Dailey's Day - A Spring game for the records

If he tried, head coach, Bill Callahan couldn't have scripted Saturday any better. Perfect weather, a packed house, a billion recruits and the future Huskers in attendance. All he needed after that was to give everyone a glimpse of what was to come. In a game of firsts, that's exactly what everyone got and for anyone wondering what "new look" really looked like, they got everything and the kitchen sink. You could have called it "Air Nebraska" or even more apt., "Dailey's Day".

You want to talk records? Let's talk records.

The attendance record for a Spring game was apprx. 48 thousand set in ‘96. Now, it's over 61 thousand.

Also, Joe Dailey's 29 completions on 49 attempts were both records along with the 4 touchdowns and 241 yards. Records previously held by the likes of Scott Frost and Tommie Frazier.

All gone.

And you know what? That's nothing.

Nope. Not even the glaring stat of Dailey's 49 attempts in this scrimmage being more than the first three actual games Nebraska played last year COMBINED is painting a clear picture of just what happened on a perfect Saturday afternoon.

It was a taste. A taste of your future Nebraska Cornhuskers.

"The passing game is beginning to make the kind of progress that we're looking for." head coach, Bill Callahan said. "They did a nice job in the red zone completing some balls, and obviously distributing the ball to 11 different receivers. That's what this style of offense is all about."

Style is one way to describe it, but more aptly, it was a table set for success.

Take into account that the defense Dailey faced was never the number one defense for Nebraska. The first-units for the Huskers being slotted on the same side, Dailey never had to face Fabian Washington, never had to face Adam Carriker and never had to face the nation's leader in interceptions, Josh Bullocks.

The reason for that coach Callahan stated a few days ago after one of the Spring practices was that the first units would get a chance to play together, work together and build that cohesiveness necessary to make teams complete.

It didn't hurt the stats either.

Though the coaches are probably not going to be quick to admit it, if at all, the set-up for yesterday was as perfect as perfect could be.

Recruits to impress, a fan-base to soothe a little as far as their concern and curiosity, now wasn't the time to take any risks, but to go with what you knew would yield the best results.

And, what happened was potentially feasible, but let's give some credit where it's due. The players came to play.

While the table was set for Joe Dailey to have a great day, he could have just as easily tanked. He could have sprayed balls all over, made one bad decision after another and turned a well-formulated plan back on it's well-prepared staff.

He didn't.

Joe Dailey, only 15 practices into being a "West Coast" QB, may not have shined with a brilliant luminescence, but he certainly did sparkle.

Making mostly sound decisions in the backfield when it came to running vs. the pass, Dailey proved to be as quick with the decision to pass as he was with the decision to run. Hitting Mark LeFlore, Ross Pilkington, Matt Herian and Cory Ross, all with touchdown passes, at times, Dailey was making it look like he'd been doing it for a lot more than just four weeks.

Not seasoned mind you, but much better than a young man that went from being a kid brought in to elevate Nebraska from the option to a kid that was now being asked to elevate himself to the offense Bill Walsh created.

He done good, as they might say, but for the always humble Dailey, for him, even this performance was nothing to say he's cemented for the spot as the starter. "To be honest, this really doesn't mean anything." Dailey said of his record-setting performance. "I've got to earn my spot back come Fall just like everyone else here."

Some might actually chuckle at that comment, Dailey being the obvious choice amongst his fellow teammates yesterday and basically, all Spring.

There are lingering thoughts or perhaps very intense thoughts about one particular QB that will be vying to take the spot Joe currently holds.

Junior college transfer, Jordan Adams will be seen as the one legit threat for Dailey's position once he's had a chance to acclimate himself to the offensive terminology. Adams himself says that's the biggest hurdle right now for him as the system itself isn't so terribly different from what he ran at Grossmont CC. "It's a lot of the same combinations that we've been running." Adams said of Callahan's version of the WC. "So, just get the terminology down, I think I'll be good to go."

Adams isn't slated to arrive on campus until late May or early June. That however is plenty of time for people to think about what they saw.

And, what most saw was enough to actually prompt a near standing-ovation after the first play of the game. No, it wasn't a long-bomb for a touchdown or a scintillating bit of improvisation from Dailey, scrambling for a long gain.

It was an incomplete pass.

However, it was an incomplete pass that came out of a formation that saw more motion in one play than perhaps Nebraska had in any three plays combined from last year's limited play-book. It was an incomplete pass, but it was also just a hint of what's to come for NU.

Obviously, Dailey is hoping he's part of that little snipit, but with his usual modesty aside, you can be rest assured that he's bound and determined to believe it right now. "You have to be your number one fan in order to run the show." Dailey said of the confidence needed to play the QB position. "I'm the biggest believer in myself and I know that if you put in the hard work now, the easier it becomes."

"I'm comfortable right now where I'm at."

Where Dailey is at is clearly at the top and until Jordan Adams actually takes that spot from the Sophomore, that's where he'll stay. Insistent with confidence, but consistent with humility, Dailey's approach has been to learn like a sponge, execute with passion and talk about it later as if it's nothing but just some young man out there doing his job.

If his job yesterday was to break records, someone needs to give him a raise. As Joe himself said though, what over 61,000 people saw is just the beginning. "There's more to come." he said. "This is the very tip of the ice-berg."

"There's more to come."

Steve Ryan can be reached at huskerconnection@neb.rr.com or 402-730-5619


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