Thursday, July 31, 2008

Football 202-Part 4

This is Part 4 of the Football 202 series that this writer attended on July 25th. Today on KOZN (with Matt S and Mike L Severe), they talked about what a Football 303 might be like. Really, the material we discussed in Football 202 is about as far as you can go even with an avid fan. As Tom Shatel said in his column, "Finally my head has stop spinning!"

One thing this writer would like to know about is the preparation the coaches do the week before a game. How much film do they watch? Where do they get the film? What basic tendencies do they look for? Can they talk to other coaches that maybe this team has faced?

It would be interesting to know more about what the team does the night before a game. They used to attend a movie and stay at a motel as a team. Will that change? What is game day like? What do the coaches like to see as the temperament of the team? What about the pre-game speech... or is there one? How does does Coach Pelini come up with a way to motivate his team week in and week out?

Now on with the substance of Football 202. Coach Pelini is passionate about his job, his fellow coaches, and his players.

He said "EFFORT is the center of everything I believe. We will outwork our opponents! As to what is expected of the team, it will be clearly defined for the players. There will be no gray areas. Accountability and effort is vital."

Coach Pelini talked about coaching defense. He talked about a term called "Conceptual Perception". The ingredients to this term are:

1. Relentless effort
2. Personnel
3. Formation Identification
4. Defensive concepts and team
5. Defensive Installation
6. Communicate adjustments

A subpart to this is the fundamentals:

1. Alignment
2. Stance
3. Vision
4. Footwork
5. Defeating blocks
6. Tackling

Coach Pelini talked about relentless effort. "Linebackers set the effort box. this kind of culture will lead to an increase in turnovers and a decrease in big plays."

When Coach Pelini says his team will be ready when the games begin, you believe him and this writer believes the players believe in him and his assistants also.

The middle part of the afternoon was spent with Coach Watson showing how the offensive coaches implement a new play. The offense meets as a team and Coach Watson and Coach Cotton will review the play. Then the position players take their respective players to their offices and they go over the play in detail.

Coach Watson showed us the play book. It wasn't as thick as you might expect and it is a little thinner than last year. We were asked to NOT put the play they discussed on the internet, so this writer won't for two reasons: 1) Because they asked us not to. 2) This writer's head was spinning too!

Some other notes from the offensive coaches presentation:
1. It was noted that the offensive is called the "Nebraska Offense" not a west coast offense.
2. Coach Cotton was very happy with the offensive line he has this season and complimented Coach Wagner for his coaching ability.
3. Coach Ron Brown was always coaching and teaching his section of "students" as Coach Watson explained the play.
4. The video equipment and film that the coaches have make it a great teaching tool. It is easier to show problem areas or great technique by the players.

This writer split off with Coach Cotton. He is very passionate and knowledgeable about his job!! It is evident that he knows how to teach the kids.

The final segment of the day before pizza and pop was going onto the field, and then meeting back in the "classroom" to ask four players questions. The four players were Marlon Lucky, Niles Paul, Cody Glenn, and Barry Turner.

These are my observations of the four players:

Marlon Lucky- Modest and confident. This pre-season all Big 12 player will be a key for the season. When asked by a student as to whether he or Niles Paul would have more receiving yards this season, they just looked at each other and laughed.

Nile Paul- Seems like a great kid. He said right now he is in line to return punts. You could tell he would like to do that job.

Cody Glenn- He is happy and having more fun. He said defense is more fun than playing tailback. The players think that Cody Glenn is going to be good.

Barry Turner- He looks lighter but said he had only lost ten pounds. He is well spoken and a leader of the team. He is very complimentary of the new coaching staff and you can feel that he is going to have a great season.

The players respect their new coaches and they are excited to get the season started.

This writer would like to thank is daughters for Football 202. It was a great present!!

