Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
And secondly, some of you have left suggestions as to what sites you would like us to link to. Since I will be overhauling the right side of this site very soon, please let me know if you have any other favorites that you would like me to throw up there on a permanent basis.
"Former Duke point guard Greg Paulus was impressed after two days of meetings with Syracuse football coaches and staffers, but he has decided to visit with Nebraska's football program on Thursday, a person familiar with the process said Tuesday.
Paulus, a former two-sport All-American, is still very strongly considering resuming his football career with one season at Syracuse, but he doesn't want to regret not exploring all his options, another person familiar with Paulus said.
Last week, a person familiar with the situation said that Paulus was 95 percent sure that he would be on a football roster next season. He has already met with members of the Michigan football program.
Paulus was a prolific quarterback at Christian Brothers Academy, near Syracuse, where he threw for 11,763 yards and 152 touchdowns in high school. He was courted by Notre Dame and Miami, among others, to play football. He is the older brother of Mike Paulus, a North Carolina quarterback."
There was an editorial in Sporting News recently that talked about how embarrassing it was to the Michigan football program that they were recruiting Greg Paulus. I couldn't disagree more. By no means am I going to try to convince anyone that Paulus is our best option at QB next season in Lincoln. He's not. However, when the Nebraska coaches court Paulus, it only brings about positives. What it does is show any and every high school kid out there that watches ESPN that Nebraska is important on a national level again. Important enough to have the former Gatorade Player of the Year interested in playing football for our new coaching staff. Free publicity. And do me a favor. If I ever become like a Michigan blogger and complain about things like recruiting former college basketball stars that played for Mike Krzyzewski, then shoot me. I can name around 100 coaches off the top of my head that would have won more than 3 games last season in Ann Arbor.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
If you want to see how Double Extra Point finally made the big time at Playboy U, click here. Two things here. First off, although we appreciate the exposure, would it be that tough to link us? Secondly, if this doesn't get the contributors here an invitation to the Playboy Mansion sometime this summer, then I'm pretty sure everything I've done up to this point is all for nothing.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
After recovering from a 15-0 blowout loss at the hands of MVC powerhouse Creighton earlier this year, the Huskers rebounded with a 3-1 win in extras last night. As a side note, Spark-less Anderson's team struck out a total of 15 times in those 12 innings. Spark-less also decided to work senior Eric Bird like a Tijuana street walker, pitching him 9 1/3 and 127 throws.
I guess it beats the solid performance from the past weekend at Texas A&M where the Huskers posted a performance that would make a little league team proud losing all 3, while being outscored 28-4. I can't confirm this, but I'm guessing Bill Byrne was happy with his coaching selection from UNL.
No one on this year's group puts the "under" in underachiever like one Jake Mort. The senior third baseman, who has been playing regularly since his freshman year is batting a whopping .237 after an 0-5, 2K performance last night. The Mort-O-Meter is quietly on its way to another sub-.250 year. How does Spark-less Anderson do it? How does he consistently take Division II talent and turn it into NAIA Division II talent? I would bring up DJ Belfonte, but his .243 average could be a career best.
Please Tom, I would never, ever ask you to use a quote from your predecessor, but remember when Stevey said he wouldn't let the program gravitate towards mediocrity? This team passed that point about 20 games ago, with pathetic around the corner this weekend. Time to make a change.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Jenna Lee is an anchor on Fox Business News and works out of San Francisco, London, and New York City. In addition, Jenna also is a contributor on the television show, Inside Edition. In college, Jenna was a softball player at UC-Santa Barbara before moving on to get her masters in journalism from Columbia University. To read more, visit her Wikipedia page.
In this scene, Bo Pelini enters Gary Pinkel's office sometime post spring game. Roll it...
There you have it. The gauntlet has been laid. And since I will be spending the next 6 days scouting the girls of the Big 10 in Bloomington, IN for next season's Poon-per Bowl, I challenge anyone to go to the Xtranormal site and see if you can come up with something better. Create anything that has to do with the Big XII, send it to my email with your name, and I'll get your movie posted up here. Be creative, funny, and kind of clean.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
5 things we took from the game:
#1 Latravis Washington is a more than serviceable back-up. Accurate, poised, strong, and agile are all words that can be used to describe his play. And although I am a little baffled as to how he picked up the offense this fast, Washington seemed to be confident and comfortable in the huddle and in the pocket. Most of his passes were dumps to the backs and tight ends, but that is no different from anything Joe Ganz ever did. The only thing I learned about Cody Green is that he still isn't ready to lead this offense yet. And regardless of who starts at QB, the long ball will be back in Lincoln.
