Husker Spot - Nebraska Football Network

Nebraska Football Fan Online Community

Husker-National Drink Beer Day-Dave Rimington Discusses the Pipe Line!

Is that you Dave?

Husker Thursday-9-28-17-Drink Beer Day!

Drink Beer Day

Raise a glass of your favorite ale or lager and celebrate Drink Beer Day! One of the oldest man-made beverages in history, beer has been produced since the Neolithic Era with some breweries dating back as far as 1040. It is little wonder why drinking beer has come to be such a popular and entertaining activity.

With hundreds of different new and traditional varieties available, Drink Beer Day gives all drinkers a wonderful opportunity to sample both local and internationally brewed ales and lagers.

Held annually, this exciting holiday is recognised in many different countries across the globe and taking part could not be easier. Simply gather a few friends, nip down to your nearest off-licence or supermarket and crack open a beer for a fun-packed day. Alternatively, celebrate by attending beer festivals or beer-tasting events held in your local area.

Be it blocking for Wilbon or Csonka, Decker glad for his chance

Rimington and OthersLay Groundwork for 'Pipeline' to Come

It wasn’t called the Pipeline then, but the Husker O-line’s reputation surged in the 1980s with Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler and others leading the way.

Husker News-Ancestor Appreciation Day-Wednesday 9-27-17

Ancestor Appreciation Day

Stuck in the middle: Husker glory days seem far away — or never existed — to millennial ...

Tyjon Lindsey carrying right attitude after quiet Saturday

Husker News-International Pancake Day-Tuesday 9-26-17

McKewon: Five quick thoughts on Dave Rimington becoming Nebraska's interim A.D.

 Former Nebraska All-American DaveRimington named Huskers' interim athletic director  

Shatel: An ex-Husker may be wise, but the next athletic director must be pe...

 Printable rosters and two-deeps

Stille lives dream, strives for more after first action as Husker

Boyd Epley stumps forMike Riley to get more time: 'It's just going to get better and bet...

Views: 53

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

 Former Nebraska All-American DaveRimington named Huskers' interim athletic director  

LINCOLN — Dave Rimington is returning to Nebraska, where he was considered one of the great players in college football and played on some of the Huskers' great teams of the early 1980s.

Rimington on Tuesday was named the Huskers' interim athletic director, which NU Chancellor Ronnie Green announced in a release. Rimington will start in his new role immediately and was scheduled to meet with news media members Tuesday afternoon.

According to Nebraska, Rimington agreed to take a leave of absence from his position as president of the Esiason Foundation. His Husker appointment is scheduled for up to 60 days.

The Rimington impact was so big during his Husker career (1979 to 1982) that the Rimington Trophy was created in 2000 to annually honor the top college center in college football. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

Rimington since 1995 has served as president of the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which works to raise money, awareness and support for cystic fibrosis. Rimington and Esiason spent five NFL seasons together as center and quarterback with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Rimington retired from the NFL after playing the 1989 season with Philadelphia.

The interim tag means that Rimington, 57, temporarily moves into the role held by Shawn Eichorst since 2012. Eichorst was fired last Thursday, and NU officials announced that they would both use a search firm during the coming process and seek advice and input from former AD and head coach Tom Osborne, whom Rimington played for as a Husker.

Although Rimington and his family — wife, Lisa, and four children — currently live in New York City, the Omaha South graduate regularly returns home. He holds a football camp each summer in Omaha and the Rimington Trophy banquet annually in Lincoln, and proceeds from both help benefit the cystic fibrosis community in the state.

From the Esiason Foundation website: Under his leadership, BEF has instituted and developed a variety of educational programs, scholarships and new media initiatives that have directly benefited cystic fibrosis communities nationwide. Under Rimington’s direction, the Foundation has taken an active approach to education, awareness and fundraising strategies through new media and technology channels. Programs such as the popular CF Podcast Series have served as a source of inspiration to many in the CF community.

Nebraska went 41-8 during his four-year career, and Rimington was a first-team All-Big Eight choice each of his last three seasons. Rimington was named the Big Eight offensive player of the year in 1981, the only time in league history that a lineman earned that honor.

