. Now we’re all just waiting for him to repeat those numbers.

Harrison Beck – Ah, Harrison Beck. Callahan’s first big-name QB recruit. He was the expected starter according to many fans going into the 2005 season (come on, you can admit it). Instead he sat the bench before finally taking over the backup quarterback position midway through the season. That meant little until the home finale against Kansas State. When Zac Taylor went down with a concussion, Callahan made his most talked about redshirt-related decision, one he of course called "a no-brainer". Rather than keeping his redshirt alive, Callahan called on Beck. Beck then quickly fired an interception that led to the Wildcats’ go-ahead field goal, but would he would later respond in the game’s waning moments. Beck wound up connecting with redshirt freshman Nate Swift on a 21-yard strike to help put Nebraska in position for Jordan Congdon’s game-winning 40-yard field goal with 1:05 to play. So Callahan’s decision allowed us to win a late-season game, but could have been costly down the road had Beck and his mother not lost their minds early in 2006. Beck wound up playing in the final quarter at Colorado, and directed NU to a field goal to account for the final 30-3 margin. He finished the regular season and his Nebraska career 1-of-10 passing.

Jeff Souder - Souder was a Nebraska boy who many thought would become a big-time contributor in Lincoln. His tenacity and fire quickly earned him a spot on special teams. However, because he never cracked the depth chart at either linebacker or safety during the 2005 season, he became another special teams only guy. In other words, Callahan once again burned a redshirt a guy who probably needed to mature physically and emotionally before he could become an everyday contributor. Instead Souder played in 10 games and finished with six tackles. Souder didn’t spend a whole lot of time on campus, but managed to make his share of headlines. He was shot in the leg at a party during a confrontation. Then in January of 2006 Souder left the team for personal reasons. He has since taken up MMA fighting (video here), and also earned All-Conference and honorable mention All-American honors as a linebacker at UNO in 2007.

Leon Jackson – This one is a doozy. Jackson began the 2005 fall camp as a running back. However, he eventually switched to free safety. The timing of the switch meant he missed out on valuable practice time and apparently struggled to pick up the defense. One would think, this would make him ripe for a redshirt year. Nope. Instead Jackson sat on the bench for the first two games before becoming a member of the kickoff coverage team. He would go onto see action in nine of the final 10 games as a special teamer. He would end his tremendous true freshman season with one fucking tackle, which came on the opening kickoff against Texas Tech. Interestingly, Jackson also doubled as a receiver on Nebraska’s scout team unit, and actually earned scout team MVP honors. He would then spend the pre-Alamo Bowl practices primarily at receiver. You know what? He could have done all of that as a redshirt!! Instead the coaching staff moved him around like a chess piece leading to a frustrated Jackson transferring to Hawaii. With the talent he apparently showed on the scout team, you have to think Jackson would have found a home as a receiver with more practice time under his belt.

Jordan Congdon – The decision to burn Congdon’s redshirt was immediate, mainly because Nebraska had nobody else at the kicker position. Congdon would go on to have a standout freshman season, connecting on 19-of-23 field goals and 31-of-32 PATs en route to freshman All-America honors. During the season he had a streak of 11 straight made field goals, and closed the season by hitting his final 31 extra-point attempts after missing the first of his career (oops!). Like several of his recruiting classmates, Congdon would eventually leave the team, under somewhat strange circumstances.

Marlon Lucky – There was little doubt in anyone’s mind that Marlon Lucky was going to play as a true freshman. He started the year off strong with a a season-high 44 yards against Maine. Unfortunately, Cory Ross then took command of the starting job and Lucky was mainly regulated to special teams duty. He averaged 20.9 yards on 15 returns, including a season-long 57-yard return at Kansas. He also had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Jayhawks nullified by penalty. Overeall, Lucky played in all 12 games and ran for just 143 yards including 33 yards in a 30-3 win at Colorado. Lucky also caught two passes on the season. So we knew Lucky was going to play, but many thought he would be the workhorse back from day one, but that job actually went to Ross and rightfully so. Given what we know now about Lucky’s lack of maturity early in his career, perhaps a redshirt would have done him some good.

