Archive for February, 2007

Nebraska Hires Rudolph

February 28, 2007

Coach Callahan completed his re-tooled coaching staff with the hire of Joe Rudolph as TE coach. Of the hire, Callahan says:

“Joe has a strong work ethic and will bring great energy to our staff. He has an excellent football mind and history of success. He was a part of winning teams on both the collegiate and professional level as a player and has been part of one of the top programs in the country the last three years.”

I think that last sentence is an important component of this hire. One thing our staff seems to be lacking is overwhelming success at the college level. We know that Callahan, Cosgrove, Elmassian, Busch and now Rudolph spent time at Wisconsin in the 90s when the Huskers, Seminoles and Hurricanes were CFB’s elite. The Badgers have a solid program but have never been world-beaters. Couple that with Callahan’s tepid start and you find a staff that is perhaps short on swagger (for lack of a better term). I don’t think you can overestimate the importance of surrounding our team with “winners”. It may seem trite, but winning and the attitude it brings with it are often contagious.

Given that one of Rudolph’s main tasks last year at Ohio State was to motivate the team to work hard in the weight room and maintain focus through a 12-1 season, he should have a good idea of “what it takes”. Okay, enough triteness.

Rudolph’s nondescript official statement says:

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to join the Nebraska football program. I hope to complement the outstanding coaching staff and the elite football tradition at the University of Nebraska. I am excited and plan to hit the ground running.”

Looks like another good hire and I hope he finds us a weapon at the TE spot.

Monday Bits and Pieces

February 26, 2007

Before we start, I have to admit it is getting a little lonely around here. Remember when DXP had a bunch of lively contributors? What the hell happened? I heard from Sammy Vegas this weekend and he will be returning shortly. What about T. and/or A. Rose? You guys game for some pieces this off-season? Oh and Dr. D if you can take a break from the “Fornication Vacation” you’ll always have a spot too. Just let me know guys.

· The LJS is reporting that Joe Rudolph is perhaps the leading candidate for the TE coaching vacancy. Rudolph played for Wisconsin (while Callahan coached there) and earned first team All-Big Ten honors twice and helped the Badgers win the Big Ten and Rose Bowl as a senior. In the NFL, he spent two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and two with the San Francisco 49ers before injuries cut his career short in 1998. Rudolph is currently a member of the Ohio State strength and conditioning staff, but was formerly a GA with the Buckeyes who assisted with the offensive line.

· The Day 4 NFL Combine results are posted and Brandon Jackson seems to have had a pretty decent day. He won’t be happy with his 4.57 time in the forty, but he did show good explosiveness and change of direction with a 4.14 time in his 20-yard shuttle. Jackson also posted a 37’ inch vertical 10’2” broad jump. I’m still thinking he is a 3rd or 4th round pick.

· The Seattle Seahawks have tagged former Husker Josh Brown as their franchise player. Brown is the only kicker among this season’s seven franchise players. He led the league with four game-winning FGs in 2006 and is quickly becoming the leagues top clutch kicker. By rule the Seahawks will be forced to pay Brown just more than $2 million.

· Finally, we see what serves as a Texas-sized celebration around these parts. Apparently this is a group of Longhorn fans throwing down after the win over OU. I don’t think we really need to worry about that whole “Keep Austin Weird” movement.

Erin Andrews Picture of the Week

February 23, 2007

The face that makes ESPN/ABC tolerable. There’s not a lot I wouldn’t do just to hear her smile.

The Week’s Three Biggest Stories

February 23, 2007

· Anna Nicole Smith is dead and her body was up for grabs at yesterday’s trial. Geez, even her corpse is litigious. I mean seriously this woman spends more time in court than Jack McCoy.

· Britney Spears is not only bald, but also busy treating rehab like an M.J. buzzer-beater – in…out…and back in again. Those poor kids. When KFed is your “normal” parent – let’s face it, you’re FKed.

· Doak Ostergard is out as head trainer for the football team after 17 years on the Husker staff.

I can give you my perspective on all three stories.

I don’t care.

Not one bit.

10 Questions for Spring Practice

February 22, 2007

In case you were looking for a reason to pay attention to spring practice, here are some things to watch for.

1. What happens at the RB position? It is still crazy to think just how muddled the outlook at this position has become in such a short amount of time. Instead of an intact stable with four studs, we now have uncertainty abound. Marlon Lucky might be back, but this isn’t a sure thing. The same can also be said for Cody Glenn and a healthy Kenny Wilson is looking less and less realistic. Who then picks up the carries and how does this affect the progress of the offense?

2. A follow up – Is the surf and sand of Hawaii enough to convince Leon Jackson that he was right in choosing not to wait for his opportunity in Lincoln? I can’t blame the kid for the decision he made, but this is why patience is a virtue. It’s also why our coaches stockpile talent at the RB position.

3. Does Sam Keller live up to the hype? He’s got the talent and arm, but does he have the make-up to understand the terminology and nuances of Callahan’s WCO this quickly? The expectations could be a heavy load on Keller’s shoulders, especially with question marks in the running game.

4. Who or perhaps what is the future of the TE position? J.B. Phillips, Josh Mueller, and Hunter Teafatiller all got reps in 2006, but no one stood out. The spring was supposed to give Mike McNeill a chance to shine, but a shoulder injury will keep him out of action. Does someone step up and a make a name for himself, or will this unit continue to flounder?

5. Will the musical chairs along the offensive line continue or will the spring allow guys to get comfortable at one spot? Coach Wagner prefers, if not requires his players to be flexible and understand more than one position. Is it time to reevaluate this notion?

6. What happens when you lose all four starters along the defensive line? I’m really intrigued by this one. Add to that the loss of Barry Turner to shoulder surgery and we will see a plethora of new faces on the front four.