Rimington is still the only player to win the Outland Trophy in consecutive years (1981 and '82), and he added the Lombardi Award as a senior. In 2004, he became the first NU student-athlete in history to be inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame.

Rimington was a first-round draft choice of the Bengals in 1983 after his NU career.

Stuck in the middle: Husker glory days seem far away — or never existed — to millennial ...

LINCOLN — The timing of the heartbreak is different. The coach is different and the quarterback is different, but for Nebraska fans ages 18 to 32, the anguish is the same.

For some, it was the 2001 loss to Colorado, realizing the 1990s were truly over. For others, it was coughing up 76 points to Kansas in 2007, realizing how bad things were under Bill Callahan. For the younger fans, the 2012 Big Ten title beating by Wisconsin, when a conference title seemed as elusive as ever.

Different years, different places, but it’s all the same. Fans between 18 and 32 have been stuck in a Nebraska football purgatory their entire lives, where the glory days of the 1990s are only stories from their parents and where national relevance flickers from coach to coach.

And it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

Through four weeks, the Huskers are 2-2. Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst was fired after Week 3 following the 21-17 home loss to Northern Illinois.

On Tuesday, Nebraska hired former center Dave Rimington as interim athletic director and announced it’s compiling a search party to tap its next A.D. in the next 60 days.

With so many questions surrounding the program, it seemed like a good time to check the pulse of the lost generation of Nebraska fans.

Some are still encouraged with the direction of the program. Most aren’t. A vast majority of the forlorn don’t see a conference title, or national relevance, returning any time soon.

Mark Glause, 32, was 12 years old when Tom Osborne retired after the 1997 season.

“Remember this feeling because it might take another 25 years for Nebraska to have success like this again,” his father told him after the Orange Bowl win over Tennessee resulted in the third national championship in four seasons.

Glause didn’t believe him then. But 19 years and four coaches later, Glause is starting to worry his father was right.

The ones who heard the stories

The last time Nebraska won a conference title was 1999. That’s the year most incoming University of Nebraska freshmen were born.

That was Frank Solich’s second season, a 12-1 followup to going 9-4 in 1998. Nebraska beat Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl but finished No. 2 and No. 3 in the polls, mostly because of the 24-20 loss to Texas during the season.

Jack Jezewski, 18 and an NU freshman, doesn’t remember any of that. He hardly remembers the Solich firing. He’s been told the stories of Tommie Frazier and the 1995 Blackshirts. But in his lifetime, those are just stories.

The furthest back Jezewski can remember is the 2006 Huskers, a 9-5 season with a loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. His earliest vivid memory of Nebraska football was when Bo Pelini was hired. He and his dad were happy to get rid of the pass-heavy offense that Bill Callahan brought in 2004.

“I remember a re-establishment of the Nebraska culture,” Jezewski said. “A great defense, a running game and winning.”

But with that came the disappointment familiar to Nebraska fans from any era post-1999. To a handful of 18- to 22-year-olds, the education of hope and despair came in the form of the 2009 Big 12 title game.

Nebraska led Texas as time expired, but one second was put back on the clock and the Longhorns made a field goal. That’s what taught Bennett Widman, 19, what it’s like to lose.

“The only time I’ve ever cried in public,” he said.

Widman and fans his age interviewed this week were mostly on board with the Pelini firing in 2014, citing the 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in 2012 and leaked tapes of Pelini cursing Husker fans.

But the hiring of Mike Riley out of Oregon State didn’t excite younger fans who wanted a sexier hire, like a Bret Bielema, Mike Gundy or Jim Tressel.

“I was for the firing of Bo Pelini if and only if his replacement was a clear step above,” Widman said. “I was very upset by the hiring of Mike Riley and consider it the day where Nebraska football could irreparably be damaged. Another three years of mediocrity adding on to the seven years of the Pelini era makes it hard to believe Nebraska could be relevant again without a major coaching coup.”

Mediocrity is all these younger fans really know. Nebraska’s winning percentage for someone born in 1999 is .670, or the equivalent of an 8-4 record every season. By contrast, someone born in 1994 or later would’ve seen Nebraska win around 72 percent of its games, or almost the equivalent to 9-3 every year.

