Football 101 Raises More Than $55,000

The third annual Football 101 charity event held in Lincoln on Friday raised more than $55,000 for breast cancer research. The event, put on by Coach Callahan Charities, Inc., drew well over 1,000 participants and provided those attending the opportunity to interact with Nebraska Head Coach Bill Callahan and his staff while learning more about the game of football.

The $55,000 donation, which will grow further from raffle ticket sales, is a $5,000 increase from last year's proceeds. All money from the event will benefit the Eppley Cancer Center in Omaha, a center committed to cancer research, discovering the causes of cancers, the factors that influence a person's risk of getting cancer and developing novel therapies for treating and preventing cancer. The Eppley Cancer Center has an extensive cancer research training program that provides graduate students and postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to obtain advanced training in a multidisciplinary environment.

More than 65 breast cancer survivors sporting special pink t-shirts recognizing their fights were in attendance. The 1,000 participants in attendance ranged in age from 11 to 96, and represented 14 different states, from New York to Washington and California. Numerous athletic department employees used a day of vacation to donate their time to assist with putting on the event to help raise funds for the cause. In addition, wives of the coaching staff also devoted their day to the event.

"Football 101 is a wonderful event to fight the war on cancer," Coach Callahan said. "In the last three years more than 3,000 women have raised over $140,000 for the Eppley Cancer Center, which has been the recipient for the money raised. Today we had more than 1,000 ladies participate in our new format, which we wanted to make more interactive so that there is something fun for everyone."

The event was split up like a football game. During the "first half," participants learned about the philosophy of the Nebraska football program with a presentation from Coach Callahan in a lecture hall setting in the Hawks Championship Indoor Center.

Coach Callahan additionally led the group through the West Coast Offense with a viewing of a coach's tape that the players watch, showing the different ways that the team views tape and pointing out how plays are run, as well as what each individual's responsibility is on the field.

Following Coach Callahan's presentation, the group was treated to a player forum with six players, including senior fullback Dane Todd, senior defensive end Jay Moore, senior linebacker Stewart Bradley, senior quarterback Zac Taylor, junior strong safety Ben Eisenhart and junior cornerback Cortney Grixby.

At "halftime," there was a social hour and sit-down lunch, where participants were able to eat in club level seating or the Don Bryant Press Box. Immediately following lunch, Coach Callahan led the entire group on the Tunnel Walk to the Memorial Stadium field.

For the "second half," the participants split into three groups according to previous football knowledge and learned first hand from Coach Callahan and his staff. The ladies rotated among three circuits, physically taking part in drills by running plays and hitting sleds.

The circuits included a section for the offensive coaches, where volunteers participated in running actual plays. Running backs coach Randy Jordan used multiple volunteers to exemplify what a running back might see in a game situation. In the drill, women ran through two pads that represented blockers waiting at the end of the line.

"Sometimes you're not going to be able to see (other players), and you're going to have to feel them," Jordan explained. "As you can see I get a little excited about what I do."

There was also a section for the special teams coaches, who explained how they prepare for game-day situations in a lecture hall setting, as well as the defensive coaches, who also ran drills to show how they coach against blocking schemes.

Following the event, the second annual "Do the Dock" tailgate party was held as attendees and their guest had a further opportunity to interact with the Nebraska football coaching staff at the Embassy Suites hotel in a tailgate-style setting.

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