#2 Antonio Bell (2 rec for 38 yards) and Chris Brooks (5 rec for 48 yards, 1 TD) both looked really good on Saturday. I have no doubt that when Niles Paul gets through his legal troubles, then he will more than likely have to work his way back into the starting line-up - something that will be not come easy especially as soon as Brandon Kinnie and Khiry Cooper join the team. I said it last week and I'll say it again - Chris Brooks will be big this season. And also, Marcus Mendoza's (3 rec for 58 yards, 1 TD) position change proved to be a wise decision from the coaches.
#3 Although we like keeping the teams fairly even and thus creating a more competitive game, I want to see the #1 and #2 units play together. I would have liked to see them all get a chance to play on the field at the same time so we could get a more accurate assessment of where they stand on the depth chart and how they perform with the rest of the unit. Compton and Steinkuhler both appear ready to step in and start immediately this season. Both players will one day be all-conference. Book that.
#4 I was right about Helu and wrong about Castille. Helu's 20 pound weight gain did result in injury. Let me just say that he's lucky it was just a hamstring and not a knee or ankle. His body cannot handle the extra stresses he is creating on it - he's got all summer to drop it and he should. I thought Castille needed to keep his weight up to be more effective as a power rusher. Castille's loss in weight has given him more speed and elusiveness. I am more than comfortable with Castille as a #1 back if that is where he finds himself next fall.
#5 This is one of the deepest groups of tight ends I have seen at Nebraska. Ben Cotton (4 rec for 48 yards, 1 TD), Mike McNeill (3 rec for 23 yards), Kyler Reed (1 rec for 71 yards, 1 TD), and Dreu Young (3 rec for 29 yards) all played well Saturday and all appear to be ready to see the field often next season.
And here's the reason why Sammy Vegas and A. Rose only learned 5 things from the game. It's tough to balance football and smokeshows.
This week on The DXP Road Show: Live from Bloomington, IN (#26 thing to do for a sports fan before he/she dies!)
Friday, April 17, 2009
The internet has had a little buzz lately about Erin Andrews' personal life. To catch up, EA is now supposedly dating this guy after he dumped this girl, who is the same home wrecker that caused that guy to divorce this wife a little over a year ago. And if that doesn't blow your mind, a certain website claims to have word straight from the locker room that EA is a.... well, if you're curious (and as a male, you should be) then read here. Let me stress it's a rumor. I don't start them - I just help spread them.
Anyways, Erin Andrews will be featured as a sideline reporter in EA SPORTS NCAA Football 10 for Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3. Christmas will come this summer on Tuesday, July 14th and the game will have 4 different cover athletes that have yet to be determined.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
As Bo Pelini promised, the teams are evenly split.
Items of interest:
*The defensive line on the Red team is DE Pierre Allen, DE Cameron Meredith, DT Jared Crick, and DT Terrence Moore while the defensive line for the White team is DE Barry Turner, DE Josh Williams, DT Ndamukong Suh, and DT Baker Steinkuhler. I'll be interested to see how Steinkuhler and Williams perform with Turner and Suh. As I've said before, I think Steinkuhler has a real shot to move up the depth chart in a hurry.
*Cody Green was singled out as the only one of the three QBs that will move from team to team. There was an article written on Thursday in the LJS about the progress of Latravis Washington in his only month as a QB since high school. I could be reading a little too much into this, but I think it appears as if Washington might have a better grip on the offense at this point and possibly even a slight edge on Green for the #2 spot. Green is, after all, 17 years old.
*The safeties for the White team are Ricky Thenarse, Larry Asante, and Eric Hagg? while the safeties for the Red team are Courtney Osborne, P.J. Smith, and Matt O'Hanlon. We already know about Thenarse and Asante so I'll be keeping my eyes on Osborne and Smith. No doubt the coaches have said nothing but praise about the two freshman this spring and with the two of them playing together, I can't wait to see the future at safety right now. I'm still not buying Hagg as a true safety.