The losses are starting to wear on the way younger fans view the program.

“After the loss to NIU, I am slowly starting to think we are just another college football team,” Jezewski said. “We are just another Big Ten team. Average.”

Spencer Stewart is an 18-year old high school senior who recently received his UNL acceptance letter and went to the NIU game.

I drove six hours to watch Nebraska drive 75 yards down the field and then throw a pick-six,” Stewart said. “If that isn’t a perfect example of Nebraska football in my lifetime, then I don’t know what is.”

Unkept promises

Justin Kerkman, 25, was alive when Nebraska won titles in the 1990s. But his first Nebraska football memories don’t begin until just after.

Fans his age, from 23 to 27, grew up on Solich and Eric Crouch. Crouch was their Frazier. The 2001 Huskers their greatest hope.

After the 62-36 shellacking by Colorado to end the 2001 season, Kerkman remembers praying in front of the family TV during the 2001 BCS national championship selection show, begging the analysts to give Nebraska another shot at the title.

He skipped around the living room when they called the Huskers. He cried a few weeks later in that living room, watching Miami dismantle his team 37-14.

With the firing of Solich after the 2003 regular season, what followed over the next decade were two coaches who promised Kerkman and Nebraska fans change from a stale norm. First was Callahan, who was a welcome change to Michaela Ostronic, 24, who liked the idea of a bolstered recruiting effort and a high-powered offense.

But soon, that promise went downhill.

“I remember a lot of anger around that time,” Ostronic said. “And a lot of points against us.”

The 2007 game at Kansas, a 76-39 loss, sticks out to Kerkman. So does missing a bowl game after that year, a repeat of 2004 when Callahan’s first team went 5-6.

“I remember my dad saying, ‘This doesn’t happen at Nebraska.’ ”

Ostronic attended NU during the beginning of the Pelini years, and she and her classmates believed the bulldog Pelini was the one who could bring Nebraska back. With Taylor Martinez sprinting by Kansas State in 2010, she was certain that was the year the Huskers would become like one of the teams she grew up hearing about.

But Nebraska lost the Big 12 title game in 2010 to Oklahoma. Add that to the 2009 loss to Texas — and mix in Nebraska’s first Big Ten blowout at Wisconsin in 2011 and the horrid 2012 Big Ten title game loss — and by the beginning of the 2013 season, Ostronic had begun to sour on Pelini.

Ostronic was initially pleased with the Riley hire, but with a 17-13 record through two-plus years and more promises of a rejuvenated offense with a West Coast flare, Ostronic feels as if she’s seen this movie before.

After the loss to NIU, Ostronic lost a good bit of hope for the program. This season, right now, is a new low, she said.

The frustrated

Patience wears thin when you’ve seen as much disappointment as Bret Hergenrader, 29.

At halftime of Nebraska’s 2014 game at Wisconsin, when the Huskers trailed 24-17 but couldn’t slow Melvin Gordon, Hergenrader went to the backyard.

“I was so mad by halftime I split all the wood we had with us for the stove for our deer camp that year,” Hergenrader said. “I get so frustrated with watching us get beat over and over again in the trenches.”

That’s not stopped. And it’s why fans his age don’t have much patience for what’s happening inside the halls of Memorial Stadium.

Similar to fans ages 23 to 27, the group of fans 28 to 32 have seen a lot of change. The difference? They remember when it wasn’t so bad.

“I hated football before because, to me, it was just what my dad turned off cartoons to watch,” said Jeremy Rasmussen, 30. “I watched the 1995 Orange Bowl to see what all the fuss was about.”

If Nebraska won, he said, he’d be a Husker fan and watch every week with his pops. The Huskers toppled the Hurricanes 24-17.

A year later, Nebraska dominated Florida in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl, and Rasmussen was convinced Nebraska would never lose again.

“I was hooked.”

That, of course, didn’t last.

Rasmussen watched the press conference announcing the firing of Solich in 2003 from the Macaroni Grill in Omaha. The restaurant fell silent when then-Athletic Director Steve Pederson showed up on TV screens. And when the press conference was over, Rasmussen remembers the looks of disgust around the restaurant.

