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      Vol #829           Husker News and Stories             



This N That is where you will find Husker news,stories,and other tidbits from time to time.I will in no way try to cover the news day in and day out ,thats what ESPN is for,but I will put some interesting articles here for your reading pleasure.

This N That Archives:

                                  7-20-00 to 8-11-00

                                2001 Recruiting info


Crouch interview

 Top Stories:

  • NU #1 in Coaches poll              *Scoring Explosion of 1983.

  • Practice begins for #1 Huskers     * TWO a days until  8-18-00                                     * Crouch nearly quit last year-article below.

  • 2000 Big 12 Media Day Huskers #1 Crouch Player of the year.

  • Big Twelve Preview of each team.          *Jammell Lord 100 %

  • Thunder Collins back in Lincoln.

  • Tickets still available for 2 games.-Story below .                                         


8-11-00 Coaches make it unanimous.

The college football coaches have made it unanimous. The Nebraska Cornhuskers are the number one team in the nation. The Huskers out-distanced the second place Florida State Seminoles by 16 points in the ESPN/USA Today pre-season poll released Friday. The Huskers received 36 first place votes compared to 21 for the Seminoles. Alabama, Michigan and Wisconsin round out the Top Five. Nebraska coach Frank Solich said he was surprised a bit by the Huskers ranking. Solich went so far as to admit he placed his vote for FSU. "I think that if you finish the season ranked No. 1, you should probably begin the next year ranked No. 1. I know that Coach (Bobby) Bowden was disappointed that they weren't ranked No. 1, but they certainly had my vote." Solich said. "But I can understand why people look at Nebraska and think it should be an outstanding team, and we will accept that challenge. I don't think it will affect how other teams play against us. We always seem to get our opponents' best shot, whether or not we're ranked No. 1 or not. Teams have never needed incentive to come in and play us." The Associated Press writer's poll, released earlier this week, also had the Huskers ranked #1.

POLLS-AP,Coaches,and BCS Thanks for visiting Sharkfeet..

8-10-00 Jammell Lord 100 %

Lord's Knee is 100%. Lord has demonstrated that his knee, injured in spring practice, has healed and won't keep the redshirt freshman from Bayonne, N.J., from assuming the probable role as Eric Crouch's top backup.Surgery is not needed. Thats the best news yet this season! GLE


Scoring explosion comparison The Huskers will certainly field a formidable offensive team this Fall, but are comparisons to the storied Scoring Explosion of 1983 completely misguided? A quick look at a few key statistics from the 1982, 1983, and 1999 teams might provide some insight into how the 2000 team will stack up against their legendary predecessors. In 1982, NU scored a total of 493 points as compared to 624 in 1983, a very impressive 27% improvement. By comparison, the 1999 team totaled 411 points for the season and would require a 52% increase to match their 1983 counterparts in 2000. In terms of total offense, the 1982 squad racked up 6,223 yards while the 1983 team compiled 6,560, a 5% increase. In 1999, NU amassed a total of 4, 706 yards and would require a 39% improvement in 2000 to catch up to the pace set by the offense of 1983.

