Archive for July, 2006

Will He or Won’t He?
Sunday, July 30, 2006


Foxsports.com reported on Saturday morning that Collier was set to become the new AD at Butler. Huskerhoopscentral.com reported discussions hit a snag.

Husker Hoops is reporting today that Collier is one of two finalists for the position. The other is Mike Watson, associate athletic director at Miami of Ohio. The “committee is still debating which candidate is better”, according to the website.

There aren’t too many Husker fans who seem to care if Collier leaves. And the article on Foxsports.com is still up on the website. They don’t seem to care, either.

Advertisements

Report: Butler Did It
Saturday, July 29, 2006


According to a report on foxsports.com this morning, Barry Collier will become the new athletics director at the Butler University.

Here’s the link:
http://msn.foxsports.com/cbk/story/5827582

If it’s true, it’s not much of a surprise, and I’m sure Steve Pederson and company are glad to see him go. At the tail-end of last season, I would’ve bet my house (actually, my townhouse) that Collier was going to get fired. When he didn’t, it surprised a heckuva lot of people. Assuming foxsports.com has its story right, the athletic department may have lucked out: They did not have to spend millions by buying Collier out, and they get a new head coach in the process. The question is, who will it be?

The foxsports column mentions a few head coaching candidates,
like Wyoming coach Steve McClain, Kent State’s Jim Christian, Nevada’s Mark Fox, and UCLA assistant Kerry Keating.

I’m just not sure who would be willing to move this late in the game. I think the Huskers have a much better shot at nabbing a school’s top assistant than a head coach. But with dangling dollars and a shot at coaching in the Big 12, I guess anything is possible… even in August.

I like Collier a lot. I think he’s a tremendous man of character, which stems from his strong faith. But looking at his record as Nebraska’s head coach, the lack of NCAA Tournament appearances, and the seemingly bleak future of this team (look at the roster), it’s time for a new direction.

What do you think of this whole situation?

Husker Cluster: Anyone Need a Summer Job?
Thursday, July 27, 2006

Barry Collier is a finalist for the Athletics Director job at Butler University. He may be leaving Nebraska as early as Monday. A few thoughts on this whole deal… and feel free to submit some feedback:

1) If Collier leaves, where will the Huskers find a head coach? August is just around the corner. Who is looking for a job? People are talking about Rick Majerus, mainly because he’s a friend of Steve Pederson (he even had dinner with him earlier this Spring) and Majerus recently turned down an assistant’s job for the Denver Nuggets. If he turned down the Nuggets, why would he want to become a head coach for Nebraska? Friendship or not, Majerus’ track record of turning down jobs would lead anyone to the logical conclusion that he will not be coaching anywhere anytime soon. I have no clue who would come to Nebraska. Would assistant Kevin McKenna leave Creighton? I don’t think so.

2) If Collier leaves, Pederson and company will have saved the school a million dollars by not buying him out. Talk about a good decision.

3) If Barry Collier does not get the job at Butler, how can he come back to Nebraska? He has basically sent the message that he does not want to be the Husker Head Coach. I would think that Steve Pederson is actively lobbying for Collier as the new Butler AD.

Callahan Makes First Major Decision of the Fall


Head Coach Bill Callahan is allowing defensive back Major Culbert to join the Nebraska football team. Culbert was sentenced earlier this month in Eugene, Ore., to five years of probation and 25 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing and harassment in connection with an incident during his January recruiting visit to the University of Oregon.

Culbert, from Harbor City, Calif., and another player on the recruiting visit originally were charged with sexually abusing two women in a dormitory room.

Callahan met Wednesday with Culbert and his family, then announced that Culbert would be among the 105 players who would report for preseason practice next Wednesday.

Callahan says Culbert will have to adhere to a series of restrictions. I would guess a curfew would be included in those restrictions. Callahan says it will be a “zero tolerance policy” when it comes to Culbert, and I believe him. The question is, at what point is it worth it to allow Culbert onto campus? I believe kids deserve second chances. If I were Callahan, I would make sure Culbert rooms with a teammate of upstanding character. Once you’ve given into certain temptations, it’s easier to give into them a second time. And at that age, it’s very easy to become the people you’re surrounded by. Surrounding Culbert with character guys will only help the situation, and keep him on the straight and narrow.