*The primary WRs for the White team are Chris Brooks, Antonio Bell, and Will Henry while the WRs for the Red team are Curenski Gilleylen, Menelik Holt, and Marcus Mendoza. Anyone else at all curious about Chris Brooks? I've got this feeling... nevermind, I'll keep it to myself so I don't like an idiot. It's too bad Brandon Kinnie couldn't get to campus for the spring and it's too bad Khiry Cooper is going through hell right now on the diamond. The QB for the Red team is Zac Lee so look for Gilleylen, Holt, and Mendoza to have big plays.
*The corners for the White team are Anthony Blue and Anthony West (with Hagg listed at safety) while the Red team has Prince Amukamara, Alfonzo Dennard, and Lance Thorell. It still appears as if West and Amukamara will be the starters at the corner with Blue and Dennard backing them up. As far as Eric Hagg goes, I'm starting to think we will see some interesting new looks from the defensive backfield this fall (especially with the inexperienced linebackers we have.) What that is other than nickelback for Hagg, I don't know.
*The White team linebackers are Will Compton, Alonzo Whaley, Micah Kreikemeier, and Matt Holt while the Red team linebackers are Phillip Dillard, Colton Koehler, Mathew May, and Sean Fisher. The OWH wrote an article on Thursday about 210 lb. Mathew May and his progress this spring. With Blake Lawrence's future in jeopardy, it sounds as if May has a real chance to slide into a starting role by fall. The three R-Fr. lining up for the Whites will be fun to watch. I'll be interested to see how Compton and Whaley play together as the two redshirt freshman are probably the odds-on favorites in my book to start this fall. And keep an eye on Fisher, who the coaches thought was ready to play in Pelini's defense last year as a true freshman - before he was injured in the first game.
#23. Bo Pelini (10-4 at Nebraska and overall)- In 2019 when we make this list Pelini might be in the top 5. There are few defensive minds better than Pelini and soon it will start to show in Lincoln. The Blackshirts will be back and Pelini will have Nebraska in a BCS bowl very soon. Pelini has led top defenses at Nebraska, Oklahoma, and LSU as a DC. Toughness is back in Lincoln and will stay there for a long time.
2019? Fellas, you know we can't wait that long.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Former Miami QB Robert Marve will be in attendance this weekend for the Nebraska spring game. Marve visited Purdue last weekend and will visit Texas Tech and Arizona State after his visit to Lincoln. Said his high school football coach Robert Weiner,
"It's a little too early to say where he's at, and that's not to be too elusive or anything. Nebraska and Texas Tech are the wild cards, just because he hasn't seen those places and has no familiarity with those places at all. Neither recruited him out of high school. Those are places he really hasn't done a lot of looking into until recently. Robert's a gut-feel type of kid. He'll kind of know as he goes along which schools attract him and which ones he probably won't go to."Although Marve wouldn't be eligible until 2010 and 2011, he certainly would add some depth down the road to an extremely thin group of quarterbacks. With Kody Spano to undergo knee surgery and no timetable set for his return, the Huskers will potentially have only three quarterbacks suited up - Zac Lee, Cody Green, and Latravis Washington - to begin the 2009 season. And with highly touted QB Blake Bell recently committing to Oklahoma (way to pressure the kid Bob), a commitment from Marve would surely put me at ease at the quarterback position for years to come.
Besides, what are the chances that he becomes the new Sam Keller? Not going to happen. He can't pick up Tempe 12 models like Sam can.
It's time. T.O., please fire Mike Anderson. Not even when the writers at DXP made the Nostradamus-like prophecy of Mike Anderson 'Frank-soliching the Husker Baseball Program' back on March 3rd, well before the wheels fell off the bus, did they foresee this level of ineptitude.
It's safe to say that after the 15-0 drubbing by MVC powerhouse Creighton, a team NU beat 3 times out of 3 chances last year, was the point where even the casual fan said to themselves, 'Mike Anderson has Frank Soliched this team.' It's time to make a change. There's no need to think there's a chance Anderson saves himself with a win over Iowa and few down the stretch. It's obvious that not even Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross could motivate this team. Screw the steak knives, Mike Anderson deserves the "third prize is your fired" now.