NU #1 Team starts 2 a days. Nebraska earns early nod for No. 1 Last year Florida State became the first team to stay ranked at the top from start to finish, but the Seminoles won't repeat that feat. Nebraska, coming off a 12-1 season and a Big 12 title, will start the season No. 1 according to the preseason Top 25 poll, released Saturday. Eighty-seven returning football players joined the 18 newcomers in Nebraska's camp Tuesday, combining to form a 105-man group already labeled as the nation's No. 1 team. Knees, ankles, groins, backs and one important right shoulder have healed since the majority of this bunch last practiced together in April. Today, they meet the news media, and Thursday's 6:30 a.m. workout marks the beginning of a grueling 10-day, 18-practice stretch, otherwise known as two-a-days. It will be nice to get back into the routine and get back into thee live in the fall," senior punter Dan Hadenfeldt said. This is going to be a long couple of weeks, but it's great for the team. When you finish fall camp, it's hot, and everyone is tired. Tempers can even flare, but once you're done, you really feel that you've come together as a group. Nebraska plans 29 practice sessions before its Sept. 2 opener against San Jose State. In that time, the Huskers say they expect to jell offensively and defensively and build a team well-suited to defend the No. 1 national ranking they received Sunday from the Associated Press. Fifteen players with starting experience return on offense, plus nine on defense and both kickers. Junior center Dominic Raiola, one of several offensive All-America candidates, said he expects the players around him to mesh well this month. It's been a couple months since we've last put on the pads,said Raiola, who spent the last few days of his summer at home in Honolulu last week. A lot of people think two-a-days are negative, but really you need to go through it and get things down together. After four limited workouts Saturday and Monday, the Nebraska newcomers spent much of Tuesday morning with the NU academic staff. Meanwhile, the veterans reported for mandatory drug testing and physicals. The entire squad then convened for dinner and a meeting with the coaches Tuesday night. Today, they'll go to Media Day and later attend sessions to address sports agents, gambling, drug and alcohol problems. The upperclassmen participate in performance testing this morning. To avoid hamstring injuries, they will not run the 40-yard dash. Even though the weather is very hot, we're all excited," said junior free safety Dion Booker, entering his first season as a starting defensive back. "I know I'm excited. This year is very big for me. I want to go out there and show my teammates that I won't let them down. Booker said he's not bothered by the increased expectations that may accompany Nebraska's No. 1 ranking. The defending Big 12 Conference champion Huskers finished 1999 ranked Nos. 2 and 3 after a 31-21 win over Tennessee in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Our expectations every year, no matter if we're ranked No. 10 or No. 1, are to win a national championship," Booker said.Our whole goal is to be the best. His teammates agreed. As a team, I would rather be No. 2, Hadenfeldt said,but we're going to get everybody's best shot anyway. We're used to being in that situation. From the players' standpoint, we understand our potential. We understand we can do this, but you can't just talk about it. You've got to go out there and work for it. Said senior wingback Bobby Newcombe: I just found out we were ranked No. 1. I don't really care about it. It really doesn't say much. A lot of people consider us the best, but it doesn't mean we've proven anything. Nebraska will get the chance to prove a lot. Three of its most noteworthy games - against Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Kansas State - come on the road. The Huskers look much more healthy than they did just 31/2 months ago at the end of spring practice. First and foremost, quarterback Eric Crouch has completely recovered from a January shoulder operation. Crouch's backup, Jammal Lord, appears to have recovered from a knee-ligament tear in April. And others nicked in the spring, including I-back Dan Alexander, defensive tackles Loran Kaiser and Jeremy Slechta and rush end Chris Kelsay, look ready to go this week. Walk-on quarterbacks Joe Chrisman and Kelly Cook join Crouch and Lord on the 105-man roster. Notable omissions include suspended linebacker Mark Vedral, injured offensive tackle M.J. Flaum, recovering linebacker Shaun Coleman and offensive guard Steve Alstadt, who is battling mononucleosis and academic difficulties. Agonizing heat or not, the Huskers had better come prepared Thursday, Raiola said. I actually couldn't wait all summer to get back," Raiola said. You have to go through (two-a-days) sooner or later. We might as well get it done and get to the season. I'm getting anxious thinking about it. I'm ready to prove something. We have chemistry. We've been together. We know how each other work. The word now is perfection." #1 Huskers ready for the challenge. As usual, there is no room for error at Nebraska. Coming off a 12-1 season, tnhuskers look might enough to win 'em all this time around and play for another national championship in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3. We had a great year last year, and we expect a lot out of ourselves,said Eric Crouch, the quarterback who puts the hustle in the Huskers' offense. We have more leadership this year, and everybody is on the same page. In coach Frank Solich's third season since replacing Tom Osborne, Nebraska starts out No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason Top 25 poll. Defending champion Florida State is No. 2. With nine starters back on offense, a solid defense anchored by linebacker Carlos Polk and a topnotch kicking game, beating the Huskers will take a Herculean effort. Going 12-1 was a great season, but we didn't finish it off the way we'd like to,Polk said. In the preseason, it's very flattering to be No. 1 or No. 2, but we're still after postseason No. 1. The schedule will help. Rough spots come at the end with games at Kansas State on Nov. 11 and home against Colorado on Nov. 24. There's Notre Dame on Sept. 9, but the Irish don't look ready to challenge the Huskers, who should be 9-0 by the time they arrive in Manhattan, Kan. Texas and Texas A&M aren't on the schedule, although the Longhorns will probably be waiting in the Big 12 title game Dec. 3. Crouch is bigger, stronger and much more confident. A year ago, he was the backup to Bobby Newcombe, but took over in the third game after Newcombe was moved to wingback. As soon as we made the switch, we knew right away it was best for the team, Crouch said, referring to a season in which he became the first quarterback since 1955 to lead the Huskers in rushing, gaining 889 yards. Then it was just like, let's go out and win games and a national championship. Only a 24-20 loss to Texas midway through the season prevented Nebraska from reaching a title game against Florida State in the 2000 Sugar Bowl. The 6-foot-1 Crouch added 10 pounds and will play at about 205, and his right arm is stronger after offseason shoulder surgery. He threw for 1,269 yards and seven touchdowns, and led the nation's quarterbacks with 16 rushing TDs. He better stay healthy. Crouch's backup is redshirt freshman Jammal Lord, who injured a knee ligament in spring practice,but appears healthy. As usual, the backfield is loaded. Dan Alexander, Correll Buckhalter and Dahrran Diedrick return. And there are great expectations for junior college transfer Thunder Collins, who had 1,548 yards and 23 TDs in 1998 at East Los Angeles JC, but did not play last season. Whoever can hold onto the football will get the most playing time. The Huskers fumbled a school-record 49 times and lost a school-record-tying 25 of them in last season. To go through the year doing that says a lot about our special teams and how our offense developed throughout the season," Solich said. At the end, I felt comfortable handing the ball off. Center Dominic Railoa and guard Russ Hochstein are the top guns on the offensive line, while wide receiver Matt Davison, tight end Tracey Wistrom and the always- dangerous Newcombe return to snare Crouch's passes. Defensively, rebuilding is needed, especially in the secondary with the departure of the Browns -- Mike and Ralph. And, longtime coordinator Charlie McBride retired; he was replaced by linebackers coach Craig Bohl. Cornerback Keyuo Craver is back, and Erwin Swiney returns after missing last season as a medical redshirt. Dion Booker, who became a starter the last five games of the 1999 season, is the free safety, and Joe Walker is back at rover and will return punts. Polk, 6-2, and 250 pounds, is among the top linebackers in the country, and will carry the load for the Huskers' least experienced defensive unit. Along the line, tackle Loran Kaiser and end Kyle Vanden Bosch return after strong seasons. Sophomore end Demoine Adams is a rising star on a defense that annually ranks among the stingiest in the nation. Punter Dan Hadenfeldt, granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, returns after averaging a school-record 44.98 yards per kick. Josh Brown made 14 of 20 field goals in his first season. What I want our football team to do is what I want every year, to be as good as can be, Solich said. Where that takes us, we'll see. In the 1990s, the Huskers won national titles in '94 and '95 and were co-champions with Michigan in '97.