I don’t disagree with Callahan’s decision. He knows Culbert better than any of us. But the last thing Nebraska needs right now is a distraction. Hopefully this will be the last we hear of Culbert… until he returns an interception for a touchdown against Missouri.

A Tangled Webb

Webb said in a release to The Wichita Eagle on Wednesday that he will enroll at Texas College in Tyler, Texas, an NAIA school where he will be immediately eligible.

Webb’s status had been in question since the spring, when he missed the start of practice for undisclosed reasons. In his release, Webb said, “I understand the message being given to me.”

He was among five quarterbacks who coach Ron Prince said would compete for the starting job.

Apparently, Webb’s departure is no surprise to anyone in Manhattan.
Webb was a talented quarterback… but he wasn’t going to win that job, either. He knew it, and that’s why he’s off to browner (hey, it’s Tyler, Texas) pastures.

Remember Webb’s display against Callahan and company in Manhattan two seasons ago? He looked like he could do no wrong. It was obviously a flash in the pan.

He went to the same high school I graduated from — Chatfield Senior High in Littleton, Colorado. Webb was a teammate of former USC runningback Lendale White (not a bad backfield, eh?). Now, Webb is headed to an NAIA school, while White just signed a big contract with the Tennessee Titans. Takl about two guys heading in opposite directions.

From my sources, a few years ago Webb was originally going to attend the University of Colorado. But when he told Gary Barnett he was going to take some other official visits, Barnett basically said c-ya. Who knows how his career would’ve changed.

This will no doubt open the door for Papio’s Allan Evridge, although from the sounds of it, Evridge is still the odd-man out.

That’s a Wrap!
Thursday, July 27, 2006


Big 12 Media Days used to be a 2-day affair. Part of me is glad that it’s three days. It at least allows for a day in-between the travel.

The final Media Day saw Texas A&M, Missouri, Oklahoma and Iowa State address the scribes and talking heads. Even though these coaches hear the same questions at least a dozen times while they’re at these events, they at least pretend like it’s the first time they’ve heard’em.

Ladies and Gentlemen… Dennis Franchiozzzzzzzzzzzz

Dennis Franchione is a likable guy, but never has been one to exude energy. The most impressive thing to me is how his players stay awake during the 7AM team meetings at College Station. There is no question that Franchione is on the hot-seat. But listening to him talk, you’d think he’s just resting on the porcelain throne. Easy-going, calm and collective. Maybe it’s because he’s looked at his team’s schedule. This is a team that could feasibly go 9-0 to start the season. I guarantee you that they won’t… but the possibility is there. You rarely hear coaches talk about how much they love or hate their schedule. Franchione, though, said it’s one of the best schedules they’ve had. They don’t leave the state of Texas until October 7th for their first true road game at Kansas. Ending with Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas could ruin any momentum the Aggies have built. The key to 2006: Win early.

The Truth Hurts

The Missouri Tigers are not happy. They’re picked by most to finish no higher than 5th in the Big 12 North Division. The players in Kansas City all said it was disrespectful; a slap in the face. Has a Missouri team coached by Gary Pinkel ever finished better than .500 in conference? And look at their 2006 schedule. Can you honestly look at any of their conference games and say, “Oh, yeah… they’ll win that one.” I can’t. I’m interested, though, in QB Chase Daniel. He’s a fiery competitor who will actually be used more like a drop-back passer. We haven’t seen that in Columbia in a while. Actually, yes we have: 2 years ago with Brad Smith. That worked out well.

The Wavin’ Wheat Sure Smells Sweet… Wait, That’s a Bevo Burger

If there’s one thing I like about the Oklahoma players, it’s their candor when it comes to talking about getting back at Texas. Linebacker Rufus Alexander had a slip of the tongue when responding to a question about the Longhorns not having Vince Young. “Without Vince, they know they’re gonna strug… they’re not gonna be able to play the same way.” Take away Vince from Texas, and add a 100% healthy Adrian Peterson to OU, and the pendulum will swing the other way. The defense will be outstanding as usual… but I’m really interested to see how quarterback Rhett Bomar matures. Back in March, he was charged with a misdemeanor… a minor in possession of alcohol. I guarantee you that’s the last time he gets an MIP. He’s 21.