After attending Football 202, this writer feels NU will have a great year. In 2006, we won the North Division of the Big 12. We were supposed to repeat that in 2007 but something went wrong. We have more talent than we did in 2006 and 2007. We have a great coaching staff and the players support them, and we have Kansas, Missouri, and Colorado at home. Look to NU to win the Big 12 North Division in 2008!! It makes sense!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Football 202-Part 3

This is the third segment of Football 202 attended by 132 Husker fans. There were fans from twelve states that attended Football 202. One of those fans was the dad of Husker great Terry Connealy, Marty Connealy. He had two of his grandsons with him who look like they could be Huskers soon. They go to school in Mullen.

Also in the football office on Friday was Cody Green, a great quarterback recruit in the 2009 class. He was with his sister and mother. He is a tall athletic looking kid who reminds this writer a little like Josh Freeman. It looked like he was having a good time. He did not attend Football 202.

The Football 202 group had the pleasure of listening to Bo Pelini for a generous amount of time during the day. He told about his story of getting into the coaching ranks.

After playing for Ohio State, he went to Iowa as a GA and worked with the offense. He left after one year because they didn't offer the right setup to go into Sport Administration, which was what he wanted to do. He still wanted to coach also so he did send out numerous resumes to various teams. He was helping coach a high school team when one day the following fall Dwight Clark of the 49ers called him and asked if he was interested in being a scout for them. Clark met with Pelini and asked him to analyze three players and send the results to San Fransisco so they could evaluate his work. They were impressed and Pelini was hired as the head of scouting.

Pelini said he quickly "became bored" working in this area. He spent evenings with Ray Rhodes and other defensive coaches looking at film. They were impressed with his ideas and he was hired in mid-season as an assistant to the assistant secondary coach. At the end of the season Ray Rhodes went to the Philadelphia Eagles and Mike Shanahan went to the Denver Broncos. They both offered him jobs. But Mike Shanahan did give him some advice. He suggested that Coach Pelini stay with the 49ers who had a great system, George Seifert as head coach, and a defensive coordinator named Pete Carroll. Coach Pelini said "the best career decision he ever made was not taking the Bronco or Philly job as an assistant coach." He said "you are a product of what you are exposed to." The five years with the 49ers formed him into a great defensive coach. The rest is history.

Coach Pelini believes that coaching is all about relationships and teaching. In regards to teaching he learned in San Fransisco the following concepts:

1. Teach a player what to do
2. Teach a player how to do it
3. Most importantly, you need to teach WHY you are doing that way.

Whatever job that you have, you have to know the WHY. That way when there are changes in formations or adversity, you know how to react in a positive manner.

Coach Pelini believes that the best player is even in his emotions. "Players have to in control. Emotion happens when you have built a team, when you are playing for "N", not themselves."

Coach Pelini said "the players aren't quite ready yet, but they WILL be ready for the first game." This writer believes him.

In the afternoon, we had the pleasure to listen to Eric Crouch. Crouch was introduced as not only a great player and Heisman winner, but also a great person by Jeff Jamrog.

Crouch discussed his pro career. He said "he wanted to play quarterback" but the Rams drafted him as a receiver. Crouch was burned out from football when he left the Rams. He was injured most of his pro career and had nine surgeries before it was over. He said he doesn't know if his pro career is over now, but he does enjoy his recreational equipment sales business in Omaha.

Crouch raved about his high school football coach Fred Petito of Millard North.

Crouch said you always needed to "know what you were doing during the game" at NU. He said he would stay after practice and throw balls for an hour or two after practice. He worked hard.

His greatest college game, he said, was beating Notre Dame in overtime at Notre Dame with the stadium mostly red. He also mentioned the TD pass he caught from Mike Stuntz and the long Missouri run for a TD.

Crouch was very humorous and talked about the time when he was in New Orleans for the Walter Camp award. He said officials called him to go eat. He met Rex Grossman in the elevator and asked him if he was going out to eat because he assumed all the candidates were invited. Grossman was in shorts and had a pizza so he figured out real quick that he was going to eat with them by himself. They told him that night at supper that he was going to win the award.

Crouch also talked about running to a defensive team's strength sometimes when the defense would shift. He said "I thought, what the heck and they would go out and make ten to fifteen yards."

Part 4 will be the final segment. It will include more on Coach Pelini, the offensive coaches installing plays, and meeting with four of the players! Stay tuned.
Crouch had a great message and was interesting to listen to.