Nebraska Posters available NOW!

(Info to the left)


Husker Update-Practice to begin ! Lincoln-The Nebraska cornhusker football team will start reporting for duty starting Friday Aug. 4,with the scholarship freshmen recruiting class.The varsity reports on Tuesday,Aug. 8. Media day will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 9 and Photo Day is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 26 (1 p.m.).Nineteen freshmen are expected to report on Friday,including 17 scholarship players,JC transfer Thunder Collins, and walk-on Mitch Mandstedt from Clarks, Neb.

Posters................ The 2000 Nebraska football posters,schedule cards and media/recruiting guides are now available at the lobby of the Husker Ticket Office (located in the parking garage right by the Huskers Authentic store, just West of Memorial Stadium on 10th street).Two posters, one featuring the offense,and one featuring the defense are available for $3 each, tax included. A special teams poster will also be available for sale ($3) by Photo Day (Aug. 26). The media/ recruiting guides are $15 over the counter (tax included) and $20 by mail. The Athletic Ticket Office is open 7:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturdays (although ticket office will be open in August on Saturdays in order to sell posters and guides, it will not have available all ticket office functions). Weekday hours will change on Aug. 21 to 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday.

Awsome Pre-season rankings for Huskers Lincoln-The University of Nebraska Cornhuskers are being looked upon as preseason favorites for the 2000 Big 12 and national titles.Its understandable particularly when looking at the offense. Nebraska will keep nine of its 1999 starters and return offensive tackle Jason Schwab who was granted a sixth year. Included in the returnees on offense are all five skill position starters including quarterback Eric Crouch,I-back Dan Alexander, wingback Bobby Newcombe,split end Matt Davison and tight end Tracey Wistrom.