By the way, can you believe Adrian Peterson missed 5 games last season, and still led the Big 12 in rushing, going for more than 1,000 yards?

We’re Gonna Go to Arrowhead Stadium One Way or Another

Iowa State has had two heart-breaking regular season finales in a row. All they had to do was win one of those games, and we’d be talking about a team that played in a Big 12 Championship Game. Instead, a 3-point OT loss at home to Missouri in 2004, and a 3-point OT loss in Lawrence to Kansas in 2005. Fittingly, Head Coach Dan McCarney took his player respresentatives to Arrowhead Stadium following their Media Day appearance. They keep getting closer every year.

People are pointing to the October 7th game against Nebraska as a Big 12 North Title bout. Honestly, that game is more important to Iowa State. With games at Texas and at Oklahoma, if Iowa State loses to Nebraska, you’re looking at a 4-conference-loss season at minimum. And that won’t win the Big 12 North this year. At worst, I think it’s 5-3.

And the Votes are In!

Okay, so I’m the only one voting.

Best coaches to deal with during Media Days

1) Dan McCarney
2) Mack Brown
3) Guy Morriss

Best First Impression

1) Dan Hawkins
2) N/A
3) Ron Prince

Best Run-On Sentence (begins the moment he enters hotel; ends the moment he boards plane)

1) Mike Leach


Most Surprising Statement Heard at Media Days

1) CJ Wilson of Baylor: “We’re gonna win the National Championship.”
2) Mark Mangino of Kansas: “Where’s the gym in this hotel?”

Least Surprising Statement Heard at Media Days

1) (Put Player’s Name Here) : “Our goal is to win a Championship.”
2) Sound of media laughter following CJ Wilson’s statement (see above)

The “Even if you Just Sat There and Said Nothing We’d Still Use a Soundbite From You” Award:

1) Adrian Peterson

Most Oft-Asked Question During Media Days (by media)

1) What do you think about your game with Nebraska this year?
or, if team does not play Nebraska this year:
2) What did you think about your game with Nebraska last year?
or, if team did not play Nebraska last year, either:
3) What do you think of your team? And in your answer, could you please use the word “Nebraska”?

Greetings from Kansas City
Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Day Two of the Big 12 Media Days is in the books. I tried to post some stuff yesterday, but wouldn’t you know it — I forgot my laptop. And wouldn’t you know it — I don’t own one.

It’s been an interesting couple of days. Day One saw the Huskers address the media. I asked Bill Callahan if he thought the defense would live up to the hype. I think he thought I was dissing his defense. Far from it… it’s going to be dominant if it stays healthy. It’s been a while since the talk at media days has been about Nebraska’s resurgence, rather than its regression.

Callahan had a funny quote that we aired Monday night at 10pm: “We have a slogan in the locker room; start fast, finish strong. I forgot to tell them to win the middle games, too.” Nebraska lost three games in the middle of the season last year… Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Without the ending to last season, there wouldn’t be much momentum. Remember the Alamo.

Everytime I see Nebraska Defensive End Adam Carriker, I’m reminded of how scary he is. He reminds me of the Russian boxer from Rocky IV. He’s going to be a rich man someday. Carriker said he has a personal goal when it comes to a numbers of sacks for this season. He wouldn’t tell us the number. If his goal is fewer than 30, he’s under-selling himself.

The highlight of Day One was Baylor. To be more exact, a Baylor Bear. CJ Wilson is a defensive back, and said the goal for his team is to win a National Championship. He said it will be “the greatest story since Jesus Christ.” While it would be a great story, I don’t think you’ll find any Gideons Baylor Bible Books in hotel room dresser drawers 500 years from now, talking about the incredible Baylor run. CJ Wilson may be the most outspoken player we’ve seen at these media days. He said the motto for Baylor this year is like that of Snickers: “Hungry? Why wait?” I’ve got an answer: “Because you’re not that good.”

I didn’t say that, though. CJ is much bigger than me.

I’m a tough guy. I write it on my blog.

