As always, I took a few more than 24 hours, but after soaking in the spring quotes and rumors, watching some highlights after enjoying the game, poring over the stats (okay, not PORING), paying next to no attention to the first and second stringers and absolutely employing some heavy, heavy editing, here’s what I remembered about Husker Spring 2022.
- Quite the QB battle for a day. That being said, even though he was very limited, I enjoyed watching how Casey Thompson carried himself during all the sideline shots. He appears to have the special something we’ve been missing for awhile. And just maybe there’d be some poetic justice in a Texas transfer who’s the son of Charles Thompson leading the charge of a breakout year.
- Watch for John Bullock, not necessarily this year but soon, especially since he may have found a new home at the Jojo nickel spot. Got see him play a few times at Creighton Prep where he constantly stood out on defense. When I heard he was a preferred walk-on, I thought the only thing holding him back was size as a 195 LB. Now he’s 215 and was playing with the 2’s last Saturday. Last year in the spring game he made a big play in the backfield for a loss on one play and popped the ball loose from Oliver Martin on another. He followed up in the regular season by getting his name called multiple times on special teams. He has a nose for the ball, closing speed and physicality. I’m saying there’s a blackshirt in his future.
- Keep an eye on Ernest Hausmann of Columbus as well. I remember seeing written somewhere a few weeks ago he doesn’t look or play like true freshman. No. No, he doesn’t.
- Apparently, the Frost haters have become so desperate to spread the shade now in their minds, his compliments to anyone are nothing but backhanded rips on former players and staff. He had a quote the other day about loving having a bunch of guys who “just love playing football”. Props to the jackwagons who tweeted it was some sort of kiss-up to transfers and a slap in the face to 4-5 years players. Give it up, sprinkles lovers - Mike Riley ain’t walkin’ through that door.
- Of course on the offensive line, these remarks may be unintentional from the players but so many quotes about how happy they are to be tearing into people physically don’t make it too hard to decipher how they felt about previously coached techniques.
- I wish Xavier Betts the best. People are going to blather on one side or the other of “coaches were assholes” or “kid has no heart”. Whatever led to what sounds like he is just done with football for the time being is likely more complicated.
- Heard some griping about the offense after the game. My thought was that if the offense started making explosive plays left and right on a day where their creativity was going to be…what’s the word?…oh, yeah. NON-EXISTENT? Then I’d worry. About the defense.
- That being said, I did get a charge when Anthony Grant popped the corner for a breakaway. Two-hand touch? That was a no-hand touch. Have we had a junior college RB work out since Mike Rozier? (I’m serious, have we? I’m definitely too lazy to sort through 40 years of rosters.)
- What has honestly become my favorite pastime of the Spring Game is pulling the roster up on my phone and spending the second half getting to know the young and career reserve players who get their numbers called repeatedly. Isaiah Harris (who had another good game this year) and the aforementioned Bullock were last year’s standouts for me. This year’s winners:
- #35 - Trevor Luben - RS Fr RB - Wahoo - Was the game’s leading rusher with 8 carries for 91 yards and showed a quick first step and a nice burst up the middle.
- #16 - Jarrett Synek - RS Fr QB - Hastings - He had a highlight reel 16yd rushing TD, a 42yd TD through the air and a wonderful Kentucky waterfall of blond hair that would look 100% at home in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.
3. #37 - Phalen Sanford - Jr CB - (and this is where the fun begins) Dundy County-Stratton HS/Hastings College from Benkelman, NE - Phalen, when in there, always seemed to be flying to the ball. But more importantly, 1) I’ve always enjoyed those guys who transfer up from the smaller schools to take their shot and 2) I’ve lived here 40+ years and never heard of Benkelman or Dundy County. Thank you, Phalen.
- Dylan Raiola, enjoyed seeing you in Lincoln again. Visit as often as you like.
- Of course, that’s a standing invitation for daddy Dominic as well. Warmed the heart seeing him on the sideline in Lincoln again. With Georgia as my 1A to Nebraska’s top spot at #1 in my heart, I enjoyed watching Dom go on to protect Matthew Stafford when they were with the Lions. So happy to have Uncle Donovan here as well - wouldn’t it be something if he could end up being responsible for his nephew’s protection someday?
- Did someone beat me to the joke about how the offense lost another 1-score game? I’m just gonna assume that’s a yes. Moving on.
- I’m not griping about the format, this one is just on a purely personal wish list - I would have loved to seen several red zone possessions from the top units in a full-contact situation. No, I completely understand preventing injury and not tipping our play-calling hand. I wanted to see a few successful scores from inside the 10. I mean, just something to help me this year on 1st & goal from the 6, so I don’t constantly get that feeling like a 4-year-old has just walked into my living room and is getting ready to tell me he feels sick.
- When do the Stanley Cup Playoffs start? There’s not a bridge long enough to carry me to the start of the fall practice where we can start deciphering every innocuous practice press conference comment until the games begin.
- Go Big Red, my friends.