Defense On defense,Nebraska has to replace two All-Americans in the secondary in Mike and Ralph Brown, but returns five starters and nine players with starting experience, including linebacker Carlos Polk who will contend for national honors next year. Nebraska lost four linebackers (WLB Eric Johnson and Julius Jackson, and Sam linebackers Brian Shaw and Tony Ortiz).

Tickets still available Lincoln - About 1,200 tickets remain for the Nebraska-Iowa State football game in Ames, Iowa, on Oct. 7, according to the NU ticket office. About 700 remain for the Nebraska vs. Texas Tech game in Lubbock, Texas, on Oct. 14. Contact the ticket office at (402) 472-3111 or 1-800-8BIGRED. The Iowa State tickets cost $35 each. The Texas Tech tickets cost $40 each. People on the waiting list were sent an invoice last week. Ticket office summer hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Several 2001 recruits get verbal. High school seniors who have said they will sign letters of intent next February to play football for Nebraska: Nebraska High Schools Seppo Evwaraye, 6-5, 323 pounds, lineman, Laurel (Neb.) High School; exchange student from Finland Mike McLaughlin, 6-foot, 175 pounds, quarterback, Millard North in Omaha Barrett Ruud, 6-2, 220 pounds, linebacker and running back, Lincoln Southeast Out of State Jared Helming, 6-4, 265 pounds, defensive tackle, Springfield, Mo. (Kickapoo High) Richie Incognito, 6-4, 295 pounds, lineman, of Glendale, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge High) Mike Stuntz, 6-2, 185 pounds, quarterback, Council Bluffs (St. Albert High) Cory Ross, 5-9, 185 pounds, wide receiver/kick returner, Denver, (Thomas Jefferson High) Gary Pike, 6-5, 288 pounds, offensive lineman, Pueblo,Colorado (centenial high)



After nearly quitting, QB Crouch in control at Nebraska

Updated 11:57 PM ET July 27, 2000

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Eric Crouch wore one of those dark-toned power suits that suggest confidence, charisma and a close relationship with Regis Philbin's tailor.

The Nebraska quarterback looked more like a don than a determined junior for what many are saying is a preseason No. 1 team Thursday at the Big 12 media days. Nice try, Eric. It turns out he was much more vulnerable than anyone thought.

And that means Nebraska football is vulnerable. Crouch revealed Thursday that last year he was close to quitting football. Not just transferring, mind you -- giving up football for good. He questioned the wisdom of his coaches, who questioned his ability to start last season.

Big 12 Media Poll

North Division

1. Nebraska

2. Kansas State

3. Colorado

4. Kansas

5. Iowa State

6. Missouri

South Division

1. Texas

2. Oklahoma

3. Texas A&M

4. Texas Tech

5. Oklahoma State

6. Baylor

Eventually Crouch's confidence plummeted to the point that he almost cut his football jugular and quit.

"You say, 'You know what? Maybe this might not be the place for me,'" Crouch said. "'Maybe I don't need to play football anymore.'"

In those few fragile moments last summer, Crouch almost snuffed out a magic season. A season in which he not only became the starter but became a star at the place where option quarterbacks matter most.

The cynic in all of us will have no pity. Things worked out fine for a 12-1 team that came within a Texas misstep of playing for the national championship. But in relative terms -- something less than an undefeated season at Nebraska -- the program reached critical mass.

It took until the third game for coach Frank Solich to name Crouch the starter and dispense of an awkward rotating system with Bobby Newcombe. The week of the opener against Iowa, Crouch had "disappeared," heading back home to Omaha to talk over his situation with family, friends and high school coaches. Rumors abounded at least for a few hours that he had quit.

"You take a big shot to your ego when you're not (good enough)," Crouch said. "You think, 'Gosh, do they really believe in me as a quarterback?'"

Crouch returned and worked out his problems with a good attitude -- but not the starting job.

"I showed up on practice before the Iowa game as a receiver-slash-quarterback, wherever they needed me," Crouch said. "I said to coach, 'Just use me. Let me get on the field. Let me play football.'"

Nebraska won, but still Crouch wasn't happy. Against Cal, he became the first Husker to score touchdowns by pass, reception and rush, but he still wasn't happy. The angst didn't end until coach Frank Solich announced four days before a game with Southern Mississippi that Crouch was the starter.