Chris Brooks – A serious head scratcher, this one. Brooks came in as a skinny, unpolished true freshman receiver. He should have been an obvious redshirt decision as he was nowhere near the top of the depth chart at receiver. But for some reason, Callahan and Co., decided Brooks needed to “play.” So Brooks did. Sort of. He wound up appearing in four games as a true freshman against Maine, Iowa State, Texas Tech and Missouri. Shockingly, Brooks did not have a reception in 2005, something that he could have also easily accomplished while redshirting. Brooks would go on to do just that in 2006 and fans are still waiting for him to contribute in some manner.

Cody Glenn – The “other RB” recruit in the 2005 class, Glenn began his true freshman campaign behind both Cory Ross and Marlon Lucky. This meant that he sat the bench for the first two games of the year. Given this situation, a lot of coaches would have decided to redshirt Glenn to save him a year of eligibility and to separate him a year from Lucky. Instead, Glenn would eventually appear in seven of the final 10 contests. He finished with 131 yards and four touchdowns on 45 carries in 2005, and lost yardage on just one of his 45 carries. He ran for 20 yards on four carries in a 7-6 win over Pitt, then played a huge role in the Huskers’ near-comeback against Texas Tech, with 12 carries for 39 yards, including second-quarter touchdowns of one and five yards. He also had a season-high 41 yards in a 23-14 win at Baylor. Injuries have since plagued Glenn, but in spite of this he still hasn’t redshirted. He’s now switched to defense and will have just the spring to learn a new position before spending his final season in Lincoln as a linebacker.

Zach Potter – Quite frankly, I still can’t believe this one. Potter just didn’t seem physically ready to play DE as a true freshman at Nebraska. But instead of sitting him down for the year and allowing him to grow into his body, the coaching staff decided we really needed a 6-foot-7 guy to do nothing but attempt to block FGs. Don’t get me wrong, Potter became a star at just this skill. He literally had a hand in a pair of victories. He blocked a field goal in NU’s 7-6 win over Pittsburgh in the third game of the year, before blocking a Kansas State PAT in NU’s 27-25 win over the Wildcats. But this is seriously all Potter did as a true freshman. He saw only limited action on the defensive line and had ONE tackle against Wake Forest. If that wasn’t bad enough, in his second season, it was more of the same. He made just three tackles while serving as the top reserve at base end. He had one tackle each against Nicholls State, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. He was, however, once again a regular on both NU’s field goal/PAT and field goal/PAT block units. Finally, in his third year in the system and now physically mature, Potter became our most consistent defensive lineman in 2007. Unfortunately since he wasted two years of eligibility jumping up and down with the hopes of blocking a kick, Potter has just one more season to finish his Husker career with a bang. A true waste if you ask me.

Phillip Dillard – Another guy that probably could have redshirted, especially given that Corey McKeon who was ahead of him on the depth chart somehow had a monster season. Dillard played immediately in the season opener against Maine and finished with a pair of solo tackles against the Black Bears. He would also technically get the start at Missouri when NU opened with four linebackers. Overall, Dillard finished his true freshman campaign with 11 total tackles, including a tackle for loss. With that type of productivity the year was essentially wasted. It mattered little, however, as Dillard tore his ACL in the 2006 season opener and redshirted that season. He finally has the starting MLB job all to himself and should be a leader on the 2008 defense.

Ndamukong Suh – There’s little doubt in my mind that Suh should have been redshirted from the get go in 2005. Instead, he played sparingly in the first two games of the season. Against Wake Forest, he did manage to register one assisted tackle. He would then miss the rest of the season with a knee injury that eventually required surgery. Suh has apparently received a medical hardship for the 2005 season, as already lists him as just a junior for the 2008 campaign. I’m still waiting for Suh to become consistent and to quit taking plays off. If he doesn’t learn this, I don’t think Pelini will bother playing him. Should he listen to Pelini, however, Suh has a great chance to become a force along the front four.

