Bo Pelini, along with the main Huskers twitter feed, announced this evening that seven Blackshirts had been handed out....
Proud of 7 guys on Defense earning blackshirts today. They epitomize what the tradition means.— Bo Pelini (@BoPelini) August 28, 2013
To the following players:
#Huskers Randle, Santos, Ankrah, Evans, Mitchell, Baptiste, Cooper all wearing #blackshirts today. #GBR— Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) August 28, 2013
Those would be:
Thad Randle, David Santos, Jason Ankrah, Ciante Evans, Josh Mitchell, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, and Corey Cooper.
Reaction across twitter was overall very positive:
My take on the Blackshirts: It's something you are, not something you earn. Merited BEFORE a season as a culmination of years of hard work— Dirk Chatelain (@dirkchatelain) August 28, 2013
Blackshirts are representative of hard work, then, rather than performance on the field. That doesn't say much for a tradition other than it exists and must be preserved.
Love the idea of giving these seven players Blackshirts today. They are the seven established starters that deserve them right now.— Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) August 28, 2013
These are the leaders of a defense that gave up 53.5 points per game in their four losses last season - 36 to UCLA, 63 to Ohio State, 70 to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, and 45 to Georgia in the bowl game. I have no idea what Callahan is getting at here other than the seven are starters on a defense that still has a lot to prove.
My most cynical view - Pelini did this to suck up to the fanbase and Nebraska's media and stop the inane questioning that occurs about the Blackshirts. Even I have a hard time believing that, though, because it doesn't seem like Pelini. Rather than that let's say that Pelini recognizes that someone has to lead this defense, and it's incumbent upon these seven players to do that, meaning they damned well better perform better than last season or you can take this Blackshirt tradition and flush it down the toilet.
In other news:
- Freshman running back Adam Taylor will redshirt this season.
- Jamal Turner will be the starting punt returner.
- Kenny Bell and freshman Terrell Newby will be the starting kick returners.