Knowing how to say "Good-bye".

When it's your last year, you want it to be special. When it's your last season, you want it to be one to remember. This season has been special and has been one to remember, but undoubtedly not the way starting running back Dahrran Diedrick had hoped. This up-coming contest will be the last for him at home, as a Husker. In his last hurrah if you will, it's his one last opportunity to shine.

Being one of the players that actually came in with the change from Osborne to Solich, Diedrick has seen all the brief Solich era has to offer. From the exciting wins to the disappointing losses, there is much to wax nostalgic over. "There's a lot that has gone on in here." Diedrick stated as he was looking down into Memorial Stadium from the Press Box.

Despite this past year though, it hasn't taken away from most of Dahrran's experiences as not just a Husker, but a UNL student. "It's meant a lot [being here]". Dahrran said. "I have a lot of friends here and it's just one last game in Memorial Stadium."

The year has been one a lot of people would like to forget. One most notably being Dahrran. An off-season prior to this spent feverishly training for his time in the sun, it's now a time that Diedrick can reflect on "what if" or what might have been and despite all the success he has had as a Husker, this one year leaves takes a little luster off his career. "Obviously, it [this season] leaves a little bitter taste." Diedrick stated. "I didn't expect to have the kind of season that I am having."

Dahrran's struggles could hardly be blamed solely on Diedrick himself. This entire year, it has been either the O-line needing to Gel, Jammal Lord needing to learn or a defense needing to be consistent from one week to the next. Everyone's individual performances have fallen off to a degree, with only a couple of highlights here and there. For his own lack of effectiveness though, Diedrick is quite willing to shoulder them blame himself. "I have nobody to blame but myself." Diedrick said of his running-woes this season. "But, this is the type of stuff that happens. When you come to play at this level, this is the type of stuff that happens."

"You just have to be a strong person about it and I think I will be able to play my way out of it."

If Dahrran is to play his way out of it, he will have two more opportunities to do just that. Without wanting to take too much away from the up-coming bowl game, this next game against the Colorado Buffaloes seems about as good a stage as any. "It's the last game I will be in this statdium." Dahrran said. "I am going to play this game as hard as I have ever played, maybe harder, just trying to bring out a win for the team."

If you are fan, is a win enough? Or, are you like most in that you want to see NU give to CU exactly what CU gave to them the year prior. While that is all well and good for a fan to sit back and think of point differentials, Diedrick stated that before you can think about winning by so much, you first have to just get the win. "The main focus is just going out there and getting the win." Dahrran said. "It would be like a cherry on top if we go out there and just beat the hell out of them."

"You have to play the game though like it's supposed to be played and go out there for the win."

There has been a lot of questions about how the game is supposed to be played. That points towards the growing sentiment that changes need to be made, some coaches need to find new jobs if not new zip codes and that only wholesale changes in the coaching staff (especially on defense) will help right a ship that's already adrift, listing aimlessly.

Dahrran disagreed.

"I really don't think so." Dahrran said about his thoughts on whether there needs to be coaching changes. "We've been good. Maybe our schemes need to be changed, but I don't think Nebraska is the type of place where you fire coaches."

"How can you blame one bad season on whoever and say, we need to fire him and him or him? I think people need to look at the overall picture and how long they [the coaches] have been here. We had one off-season and we'll be back up on top."

Another issue that seems to be gaining steam is the noted or at the very least, alleged lack of respect players apparently have for some of the coaches. While players seem to genuinely like some, the respect seems to have faded if not all but disappeared. Dahrran commented on the thought of what he defined how important respect is.

"You have to respect your coaches and you have to like your coaches." Dahrran said. "There's always going to be things that will make you angry with them, but they are doing their job."

And do all players respect all coaches on the team? "For the players that start.[they do]" Dahrran said in retort. "It's like that at every level. Whoever is not the starter or whoever feels like they aren't getting enough playing time is going to feel like they are doing something wrong to them."

"For the guy that IS getting a chance [though] and is getting the opportunity, they are going to respect the coach. It's like that at every level. The guy that plays the most is the guy that is going to like the coaches the most."

Coaching issues aside, this being the last game for one person not withstanding, Dahrran feels that this up-coming game with Colorado means more than just what last year's score would put upon it as a value. This game has meaning, because it isn't just Dahrran Diedrick saying good-bye. It's about the rest of those aged veterans that still have so much of their lives to go, but have lived almost a lifetime within the hallowed halls of Memorial. It's the Swan Song for all of them, never to take the "Tunnel Walk" again, never to be in front of the "Sea of Red" again and to know that for the only game in their entire career that will be the last, none of the seniors want to leave it wondering what might have been.

"For us Seniors, we don't to leave, losing our last home game." Dahrran said. "It's the end of a long career here and we want to go out right."

"It's going to be a lot of fun."

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


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