TIME OUT by Joe Flanagan


As innovative, invigorating and dynamic as our society has proven to be, do you ever notice how we always seem to return to the past?
In recent years, “hair bands” from the 1970’s and 80’s have toured and recorded to acclaim and large crowds, even though these “rockers” are approaching AARP status.
It sometimes seems Hollywood has produced a remake of practically every hit movie and TV series from that period as well, many becoming box-office smashes.
Even current fashion has been influenced by some of the horrendous trends of the 70’s. Go figure.
As the Nebraska Cornhuskers prepare to embark on the 2010 college football season, we aren’t necessarily casting wishful glances back to that distant era, but doesn’t this, in many ways, feel like the 1990’s all over again?
Here are our Huskers ranked in pre-season Top 10s, coming off a rousing Holiday Bowl demolition of Arizona, yet – far from satisfied with 2009’s successful conclusion – spurred to off-season dedication and in-season focus by the rally cry of “0.01”.
While there are subtle differences, doesn’t it all seem eerily reminiscent of ‘93-94? What Husker fan will ever forget “Unfinished Business”, the impetus to one of the most dominant multi-year runs college football has ever witnessed?
Nebraska had reinvented itself defensively in the early ‘90’s, suffered the excruciating heartbreak of the Orange Bowl national championship loss to Florida State and were, in 1994, a swaggering, well-coached, supremely talented team driven by that mantra to possibly the greatest back-to-back seasons in college gridiron history.
Today, we have “Bo’s Blackshirts”, a unit miraculously transformed by the Pelini coaching  magicians in just two years, the backbone of a talented, confident program still stung by the do-over final 0.01 of the 2009 Big 12 Championship Game.
Now, it’s obviously premature to expect three national titles over the next four seasons, but Husker fans have to feel pretty darn good about where this is heading. Is Nebraska truly back where all Huskers believe it belongs, firmly on the same floor as the nation’s elite programs?
If there’s one major difference, it would be on the offensive side of the ball. In the ‘90’s, of course, Dr. Tom had a finely-tuned, well-oiled option machine that chewed up and spit out yards, touchdowns and opponents alike.
The ‘09 Huskers? Uh, not so much.
However, 2010 offers change and hope. The deepest, strongest collection of offensive linemen since the turn of the century. A talented stable of healthy runners. Potentially explosive receivers. And … a QB? How about two … or three?
Actually, Nebraska’s signal-caller situation has some similarities to the advent of the 90’s success, as well. While Tommie Frazier and Brook Berringer were certainly more accomplished than the current Husker QB corps, things were still somewhat uncertain and unsettled as that championship run began, with fans camped on both sides of the fence in their preference and support.
That all worked out pretty well in the long run.
Bo Pelini is on record saying he wants the NU offense to become more physical, to establish itself as a rushing force to be reckoned with. Sound familiar Husker fans?
Nebraska doesn’t need Zac Lee … or Cody Green … or Taylor Martinez … or anyone to match Frazier’s near-Heisman exploits. No, an efficient, cool game-manager like Berringer would do just fine.
The QB battle will be the focus of media and fans throughout fall camp. As QB debates often do, it may well become overblown before the dust settles and clear decisions are made.
Don’t worry though. To avoid hand-wringing tension and worries of a dreaded “QB controversy”,  just let your mind drift back through the years. Pop the ‘94 Orange Bowl or ‘95 Fiesta Bowl into your VCR or DVD player. Sit back, relax and smile while you notice the similarities and dream of the possibilities.
Blackshirts. Swagger. A rally slogan.
Nebraska a national power again?
Believe it.

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