An interesting web site is Check out Classic Sports/Classic Football and look for the 1976 Bluebonnet Bowl with Nebraska vs. Texas Tech. Ron Franklin is a sideline announcer and the game is shown in its entirety.
  • Monday, July 28, 2008

    Football 202-Part 2

    This is Part 2 to this writer's day at Football 202. 132 Husker football fans attended "class" to learn more of the "inside" workings of the football team. Please refer to my July 26th blog for this writer's first set of notes.

    It was mentioned in my Part 1 blog that next year's attendance may double when it gets around what a neat time we had with Football 202. The great thing of having 132 was that we all fit in the players meeting room in the football office.

    After James Dobson spoke to us we took a break. At that time my daughter Kim introduced me to Chris Kiffin. He is a son to Monte Kiffin of the Tampa Bay Bucs and a brother to Lane Kiffin, the Oakland Raider head coach. Chris is 26 and is an intern for the football team. He will work with the tight ends this season. He played football for Colorado State as a defensive lineman. Coach Watson said that when he was with Colorado they had to use a smash block on Chris when they played Colorado State. A smash block consists of two lineman blocking one defender using a certain technique. Needless to say, Chris Kiffin was an excellent college football player and is a very good kid.

    Also working as an intern is Austen Everson who was a standout QB for Coach Frank Solich at Ohio University in 2005 and 2006. It is my understanding he will be working in the video area.

    After break we had the pleasure to hear Trev Alberts speak. His story is interesting and he has a passion for Husker football that may only be matched by Jason Peter.

    Trev said that a Husker player has the "burden and responsibility to represent the state well" and to win football games. To be a Cornhusker means you do everything possible to put a winner on the field and anything less than that is not acceptable. He mentioned that, as a player, you have to understand what Nebraska football means to the fans.

    Trev Alberts was from a small school in Iowa. He said his dad really didn't want him to play football because he needed to help with farm work. He said when they grew up they didn't have a TV. He did go out for football and had a pretty successful career.

    Back when Trev was getting recruited, they didn't have internet recruiting services but Tom Lemming had a publication. Trev's dad called Tom Lemming and asked why his son wasn't on his all Midwest team. Lemming told him to send $25 and he would send Trev future copies. The next publication had Trev Albert as second team on the Midwest team. This helped him get recognition with college football programs.

    One day Earl Bruce, who was then coaching Northern Iowa called him and said they would like to offer him a scholarship. He asked what that meant. Coach Bruce said that if you come here we will pay for your schooling if you play football for us. Trev said "alright, sounds good to me."

    One day the legendary Nebraska linebacker football coach, John Melton, showed up at his door. That started his relationship with Nebraska. He had two or three offers from other schools and Iowa had asked him to walk-on but then Nebraska got interested. Dave Gillespie asked Alberts to send him some film. Trev laughed when he told us what his football tape consisted of. A father had taped a couple of games on an old recorder. He sent that tape to Nebraska.

    Trev Alberts admired Tom Osborne. When Coach Osborne visited him, he wrote down on a piece of paper eight names. Trev's was at the bottom. Coach Osborne explained that if Trev came to Nebraska that he would be listed as the eighth linebacker. It would be up to him to move up. He admired Coach Osborne because he didn't make promises that he would start if he went to Nebraska. Coach Osborne also wanted competitors on his football team and they had to have the drive to improve themselves to start.

    Trev Alberts went to Nebraska despite his parents wanting him to stay closer to home and attend Iowa. Iowa offered him a scholarship after Nebraska did. The other reason he went to NU was:

    1. He loved the visit to Nebraska
    2. His high school football coach told him to go to Iowa because he could never play at NU. He said he still loves his high school coach dearly.

    Trev Alerts said playing at Nebraska created a "larger mission of college athletics". He said that the student-athlete was never mistreated. We were always treated right."

    He said that playing at Nebraska gave him many life lessons. Perseverance was a key. He felt like quitting many times but his dad told him he was not to quit and that being a quitter makes it easy to quit other things in life. He learned a different level of toughness and work ethic and that the work ethic was set by those that had an investment in the state.