I’m convinced that Mike Leach only goes outside on game-days.
When he talks, I feel like I’m eavesdropping on his sleep-talking.

Day Two saw the defending National Champions make an appearance. Mack Brown is probably the most likable head coach at this annual event. He’s cordial, polite, and now that he’s beaten Oklahoma and won it all, he’s in an even better mood. As much as Texas beats up on the opposition and makes more money than most, it sure is hard to root against Mack Brown.

The Longhorn players had their National Championship rings on display. Safety Michael Griffin was wearing his on a gold-chain necklace. Griffin also remarked, “The National Championship Game was such a great game, if either team would’ve won, I would’ve been happy.” Sure.

Mark Mangino of Kansas had the slimming all-black look. He makes for a good interview… he spoke about getting rid of that losing streak to Nebraska. He said every time he’d go to get the paper, his neighbors would ask, “You gonna get’em this year?” He was sick of it. The question is, can he make it two in a row?

Colorado Head Coach Dan Hawkins was the final interview today. He looks like a cross between Gary Busey and Nick Nolte. “Hawk” has got his guys on the same page and says he’s ready to win now. None of the players we spoke with expect many growing pains. There was even talk about winning the Big 12 Championship. Combine a new system with a new quarterback, and you’ve got a tough road to hoe. If this team wins 7 games, it’ll be a remarkable year. I just don’t see it, though.

Being a Colorado alum, I did get to speak with Hawkins after his interview. He asked me, “How’s UNO doing?” Little did that UNO Regent know he’d get mentioned in a conversation with Dan Hawkins.

All-in-all, not a bad day. We’ve got stories in route to KETV for the 6 and 10 o’clock newscasts.

As for me, I think a Royals game is on tap for tonight. I might just stick around for the bottom of the 1st inning to see if the home team is any good.

Sunday Night Wrap
Monday, July 24, 2006


I’m a big golf fan, and seeing Tiger Woods with his emotions on full display following his British Open win was something you don’t see a lot. That’s what happens when you’re a star athlete… everyone sees your highs and lows when you’re on the job. It was some great drama on the course, though. I was pulling for Chris DiMarco, who flew his father in for the weekend. DiMarco lost his mother earlier this month. Golf can be such a lonely game… it helps to have some family on hand outside the ropes.

Congrats to Scott Gutschewski, who finished in a tie for 6th at the BC Open in New York. He’s up to 154th on the money list. He needs to be in the top-125 by year’s end to get his tour card back. $90,000 in the wallet? Not a bad weekend’s work.

Speaking of golf, I golfed three straight days last week in Colorado. (That’s me top right). My game was okay… nothing like shooting a 38 on the front, then following it up with a 47 on the back. It’s such a humbling game. I give up the sport about once a month. I played three rounds in three days, and I was exhausted. And I was riding in a golf cart. I don’t know what I’m more impressed with when it comes to the pros… how well they play, or how far they walk.

Hi, Matt Schick? This is Matt Schick.

This is random… I got a phone call from Matt Schick today. Apparently, my father made some reservations for me for an upcoming trip, and used the incorrect email address (“mschick@” instead of “mattschick@”). Matt Schick from California gave me a call, and said he would forward my itinerary to me. I’ve never met, or spoken with, a Matt Schick before. We said our good-byes, and wished each other good luck with the rest of our lives. Not surprisingly, Matt Schick was a pretty cool guy.

Back to Stuff that Matters: Football

Big 12 Media Days begins on Monday, and Nebraska is first-up. We’re heading to Kansas City in the morning, and will get some thoughts from the Huskers at around 1PM, when they speak to the media. Usually there’s some build-up to the Nebraska appearance… not this year. But with plenty of intriguing stories in the conference, it should be an interesting few days. From Franchione on the hot seat to Texas’ repeat bid, there’s a ton to talk about.

What am I looking forward to the most?

Some good Dan Hawkins soundbites. The new Colorado Head Coach is like Mike Leach plus 8 cups of coffee. He speaks his mind, but won’t put his foot in his mouth as often as Gary Barnett did. He should provide scribes and talking heads alike with some good material.

We’ll have you covered on the 6 and 10pm newscasts Monday through Wednesday.