Rasmussen and fans around his age interviewed this week haven’t been thrilled with the direction of the program since. Especially now with Riley, who has started two of his three seasons below .500.

“I think he is a nice man,” Rasmussen said. “I think he knows quite a bit about football. I have never for one second thought he was a good coach that was going to get Nebraska where we all want it to be. I was hopeful until the team lost to BYU (starting the 2015 season). Then I was out.”

Which is why fans are now at a crossroads.

What should they root for? Keep Riley? Fire Riley? Like the past 20 years of Nebraska football, is there actual hope around the corner with Riley, or is this the same story in a different era?

Glause begs the fan base to keep the faith. Give Riley time.

Hergenrader said he has no confidence Riley can bring a conference title to Nebraska in the next five years.

Neither really knows what the best move is. But they do know they hardly recognize the program they grew up watching all those years ago.

“I feel like so many times since 1997 Nebraska has been a laughingstock,” Hergenrader said. “But this loss (to Northern Illinois) ... definitely feels like a new low.

Tyjon Lindsey carrying right attitude after quiet Saturday

There was a practice in August, one of those practices media happened to attend, when Tyjon Lindsey grabbed the headlines for the day. He had two long catches. He ran about five yards past a cornerback on one play, then readjusted to an underthrown pass and caught it between two Blackshirts on another play.

It was impressive. It was also just a practice with the scoreboard turned off.

That type of big play hasn't yet found the true freshman wide receiver once September has rolled around. So far, he has eight catches for 44 yards with a long of 11. He's been given two carries on fly sweeps for a total of five yards.

This isn't disappointment so much as this is part of growing.

And wide receivers coach Keith Williams thinks Lindsey is carrying the right approach as he continues to learn in the hopes that his first big play as a Husker is perhaps just down the block.

"Tyjon, he's good," Williams said after Tuesday's practice. "He understands his situation. Like I've said before, he didn't come in here thinking he was going to be the Randy Moss of the room or anything like that. He's just trying to adjust, go through the transition as smoothly as possible."

Williams also pointed to something often left out of the conversation with Lindsey. He didn't play much football in 2016, due to tearing the meniscus in his right knee in early October last year. He's not just new to the college game, but has been getting back into football since he showed up on campus in the summer.

"All that factors into it," Williams said.

It isn't exactly a surprise the true freshman hasn't yet made that game-breaking play when you consider the Husker passing game as a whole has been so inconsistent. At this point, Nebraska is completing passes at a 52.1-percent clip. And while pass protection was improved last week, it hasn't exactly been so sharp to allow faith that Lee would have the time to connect on deep routes. Nor has the accuracy from Lee, or sure hands from receivers, been on display when those attempts have been made.

The Huskers tried to hit Lindsey deep on one play in the third quarter against Oregon, but the pass wasn't near the mark and those type of shots have been limited. Lindsey didn't see a target in Saturday's 27-17 Nebraska win over Rutgers. And the Nebraska passing game, struggling without Stanley Morgan on the field, didn't hit on a passing play of greater than 18 yards all day.

"You're always looking for big plays," Williams said. "But you take it as it comes. You can't always dictate when you can make a big play ... You obviously would love a big play. First down. A 99-yard kickoff, go sit down. You can't always dictate that but you definitely would like some big plays. When you get that opportunity, you have to take advantage of it."

As for Lindsey, proper perspective is important. JD Spielman has been shining in the slot this season, but that comes after a year working behind the seasons as a redshirt. Spielman himself has spoken of the benefits of getting that year of training behind the scenes with this offense.

Lindsey is learning on the move.

And while Lindsey's catches have mostly been off short passes that are almost an extension of the run game, and he hasn't had that big moment yet that Stanley Morgan produced his true freshman season in his third game when he caught a game-tying touchdown against Miami, his numbers are also about what you might expect from a true freshman just figuring out the offense.

As good as Morgan was right off the bat for Nebraska, he ended his true freshman year with 25 catches for 304 yards. Those are numbers Lindsey could still potentially hunt down in 2017. It would take a couple of those big plays that were flashed in August practices to probably do it, however.