    "We believed in what we believed and we didn't waiver. We had principles." Another life lesson learned was honesty.

    Trev Albert ended up as a rush end for the Cornhuskers. He attributes a lot of his success to his position coach, Tony Samuel. He won the Butkus award when he was a senior.

    Trev Alberts was very entertaining. You can see why he has been successful on television. He said he is still friends with Mark May and had just spoke to him a couple of weeks ago.

    Trev left us with "Football can't be about total thinking. You have to be free to play."

    Next up is Bo Pelini.

    Sunday, July 27, 2008

    Football 202-Part 1


    This writer found out how little he knew about the new age of football last Friday when he attended Football 202, a new program headed by Bo Pelini, the Nebraska football coach. Jeff Jamrog, the head of football operations, organized the day that allowed Husker fans to see up close a small sampling of what goes on inside of "Nebraska football." 132 attended the event. My guess is that next year there will be double that amount.

    My daughters, Sarah, Jessica and Kim, paid and registered me for Football 202 as a birthday/Father's Day present and it was one of the best presents a dad could get. It was also fun to see Kim during the day as she works in the football office.

    In addition, this writer sat in front of Tom Shatel from the Omaha World-Herald. See his article about Football 202 :
  • Tom Shatel

  • Jeff Jamrog started the day reviewing information regarding Nebraska football. Their budget is close to $34 million. The football programs helps pay for most of the budgets for the rest of Nebraska athletics.

    Some of the items budgeted are interesting and mind boggling. Here are a few of the budgeted items:

    Guarantees to non-conference teams to play at Nebraska......$2,700,000...
    Recruiting expense ......$560,000...
    Autographed footballs....$12,000....
    Team travel.....$437,185...
    Contest or game expense....$1,350,000.. Out of this officials are $170,000..

    Nebraska is #1 in the conference in paying out for guarantees for teams to play at Nebraska. The average guarantee is $710,000. Jamrog said this is not a position NU wants to be in.

    Recruiting is a top priority for Nebraska. Their priorities in the area of recruiting are:
    1. Nebraska (500 mile radius)
    2. California
    3. Texas (In the 2009 class, six of the nine recruits are from Texas)
    4. Florida
    5. National Junior Colleges
    6. National Position Recruiting

    The Huskers grade each player they are looking at. One of the items that is very important is that social skills must be good. If a player doesn't act like a team player or doesn't seem to blend in with the present players on a visit, they are eliminated right away.

    Jamrog discussed official visits vs unofficial visits. He noted that on an official visit that "we have 48 hours to impress the recruit".

    Jamrog is down to earth and a very funny guy. He was enjoyable.

    James Dobson was the next part of the program. He is the new strength coach for Husker football. He says when a recruit is looking to a college team one of the first things they should check out is the strength coach, his assistants, and the weight room facilities. He said a football player will spend more time working out and lifting than he will with everybody else during his college stay.

    The new emphasis to the NU football team by the new strength coach is developing burst and speed. They do their workouts based on 40 yard dashes with very short rests and then repeating the short bursts again. They also workout almost year around which they hope will give NU an advantage. Dobson doesn't believe in taking time off because you lose what we have gained in a short period of time.

    James Dobson is very likable and as energetic as any person you will ever see. The tour guide mentioned that the players are drenched in sweat now when they leave a workout. Asked if they were not this way the last few years, the tour guide diplomatically said "Next question!"

    Part 2 of Football 202 will be completed in the next couple of days.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    Sport Shorts

    Brett Favre should be the starting quarterback for the Packers in 2008 but it doesn't look like it will happen. The Packer fans are the best pro football fans. They are even more loyal than the Steeler and the Cowboy fans. The fans and TV should want Favre back. He gives them the best chance to make the playoffs next year. Aaron Rodgers is a good quarterback but he is no Favre. Management is being too stubborn. I would hate to be the new quarterback when he has a rough start to the season.

    Favre is likely to land with Tampa Bay to play for Jon Gruden.