I’ll chat with you from Kansas City.

Media: Order Restored
Thursday, July 20, 2006

2006 Big 12 Preseason Football Media Poll (first place votes in parentheses)

North

  1. Nebraska (21) 160
  2. Iowa State (5) 128
  3. Colorado (2) 93
  4. Kansas 85
  5. Missouri 82
  6. Kansas State 40

South

  1. Oklahoma (23) 163
  2. Texas (5) 144
  3. Texas Tech 106
  4. Texas A&M 81
  5. Oklahoma State 49
  6. Baylor 46

The Huskers pledged to “Restore the Order” late last season, and obviously the media is buying the t-shirts. The media poll is identical to the poll I submitted, except that I had Kansas and Missouri flip-flopped.

This is the first time since 2001 that the Big 12 Media has picked the Huskers first in the North. That year, the Huskers played for the National Championship. No, I’m not calling a shot here… but Nebraska is definitely a darkhorse contender. If defense wins championships, the Huskers will compete for one.

Honestly, when you look at the North, it seems like it’s Nebraska and “everybody else”. If the Huskers do not win the North this season, not only will it be surprising, it will be extremely disappointing. I look at Nebraska’s schedule, and the worst I see is 9-3 in the regular season. The toss-ups are: USC, Texas, Iowa State, and Texas A&M. Those could go either way. Nebraska won’t lose more than 3 of those games… that how I get a 9-3 worst-case scenario.

I want your early thoughts on the season. Is it too early in the Callahan transition to be talking about Nebraska as a National Title contender? What do you think will be the team’s Achilles heel?

Do you think my Buffs will be somewhat surprising? Heck, two voters picked Colorado to win the North (and no, I wasn’t one of them). I think a best-case scenario for Colorado is a 7-win season. If that happens, give Dan Hawkins a pay raise.

If Kansas State wins more than 4 or 5 games, I’ll be utterly shocked. That happens when you have a new head coach and plenty of question marks.

I’m curious to see how Texas is this season. Specifically, at quarterback. How do you replace Vince Young? You don’t. Will McCoy fill the void? Or will another challenge him in camp?

Texas Tech is always a sleeper… quarterback Graham Harrell has been waiting in the wings, and should provide the team with a few good years at the helm. The Red Raiders always seem to have a capable signal caller.

We’re just a couple of weeks away from the start of fall camp. One season just seems to blend into the other. And with the way the Huskers finished last season, no doubt they hope that’s the case.

Working From Home: Notes From Vacation
Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The World Wide Web is a wonderful thing. Al Gore’s genius invention allows me to check in and post some comments from the beautiful state of Colorado.

I’m in Denver visiting my family for a few days… I fly back Saturday morning, just in time to get back to work. The weather here is typical Colorado… sunny and warm/dry temps… until about 3PM when it rains. It’s like clockwork. The scenery definitely holds a trade-off. But I’ll take it.


Big 12 Media Days Just Days Away

It’s a sign that football season is right around the corner. Next Monday the 3-day Big 12 Media Days begins in Kansas City. Nebraska is one of the first teams to speak to the media on Monday. Coach Callahan, Zachary Bowman, and Zac Taylor are scheduled to be there. What a difference a couple of years make. Two years ago, Bill Callahan was the new guy on the block, with other coaches answering questions about the former NFL coach. Now, Callahan will be answering questions about being the North Division favorite. This is going to be one of the most highly-anticipated Husker seasons ever. You think last year was entertaining? Imagine what this year will be like if the Huskers can stay out of the “injury notes”.

After coming back to Nebraska on Saturday, I head to Kansas City on Monday morning with our photographer Jim.

Wager, Anyone?

If you’re willing to put money on just about anything, this year’s British Open is your cup of English Tea. I was reading in the Denver Rocky Mountain News this morning that British oddsmakers are offering some interesting (and ridiculous) side bets for the B.O. (I don’t think that’s the appropriate abbreviation, but I’m going with it).

Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo will be paired up for Thursday’s opening round. Faldo recently criticized Tiger’s swing on ABC Television, and Woods has made it clear he doesn’t expect to be buddy-buddy with Faldo.

