Husker Football Returning To Glory Days
I needed some Bruce Springsteen following Saturday’s annual Nebraska Red/White Spring Game, ‘cause all I could think about was “Glory Days”.
Ah, yes, Husker fans, Nebraska football is back. I mean, really back!
You know what I’m talking about. That which the Bobfather built. That T.O. sustained, then elevated to an even higher level. That Bo Pelini has revived.
The Big Red. Make that the Big Bad Red!
Things are good in Lincoln. Really good. Saturday was a testament to that.
Oh sure, there are still some lingering question marks about the QB position heading into the summer. There’s a wee bit of a hole to be filled on defense, left by a man named Suh. And the Huskers still must prove they can defeat the evil empire from Austin.
No matter. We won’t long need to rely on the old memories of glory days past. They’ll need to make room in the Memorial Stadium trophy cases for new hardware in the not-too-distant future.
Mark my words.
Everything Nebraska football stands for was on display Saturday. And even on a basically meaningless spring game date in mid-April, it can still give you chills.
The friendly hordes tailgating through the morning. A walk through the incredible new “Recruiting Enhancement Display” in the Osborne Athletic Complex. A venerable stadium overflowing with the Sea of Red. The enspiring Tunnel Walk. And a talented, passionate, physical football team.
Husker football. Back to what it was built to be. Back to being as good as it gets. Bo Pelini had the good sense to embrace Nebraska’s rich football tradition when he returned three years ago, and it shows.
The feeling is back. The heartbeat of this unique program. Passion. Loyalty. A sense of Family.
You see it and feel it on the sidelines at the spring game, with the many former Huskers who return to celebrate what they built and encourage current players to live up to that NU ideal.
There is also a palpable connection within the program again. A dynamic between the coaching staff and the players. A chemistry among the team itself. It’s part of what set Nebraska apart in the past. It’s back with Bo in charge. You see it. You feel it.
Win or lose, this is again a college football team and program to be proud of. One thing every Husker fan can take to the bank – just as under Devaney and Osborne, Bo’s NU teams will play football the right way. They’ll be prepared. They’ll be physical. They’ll give 100 percent plus from opening kickoff to final whistle.
And they again have a unified Husker nation behind them, ready to give that final push to excellence.
Oh, yes, it’s coming!
I could talk about the tangible on-field reasons I expect tremendous Husker success in the near future. They’re certainly plentiful.
A mature, ready-to-explode Niles Paul. NFL-ready defensive backs Prince Amukamara, Dejon Gomes and Alfonzo Dennard. Experienced defensive leaders Jared Crick and Pierre Allen. Young offensive linemen Jamarcus Hardrick, Brent Qvale and Jeremiah Sirles who, literally, block out the sun. A three-headed backfield monster-in-the-making named Roy Rex D-Train.
Combine that talent with the coaching of Bo and Carl Pelini, Shawn Watson, Ron Brown, Marvin Sanders, et al, and it’s pretty hard not to get excited.
But Saturday’s most memorable scene was actually during a break in the action. When a man named Suh strode to midfield, was surrounded by the entire Husker team, serenaded one final time in Memorial Stadium with the goose-bump-raising chant of “Su-u-u-u-u-u-u-h!”, and proceeded to give an astounding gift of $2.6 million dollars to the University of Nebraska in appreciation for his Husker career.
That, to me, was the final proof that Nebraska football is again what it was meant to be. What we want it to be.
A raw giant wooed to Lincoln by the Pederson/Callahan hype machine, but molded into possibly the greatest defensive Husker ever by Bo Pelini’s blue-collar coaching staff.
A well-spoken, humble young man who brought priceless national exposure last fall, reaping an unprecedented bonanza of awards while representing our university and state with class and grace.
A humble athlete, standing out in a world where that is becoming increasingly rare, giving back in gratitude to a school and the people who helped set him on a path to personal success, making it possible for future athletes and students to prosper and thrive.
That single action speaks volumes about what is happening in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The Bobfather built it. T.O. perfected it. Bo has brought it back. Husker football.
Man, September can’t get here fast enough!