    Nebraska has picked up two more recruits this week. One is Emerson Evans from Houston Texas. He is a defensive end and he is not rated very high by Rivals or Scout. He had offers from Ole Miss, Utah and UTEP. Emerson is known as a rising star and a power rusher which will fit a need for the defensive side of the ball. I would guess he will end up a three-star. Also Nebraska got an offensive tackle from Texas. His name is Jesse Coffey. He was down to Kansas and Nebraska as to his last choices. Arkansas had also offered Coffey. Nebraska is hitting Texas hard in their recruiting efforts.

    The media has picked Missouri and Oklahoma to win the Big 12 divisions. Missouri will have a season similar to Texas last year. Colt McCoy was the preseason pick for MVP of the Big 12 in 2007 and had a so-so year. Look to the same thing happening this year to the Tigers. In the south, the game of the year will be Texas Tech at Oklahoma. Ohlahoma has 17 starters back but they lost a lot of depth. Injuries could be a factor for them. If they stay healthy, Oklahoma wins.

    The Big 12 final will be Nebraska with home games against Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado and the winner of the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game. I take Oklahoma if they stay healthy.

    The South winner will win the Big 12 Championship this year. The writers are wrong about Missouri. Nebraska will prevail in the North but they will need to improve even more to win it all.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    United Way and You

    Along with United Way and the Susan G. Komen Foundation (Breast Cancer) you can give back. If you would like to donate money to the research for breast cancer please visit the link below. There is a $10 minimum donation but anything over that is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your support.

    Sunday, July 20, 2008

    Republican River

    The river was up to 600cfs this weekend compared to 60cfs on Thursday. Rain caused the river to raise. How was the fishing? As good as it gets!

    Fishing near Orleans, Bryce Boehler of Lincoln caught ten catfish. Seven weighed four to six pounds. He fished for about two and half hours and spend most of his time putting Balkers on his rubber worm. The key to his success was finding a hole around some downed trees where a school of large catfish were located.

    Meanwhile this writer was up the river fishing using shrimp and nightcrawlers as bait. A wiper, a number of channel cat, a few drum, and a flathead catfish were retrieved. The biggest only being three pounds.

    Mr. Catfish, Michael Boehler, let the fishing exposition.

    In the picture above is Elle June, Bryce's girl,and his catch of fish. Should be some good eating.

    Padraig Harrington won the British Open today. Greg Norman faded in the closing round. It was reported Wednesday that Harrington may withdrawn because of problems with one of his thumbs. Must of healed after this writer took him off his fantasy team.

    This writer will be attending Football 202 this next Friday thanks to a Father's Day/Birthday gift from my three girls, Sarah, Jessica, and Kim. That will be fun and I am looking forward to it!!!!

    Friday, July 18, 2008

    Can Greg Norman win the British Open?

    No, but he is only one stroke out after the second round.

    Did you know Greg Norman is married to the tennis legand, Chris Evert. They got married last month.

    Kyle Busch won't win the Nascar race this week. Oh that's right they don't race this week. He won't win next week at the Brickyard either. Kyle Busch is the best motorsports driver in the world right now, but he won't win them all.

    Kerry Earnhardt may be driving for DEI for the Cup next year. That would be fun to watch and add some more excitement to the sport. Kerry Earnhardt is 38.

    The Harlan County Lake is at 1946.77 in elevation right now. 1946 is normal elevation. The Republican River had 600 cfs running in today due to local rains. It had dropped to 50 cfs the day before.

    Sunday, July 13, 2008

    Sport Shorts

    When I was a kid Major League Baseball's All-Star Game was something we all looked forward to for months. How was Maris and Mantle going to do against Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax? Who was better, the American League or National League. This writer was an American League fan so it was depressing when they lost. Depressing like when Nebraska loses a a football game. It was that important. Maybe its due to Free Agency and players switching teams every other year that the game isn't like it used to be. Maybe because there is so much sports on TV that the game isn't any big deal anymore. The press doesn't seem to care about it either. Nobody treats it like the Super Bowl the way we used to. It was a huge summer event.

