There is a landmark that I always look forward to every year. The landmark in the MLB trade deadline. No, it's not so I can hear about who the Yankees are going to get for this year's playoff run or who doesn't want to come to Texas this year, but it means that football is right around the corner.
Some high schools started two-a-days today! Man, I love it. The Huskers are nearly a month away from inviting in Western Illinois and my hibernation can officially come to an end. When will September 4th ever come?
But this year was different. First, there was a head coaching turn over. Now, some people blow this off, but I keep it in perspective with Bill Callahan is only the third different head coach in my life time.
I'm not a pup anymore, but I have never seen so much change as the Huskers have seen the past two years. Imagine for these kids for just one second three different offensive and defensive coordinators in three years. Throw in that it is the same for numerous position coaches; offensive lineman, running backs, defensive backs, and linebackers.
This turn-over has provided a lot of fans with a chance to not go into the full-hibernation like we normally do. Rather, it was a comatose sleep broken up by news articles about the new staff, the new offense and then there was the spring game.
Whoa! 62,000+ former sleeping bears made the trek to Mecca -- Lincoln, Nebr. -- to see the show. Now I remembered what I had forgotten, the year long anticipation. The re-building and re-energizing of the Huskers, the staff and the facilities had me wired.
What I saw left me wanting more too. The incomplete pass to Herian on the first play was enough to suck me right in. I am not sure if that play would have been any better to anyone even if it was a completed pass. It didn't matter.
And it wasn't the long passes that I enjoyed the most about the game. It was the organization. It was a minimal amount of delay of game penalties. It was about the kids on the field that were having fun. It was also about the type of ball control that we thought that we might begin to see last season and didn't.
The obvious reason is simple, it was a total spectacle. A spectacle that led to 49 passing attempts for Joe Dailey and yielded over 300 yards. I don't have any idea where, but it had to be somewhere between 25 and 45 where Harrison Beck, who was in attendance, was sold on Nebraska.
The other spectacle was the turn-out. The upper stands on the East side of the stadium were shut down, otherwise there is no way that this game wouldn't have appeared to be a sell out. That is...another sell out. And it must have been somewhere between fans 10,000 and fans 50,000 that Craig Roark really became sold on Nebraska.
Even when the spring game ended I couldn't curl back up into the fetal position and take a mid-spring slumber. These coaches can recruit. Finally, excitement is back and following the Huskers by some of the nation's best recruits.
The coaching change, the change in offense, the facility upgrades, the spring game and the new, energetic coaches have a lot of the nation's best recruits talking about Nebraska. There are generally 3-4 recruits this year that I have heard from different sources are the best players in the nation this year.
Those players who I have heard with that title attached to their name: Derrick Williams, Ryan Perrilloux, Dan Doering and Callahan Bright. All four of these players are holding Nebraska offers. Derrick Williams finally eliminated Nebraska from contention. Ryan saw the spot for a quarterback taken by Beck and Doering and Bright both have Nebraska on their leader board and are taking officials to Nebraska.
OK, so not only are the facilities on their way again to excellence, but talent is listening to the new staff and seeing the wanted changes on the field. So the chain reaction is in motion: new facilities, new staff, new offense, new recruits and then the new dominance.
While many aren't expecting this year's team to run off into the sunset by winning a national championship, I for one am not believing those that are claiming a second to last place finish in the Big XII....North! Yes, the road back to greatness will be lined with bumps and there will an occasional turn in the road I am guessing. But, the good news is that the car is packed, it's on the road and is gassed up and ready for that trip to begin. And I am ready to awaken from my hibernation.
I repeat, when will September 4th ever come?!?