Some random thoughts about things related to the Nebraska Cornhuskers…
*I don’t really care too much about the NFL Draft. Between the endless yapping, the avalanche of on-screen graphics, and the fact that I don’t have an NFL team that I root for, my interest in the draft mainly centers on when Nebraska players are drafted, and which team takes them.
On that front, the big news was Alfonzo Dennard sliding clear into the 7th round, after being projected to go much, much earlier. Dennard may become a case study in how NOT to spend the four months before the draft. Let’s review:
January – gets ejected from the Capital One Bowl for fighting.
February – performs poorly in practices for one of the college all-star games. Does not play in the game.
April – less than a week before the draft he gets arrested outside of Lincoln bar at 2 am for (allegedly) punching a cop.
I’m not sure there is much more he could have done to hurt his draft stock. Hopefully he can prove himself and earn a big payday through free agency.
*I wonder how much the low draft picks for Dennard and Jared Crick will impact future Huskers looking at coming out early. After the 2010 season, there was talk that both players could have been late first to second round draft picks had they left school. But both chose to come back for their senior seasons to a) improve their draft stock and b) help the team.
Obviously, when it comes to the decision to stay in school or turn pro, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It really is an educated guess based upon where the NFL experts (and your family/friends/advisors) think you’ll go, the other players at your position in the draft, the perceived weaknesses that can be improved with another year in college, as well as the financial needs of you and your family. For a player like Ndomukong Suh, coming back for this senior season was a brilliant, life-changing decision. Unfortunately, Crick’s injury (and his relatively lackluster play before the injury) definitely took some of the shine off of his breakout junior season. And while Dennard rebounded from an early season injury, it is pretty obvious that he cost himself a lot of money by coming back to school (and by not controlling his anger).
*I just don’t understand why Aaron Green would choose to transfer. Yeah, I get that every kid – especially those who come in with loads of recruiting hype – want to be the starter, the star, The Man. And we all know that for 2012, the roll of The Man will be played by Rex Burkhead. But here’s the thing: by transferring, Green must sit out the 2012 season before trying to earn playing time at another school (presumably closer to his home in Texas). Had Green opted to stay at NU, he still might lose 2012, but he would definitely be in line to be a starter in 2013. Heck, since Nebraska will have a new QB in 2013, Green could have been a cornerstone of the offense. But now he has to start all over somewhere else. It’s his choice and I won’t bag on a kid for choosing happiness/family/whatever, but it is not a decision I would have made or advised.
*I think the bigger issue with Green’s transfer is how Nebraska (under) utilizes talented freshmen. Nebraska does not have a real good history with a) playing highly touted freshmen, and b) getting a lot of production out of them (Niles Paul, Harrison Beck, Aaron Green come to mind off the top of my head). Yes, there are some exceptions (Ahman Green), but it sure seems like a true freshman skill player (RB, WR, QB) would almost always be better off taking a redshirt season. And no, this is not a knock on Pelini or the complexity of the Callahan/Watson/Beck offenses. This trend definitely dates back to the Osborne days.
*The video of the rain delay dance-off between Nebraska and Cal-Bakersfield is nearing “viral” status, which is pretty cool. I love the idea of college kids having fun, blowing off steam, and doing something creative to pass the time during a rain delay. While I’ve seen clips of other teams doing similar stuff, I really enjoyed the “curling” bit the Huskers brought out. as well as some of the other classics both teams performed. One question: are these bits and routines made up on the fly or are they practiced and rehearsed for such an occasion?
*Speaking of Nebraska baseball, I really, really dug the camouflage uniforms they wore during the Purdue series. Yes, yes, I know this is completely at odds with my decidedly old-school position on the football team breaking out an alternate uniform this fall. But there are a boat load of differences between the two programs, including (but not limited to): tradition, history, number of games in the season, precedent for alternate jerseys, and much more. And as much as I’m dreading the inevitable disappointment from the release of the football alternate jersey, I’ll really be bummed if it is some camo thing just for the sake of being camo.