First thing is first, don't expect much. Everyone should keep telling themselves that each year this game comes around, because you know how it will go. A little "pretty", a little "ugly", but most of the time, it's just pretty ugly. Players still trying learn and other players just trying to get better.
Only, this year, everyone is trying to learn and trying to get better along with everyone else. In such a game, you might want to consider what coaches consider above and beyond the intricacies that only they can see because they know what the play is, where it's designed to go and what each player is supposed to do.
With that in mind, it's usually the individual performances that stand out and this game was no different. If it wasn't Stewart Bradley leading all defensive players in total tackles, it was the almost-but-not-quite 80+ yard gallop for a touchdown by Marques Simmons, if only for a shoe-string tackle that kept it from hitting the board.
And with the individual standouts, some didn't quite cut the mustard, but we usually leave those names for the hushed whispers and no media outlet likes to call individuals out for not playing up to snuff, right?
This could be the punch line to a Hertz commercial.
Ok, that's not exactly fair. After all, we can't get too down on the kickers for showing just how much Josh Brown could be missed or how much people are wanting to get familiar with the name, David Dyches. It's the Spring game, there's a whole Summer of "off-season" to go and they're kickers for goodness sake.
Yep, kickers, often the difference between a loss and a win and the last time Colorado actually lost to NU, it was because of that kicker that recently departed NU, leaving DeAngelis and Endorf to battle it out. If there is one area NU really needs to worry about it's this one.
And how about that back-up QB? Well, once again, Garth Glissman turned out to be one of the statistically better throwers on the day, except for the two picks of course. I know what you are saying to or asking yourself. Is this kid anything but another journeyman back-up, living the dream, only to find himself in no bigger role than say Joe Chrisman? Sure, he's got some ability, but he's 6 foot plus a ton, isn't the traditional type of mover NU is used to having and believe it or not, this is a Nebraska QB that has a tendency to sit in the pocket first and look for a passer and when there's nothing else left, that's when he runs.
Who would have thought that could happen here?
Garth could indeed find himself go the way of many other uniquely-named signal callers, like Monte Christo and "The Terminator", Matt Turman. Yeah, Matt Turman isn't an odd name, but to be called The Terminator when you aren't even six foot tall, that's plenty odd enough. Then again, he could follow such able passers and decent runners like Brooke Berringer, who was key in NU's first national title. Brooke didn't run all that well, but he made great decisions and passed pretty darn well when needed.
For the sake of tradition though, let's assume that the back-up role will go either to Mike Stuntz or Curt Dukes. Mike who has problems on the snap, but to his credit, didn't in the final Spring scrimmage and Curt who hasn't been healthy enough to realize his awesome potential, his game-plan yesterday was to pass, hand-off but whatever you do, don't run. Each seems to be cursed in their own way.
With Mike, his problem is an obvious matter of, as coach Solich might say, ‘not getting it done", while Curt, you just can't help but feel sorry for the guy, because his mind wants to get in there and his body wants to check out.
So, as fans are looking and some hoping that anyone can actually challenge Lord for the top spot, Jammal was better, just good enough to say he's the man right now. In all actuality, for the coaches to take Lord's spot from him, it doesn't matter who it is, they aren't going to have to do as well as Jammal or even a little better, rather they will have to be a lot better to dethrone him.
New staff or not, habits develop fast and break awfully hard. It's an old song, but Lord's spot is for Lord to lose.
By the way, does Stewart Bradley have a thing for Garth Glissman? In two scrimmages now this Spring, I have seen Bradley nearly decapitate Garth. The first one was Garth's mistake as he made that critical error that you see those long lanky types do. As he was stopped and the play was almost over, he sprung his body forward for that one last yard and WHAMO, Bradley shoved his left ear hole to the right side of Garth's face.
You have to love the story Stewart Bradley is becoming though. I did an interview with him and he was about as quick to defer credit for just about everything but his birth to the players around him and the coaches. Modest, maybe to a fault, he certainly appears to be the antithesis of that, at least in demeanor, on the field. Who's to say that Bradley can be categorized now as a "player" or "overachiever", but there's little doubt about the motor in his chest.
Aside from the individual standpoint, most people when they turn open that sports page want to see one thing, "how did they look". As a team, was it painful or inspiring, a confidence boost for them or a teeth-clenching affair, riddled with expletive deleteds? And what about this new fangled offense?
From what I gathered, the most noticeable thing you could see that was different and to the point, probably the only real unique thing you will see in what I was calling, "The most vanilla Spring game ever" was just how much Cotton would mix it up. Well, Nebraska passed for more yards than they ran. When that happens, they usually lose, but this time, it wasn't out of desperation, it was all part of the "carefully" laid plans of Cotton and company. In fact, both the Red and White teams had almost a 50/50 ratio in run to pass for the entire game.
On defense, it was definitely vanilla as Nebraska ran the same defensive front the entire game. Pelini always stating that he isn't out to beat the other NU guys, rather get the most out of the guys he has and see just what they got. Well, to the tune of 6 interceptions and 3 sacks, Pelini must have gotten at least a little of what he wanted.
Is it what you wanted though? As you turn the sports pages and see individual recollections of an inflated scrimmage, do you find yourself satisfied?
Wait, scratch that. You are Nebraska fans. You are never satisfied.
Ok, how about this? After this game, does the dread of another 7-7 season or even worse find itself subdued replaced with something more akin to cautious optimism? Yeah, me to.
Yes, there are usually the group of spring game wonders that end up all but disappearing come the regular season. There are the individual shows of brilliance from those you expect that really do end up being unique. And, yes, you are going to see an NU team in this game that probably won't resemble too much the team you see come the opener against Oklahoma State.
Except for th