Even when Crouch settled in, the season was a spark away from blowing up. I-back DeAngelo Evans eventually quit the team, partly because of playing time. That left Nebraska's mighty I-option attack thin, with backup Correll Buckhalter having to play a lot and fullback-turned-tailback Dan Alexander developing fumble-itis.

Alexander wasn't the only one. The offense led the universe with 49 fumbles, including 25 lost.

Usually, the Cornhusker running game is as reliable as Fort Knox. Excellence, at times, was counterfeit in 1999.

Crouch was a bridge to better times. High school days spent running Omaha Millard North's option attack paid off. Newcombe was too indecisive, smaller than Crouch and a worse thrower. If nothing else, Crouch knew how to run Nebraska. Now he just had to do it.

He led the team in rushing (889 yards) with the backfield sputtering. That was the second-best total nationally among quarterbacks. His 16 rushing touchdowns led all quarterbacks. Going into his first full season as a starter, Crouch already is No. 4 on the Nebraska career quarterback rushing list. Sometime this season he should pass Scott Frost, Tommie Frazier and Steve Taylor to become the best quarterback runner in the school's history.

"We felt from the very start that he was a very talented running back," Solich said. "The question is how many carries can a guy have and hold up? It became very clear to us early on (that he could)."

On any Heisman list this season, Crouch is going to be listed below Michael Vick, Drew Brees and Chris Weinke. But he might have outperformed them all considering how much Nebraska relies on his talents.

Solich called his number 27 times (for 158 yards) against Kansas State after an early fumble by Alexander. Crouch helped tuck away a 45-15 victory.

"That certainly was not by accident," Solich said.

As a passer, Crouch made all the right throws, with only four interceptions in 160 attempts. He wasn't spectacular, but with enough speed and guile, he gutted most defenses. Cal played up to 10 defenders on the line to slow Nebraska's running game. Crouch passed twice and completed both for 102 yards and a touchdown.

To think that he almost chucked it all makes Crouch ill down to his designer wing tips.

"I could have quit football and said my whole life, 'What if? What if?'" Crouch said. "I never thought about transferring. I never thought about another school. But I've always had that life dream of becoming a Nebraska football player."

It sounds corny, sure, but corny is what Nebraska football is about at times. Crouch is an accomplished singer in his church choir. This week he is singing in an Alzheimer's disease benefit at a Jewish community center in Nebraska.

He got a tattoo on his left shoulder in the offseason. If it had been on an offensive lineman, it would have been a show of solidarity with his fellow behemoths. If it had been on some trash-talking corner, he would have been labeled a thug.

At Nebraska, it's quaint. Crouch's tattoo reads "Crouch Brothers," a salute to a brother who plays at Hastings (Neb.) College.

"This Nebraska football, if it's done anything it's changed me," Crouch said. "Maybe I wouldn't have looked at things the same like character and honesty and integrity if I wasn't playing for Nebraska."

Combining all the factors, it wouldn't be a stretch to call Crouch one of the best Nebraska quarterbacks of all time. He has the toughness of Frost, the leadership of Turner Gill and the heart of Frazier; they are generally regarded as the Holy Trinity of Nebraska quarterbacks.

"The only problem is you like to have your quarterback 230-240 pounds operating those (running plays)," Solich said. "Eric was not that but he certainly had the great toughness and heart and skill."

No, he was not intimidating. In 1998, Kansas State linebacker Travis Ochs grabbed his facemask and almost twisted Crouch's head off. The resulting news wire photo was award-winning in its gruesomeness. But that didn't relieve the pain in the neck or in the standings.

There was no flag on the play that contributed to Nebraska's first loss to Kansas State in 30 years.

"You saw how I handled it," Crouch said of the no-call. "It takes a lot to hold something back like that."

Slamming his body -- listed at 195 pounds on the roster -- through holes in 1999 caused a shoulder injury that eventually wouldn't let him sleep. Shoulder surgery in January repaired the problem. Now Crouch is bigger, having bulked up about 10 pounds. He is stronger in mind and body, knowing that this Big Red ride is fleeting at best.

"It came back to the tradition that Nebraska had," Crouch said, "the fact that I'm from the state, the fact that the coaches still believed in me as a player. It still comes back to wanting to be a part of Nebraska football."


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