    The other sporting event this writer looked forward to in the summer as a kid was when the college all-stars who were going into the NFL played the NFL champions from the year before. Watching Jim Taylor of the Packers knock down a bunch of college studs was fun. Sometimes the game was pretty close. Usually the NFL champs won. They stopped this annual game because of potential injuries to the players and the fact that the NFL camps get started a lot sooner now.

    Brett Favre should be a Packer again. He is the best QB they have and they should readjust their plans and take him back. Aaron Rodgers is no where close to Bret Favre. The Packers pushed him to a decision and he realized he made the wrong choice. Let him come back Green Bay!!

    This writer feels strongly about Kyle Busch being the best racer since Dale Earnhardt, Sr. I have mentioned this before and the feeling is still there. The "Intimidater" always sent a fear through the other competitors when he was driving to take the lead. Well, Kyle Busch does the same thing and if you watch him a work, he can take a driver out if they don't get out of the way. Some drivers seem to let him go past them for the fear that they may get wrecked if they battle with him. Like Dale Sr. he is the best driver on the circuit and he takes advantage of it. Over the next few years Kyle Busch's popularity will grow and grow. Just watch!!

    The world heavyweight boxing championship was on TV today. How sad boxing has become. These fighters couldn't hold a candle to Mohammed Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and the boys. They listed five contenders that the winner may fight next. All no names. Boxing needs an overhaul with somebody that will promote the sport. The Heavyweight Champion of the World was globally known at one time.

    Wednesday, July 09, 2008

    Cody Green

    Quarterback Cody Green committed to Nebraska today. He is 6'4" and 220 lbs. He is from Dayton, Texas and is part of the 2009 class. He was recruited by Shawn Watson and Mike Ekeler. Green is one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in the 2009 class and Rivals rates him a four-star.

    Nebraska has had commits from top QB's in the past such as Curt Dukes, Harrison Beck, Josh Freeman, and Blaine Gabbert. They didn't pan out for NU for various reasons. Cody Green will need to prove himself but it is a great signing for NU.

    Tuesday, July 08, 2008

    A movie about Sal Aunese is in the works!

    Husker Extra reports that Sal Aunese, who died at the age of 21 in 1989 from stomach cancer, will have a movie made about his life. Tom Osborne was recruiting Aunese, but lost out to a young Buffs assistant named Les Miles. Miles now has Aunese's son, T.C. McCartney, on his LSU roster as a walk-on quarterback.

    Alec Maric is playing well so far for the Indiana Pacers. Let's hope he continues to play to the level that will allow him to make the team.

    Tonight Maric played his summer league game against the Chicago Bulls. He played twelve and a half minutes, had two points and three rebounds. Courtney Sims is the Pacers summer league center. He had ten points and five rebounds 25 minutes of play.

    Sunday, July 06, 2008

    Sport Shorts

    Kyle Busch won the Nascar Dayton race last night in a narrow win over Carl Edwards. One of the better cars in the field was Tony Stewart who got sick. He was replaced early by J.J. Yeley.

    The Republican River is starting to get very low with only 160 cfs. During the flooding it ran 9000 cfs. What a difference. At least there is still some water in the river. It has been dry most of the past eight summers. The Harlan County Lake elevation is at 1947.29 down from 1947.83 a week ago. Normal elevation is at 1946.

    The fishing in the lake was slower this week. Mr. Catfish and myself caught carp, large mouth bass, catfish, wipers, drum, white bass, and bullheads on July 4th. Mr. Catfish, Michael Boehler, caught a two pound and a four pound catfish. Otherwise most of the fish were small. We used leeches, minnows, shrimp, and nightcrawlers for bait.

    "Hero of the Underground, Jason Peter" is a new book out. Looks like interesting reading.

    Tom Kropp has been elected to the National High School Hall of Fame.

    Nebraska basketball redshirts Brandon Richardson and Toney McCray are getting praises from their teammates this summer. Also 6'9" Alex Chapman, who is Nebraska's tallest player until 6'11" German recruit Christopher Niemann arrives, is also showing improvement.

    Former Kearney High School and University of Nebraska-Lincoln player Drew Anderson is Triple A Louisville's top hitter this year. Watch for him to move to the majors soon.