The frustrations of being a Husker fan bring to mind a quote by former PGA professional tour player, Tommy Bolt, who turned pro in his 30’s and played effectively for about 20 years winning 15 tournaments including his lone major, the US Open in 1958.
Tommy was known for his colorful pastel golf wear, a great sense of humor, a volcanic temper on multiple occasions when things didn’t go his way, and perhaps most importantly, magnificent touch and talent which should have brought him many more victories if not for the previously mentioned temper which earned him the nickname, “Thunder”.
So why have I wasted a minute of your life laying a golf history lesson on you like one of those pro shop loitering assholes wanting to tell you about Jack Nicklaus’ new course in Atlanta?
Now, as much I loved his quote, “Always throw your clubs ahead of you. That way you don’t have to waste energy going back to pick them up,” it was this story which I feel connects us:
One time, in heat of battle late in the 4th round of a tournament, Tommy had a not easy but makeable 10-footer for birdie which would have put him in the thick of the lead. He knocked it true only to watch it do a little half spin, then halt on the edge of the cup where it defiantly sat refusing to trickle in, Tommy a victim of forces beyond his control yet again. The fans got light on their toes to be ready in case the offending putter - or pieces of it - came flying their way.
But Tommy only turned his infuriated expression skyward and asked very calmly, “You bastard, why don’t you come down here and play me just once?”
As Husker fans, we are well aware of these vengeful spirits and are completely justified in asking just when it’s all too much. When it can already be statistically proven the Huskers are the nation’s clear #1 in gut-punch losses in the last five years, the loss of the top two running backs is a pretty steep cost for victory.
Enough’s enough, masters in the sky. Get down here, pad up and let’s get it on or put down and piss off.
Speaking of injuries:
INJURIES & THE THRILL OF A LIQUID DEPTH CHART
After barely a day of daring to enjoy a victory, the news dropped of Gabe Ervin, Rahmir Johnson and Dwight Bootle’s seasons all coming to an end. (And don’t sleep on Bootle - Malcom Hartzog’s good health just became a priority.) The fact that 1) Ervin has already had to play comeback from season-ending surgery and 2) it’s Rahmir’s final season makes me hurt for these guys even more.
Besides Anthony Grant and Emmett Johnson jumping up to 1/2 at RB on the depth chart, there were several other noticeable changes.
- Teddy P moved into #2 at LT - we really need him at #1 by Michigan.
- Sims and Haarberg move to Co-No 1’s at QB - with the guess that Sims is the one getting the start if 100%. (More on that below.) They say the -OR- designation is just alphabetical, however that’s obviously not being done, so assume the 1st name has the lean.
- John Bullock now at Co-No 1 with Henrich - and listed 1st.
- Gbayor(1), Borders and Sherman even at #1 at JACK.
- The kick returner beside Emmett, formerly Rahmir, is currently showing TBD.
And frankly, each one of these moves, the QB’s aside, are matching what we’ve seen on the field.
A FINAL LOOK AT THE BUFFALO PATTIES BEFORE THE SMOKE FADES
In Colorado’s previous and limited runs of success, a common factor is whipping the players and student body into a raging frenzy, with the reasons for the hatred being dubious - example: Deion, the week before the game, saying that being at Colorado, he “hates” Nebraska now. No real reason, it’s just the way it is and gosh, that’s ok. Also, the coach was horribly insulted by our coach with a quote in which he was never mentioned by name.
In this version of Deion-world, however, every single week is to be played against someone who personally insulted him/them/the state/a drive-thru in Gunnison/whatever. See that team and their fans coming in? They’ve made it personal. EXTREMELY personal.
Well then Colorado State’s Henry Blackburn popped Travis Hunter with a late hit which sent Travis to the hospital. Before the game ended, Blackburn and his mother’s phone numbers and home addresses had been published online and by Sunday night they had been flooded with death threats. (To Hunter’s credit, he waved it off as one of those things that happens, no hard feelings.)
But death threats.
To Deion Sanders’ credit, he quickly and strongly condemned that behavior. Let’s hope he also learned a lesson about what happens in Boulder when you wind up the idiot fans and students for whom this is old hat behavior through the generations. When this spurt falls apart or when Deion moves on in 1-2 years, these folks will just move on to the next party. Again - that’s just their history.
And if you’re looking for the dirtiest play of the night, just look no further than Deion’s QB son, Shadeur:
Shedeur Sanders eye poke?pic.twitter.com/LkjT0eYXb8— BLACK ADAM SCHEFTER (@B1ackSchefter) September 17, 2023
That is what you call an automatic 15 yards and an ejection.