So there you have the 2005 edition of true freshman that played under Callahan. Go back through and really look closely at their contributions. Why did these guys play? Take Congdon, Turner and Slauson out of the equation and you have some pretty minor contributions. Granted, we might not win the KSU game without Potter’s block and Beck’s lone completion, but that’s a lot of development to waste for one game. Lucky and Glenn had some bright spots, but why not redshirt at least one of them? But Brooks? Potter? Jackson? Souder? Dillard? They now just seem like further evidence of Callahan’s inability to understand the game of college football. You just don’t waste a guy’s eligibility like that especially when the trade off is a kid who comes back the next year physically and mentally more mature, as well as more comfortable at their chosen position.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sam Keller's Boyfriend

Last fall, DXP posted pictures of Sam Keller's girlfriend for our heterosexual readers. Since we are not homophobic and are all for equal rights, we thought it is only fair to post pictures of Sam Keller's boyfriend this time around. The boyfriend is no other than former Husker Corey McKeon who evidently can sack quarterbacks after all. We had our suspicions of McKeon when this halloween photo surfaced, but what about Sam Keller? Dude, you can do much better than Corey McKeon. (Thanks again to for unearthing these gems).

This is not Scott Frost and Grant Wistrom...

This was our 2007 Nebraska football team...

Another picture taken at 'The Q' in Lincoln...

After two more beers he goes down lower...

He obviously isn't enjoying his girlfriend as much as Corey...

And you left her at home for that guy? Dude. Dude. Dude!!

Josh Williams Confused About Paycheck Advance

Incoming freshman recruit Josh Williams will now be known for more than a really sweet haircut. He's apparently gotten himself into a little trouble. Like robbery.
Ryan defensive end Josh Williams was released from jail on Tuesday after being arrested on a robbery charge. Williams is accused of robbing a Denton man of $900.

The man told police that Williams approached him while he was sitting in his truck and counting his payroll check on Friday. The two talked briefly before Williams reached into the truck, punched him in the face and ran off with the cash, according to the police report.
Williams was a guy I thought might come in and battle for immediate playing time. Now he might be lucky just to make it to Lincoln.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

And We Have A Winner!!!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the DXP Tourney Challenge. The stakes were high and the competition was fierce. In the end, however, only one came out on top. Luckily, we were able to dig up some prizes for the Top 3 brackets and one (in this case two) for the worst. Without further ado...

1st Place: Husker Mike

Husker Mike simply dominated the competition throughout and finished in the 98.8 percentile in the ESPN tourney challenge. He had 3 of the final 4 teams, Memphis and Kansas in the final, and Kansas as the winner. For your hardwork and expertise, you win the grand prize - an all exclusive trip to the famed Bunny Ranch in Carson City, Nevada. Enjoy. (and don't be greedy, you only get one)

2nd Place: Jeffie Husker

Despite long hours invested in the Recruiting Diaries, Jeffie made time to put up a strong second place showing. In fact, if UCLA would have beat Memphis, he would have won. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. For second place, you win a fantastic dinner prepared by this 5 star chef (or pimp?). And yes, if you want to make an anniversary dinner out of it, you can bring Lauren.

3rd Place: NewYorkBound (E.Drey)

NewYorkBound was strong throughout the competition and ended in a solid 3rd place finish. However, Texas proved to be his undoing. Nonetheless, third is not bad and for that we award you with two hours of nonstop VIP lapdances for you and two of your lucky friends at the Razzle Dazzle.

Last Place: HiPlainsDrifter and Sammy Vegas (tie)

Its easy to pinpoint where HiPlainsDrifter went wrong. Anytime you pick a team like Xavier to cut down the nets it only makes us wonder if you were gunning for that last place prize all along. As for me, I wish I had an excuse. I think I'll go with that I knew what the last place prize was and if you know me, I don't mind. Go ahead HiPlainsDrifter. You pick first.

I wish we had more prizes to go around but better luck next time.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Callahan's Lasting Legacy: The Redshirt Diaries - 2004

We all read the quote and immediately started thinking of other guys who would have benefitted from a redshirt season. The quote I'm talking about? This one:
"I always tell my mom and dad, it was nice traveling and seeing the places I did, but I really should've redshirted," [now sophomore Latravis]Washington said. "I really should've."
Of all of the questionable decisions made by Bill Callahan and his coaching staff, none will have a greater impact on the future of the program than those related to the redshirting (check that - not redshirting) of incoming freshman. This series will examine those decisions.

