Allan Evridge commits and the Husker Nation proclaims, "who?". A young man only one year into the Husker state, his final year as a prep-player in front of him, the name was unknown to most if not all that wondered about Huskers to be.
Allan has made the most out of his time, familiarizing himself a little more with his team and the fans a little more with him.
If you go just by the numbers, Allan had a good year, passing for 1,400 yards and scoring 8 times, while he rushed for 574 for more, scoring 5. Ok, those aren't all the numbers though as Allan will be the first to tell you, some of his best plays only a memory if just for a little mistake here and there. "There were a lot of runs called back." Allan said. "I had like 3 fifty yard runs that were called back this year."There was one time when we were running a "veer" and I pulled and I was just running down the sidelines (with the ball) and then, the whistles start blowing. Turns out, the refs thought the fullback had the ball, blew the play dead and it got called back because of an inadvertent whistle. So, I am just standing there at the goal-line with the ball and it was called back."
Some would call that part and parcel the job and as some others would say, ‘stuff happens', but you can probably understand Evridge's slight frustration.
That frustration probably didn't compare however to the frustrations of falling not once, but twice to still-undefeated, Creighton Prep. Yes, Prep is a great team almost every year and the fact that they are in the finals surprises few. It does however inspire a little more angst within Allan as he recalls the last game they played just six days ago where Prep narrowly escaped with a 21-19 win over Evridge's team. "They (Creighton Prep) had 14 points on special teams' errors and the third, our defense broke out of the huddle late, there was a receiver uncovered, so they just threw it to him real quick and he ran down the sidelines fifty yards." Allan Said. "So, we should have beat them, but they got the W and we got the L and that's all that matters."
An ending, however bitter is just that, an ending. And, for a future Husker, the horizon looms for Evridge and it dips right into the walls of Memorial Stadium. It's also a horizon that for a time, Evridge was beginning to lose sight of altogether. There's no major update when someone that commits in June is thinking a little differently in November, but for each, it's their own personal dilemma, one that not even Evridge was immune to as the course of the year wore on. "There were some questions or concerns I guess, that I had about some different things." Allan said. "I actually went in and discussed that with a lot of the coaches."
"There's always things that you think about different stuff, but after having talked to the coaches, I feel a lot better about everything."
Allan's mind at ease to a certain extent, there is still something that doesn't necessarily sit all that well with the Papillion La Vista QB. Amidst the 8-3 season of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, rumors abound as to the status of it's head coach, Frank Solich. Will he be around much longer or could even this year be his last year at the helm? Those are questions Evridge doesn't even like to be asked, because it was Frank himself that was a large part of why Allan is a future Husker. "I definitely like him and hope he stays." Allan said of Solich.
"He's a big factor in me wanting to play there and I think he's a good coach. I don't understand why people are giving him such a hard time, because I would guess that (Tom) Osborne went through somewhat the same thing and so did Devaney."
"When it was the Big Eight, there were a lot of weak teams. Kansas State was weak, Iowa State was weak, but with the Big Twelve, there's a lot more competition and you have to work harder to be a dominate team."
"Personally, I think he's going a good job. I think Nebraska fans are a little too spoiled."
There can be little doubt as to the accuracy of Allan's last statement as I am sure most (if not all) Husker fans would agree. If you've followed NU for the last 30 years, well, you've had it pretty darn good.
Obviously though the dicension nowadays is from the fact that the 3 decade + long honeymoon is over, Nebraska reeling from records and a loss of records it has not known for over 40 years of time. So many questions, people wanted change. Last year, that's what they got.
So, now Nebraska is going through some growing pains, trying to be a different Nebraska as they try to pass the ball more, but be the same Nebraska in running it and of course, dominating their opponents.
It's that new era if you want to call it that, a new age of NU passing the ball more than it has perhaps since Jerry Tagge took the field, that's what excites Evridge. He'll be one of the first or maybe, the first QB to help lead NU into what he hopes will be a renewed sense of confidence all around. "It's exciting because they're (Nebraska) still a prominent team, but you have a chance to lead them back to being Nebraska." Allan said. "They would still be a powerhouse, but it would be a new type of Nebraska in new way and not the old-school bang ‘em up, run between the tackles old way that they used to win with all the time."
"So, it's definitely exciting to know you could be there for the beginning of a new era."
If the head coach is replaced, some may indeed call it a new era or maybe they will call it the "post-option option", utilizing a still-heavy dose of Nebraska's bread n' butter, but being able to hit them deep, short, with post-ins, outs and maybe even a "comebacker" or two. A team as potentially versatile with the ball in the air as it has been for so many years on the ground.
That's the future Allan is looking at and was really recruited for in the end. It's a future that wasn't so bright for a time even after his commit to NU, but now, the horizon is back square in the middle of Memorial Stadium, Evridge just waiting for his time, his turn to shine.
Steve Ryan can be reached at email@example.com or 402-730-5619