Husker Spring Preview 2013

Hi there! 

This content is also published at HuskerMax.com.  Until I can somehow make this free blog pay more than fractions of pennies per page view I get over there, I’d appreciate it you read this fine piece of work on their site.


Spring Scrimmage Do’s and Don’ts

It is good to have expectations.  And there is nothing wrong with having high expectations.  But most importantly, it is vital to have rational expectations.

Why the expecting talk?  The Nebraska Red-White Scrimmage is tomorrow.  And that is one of those events that can easily be blown out of proportion if one’s expectations are too high or too low.  Therefore, I’d like to help Husker fans attending the scrimmage or watching later on TV have the proper expectations.  Below is a handy do and don’t guide to maximize your enjoyment of the Red-White Scrimmage:

DO – take your kids.  You’ll spend less in concessions for your family than you would for a single ticket in the fall, the seating should be ample, and the weather should (hopefully) be nice.  This is a great time to expose the little ones to the magic of Husker football in a relaxed setting, where it won’t really matter if they get bored and want to go home at halftime.

DON’T – refer to this as a “game”.  It is not a game.  Yes, they will keep score, record stats, and there will be exhaustive coverage, but this is more of a gloried practice the public pays to watch than an actual game.

DO – expect the performance to be less than crisp.  This is the 15th practice since December, and the first time out in front of a crowd since the bowl game.  It is likely to be a little sloppy at times.

DON’T – expect Taylor Martinez to look like Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, or Joe Montana.  According to reports, the footwork should be improved, which may mean his passing motion is better.  But I don’t think he’s ever going to look like an NFL QB throwing the ball.  (and that’s okay).

DO – expect to see a lot of rushing yards.  The offenses will be vanilla, Aaron Green and Ameer Abdullah are fighting for the backup job, and most notably – there are very, very few healthy defensive linemen available to keep blockers off of a fairly shallow linebacking corps playing without Lavonte David.

DON’T – expect to see a lot out of Rex Burkhead or Martinez.  They don’t have too much to prove, their backups need work more than they do, and getting either of them hurt could be disastrous.

DO – expect a big play or large numbers put up by some guy you’ve never heard of, or who hasn’t done anything before.  The history of the Red-White scrimmage is loaded with amazing performances by guys who (for whatever reason) never carry their success over to the fall.

DON’T – buy into the message board and radio hype that this guy will be All Conference this fall.

DO – heartily applaud a kid who is making a lifetime of memories for himself and the small Nebraska town he came from.

DON’T – read too much into anything you see.  Ron Kellogg passes for 3 TDs?  Nice, but he’s not likely a threat to Carnes, and definitely not Martinez.  The offense or defense looks sloppy?  It doesn’t mean a 6 loss season is coming.  I hate to repeat myself, but I cringe when players are hyped up due to recruiting clips, Red-White game numbers, or message board dreams only to be torn down when they have a bad game.  This is just a snapshot in time, not a Farmer’s Almanac of what’s to come this fall.

DO – enjoy the day.  Other than the random game replay on BTN, this is your last solid Husker fix until August.

Spring Cleaning

Spring practice is starting soon.  This is a great time to shake the rust off, put last season in the rearview mirror, and lay the foundation for a great season.

But unless you have been drinking the Big Red kool-aid by the gallon, you likely know there is much work to be done over the 15 spring practices.  Sure, Nebraska can definitely win the Big Ten title in 2012, but let’s just say there is room for improvement across the board.  Here are my position-by-position suggestions on things to clean up during Spring drills:

Spring vs. Fall

Today is the first day of Fall (or Autumn, if you’re a fancy-pants).  Each year, I’m blown away by how many people I hear saying “Fall is my favorite season of the year,” because I just don’t see it.  Sure, there are some nice parts to fall (college football, pretty leaves, Thanksgiving dinner) but in my opinion it has can’t hold a jack-o-lantern’s candle to Spring. 

So to prove my point, convince the doubters, and kill 1,000 words, I propose a 12 round title fight between the two seasons.  Call it the Seasonal Showdown:  Spring vs. Fall, winner take all.