7. How does an extra spring impact the development of a JUCO CB recruit? Armando Murillo is already on campus and will enjoy a luxury not afforded Zack Bowman or Andre Jones. Will we see this payoff come fall or does the return of Bowman, coupled with the continued progress of Jones and Grixby make this a non-issue in 2007?

8. Is Larry Asante the next great Nebraska safety? We’ve had success with JUCO safeties in the past (Toby Wright, Kareem Moss), but the learning curve is often steep. Junior colleges often emphasize athleticism over technique. The coaching staff felt he was the best safety recruit in the country. How does that type of fanfare and a January enrollment translate to PT come fall?

9. Is Bo Ruud the best linebacker in the Big 12? seems to think so, and they just might be right. If it is true, the Nebraska LB corps could be pretty solid, despite the loss of Stewart Bradley. Also of note – Does Steve Octavien have more than one great game this season (see Maine 2005, Texas 2006), and how does Phillip Dillard look after returning from ACL surgery.

10. How does the coaching turnover affect the team this spring? Blake and Norvell are gone, Wyatt is slightly more entrenched and Watson sees his duties shuffled. Will the casual observer notice any changes this soon, and how might they impact the players? Perhaps more importantly will the staff be complete come spring practice or will Callahan go all Hoosiers on us?

“But you’ve only got 8 coach.”

“I said, my team is on the field!”

Quick Hits

February 21, 2007

First off I apologize for a lack of meaningful posts. I’m not really a planner and tend to “wing it,” when it comes to my everyday life (this blog included). I suppose lacking the context of the actual football season, has left me grasping at ways to fill the space. I’ll get better, I promise.

I’m sure you’ve all seen this week’s Dear Abby column about Nebraska football fans and their weddings. For me this column was a bit like having your friends finally realize the depth of your heroin problem. Sure folks might know you dabble a bit, but planning your daughter’s wedding around your next fix is another level all-together.

The column also hit home for another reason. For those that don’t follow my personal life closely, I got engaged just over a month ago (totally not a Russian bride, believe it or not). We are a ways from setting a date, but showing this column to the Girl Who Finds Jeffie Husker Infinitely Loveable (GWFJHIL for short), hopefully helped rule-out a Fall wedding. While blocking out every weekend from late August to the first weekend of January might play well in Lincoln, Omaha, or Ogallala, it is viewed far less favorably outside the confines of “the Good Life”. This phenomenon also does nothing to change the dominant view of Nebraska as a state of cornfields, frozen steaks and football.

In other news Baylor blog Bear Meat, takes a closer look at Nebraska from a Baptist Waco perspective. It also includes a photo log of famous Nebraskans (a short list, obviously), a taste of Lincoln’s own Melissa Midwest (careful NSFW), and a shout out to us “hornballs” at DXP. If you aren’t reading Bear Meat daily, you need to start. They are quickly making a name for themselves in the blogosphere.

I plan on getting more good stuff up here in the days and weeks that follow.

Checking in on the NFL Draft

February 19, 2007 has Gil Brandt’s pre-Combine “rankings”. Here is how he ranks this year’s group of Huskers: Nevermind, as Bob points out in the comment section Gil Brandt was apparently only in charge of alphabetizing the players for the combine. I suck at reading.

Adam Carriker #5 DL
Jay Moore #34 DL
Stewart Bradley #5 LB
Brandon Jackson #6 RB

In addition, Draft Tek is a really cool mock draft site that uses a computer model to generate a 7-round simulation for the 2007 NFL draft. This is how the site projects Nebraska’s prospects to go:

Round 1 (10) Adam Carriker – Atlanta
Round 3 (74) Stewart Bradley – Buffalo
Round 4 (119) Jay Moore – New Orleans
Round 7 (220) Brandon Jackson – Baltimore

For what its worth, I think the Draft Tek model undervalues BJax a bit. I can’t imagine one of the Top 10 RB prospects falling to the 7th round.

I also can’t help but hope that one day we see more Husker offensive talent on NFL draft boards.

Erin Andrews Picture of the Week

February 16, 2007

With this new feature I’m waiting for one of you smart-asses to suggest I change the name of the blog to “Every Day Should Be Friday.”

Oh, and since its been a rough week for Husker Nation, an added dose of Ashley Russell of

Lucky Out of Hospital

February 16, 2007

Marlon Lucky has been released from the hospital, which hopefully signals the end of the worst part of this chapter.

Of his release, Lucky said:

“I have been in the hospital and have recovered fully. I am looking forward to getting back to classes and workouts. I want to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and concerns, and now I want to focus on my future. Lastly, thank you again for respecting my privacy.”

Bill Callahan had the following to say:

“We are happy that Marlon has been released from the hospital. He will return to classes and re-join our off-season workouts as soon as possible. I know Marlon’s teammates are excited to have him back.”

All signs point to Lucky returning to action as soon as possible. Before this happens, however, I’d certainly recommend some trauma counseling – not only for Lucky, but also for his teammates. Another reason why having a staff psychologist (sport or otherwise) around just makes sense.

If Lucky does in fact return to form, 2007 could be an emotional year for all involved.

Don’t Really Know What to Say

February 14, 2007

I’m having a little trouble moving beyond the Marlon Lucky news at this point. To be trite I suppose it has “put things in perspective,” or reminded us that there are more important things than football. More realistically I just haven’t found the mechanism that moves me past this yet. Occasionally when I’m working with a client I become agitated when I don’t ask or don’t think to ask a meaningful therapeutic question. In those situations the disturbance often centers on holes in the client’s narrative that could have been easily patched just by asking the right question. The holes are there in this case too. Unfortunately the questions associated with these holes probably shouldn’t be asked right now. And if those questions are being asked, I need not be privy to their answers.