With that in mind: William Hill is offering 6-to-4 odds that Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo will not shake hands on the first tee Thursday. If you’re a real Debby Downer, you can take the 25-to-1 odds that they will come to blows at some point during the first round. Where’s the smart money going? The latter side bet started at 100-to-1.

I wonder what they mean by “come to blows”? If it were a hockey game, we know it would mean fisticuffs. In golf? What, are they going to make fun of each other’s khakis?

Barbaro in “Stable” condition

Is there anyone besides me and Jon Schuetz who thinks that’s funny?

Not Surprising, But a Welcome Relief
Monday, July 17, 2006

We talked about this on the 5:30PM Sunday Sportscast.

Here’s the Associated Press report: (Blog comments follow)

OMAHA, Neb. — The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s chancellor says the school’s football program isn’t going anywhere — despite calls by one University of Nebraska regent to eliminate the program.

That option “is not even on the table,” said Chancellor Nancy Belck.

Belck said football is required if the school is going to maintain its athletic conference affiliations.

“We are always going to have a strong athletic program, and football is a valuable part of that,” she said. “It’s one we will continue.”

Belck’s assurances follow recent comments by NU Regent Chuck Hassebrook calling for the school to eliminate football, saying the move would allow UNO to balance its struggling athletic department budget.

Hassebrook has estimated university and student fee support to the UNO football program at $1 million. But UNO football coach Pat Behrns has estimated institutional aid much lower, at $220,000.

After reviewing budget figures, the Omaha World-Herald reported Sunday that UNO’s football program receives about $700,000 in direct support from state taxes, tuition and student fees.

The program should not be viewed solely by cost, Belck said, but by what it brings to the university.

Among other things, football attracts athletes from all over the region, she said.

While UNO offers 36 football scholarships, it has more than 100 players on its roster. That means the school collects hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition from players who are not on full scholarship.

“Football is a big attraction,” Belck said.

———————————————————————–

Eliminating the football program was not going to happen. We knew this. One Regent’s opinion does not a decision make. But Hassebrook’s comments will bring lasting effects. Whether there was any substance to them or not, high school football players read the papers, and hearing someone wants to eliminate a program that you’re thinking of attending… well, I’d be a little anxious about committing the next 4 years of my life to that institution. Here’s hoping Pat Behrns can extinguish the flames.

Hassebrook said he did not know that a NCC school needs to have a football program in order to maintain its conference affiliation. Had he known that, I doubt those comments would’ve been made. A lack of information is what’s hurting both sides of this UNO issue.

By the way… UNO opens its season September 2nd vs. Nebraska-Kearney at Caniglia Field.
In attending every home game this past season, I was a little disappointed in the lack of attendance, especially in the NCAA home playoff game. It’s time for the fans to make a statement of support.

Note to Self: If Outside Temperature is Warmer Than Body Temperature, Stay Indoors
Monday, July 17, 2006


If The Black Crowes’ song was titled “Hot to Handle”, it would’ve been a perfect description for Sunday’s weather. But, the name of the song was “Hard to Handle”, rendering the previous sentence absolutely worthless.

During the slow summer months, we often times have a chance to have some fun during our dinner breaks. After tonight’s 5:30PM Newscast, I jetted over to Papillion for a little co-ed softball on the KETV team (I believe there are 4 KETV employees on the team). I’ve never played softball, baseball, or football in that type of heat before. Well, maybe I did, but I was probably too young to think about the heat index relative to the death factor. My second mistake: I neglected to remove my foundation from the newscast. That’s right, we wear make-up. I’m over it.

Needless to say, it was a sweat-soaked game… and our team lost 13-to-3. We got 10-run-ruled. It was more of a strategy on our part to end the game as quickly as possible. We were able to get off the field and into our air-conditioned cars… giving new meaning to the phrase “Mercy Rule”.

Maybe this is too much info, but I didn’t shower in-between the softball game and the 10 o’clock Newscast. In a related story, anchor Suzanne Deyo was seen running out of the building covering her nose at the immediate conclusion of the broadcast. My apologies.

My fellow, less-capable blogger says the weather will get worse this week, hitting 102 degrees on Wednesday. I’ll enjoy it with a game of baseball.

On ESPN.