Cornhusker

Husker Hot Takes – 9/18/2014

Time for another edition of the Hot Takes.

Husker fans, we have found our “Jump Around”

As we’ve discussed before, Nebraska is unsure of how to fill the gap between the 3rd and 4th quarters.  The goal is to replicate the excitement, fan involvement, and impact on the other team that Wisconsin’s “Jump Around” has become.  To that end, Nebraska has tried several things, most of which were failures.  Here is a partial recap of what’s been done in the last 10 years:

  • An ill-fated attempt to get one half of the stadium to chant “Can’t be beat”, while the other half responds “Won’t be beat”.   Aside from the potential awkwardness of doing this chant should NU be down 14 points going into the 4th quarter, it was too hard for fans to know what to chant and when to chant it.
  • The HuskerVision version of the shell game (Valentino’s “Eye the Pie”, as well as an earlier Runza-themed version) where fans follow a pizza or Husker logo as it is shuffled around.  Boy did that one get the fans fired up!
  • The NU drum line goes out on the field to do a drum cadence for one corner of the stadium (usually the students) while the flag line twirls neon rifles.  It’s cool for the corner of the stadium they pick, but the rest of us don’t get the full effect.
  • The band plays “Hey Baby“.  I like the song, but it doesn’t exactly get one fired up for the final 15 minutes of football.  Keep it for a random TV timeout.
  • An attempt to replicate Wisconsin’s Jump Around, with another mid 90’s hip hop favorite:  DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat”.  I like the song but it will never be more than a cheap Wisconsin knock-off.  (Plus, it’s more of that #HipHopHogwash that we’re trying to avoid.)
  • A reprise of the Husker Power chant.  Arguably, this is the best they’ve come up with, but it never matches the volume or intensity of the pregame version.

Then along came the Killigans, a Lincoln-based “folk-punk” band.  They covered a long-forgotten fight song called “The Cornhusker” and turned it into a perfect bridge between the 3rd and 4th quarters.  Have a listen:

Hopefully most of you are with me on this, but if not, let me paint the big picture of why this song will work so well:

  • It is catchy.  I played this morning for my two oldest kids (ages 5 and 2).  By the end of it, they were starting to sing along.
  • It gets the crowd involved.  Definitely not the first week, maybe not by the end of October, but by the end of the season most of the fans will know the words – or at least the chorus.  This Irish drinking song inspired version begs to sung in full voice, and I’m convinced the student section and tens of thousands of other fans through Memorial Stadium will gladly oblige.
  • It is unique to Nebraska.  This is no Hip-Hop Hogwash ripoff of “Jump Around” – and no other school will steal it from Nebraska.  This is a Nebraska song, with lyrics that have meaning to Nebraskans.  For a school (and fan base) that loves traditional things, this definitely fits the bill.  This matters.
  • It can be intimidating to the opposing team.  We’ve all heard stories of teams playing at Wisconsin who get distracted by 80,000 bodies bouncing around Camp Randall stadium.  I guarantee that teams will be caught off-guard by 90,000 Nebraska fans singing “the scarlet and the cream”.  That type of intimidation/distraction may not make a difference, but it will certainly have a bigger impact than a Husker helmet hiding behind pizza number three.
  • It will energize the crowd.  Take a second look at those failed ideas.  Did any of them leave you more pumped up for the final 15 minutes?  What about a stadium-wide sing along celebrating Nebraska football?  Would that get your juices flowing?  Tell me the hair on your arms wouldn’t stand up the first time you heard 90,000 fans singing along.

I think “The Cornhusker” is a no-brainer of an option for the coveted 3rd/4th bridge.  I hope the brilliant folks in the Athletic Department agree with me, and can get a video (featuring the lyrics) put together for Saturday night.

Let’s do this.  For Nebraska and the Scarlet.  For Nebraska and the Cream.

Ameer Abdullah calls out the offensive line.  

During Monday’s press conference, Ameer Abdullah said this about his offensive line  (emphasis mine):

We have to get better,” he said. “We lose our fundamentals sometimes. The guys are trying really hard … But when you’re in the game setting, the most important thing is your first step, keeping your first step on blocks — just the fundamentals we work on every day in practice.

“You can’t lose sight of that just because it’s a game setting. You have to go through your techniques and stuff. A lot of guys get too excited and forget the fundamentals. They’re really strong, but you’re not as strong when you’re not good in your fundamentals and techniques.

“Up front we’ve been pretty good to this point, but we have to be much better.”

First and foremost, he is absolutely right.  Ameer and the other backs have not gotten the level of blocking we have come to expect from the offensive line.  I’m not enough of a tactician to know if this is all because of forgotten fundamentals, but I would like to think Nebraska’s line can get a push on 80-90% of the defenses in the country.

Secondly, I think this demonstrates just how indisputably respected Abdullah is within the team and fan base.  For a contrast, imagine the reaction a year ago if Taylor Martinez said the same things.  Both are/were seniors, focal points of the offense, and a team captain.  Without this devolving into another Martinez attack session (I use T. Magic to illustrate my point, not to compare the two players in any way), we all know that he would be absolutely crushed by the media, fans, and the message board/Twitter community.  Meanwhile, Abdullah issues some of the harshest in-season criticism of teammates in recent memory and nobody bats an eye.

I’m not saying it’s bad that Abdullah is holding his teammates accountable, I’m just impressed that nobody has a problem with it.  It’s just another example of the leadership and respect Abdullah has on this team.

Go ahead and boo the Canes.

I typically don’t condone booing the opposing team when they come on the field.  Regardless of how you feel about the “Greatest fans” signs on the stadium gates, I feel Husker fans should focus their energy on supporting our team, not knocking down another team.  Plus, many teams delay their entrance until Nebraska is coming out, so you have to choose between cheering your team and booing the opposition, which gets lost in the noise anyway.

Now, I’ll freely admit that I did quite a bit of booing during my college years (especially when Colorado or K-State was in town), but I can’t remember doing it in the last 10+ years – even when the Longhorns were making regular trips to Lincoln.  (As the folks in my section can attest, refs are not exempt from my no booing policy).

But this week is different.  This is Miami.  The program of cocky punks like Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp, Ray Lewis, and others who embraced trash talk and taunting.  The program that made habit of turning Nebraska’s New Year’s Day dreams into nightmares – on their home field.  The program that won two of their national championships by beating Nebraska head to head.

I get that this Miami team is far, far removed from the Hurricanes of the 80’s and 90’s.  I also get there is no logical reason to boo some kid is so young he who doesn’t understand why Tom Osborne didn’t kick the PAT, then try to win in overtime.  Really, I do.

But being a fan of a team means that sometimes rational thought takes a backseat to emotion.  Grudges and bitter memories linger and stew.  Some wounds never heal.

Booing the Canes Saturday night may not make those things go away, but it might allow 30 years worth of demons to escape.  If that’s the case, boo away.

The current game day forecast calls for temps in the 70’s with lows in the 60’s for the Miami game.

I continue to hold out hope that on Saturday night we see temps drop in the lower 30’s, with rain turning to snow after halftime.

I doubt I’m the only one.

 

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