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CORN NATION SPEAKS: The 1st Reader Mailbag

I really should burn the letter from the Gdowski guy.
I really should burn the letter from the Gdowski guy.

The first batch of e-mails is in and there was a little bit of everything in the mix. Some good questions, a twisted story, some thoughts on our defense vs. Big 10 power and a "What if?" on what to do with a "different" breed of recruit. Thanks to everyone who e-mailed and keep them coming to Without further delay: 

Q?: Just moved to Omaha from Philadelphia.   Excited to see some real college football and start following Nebraska.  Is it hard to get tickets to home games?  I'm willing to spend so my dad in SD and I can have good seats.  Never been to Lincoln before.
- Alexander M. (Philadelphia Omaha, NE)

AK: Welcome to Omaha, Alexander! First off, please remember to leave your coins & batteries at home. The crowd in Lincoln is loud, but fairly harmless to visitors and booing their own, while it happens, is rarely done. If you did the Philly thing and tried to bean Wats with a D cell, you'd probably see your own section attack you like the shoe bomber.

But I kid, I'm sure you've never done anything like that. What was the question? Oh yeah, tickets. It depends on the game and the weather, but if you've got some change on you and you want to get in, you're getting in. Probably, the best advice I can give you, outside of cruising the web for deals, is make friends, hit tailgates and keep your ears open. That's right, I'm not much of a ticket guy - Nation, chime in below with advice!


Q?: I live in Alaska at the moment and I am dying because of the lack of Husker info I can find as a result of a computer bug. I was wondering how our kicker/punter will be this year. We lost a big weapon in Henery and field position to me is a bigger factor for us with how well our defense can hold an opponent then how well our offense will be. Any thoughts on this?
-Todd B. (USAF), Alaska

AK: First of all, I have to ask - is the Air Force base in Alaska just peppered with surly guys who thought they'd end up in Europe or Hawaii? I always picture John Larroquette at the end of "Stripes" standing under the headline "Arctic Command welcomes new CO". He didn't look happy. Here's to hoping you're in the beautiful part of the state and not farther north where winter entertainment is watching pee freeze.

But good question and one that many have danced lightly around or avoided altogether for one pretty simple reason:

Henery can't be replaced.

I mean, he may be THE BEST FREAKIN' KICKER IN THE HISTORY OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL!! Seriously, statistically he's untouchable and holds every accuracy record in NCAA history at all distances. He hit long kicks in big games and made it look easy. And he may be best punter we had as well - unless anyone else can remember a guy who dumped it inside the 10 repeatedly. So he made just about every FG he attempted regardless of distance and never missed an XP unless it was blocked. He's irreplaceable. End of story.

Anyway, the guys competing for the kicking job are native Nebraskan Brett Maher and incoming frosh and potential Jersey Shore house member Mauro Bondi. No idea who wins it at this point, but we'll be disappointed within 6 games and take it out on them unfairly.

"What's a Snookie?"

Q?: What's the latest on Devin Fuller's visit to the Nebraska campus?
- John R. (unknown)

AK: It appears that an unofficial to Lincoln this summer is a no-go, but Nebraska is still looking like they have a solid shot at landing him for an official visit this fall. Fuller had talked about getting to Lincoln (and a few other places) for visits this summer, but, as is the case with many prospects, when it comes time to schedule a trip from a distant region (Fuller is from New Jersey), the actual travel costs become an issue and the trip doesn't happen.

Tommy Armstrong aside, Fuller is our top QB target. He accounted for over 4100 yards of total offense and 52 TD's as junior and by now has at least 30 offers. Landing him will be difficult, but we appear to be in a good position.

Q?: What with our move to the new B1G Ten and their run first offensive schemes (two big bruising running backs), what is being done by the Nebraska coaches, primarily Defensive Line and Linebacker coaches to better our run defense…wasn’t it rated as 99th last year? Is speed off the edge and speed in the secondary the answer or bulk on the line and linebackers?
- Larry O. (Virginia)

AK: First off, I'm more than a little thrilled to see the Air Force so well represented in this mailbag. Aim high, fly-fight win, indeed!

At a 153.1 YPG, Nebraska was 63rd in the nation in rush defense. Not quite 99th but not great either. And I have often heard the refrain that we will get bludgeoned by the huge methodical offenses of the Big 10. I know this is true because of the way we spent the 80's and early 90's blasting and bullying our way through those fast and undersized defenses that Miami threw at us. Or maybe we didn't

But more importantly, just how many of these huge two-back offenses actually exist in the Big 10? Well, as it turns out ...just one. To no one's surprise, that is Wisconsin who averaged 242 and return James White & Montee Ball. There's no denying that will be a problem. But after the Badgers?