Least Respect for a Celebrity Doing Some Bandwagoning
Sorry, “The Rock”, but Miami should take steps now to remove you from their memories. I get every celebrity in need of clicks trying to jump on the Deion hype train (I can’t call it the Colorado hype train because Deion is 100% of the hype, not the dozy denizens of Boulder who have been invisible for years). I don’t get you trying to cash in by putting on a Buffalo jersey.
At the height of the Hurricane-Buffalo dynasties (ok, dynasty is a stretch for the Buffy's, whose vaunted Bill McCartney went 3-12-1 vs the Huskers in his run), the two clashed in Boulder in 1993 with Hurricanes prevailing 35-29 and the game being noted for its personal fouls and non-stop fights including a huge brawl in which The Rock participated - in a Hurricanes jersey.
Rock, you be you, but I’ll stick with The Sandman for loyalty points. Broderick Thomas said while he was pulling for his friend Deion to have success, he’d be cheering for the Huskers that day because everything in his basement is red.
These. Are. Hilarious.
You know who else isn’t impressed with unimpressive Buffalo victories?
Odds for Colorado to Win National Title (Courtesy of Jimmy Shapiro at betonline.com)
1/10/23 - Off the Board
8/31 (before TCU) - 100/1
9/5 (after TCU) - 40/1
9/11 (after Nebraska) - 66/1
9/18 (after Col State) - 90/1
At least where sportsbooks and gamblers are concerned, the substance is not matching the hype. Oregon is a -21 favorite vs Colorado Saturday and that spread has not budged on Draft Kings since it opened Sunday.
QB - IF THERE’S ACTUALLY A CONTROVERSY, THEN WE HAVE A PROBLEM
I’ll try not rehash any of the points from last weeks 24 Hour Rule on the quarterback issue, but a few things bear pointing out as we roll into Louisiana Tech week. And while I’m pretty up front with my personal belief Heinrich Haarberg should be the guy going forward, don’t take that of any personal disrespect of Jeff Sims. Though I’m not pulling many punches in my assessment of his performance, my respect for him when it comes to leadership, smarts and toughness is not in doubt. I feel he is just as aware of his problems as anyone else and is trying to meet them head on - and will not wilt or “be lost forever” if the coaches feel a demotion is in order.
That being said, Haarberg got his first start and hit it out of the park as he moved the ball, energized the team, made mostly good decisions including improvising smartly when he faced pressure. At this point, I believe there are two reasons he would not be given the start against La Tech and, as I will explain, both stink for different reasons (see #’s 3 & 4 below). But let’s call this list below-
Fallacies of Sticking With a Struggling Starter
1) Can’t lose job to injury - Well, sure you can - Georgia sticking with Stetson Bennett over JT Daniels is a fine example. But without even going there, let’s be honest. Sims had more than made a case for a seat on the pine without injury entering into it due to the misreads, the fumbles, the fumbled snaps and of course the actual turnovers. It’s not as if he was killing it, got injured and now should step right back in.
2) Have to Give Him Time To Work Out His Problems - Two full games and only getting worse as they progressed, especially against a horrible Colorado D, was probably an indication to work them out in practice for a bit. He was not just “a little off” or “struggling”. Sims is a 4th year starter/5th year player who only threw 3 picks in 188 attempts last season. Maybe the guy to let work out kinks going forward and give some time to develop if he struggles is the sophomore.
3) He’s “My Guy” - This is the first and the worst. We got to see it play out last season when Chubba Purdy was left out there against all reason be cause he was Mark Whipple’s “My Guy”. Logan Smothers? Grudgingly got snaps usually followed a hook much shorter than Purdy’s. Heinrich? Banished to the “not close to ready” doghouse, allegedly for balking at a position change. Jarrett Synek? If we’re honest, he was steps ahead of Chubba as well and took his talents to South Dakota this off-season.
I hate “My Guy” which might be coming into play here. Despite suggestions Sims is somehow on another level of play than Haarberg, I see two guys VERY similar in player type. Tall, big, fast, athletic (check Haarberg’s track stats), strong arms. The difference is that one has ball protection and accuracy issues right now and the other one doesn’t, but one may be about to get a longer leash since he’s “My Guy”.
When “My Guy” is in direct contradiction to “gives us the best chance to win”, team chemistry can get shaky. Choose carefully.
4) All Practice Battle/Ignore Gameplay - Click here to see my previous thoughts on placing the importance of practice at 100% and ignoring the gameplay right in front of you. It worries me that Rhule came with it will all be worked out in practice. Haarberg is the only scholarship QB on the roster whose debut wasn’t an unmitigated disaster. Barring an inability to catch snaps or throw the ball over 5 yards in practice this week, that alone earns him the next start. If all goes as hoped in the game which includes Haarberg progressing on his start against NIU, then Sims will get a few drives.
If he tears it up in a lower pressure situation like that, then let’s talk about battles and controversies.