With a Big 12 record of 4-11, which is good for 10th place (out of 10 teams) in the league, and with series against ranked teams in Kansas and Baylor along with former #1-ranked A&M, there is a better chance I hit the superfecta in the Kentucky Derby May 2nd then the Huskers making the Big 12 tourney (no, not the NCAA tourney). That's right, this team is so bad they will finish in the bottom 2 slots of the Big 12 missing the conference tournament.
How the mighty have fallen. As I noted back in March, Mike Anderson's teams can't hit. After failing to post a +.300 team average in the past 2 seasons, this year's group of underachievers is posting a .286 average. At the same time, the pitching staff ERA resembles Ricky Vaughn's before the corrective lenses. A team ERA of 6.52 is the worst for a Husker team since.....well, I'm not sure, but it's before 1999. The staff is young and inexperienced, but could they maybe improve over their careers?
Don't bet on it with un-Sparky Anderson at the helm of a ship sinking faster than a 88-mph Carlos Marmol hook. Take current 3B Jake Mort, for example. Forget that he belongs further away from a D-I program than Caylee Anthony does from a daycare. Look at how he 'improved' under Anderson's tutelage. After a freshman year hitting .265, Mort followed up hitting .207, then .262, and is now currently batting .276. Bottom line: Anderson can't "coach up" less talented players in a power conference. Dave Van Horn? That's like comparing Gene Chizek to Bill Belichek.
And for the "we just lose all our awesome recruits to the draft" crowd, do you honestly think that EVERY other baseball program in the country doesn't have to worry about this? You think that Texas just grabs 2nd and 3rd rounders and talks them into foregoing millions for a Longhorn career? If so, then I have a condo in South Beach to sell you.
Are we expecting too much to win every year? The answer is no. We aren't expecting too much. Nebraska has one of the top 5 ballparks in the nation, has minimal recruiting competition, and has a massive fan support. We should own recruiting in NE, IA, CO, KS, MN, SD, ND, and every once in awhile land a prize out of California or Texas. Add the success that was led by a truly great coach in Van Horn and it's time to give another coach a chance.
I am actually changing my prediction from last month's post considering there is no chance Ohio U. would even consider hiring Melt-down Anderson. A new prediction: Mike Anderson, coming to a NAIA school near you. Doane perhaps? Tommie Frazier gives great recommendations.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Nebraska's Position Breakdowns: QB, RB, WR, TE
Nebraska's Position Breakdowns: OL, DL
Nebraska's Position Breakdowns and DXP Expectations: LB, CB, S
R-Jr. Alex Henery became a household name for Husker fans in 2008, which was highlighted by this 57 yard field goal that gave the Huskers a 33-31 lead over Colorado and eventually would send the team back to a New Year's Day bowl. "I can make it," Henerey told Pelini during the timeout before the kick. Kicker and confidence are two words that I haven't lumped in the same sentence since the days of Josh Brown and Kris Brown. In fact, all that Henery has done in two seasons with the Huskers is go 101 for 102 in PATs and 26 of 29 field goals. Even more impressive, Henery is 12 of 13 from 30-49 yards.
Jr. Adi Kunalic has been the undisputed kickoff specialist for the Huskers the past two seasons and that won't change in 2009. In 2007, Kunalic had 28 touchbacks on 66 kickoffs with an average of 65.7 yards per kick. Those 28 touchbacks were good enough to put the Huskers at 3rd in the nation in that category. In 2008, Kunalic would rack up another 28 touchbacks on 81 attempts, which was good enough for 5th in the nation. When averaging the two seasons together, roughly 38% of his kickoffs have been touchbacks - impressive to say the least. Should an unfortunate injury happen to Henery, the Huskers have depth with Adi (career long field goal of 46 yards) at place kicker.
In high school, Alex Henery averaged almost 42 yards/punt at Omaha Burke. And with Henery entering his 4th season in the strength and conditioning program at Nebraska, I suspect that high school average doesn't hold true today. So what are the chances Henery will see double-duty as a kicker/punter this season? “I wouldn’t have even introduced the idea to him about punting if I didn’t think he could handle both,” said John Papuchis, who works closely with the kickers. “If there is ever a point in time where he feels stressed on where he needs to spend the majority of his focus, we’d have to make a decision then. But right now I think he is able to handle both pretty well.” Henery's comptetion (if you feel the need to call it that) will come from R-Fr. Brett Maher and So. Jonathon Damkroger, although it appears neither one of them will unseat Henery. Maher was a standout athlete in high school at Kearney, NE, where he averaged 41 yards/punt, was 8/14 on field goals, and had 775 receiving yards with 10 touchdowns. Damkroger is a transfer from UNO, where he averaged 35 yards/punt on 40 punts.
