Huskers stay the course

Just compete, baby.
While those weren’t the exact words of Nebraska’s chancellor and president following the firing of Husker A.D. Shawn Eichorst a couple weeks ago, they were pretty close.
The message sent from high above was clear to all coaches on campus: you have the resources, the fan support and basically anything else needed to compete for Big Ten and national championships, so let’s get going.
Overall, I’d say things are off to a pretty good start.
Nebraska’s football team came away with a 22 point win at Illinois, a game they had to have to generate momentum for the next two weekends. All the Husker volleyball team did was take down three top five opponents in a span of eight days.
That’s crazy.
Some programs have never beaten a top five program ever, in any sport, but the Husker women took out Penn State, Minnesota and finally Wisconsin in five sets Saturday after going down 2-0. My ears are still ringing.
While Nebraska’s home field advantage in football has seemingly disappeared, the Devaney Center is becoming known as a hostile and raucous environment, one that has the players’ backs.
After the Lady Badgers made things look easy and were ready for a sweep, Nebraska’s players, the crowd and the music were all turned up a couple notches and the momentum finally swung.
For a team that dropped its first two matches of the season and looked a little out of sorts, this group has gotten healthy and used a new crop of talented freshmen to fill the gaps.
It’s a long season and who knows what’s going to happen the rest of the way, but opposing teams might want to buy some ear plugs.
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I’m no expert, but when I pay attention I find body language of coaches and players pretty fascinating.
I missed the first half of the Illinois game, but at the final gun, when the camera showed Mike Riley walking out to mid-field to meet Lovie Smith, I saw a man who wasn’t particularly happy or pleased.
Maybe the stress of the week before caught up with him? Maybe something happened with a player right at the end that he didn’t like? Whatever the case, to me it just wasn’t him. Does he know something we don’t?
And then there’s the case of Wisconsin volleyball coach Kelly Sheffield. A very good coach, but never did he smile on Saturday night, at least that I saw. When his team was up big in the second, he was making eye contact with Husker fans, almost staring them down. Then later, when Nebraska got things in gear, he was looking down at the floor as he paced.
Probably just human nature, but interesting stuff.
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 It’s pretty simple, isn’t it? Friday night lights and the Huskers don’t go together and truth be told, never will.
Friday nights are meant solely for high school football, for Aurora football, thank you very much. Even though Nebraska pulled one out in Champagne, the game was moved to Friday only for TV Big Ten revenue. As if there’s not enough of that already?
So Aurora-Crete got moved to Thursday, meaning players, coaches and fans get home late. In the meantime, we weren’t going to miss NU volleyball versus Minnesota on Friday so in the end, it made for a very interesting night.
DAVE BRADLEY can be reached at advertising@hamilton.net

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