Round I:  Equinox
Spring:  Vernal
Fall:  Autumnal
Verdict:  Fall.  Even though Autumnal is not the greatest word in the English language, Vernal makes me think of Jim Varney.

Round II:  Length of days
Spring:  Days get progressively longer
Fall:  Days get progressively shorter
Verdict:  Spring.  Who gets excited when it’s dark at 6 pm?

Round III:  Daylight Savings adjustments
Spring:  Spring forward (“lose” an hour)
Fall:  Fall back (“gain” an hour)
Verdict:  Fall.  Even though the kids are still up too early, it’s nice to think you’ll have an extra hour of sleep.

Round IV:  Major Holidays
Spring:  Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day
Fall:  Halloween, Thanksgiving
Verdict:  This is a close one.  Easter combines the two key strengths of Halloween (obscene amounts of candy) and Thanksgiving (massively large meal with random relatives) in one day.  Memorial Day is a much-needed three-day weekend, and everybody loves Mom.  Spring takes the round.

Round V:  Sports on TV
Spring:  March Madness, Major League Baseball starts, The Masters (if you’re into that), I think the NBA and NHL are typically going.
Fall:  College Football, NFL Football, Major League Baseball playoffs, I think the NBA and NHL are typically going.
Verdict:  Fall.  During the dead of winter, the thought of Opening Day is one of a few things to give me hope, but nothing beats a college football Saturday on a crisp fall day.  Personally, I think football is one of the biggest reasons people favor fall over spring.

Round VI:  Leaves
Spring:  Barren branches spring to life with buds, blooms, and bursts of color.  Minimal raking.
Fall:  Those green leaves that provided shade all summer are dying, but they sure look pretty doing it.  Obscene amounts of raking.
Verdict:  Spring.  People have this New England ideal of the brightly colored trees popping red, orange, and yellow, but most of the leaves around here are shades of brown and tan.  For my money, the blooming and flowering trees of spring are every bit as pretty as your maple in October.

Round VII:  Plants and other vegetation
Spring:  Little green nubs poke themselves out of the semi-frozen ground and become tulips, daffodils, and other beautiful spring plants.  Your lawn goes from a disgusting brownish-yellow color to a gorgeous green.
Fall:  Aside from the random mum (watch out for that early frost!), everything you worked so hard to plant and tend all spring and summer is dying.  The lawn is going dormant, which after a summer of mowing twice a week isn’t exactly a bad thing.
Verdict:  Spring.  This is an easy one. 

Round VIII:  Temperature
Spring:  Gradually getting warmer.  Get the shorts and t-shirts ready and start shopping for a new pair of sandals.
Fall:  Gradually getting colder.  Dig out the jeans and sweatshirts and start shopping for a new pair of gloves.
Verdict:  Spring.  A 50 degree day feels much warmer in March than it does in October.

Round IX:  Snow
Spring:  It may snow, but it won’t last too long.
Fall:  It may snow, and it could last all winter long.
Verdict:  Unless you own a ski resort or snow cleaning business, Spring is the clear winner here.

Round X:  What’s on TV
Spring:  Season (and series) finales.  Wrapping up story lines, cliffhanger endings, and saying goodbye to beloved characters and shows.
Fall:  Season (and series) debuts.  That exciting cliffhanger is resolved in 45 seconds, then you spend the rest of the episode trying to figure out who these new people are.  Go ahead and get invested in that TV series that may be cancelled by Thanksgiving.
Verdict:  Spring.  Finales are some of the most watched shows.  Debuts – especially pilots – are typically pretty forgettable.

Round XI:  Alternate Definition
Spring:  “to rise, leap, move, or act suddenly and swiftly, as by a sudden dart or thrust forward or outward, or being suddenly released from a coiled or constrained position” (dictionary.com)
Fall:  “to become less or lower; become of a lower level, degree, amount, quality, value, number, etc.; decline:” (dictionary.com)
Verdict:  Unless you are a fan of declining into a lower level of being, Spring it is.

Round XII:  Seasonal Symbolism
Spring:  Birth, growth, life
Fall:  Death, decline, dying
Verdict:  Spring.  Only a mortician could love death that much.

 Final Decision:  Spring scores the TKO by a 9-3 tally.  Even college football could not overcome that deficit.

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