So. CB Alfonzo Dennard and Jr. WR Niles Paul were the primary kick returners from a year ago. The speedy Dennard returned 8 kickoffs for an average of 18.8 yards/return as a true freshman while Paul returned 41 kickoffs for an average of 23.6 yards/return and 8 punts for an average of 10 yards/return. With their roles increasing at their respective positions this season, it is unlcear if both will be back here again this season. Expect R-So. WR Curenski Gilleylen and his 10.22 speed to step in here at both spots possibly. Whether or not he can catch a kickoff or a punt remains to be seen, but I do know that if he can get the ball and start running you aren't going to catch him. When R-Fr. WR Khiry Cooper is paroled from the Mike Anderson Penetentiary sometime early in May, I expect punt and kick returns to be first on the agenda. The coaches will look for anyway possible to get the extremely talented Cooper on the field, and if returning kicks/punts is one way to do it, then so be it. R-Fr. WR Tim Marlowe saw practice time at both positions during fall camp last August. Marlowe is a skilled athlete that excelled at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and safety at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio and will get a hard look here - think Josh Davis. True freshman RB Rex Burkhead and true freshman CB Andrew Green should get looks here come fall as both were very good returners in high school. Whether or not they will redshirt is a topic to be discussed at a much later time.
Make no mistake about it, Henery will be our kicker and punter this season. The only way this isn't going to happen is if he decides he isn't fit for double-duty, which I don't see happening. And whether he is thinking about it or not, being a double-duty kicker will get you noticed in the national media and most importantly, it has become a hot commodity in the NFL as of late. There is no reason to think Kunalic won't be specializing as a kickoff specialist again in 2009. With Henery and Kunalic, Nebraska will showcase one of the best kicking games in college. Paul's recent run-in with the law surely isn't going to put him in a very favorable spot with the team anywhere heading into the fall. I expect Gilleylen, Cooper, and Marlowe will get the hardest looks to step into the primary kick/punt returners early next season with Dennard being more of a crutch. However, depending on what the coaches eventually decide, my darkhorse special teams star is Rex Burkhead (pictured). Burkhead is years ahead of most incoming college freshman physically (5'11, 210 lbs.) and all he did last season in Plano, TX was rush for 1,762 yards and 28 touchdowns and haul in 24 receptions for 594 yards (24.8 average) and five scores. And with Mendoza seeing time at wide receiver, I am beginning to think the coaches know what they have in Burkhead and would not be surprised at all to see Burkhead slide into possibly the #3 running back spot (as a true freshman, he could be an everydown back if needed to be) sometime next season along with his special teams duties. Overall, pinpointing the return specialists is next to impossible to predict at this point, and no matter who ends up there, we won't be hurting.
Cheer Squad and the Scarlets
Let me start by saying that since Nebraska isn't anywhere near the SEC or Pac-10 in location, it can be rather difficult to reproduce the Song Girls or the Gatorettes in the Heartland. The 2009-10 cheerleading tryouts were conducted last weekend and no word has come out of camp as to who the lucky ones are. I'd love to be able to breakdown all of the candidates for you, but the athletic department deems DXP not qualified enough to help analyze and help select the future cheer squad. Weird huh? Regardless, Nebraska has always done a fine job working with what we have and have even produced a few professional cheerleaders in recent memory. In fact, Nebraska's own and Kansas City Chief cheerleader Trish Neneman was selected to the 2004 Pro Bowl. Since it won't be known who will be part of the 2009-10 Nebraska Cheer and Scarlet squads as of yet, let us look at some of the stars that will be in attendance at the spring game and who could possibly one day fill Neneman's big shoes.
Both squads have been a pleasant surprise under Pelini's short tenure at Nebraska. It's no secret that success on the field can be directly correlated to the quality of the cheerleaders and dance teams. See USC, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma. Whether or not Nebraska can live up to its lofty expectations is something we'll have to wait until fall to see. However, like I said, the bar has been raised over the past few seasons and I see no reason why there will be any decline from this unit in 2009-10.