There were three other teams that averaged over 200 YPG in conference and on all three - Michigan, Ohio St. and Illinois - a very mobile quarterback was either the leading or second-leading rusher. Robinson, Pryor and Scheelhasse are all known more for mobility than power. Herron and Leshoure could pound it, but many of their yards came from being one of mulitple threats, whereas Wisconsin lined up a couple of their bigs and you guessed left, right or middle. Michigan had no threat other than Robinson.

Other than those four, no other Big 10 team averaged over 150 YPG in conference. So outside of the Badgers, it appears that Big 10 two back offenses that smash through you, are little more than urban legend. While you might see some beefed-up schemes in Madison, and the days of defending 50+ passes per game are over, don't expect see the Blackshirts wilting under the pressure of the Power I week in and week out.


Q?: Let's say the Predator race came to earth and instead of killing everyone, the moved in and the cultures merged. If they became NCAA eligible, what would become their natural position?
- Chad R., (Grand Island, NE)

AK: An excellent question, although the Alien Nation route might be more realistic. Of course, they sort of came off as chubby pansies unless they were becoming murderous psychos on that blue jello drug. I'm guessing the NCAA would outlaw that.

But Predator in Husker Red is an interesting thought. I'm pretty sure that they couldn't wear the metal helmet or the armor or any of the arm mounted lasers and rockets. Invisibility camo would also be outlawed. And I'm guessing they have to glove up the claws for injury prevention. But even with all these handicaps, you're still talking about a creature that goes about 6'10" 450 with a 76" vertical leap although I'm using the fact that Arnold could outmaneuver one at times to suggest that the 40 may not be that impressive.

So skill positions and defensive back are out. I'd also feel like he was a little under-utilized on the O-line. Tight end or rush end is an interesting consideration, but I'd want to take full use of the leap and intimidation factors. So, I'm going to say nose tackle in a 3-4. He'd be large enough to almost play two D-tackle positions at once and he could knock passes down at the line at will. And besides, doing that four-mandible scream in a center's face would have to be worth six illegal procedures and four involuntary craps per game.

"Uh, five yards, illegal procedure, repeat 1st down. For the 3rd straight time."

Q?: If ya dont play NCAA (Football 2012) then go ahead and stop reading after I ask, 'why the hell not?' I noticed their pretty grass blades on replays but still not satisfied overall. I love the game, nothing else worth playing. But...I thought if it was in the game, its in the game!?! I want to see a mother load of staff, security, National Guard and picture taking dudes getting plowed into on the sidelines when the play goes that way. Even see the head coach get clipped (on the game that is.)
Im thinking if they can make a game where you can snag a hooker for health of have 16 people playing G.I.Joe on a shoot em up game, couldnt they make the sidelines a little more realistic. Hell, even the few players on the sideline look like they are out of the first xbox ncaa game.
Is there anyway you guys could pull your weight, contact the President(of the NCAA franchise or B.O.) or just let me down and skip to your next email...either way, I was heard!
-Danny D. (unknown)

AK: And what about some recruits with their hats on sideways hitting on cheerleaders?? And Der Weinerschlinger? And the hot team trainer who the players stand around pretending not to check out her ass? And Ferrell and McConaughey?. Danny, we have no pull whatsoever with EA Sports, let alone whoever "B.O." is, but you WERE heard! And don't you dare sober up before your next e-mail!!

Q?: So, I'm about 38 and single and last year, I was tailgating down by the Journal Star after a game and met this gal who a couple years older but totally hot. So she asks my name and I tell her. I don't want to repeat here, but let's just say that when you slur it drunk, the last name sounds alot like Gdowski. So her eyes get big, and she asks if I'm related to Gerry Gdowski. I knew it was the wrong thing to do, but she'd moved in close and I couldn't stop myself from muttering something about him being a cousin. 15 or 20 minutes later, she was attached to my hip and I was trying to figure out where we could go when her husband showed. He was a little drunk and determined to pound Gerry Gdowski's cousin before my friends saw what was going on and got me out of there. So two questions. 1) Is that any way to treat Gerry Gdowski's cousin even if he is hittin on your wife? and 2) I think I might have a found a pretty solid way to get laid - if I knowingly pull that act, am I a bad person or does anything go on football Saturday?
-Jay G. (sounds like Gdowski) (Lincoln, NE)

AK: Yeah, this is Corn Nation.

We're ready for more - send your mail to CORNNATIONMAIL@GMAIL.COM