The first play of last year's scrimmage gave those people a little taste of what they wanted, the crowd actually standing at the sight of more than two players shifting positions along the line.
Head coach, Bill Callahan didn't stop there as passing records were set, Joe Dailey looked like the real deal and almost every single fan and/or recruit left there feeling that the change wasn't going to be all that hard after all.
It's amazing how deceptive a game like that can be, isn't it?
Nobody cared at the time that Dailey's feats were done against around six scholarship defensive players, none of which were slated to be on the first-team. In fact, citing reasons of wanting to boost camaraderie, Callahan said that he wanted the first team defense to play with the first-team offense, not against it.
Does anyone see P.T. Barnum anywhere around here?
Well, we must have, because the fans ate it up, looked at this new offense as simply a small transition, because while Spring games were never meant to open up your offensive bag of tricks, showing everyone what you planned to do the up-coming year, you could tell who was going to be a star and who wasn't.
Maybe the names Chris Butler, Alik Tillery and Robin Miller should tell you a little about Spring sensations translating to Fall fame.
It's a scrimmage, nothing more, nothing less.
Therein lies the problem that Bill Callahan and company have this year. The cat is out of the bag, the offense for all its luster in Spring came out tarnished, scratched and even a little dented once the bowl-less Huskers' seasoned finalized.
The attractiveness of seeing something different has wore off, but ironically, it leaves people wanting the same thing now that they did around this time a year ago:
They want the offense to work.
Sure, the defense had more issues last year than a guest on the Dr. Phil show, but there's little that needs to be stated and restated about an offensive unit that sponsored the highest of hopes in the Spring game, only to watch those plummet as the year went along.
So, this year's Spring game isn't about what fans don't know will happen, but what they are hoping will. The pleasantness of watching all those motions, shifts and sets has been replaced with that typical Husker-fan angst that expects all that to turn into points. Basically, they got the stuff and now they want the substance.
How do you do that, though, in a game where people might be a little numb from the deceptiveness from last year that led everyone to think of not just a winning season, but maybe a shot at the conference title Callahan's first year at the helm. How do you take the disenchanted masses and once more turn them to the positive side of thinking, people once again feeling that this is Nebraska's year to shine?
There are three weeks of practices before the actual game that shows the Husker Nation just a taste of what is in store. There's no worry anymore about what image you are trying to convey, because people got enough of that during a season most simply want to forget. For this game, it's simply time to show what you can do.
To that end, I wouldn't expect to hear our daily practice reports speak of Joe Dailey and the inordinate amount of reps he's getting as compared to everyone else. I also wouldn't expect that you'd hear a lot about how little actual contact there is as compared to last year, when seemingly there was none. I wouldn't expect a lot of things to be the same, because now it's not about what you can do, it's about what you can do better than you did before.
So, forget the circus around a game that technically doesn't matter. Do away with the smoke and mirrors meant to woo recruits in, because the first year excuses are done and recruits will now look more at wins than they will acknowledge how the staff is still trying to adjust to a lack of suitable talent.
My advice to you as Husker fans is if you see the depth chart for the Spring game and it is similar to last year's in that the first-team is playing on the same side, take the performance you see in this game, no matter how incredible and throw it right out the door. Don't pay attention, don't give it any credit it doesn't deserve and certainly don't judge the future of the team based on another campaign to lull you into a false sense of confidence.
I don't know about you, but I'd rather see a team go at each other, matched up as evenly as possible and see it fail rather than see it succeed once more under carefully orchestrated circumstances. I'd rather see Joe Dailey, Zac Taylor, Jordan Adams or whoever go 12/21 passing against the first team than I would see them go 34/40 against players that might not even make it off of the scout team this year.
Illusions are for David Cooperfield and for him, they work every single time. Nebraska's illusion is over.
My hopes is that in this year's scrimmage, pretty or ugly, pass or fail, we see the real Nebraska Cornhuskers and not the image of what we'd like them to be.
Give us the goods. Give us the skinny. Heck, just give us just a legit game and don't worry about the outcome.
Besides, no matter how ugly it gets, I'm pretty sure Nebraska still wins.