Nebraska going after biggun in Arizona

Kris O'Dowd is a changed young man. No, he hasn't turned over a new leaf. Well, unless that leaf is in a salad, which is followed up by a 25 course meal. He's changed as in he's gotten bigger since last season. How much? Well, he was already a pretty sought after lineman at 276 pounds, which he was last year. Now? He's 315. That's a whole lot of salads. But just because everyone from Nebraska to USC is offering him, that doesn't change the person inside the body.

Kris can't wait to play football. Yeah, you can expect just about any football player to say that, who is in between seasons. But for O'Dowd, he's got a significant motivation. Try 45 pounds. That's how much he's gained from last year to this year and now he just wants to throw it around. "I can't wait to play football and this spring is more for the skill guys, so it's just like a big tease for the linemen," Kris said. "I want to get out there and start banging some people around."

That's what linemen do after all, throwing guys here, chucking them there, knocking them straight into the ground. And Kris would say that while he has his own unique style, that's pretty much what he likes to do. "The best is when you can get into the second level on a linebacker or even better, the third level to one of those little safeties," Dowd said. "They see you coming and they try to get out of the way, but I'm getting them one way or the other."

Like any player in the trenches, Down can recall those great times, the times where he not only got to unload on someone, but unloaded exactly the way he wanted. And for him, it couldn't have happened to a nicer player and a nicer team. "Last year we were playing up in Phoenix against one of the local teams and I am telling you, those guys wouldn't stop talking," Kris said. "All of them, just talking and talking and that's even when they were losing."

"So, when the ball was snapped, I got up under this defensive end, who was lanky, but probably 6-4, I drove him 20 yards back and planted him into the back of the end zone."

You see what talking gets you? O'Dowd even admitted had the guy not been running his mouth the whole game, he would have been much nicer, saying "Well, I might have only drove him back 10."

That's a lineman for you and judging by the 14 offers he's gotten, most recently by USC, Tennessee, Cal and Baylor. Add Nebraska, Michigan, Arizona, Arizona State and Ohio State to the list and you've got a really nice grouping of teams to choose from. Even O'Dowd would agree.

"Hey, you hold an offer from USC, that's not bad," he said. "I mean, just look at these schools and I have to say I am pretty happy about that. I am in a good spot right now, so I can't complain."

"Now, I just have to get them all figured out."

The process is easy. All he has to do is pick the right place for him. Easier said and done, of course, but between the Jr. day he attended at USC, the camps he went to at Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State, along with a few other places here and there, Kris is doing what he can. "I am trying to get this list narrowed down by August," he said. "I'd like to have a top three, maybe a top five by then. I don't know if there will be more attention coming. I think so, but right now I am just planning on narrowing down what I have."

For the Huskers, one of the biggest challenges in changing to the west coast offense isn't the change in philosophy, but the change in personnel. That change is still on-going and there's no place more important than the line. While they have injected a good deal of bodies over the last couple of years, with so many still unproven, they have to go out and find the best of the best.

Nebraska has obviously fingered O'Dowd as one of those, but is the feeling mutual? "Nebraska obviously has a big tradition and they love their football up there," he said. "They go to bowl games pretty much every year, so they are used to success."

"I can't really say where they are right now. With all the schools that have offered me, I am trying to keep it as even as I possibly can. That would be more fair to everyone right now. I'm still trying to keep a really open mind."

O'Dowd's timetable is to have a smaller list by the beginning of his season, but by no means does he think that he'll make a decision at that time. He might or he might not, but right now that's not the intent. With his popularity absolutely soaring, O'Dowd said he wouldn't mind seeing Notre Dame get into the mix with an offer and the Florida schools as well.

As he said, the more choices, the merrier.

"I don't think it's being greedy at all, because if I could have 80 schools to choose from, I bet you that wherever I go, that's going to be the perfect place for me," he said. "But you can't complain about these offers I have. It may not be 80, but it's darn good quality from top to bottom."

"It's going to be a tough choice, but I know I am going to eventually end up at a great place."

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