When I first saw this book with it's picture of Eric Crouch on the cover and the subtitle "images of sports", I figured it wouldn't be that interesting. To be blunt, I thought it'd be a re-hash of a lot of other books about Nebraska football - covering the Devaney-Osborne era and little else. 'Nebraska Cornhusker Football' covers the entire history of Nebraska football, with plenty of interesting images and facts along the way.
The first third of the book covers the early years of Nebraska football, preceding it's formal origins in 1894. Author Mark Fricke does a good job on his research, finding some rare images, such as the one below and the facts to go along with them.
I found this picture very interesting - teams of this era probably ran a single wing offense - the ball was hiked directly to the ball carrier and the backfield players blocked for the ball carrier. There was nothing deceptive about it - the game at this time was a test of mental and physical strength and toughness.
All of the players except the quarterback are wearing some eerie-looking facemasks. I have never seen this before. Notice the shape of the football? The word 'aerodynamic' would not apply here, although it's easy to understand why they'd quick-kick the ball more often, given that it might roll the length of the field. This is how the book works - each image contains facts about the subject - but as they say 'a picture is worth a thousand words' so you get more than just the printed facts out of every page.
'The second third of Nebraska Cornhusker Football covers the Devaney era and early Osborne years, with the final third focusing on the Osborne era through the end of Frank Solich's time at Nebraska and the beginning of Bill Callahan. Going through those images invokes the memories of Husker football throughout my life - as each one reminds me of where I was and what I was doing at the time it happened. The book keeps to the facts instead of going into any type of Osborne/Solich/Callahan debate, something else I found refreshing.
'Nebraska Cornhusker Football' is a fairly short book, only 128 pages, but it does a darned good job in covering the history of Husker football. It's one I'm going to keep around in my library - it's also a pretty decent reference.