Former Husker Great on Blackshirts

Former Husker great Rich Glover talks about the current state of the Nebraska defense.

Every year, a hot topic that gives sports radio hosts and message board posters something to discuss is the tradition of the Nebraska Blackshirt.

A ritual dating back to the Bob Devaney years, black pullovers distinguished the 1st team defensive unit in Lincoln.

While every head coach has handled the tradition a little differently, it is believed that every year since 1964 the pullover or jersey has been handed out.

Since the arrival of current head coach Bo Pelini, Blackshirts have had to be earned. Earned when a starting defensive unit was deemed ready.

Going into the 2011 season, fans and the most of the media figured it wouldn't take long for the Blackshirts to be seen. A defensive unit featuring three preseason All-Americans, it was expected to be possibly Bo Pelini's best squad yet at Nebraska.

Six games into the season, the Huskers are giving up 27 points a game, including 48 to Wisconsin in their lone defeat. The Blackshirts haven't been handed out yet and it's not bothering at least one former Husker great.

In 1972, Nebraska's Rich Glover concluded not only one of the finest careers in Husker football history, but college football in general.

He won the Loumbardi Award and the Outland Trophy. As a defensive tackle, he finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting. He knew a thing or two about playing on an elite level defense.

On Wednesday night, in an interview for an upcoming Big Red Report 1971 National Championship Magazine tribute, Glover was very candid in the Huskers' defense as of late.

"I really enjoy watching Nebraska today, but they still have a ways to go," said Glover. "Right now, they don't deserve them (Blackshirts). They have to work harder for those.

"I'm glad they haven't been handed out, you have to earn it. A Blackshirt means your going to represent and shut them down. I go to work and people say, what's going on with your Nebraska team. Where are the Blackshirts?"

Glover was drafted in the third round by the New York Giants after two years starting for the Huskers in 1971 and 1972. His No. 79 jersey is retired by Nebraska.

Look for Big Red Report's 1971 National Championship tribute to hit newstands in a month.

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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