TIME OUT with Joe Flanagan

Husker Passion Back!

Man, I love the start of football season!
What? Saturday wasn’t the season opener? That was a practice? With 80,000 fans jammed in the stadium? Are you kiddin’ me?
Actually, by now, all of you have likely seen and heard about Saturday’s sold-out spring game in Lincoln. After all, you can’t live in Nebraska and not be aware of Husker grid happenings.
In fact, a good number of fans from around our area were in attendance, enjoying a gorgeous afternoon with their football-fanatic friends.
However, if you weren’t in Lincoln Saturday, let me tell you, it was just a little different this year.
I’ve been to numerous Husker spring games, from mundane affairs in the 70’s, through celebrations of national championships in the 90’s, to the unveiling of the west coast offense four years ago.
I’m willing to bet no previous spring game in Nebraska football history had the “electricity in the air” feel of Saturday. Shoot, if you hadn’t known better an hour before game time, you’d have sworn the Sooners were in town for a mid-fall battle royale.
There were some enthusiastic 40,000-50,000 turnouts during the glory years of the mid-90’s. The Pederson-Callahan “evil empire” amped up the spring game experience as a recuiting tool and drew record crowds of more than 60,000 in recent years. Yes, those were fun.
Saturday was a different animal though. We’re talking mega-volts of energy leading up to kickoff. Fans stoked about the “Return of Bo”. Former players (reportedly more than 250 on hand) excited about the program’s return to its proverbial roots. Current players inspired by the passion of the Pelini brothers, Husker icon Ron Brown and hyper-kinetic new coach Mike Ekeler.

For complete column see Albion News Print Edition