First, for a primer on redshirting, head to SMQ, who breaks it down better than anyone else, once again.

Secondly, let's decide who is to blame for poor redshirting decisions. I always assumed that a coaching staff had the final say about which freshmen will redshirt and which will see the field. One could also make the argument, however, that players should have quite a bit of say in this, given that it's ultimately their future. But the bottom line seems to dictate that coaches DO have the final say. If you, as a coaching staff, don't want to send a guy out there, then don't. Tell him he might get a shot, but if he's not in your top group why force him into a spot on special teams?

Anyway, I tried to think of the best way to organize this series and finally decided to start by gong year-by-year of the Callahan experiment. At the conclusion I also hope to determine the worst redshirting decisions made during this time.

So without further adu, here is the 2004 recruiting class:

Santino Panico – We absolutely have to start with this guy. Panico’s redshirt was burned when Callahan discovered that despite Nebraska’s status as a major college football team, our ability to field punts looked something like this. Panico had all of the traits you want in a dangerous return man – great vision, soft hands, a quick first step, and cat-like agility. Ok, so actually he just had soft hands. Because of this, Callahan’s special teams strategy became, “catch the ball, and then you’ll fall.” Panico did just that to the tune of 22 punt returns in 2004 for 68 total yards. That’s incredible an average of 3.1 yards/return. On the strength of Panico’s efforts Nebraska finished last in the Big 12 and 107th nationally in punt returns.

There are a lot of theories out there to explain Panico’s role on the 2004 squad. Mine is as follows. As we all know, Bill Callahan’s father was a long time Chicago police officer. What you might not know is that Callahan’s father also loved the ponies. So much so, that he quickly found himself owing a lot of money to the kind of men you do not want to owe the smallest amount of money to. One of those men was famed Chicago mob boss Marcelino “Soft Hands” Panico, who as fate would have it, happens to be Santino’s grandfather. As crime bosses are wont to do, Marcelino later called upon the Callahan family to do a service for him. That favor, which served as justice for his father’s gambling debts, was Bill Callahan’s usage of Santino Panico as a true freshman punt returner catcher. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. Hey it’s better than the ending to The Sopranos.

Overall, burning Panico's redshirt had little lasting impact, but did signify Callahan's odd tendency to do this solely for special teams purposes.

Lance Brandenburgh – This one stings. Brandenburgh also seems to have played almost exclusively on special teams as a true freshman in 2004. From his bio:
“Brandenburgh played in every game except the season opener, primarily on special teams. He made three tackles, one each against Kansas State, Iowa State and Colorado. He was NU's Special Teams Player of the Week at Kansas State.”
Interestingly, a Rivals($) article from this February contrasts this stating:
“As a freshman, Brandenburgh was pulled out of his redshirt during the third game of the season and played on special teams for the final eight games of the year.”
I don’t know which is right, but it doesn’t really matter. This winter Coach Pelini worked to get Brandenburgh an extra year of eligibility based on his history of injuries, which included a stress fracture in his foot and two pulled hamstrings during his sophomore year. During his junior year, Brandenburgh broke his wrist. Finally, as a senior, he missed one game with an ankle injury and a torn pec muscle caused him to miss the final three games of the season. Unfortunately the NCAA denied this request.

The bottom line is Brandenburgh was pulled out of his redshirt year for a grand total of 3 tackles. How would you like to have his playmaking ability and senior leadership at one of the linebacker spots this season instead?

Beau Davis – This decision is strange and rather insignificant (kind of). In case you somehow managed to block this memory out, Davis was brought out of a redshirt during the fifth game of the season against Texas Tech. Davis entered the game late in the third quarter with the score 35-10. He then proceeded to complete 5/7 passes. Unfortunately, four of those receptions were by Red Raider defenders. The INTs and a fumble, also by Davis quickly turned the game into the nightmare we all remember.

Clearly, the game wasn’t going as planned when Callahan decided to bring Davis into the game and out of his redshirt season. My guess is he felt the need to do something, anything to give fans the sense that he was trying. According to post-game press reports
“Callahan said he lifted Dailey because he thought Davis might provide a spark with his ‘deeper arm’.”
Accuracy and possible color blindness be damned, I guess. Davis would eventually redshirt the 2005 season, and wouldn’t see action on the field again until mop up duty against Nicholls State and Troy in 2006. Due to his 2005 redshirt campaign Davis is still around in Lincoln. This is, I suppose, neither a positive or a negative. The plays aren't going to signal themselves in, after all.

