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The 24 Hour Rule – Spring Game Edition

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On a beautiful day in Lincoln, NE, I sat on a barstool in Tiger Tom’s in Omaha and watched the Huskers practice in front of sold out crowd in Memorial Stadium. Naturally, some random thoughts occurred.

Bethune Cookman v Nebraska
Noah Vedral staked the first claim to the backup job on Saturday.
Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

As we settle in for the The Long Night of waiting for the next kickoff in September, I figured I’d toss in a few random thoughts after watching brother pound brother for a couple hours (sorry, Game of Thrones final season started this weekend also and OH. HELL. YEAH. So the occasional reference might be peppered in here and there):

  • Brody Belt is listed at 5’8” 185, but that appears to be generous. Yes, I realize adding few pounds to roster listings isn’t exactly a new practice as anyone who’s ever watched QB’s consistently dip under 6’ when the NFL Combine measurements come out has known for years. I myself was listed at 180 pounds on our roster as a senior - I’m guessing because our coach probably though 6’1” 153 might tempt opponents to see if they could literally break me in half.
  • DB’s this year might want to go low on Kade Warner. That shot on his long reception which sent a defender for a loop was more right cross than stiff arm.
  • Adrian Martinez is humming along, no problems here. And after seeing Justin Fields crap the bed in Ohio State’s spring game, I’m not sure there’s another QB in the B1G I’d take over ours right now. I’m really, really trying not to get too excited about this season. It’s not working.
Michigan State v Nebraska
For the first time in a couple of years at the spring game, the top of the QB depth chart was suspense-free.
Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images
  • The top running back we saw out there Saturday may literally end up no higher than #6 on the depth chart. With only one senior in the mix, look for some transfers before the 2020 season after 2019’s playing time shakes itself out.
  • Along those same lines, I must admit it was a bit crushing not to get a glimpse of Mo Washington and Wan’Dale Robinson on the field together for a few snaps. (Strictly, from a football perspective – not trying to make light of Mo’s legal issues.)
  • The way I imagined the Damon Benning interview of Fred Hoiberg ending after the mikes turned off:

Damon: Thanks again for speaking with us, coach.
Fred: It was my pleasure, Dave.
Damon: That’s Damon
Fred: (already shaking hands with someone else) It sure is, Raymond…
Damon: (wipes a tear away)

North Carolina Central v Iowa State
“Boy, that Donny sure was a nice fella.”
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
  • It was nice to see Noah Vedral have a good day. In last season’s game, his numbers weren’t good, but he seemed to get little protection and had to rush things. With some time to work, he made the right reads, threw some sharp passes and appears to have an early lead on the backup spot.
  • I love Mario Verduzco, but I think he’s still adjusting to the temp change from Florida. On a day with temps in the mid-50’s where fans could be seen in shorts, the professor was sporting a puffy coat and looked like he was prepared to shovel the driveway.

Spring Game Performances That Mattered. Or We Thought They Did But They Really Didn’t.

It’s Big Red’s most exciting practice of the year where we get a look at that early enrollee, scout team warrior or ballyhooed transfer. But at the end of the day, which spring games really mattered? Or really didn’t even though we thought they did? Let’s take a look at a few over the last 20 years:

2018Tristan Gebbia (12/17 125 yds 2 TD’s) and Adrian Martinez (10/13 144 yds 1 TD) post similar numbers thru the air. But Martinez’ (14 rushes 60 yds 3TD’s) numbers on the ground vs. Gebbia’s (7 rushes -1 yd) show who will be the difference maker running Frost’s offense. The battle continued into fall, but everyone saw the future of the position in last year’s Spring Game and Gebbia transferred to Oregon State after the decision was announced following fall camp.

2017Tanner Lee battles Patrick O’Brien and is named the starter after throwing for 190 yards with both QB’s having good days (and early enrollee Gebbia turning heads as well). Nebraska’s tradition of transfers beating out ballyhooed recruits continues.

2014 – Tommy Armstrong enters his sophomore year as the favorite to take the QB1 spot as his own with Ron Kellogg graduating. However, former high 4-star Johnny Stanton goes 8/12 135yds 2 TD’s against the backups to win the day statistically. Doesn’t matter, the job is Armstrong’s and Stanton punches his ticket for UNLV.

2013 – In his only carry, undersized walk-on Jack Hoffman breaks off a 69 yard TD gallop against the #1 defense, which is good enough to lead all rushers on the day. In the press conference following, Coach Bo Pelini says he needs to take a longer look at Hoffman, but he never suits up again. ;-)

2011 – Brion Carnes paces all QB’s with an 11/15 173yd performance including 2 TD’s. For everyone failing to notice it was against the reserves, it only confirmed their beliefs that he should immediately replace Taylor Martinez as the starter. Alas, it was not to be and he transferred to Northern Iowa after the season.

2005 – Another game with an actual QB battle goes down as transfer Zac Taylor arrived to challenge incumbent starter, Joe Dailey and get a leg up on super recruit, Harrison Beck. The battle wasn’t even close as Taylor shatters the passing yards mark set by Dailey the previous season throwing 20/27 for 357 yards adding 3 TD’s while Dailey flounders to a 7/20 121 yds 1 INT performance. I think we all know the drill by now…yep, Dailey to North Carolina and Beck to NC State.

NCAA Football - Texas vs Nebraska - October 21, 2006
I think when we talk about best transfers ever, this guy is in the discussion.
Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images

Doc Sadler Is Coming Back To Lincoln And I couldn’t Be Happier

With four winning seasons out of six and a .532 winning percentage, I consider Doc the most successful of the three post Danny Nee coaches. His teams always played their asses off for him and, while he never managed to land those NBA-level talents, it wasn’t necessarily his fault that he was ALLEGEDLY prevented from recruiting the AAU circuit and lost a couple more guys because of compliance department goofs.

When Doc was let go, there were no hard feelings, he and Nebraska fans stayed in contact on social media and the coach always spoke well of the fans and his time spent here.

With Hoiberg’s strengths being on the offensive end of the court and defense being Doc’s strong suit, he will complement this staff well. Welcome back, Coach!

This Season’s Names of the Year

So I decided to go down the roster and see just who basically has the best names. There was absolutely no criteria for judging this. I was just looking for any combination of cool, awesome, funny, original or just sticking out for whatever reason.

Congratulations to this years winners: Dicaprio Bootle, Noa-Pola Gates, JoJo Domann.

Maybe if I get bored further, we can come up with a Husker all-name team.