Cortney Grixby – The decision to burn Grixby’s redshirt was immediate. By the third game against Pittsburgh, he was already starting in the place of an injured Lornell McPherson. The team had little to no depth at cornerback, meaning Callahan didn’t have the luxury of sitting Grixby as a true freshman. You can’t fault this decision and Grixby ended 2004 with some pretty solid numbers. He tallied 21 total tackles, including 14 solo stops, and added four pass breakups. Grixby made a season-high four tackles against Kansas, and had three tackles each against Southern Miss, Pittsburgh and Kansas State.

Brandon Jackson – Another decision that it’s hard to find fault with and one that had limited impact given that Jackson left after the 2006 season. In 2004, the running back spot was pretty much up for grabs with Cory Ross, David Horne, Jackson and Tierre Green sharing the bulk of the carries. Jackson burst onto the scene with 79 yards on 13 carries in the opener against Western Illinois. That total was the most by a Husker true freshman in a season opener since at least 1973. Overall, Jackson played in 10 games and finished the year with 390 yards and six touchdowns, while averaging 4.6 yards per carry. The 390 yards were the ninth-most ever by a Husker freshman.

Terrence Nunn – No freshman benefited more from the changing guard in Lincoln than Nunn. The complete lack of receivers for Callahan’s switch to the WCO meant that he had to step up in a hurry. Nunn’s redshirting chances went out the window way before opening day, and he wound up starting the first contest of the season. Nunn would go onto make five more starts as a true freshman and finished with 16 receptions for 218 yards, with a season-long 55-yard reception at Kansas State to set up a Nebraska touchdown. Nunn also started his streak of consecutive games with a catch during his true freshman campaign. That streak would extend well into the 2007 season. Nunn was a huge get for Callahan given the roster he inherited. Terrence became a consistent contributor and few would argue that another year of development would have benefited him or the team coming into 2008.

Overall, most of the decisions concerning redshirts during the 2004 season make sense on the surface. Using Beau Davis was a head-scratcher at the time, but has been meaningless since that moment. The Brandenburgh decision, on the other hand, was a monumental fuck up. The first time a linebacker blows an assignment or misses an easy tackle, I'll be sure to remember that Lance could have been out there in 2008.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mike Brown Reminds Us How to Play Safety

Good God! I forgot what it looked like to see a safety make clean, form tackles. Every year I pay close attention to our safety recruiting hoping and praying another Mike Brown-type finds his way to Lincoln.

Friday, April 04, 2008

In the Interest of Fairness...

Here's another Bo Pelini defense. The one we all expect him to reproduce and unleash next fall at Nebraska. See, I present both sides, like a true academic.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Pete Caroll - April Fool's Joke

He makes it really hard for me not to like him.

Quick DXP Tourney Update

Sorry I have not been keeping the DXP Tourney Challenge more up to date. Dr. D and I just got back from blowing up South Beach over the past week and we're not proud to report there were no arrests and therefore no mug shots to show.

The DXP tourney has come down to the following four contestants: Husker Mike (currently 1st), Jeffie Husker (currently 2nd), Timmy Rose (currently tied for 3rd with E. Drey), and T. Francis (currently tied for 5th with J. Hughes). Well done so far. The heated battle for last place has come down to Sammy Vegas and Hi Plains Drifter (B. Vogel) with HPD guaranteed at least a tie for last (BLV, thanks for not letting me get shown up).

For all of the contestants and especially the winner, we thought we would have a little celebration and hire the party planners who threw Matt Leinart his 24th birthday celebration last weekend. Apparently they do good work. Thanks to for providing us with a few examples (and for confirming that ALL of the girls pictured below graduated high school in 2006 and are 19 and 20 years of age).

Please RSVP.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Random Dose of Cyanide

Remember this Bo Pelini Defense?

Beware of the Kool-Aid! It tastes a little funny.

I don't know why I get in these moods sometimes.