It's a fair bet he's going to run free in the secondary at some point soon — maybe as soon as Friday night. The question, going back to Williams' quote, is if the Huskers will take advantage of it when it arrives.


Author

Brian Christopherson


Rimington and OthersLay Groundwork for 'Pipeline' to Come

It wasn’t called the Pipeline then, but the Husker O-line’s reputation surged in the 1980s with Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler and others leading the way.

The “Pipeline” nickname for Nebraska’s offensive line dates to the early 1990s, originating in 1993, or thereabouts, a designation solidified by the back cover of the 1994 Husker media guide and by the national championships Nebraska won in three of Coach Tom Osborne’s final four seasons.

But the tradition of great Husker lines began long before, even preceding the institution of two-platoon play with NCAA rule changes beginning in 1964. For the purposes of this brief discussion, however, the context follows the national championship lines of 1970 and 1971.

Among the best between those lines and the 1990s lines were the 1982 and 1983 lines, both of which could have cleared the way to national championships, too, if not for situations worthy of “What If?” discussions, as addressed in the latest issue of Hail Varsity magazine.                  

Dave Rimington, Nebraska’s recently appointed interim athletic director and arguably the most decorated offensive lineman in collegiate history, anchored the 1982 line as a senior, when he won a second Outland Trophy, the Lombardi Award and unanimous All-America honors for a second time, as well as finishing fifth in voting for the Heisman Trophy behind teammate Mike Rozier.

The 1982 team led the nation in total offense (518.6), rushing offense (394.3) and scoring offense (41.1), numbers that were eclipsed the next season, even though Nebraska’s per-game average of 546.7 yards of offense was second to pass-oriented BYU’s 584.2-yard average.

The 1983 Huskers averaged 401.7 rushing yards and 52 points to lead the nation. The rushing average remains a school record. The 1995 team broke the other two, with per-game averages of 556.3 total yards and 52.4 points. As in 1983, the 1995 team finished second to pass-oriented Nevada in total offense. The Wolfpack led the nation in passing and averaged 569.4 total yards per game.

Rimington was a three-year starter at center, but offensive line coaches Milt Tenopir and Clete Fischer tried him briefly at tackle during the spring of 1979. “I didn’t go into it with my arms open. I go, ‘There is no future for me in this position,” Rimington has said, looking back.

He lined up against senior defensive tackles Dan Pensick and Bill Barnett, and “I didn’t know what I was doing,” said Rimington. “I didn’t have the range to play tackle. I didn’t really know how to pass-block that well. It was just a disaster. So it was humbling . . . and it was probably good because I was so relieved when they said I could play center, I’m like, ‘Thank goodness. I cannot do this.’”

By spring’s end, he was back at center, and happy.

“Milt and Clete said, ‘Man, you just played that. You didn’t even want to do it.’ I go, “I didn’t, but I did try hard. And I could not do it. I was not sandbagging,’” Rimington said.

History shows where he belonged.

Rimington was among four senior starters in the 1982 offensive line. Right guard Dean Steinkuhler was the only junior. Center Aaron Graham was the only junior starter, also with four seniors, in the 1994 line. And like Steinkuhler, Graham also earned All-America recognition as a senior.

Steinkuhler was Rimington’s successor as Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award winner, as well. “He was just athletic. I mean, he was just a flat-out strong, athletic guy,” Rimington said. “He looked like he could’ve played tight end. He was just a really good athlete.

“Myself, I had to be center because I was 6-foot, so that’s where I had to be. But he had some range on him. He was 6-4 and a good athlete, just looked the part. He looked like a Nebraskan . . . he looked like Herbie Husker, big jaw . . . you look at him, ‘That’s Herbie Husker right there.’”

Mike Mandelko, a two-year starter, was the left guard in 1982, with Randy Theiss, a three-year starter like Rimington, at left tackle, and Jeff Kwapick, who had backed up Theiss for two seasons, moving to the right side to start in 1982. The back-ups included tackles Scott Raridon, Mark Behning and Mark Traynowicz and guard Harry Grimminger, the four new starters in 1983.

Traynowicz, like Grimminger a sophomore, was moved to center in the spring of 1983 and followed Rimington. He earned unanimous All-America honors as a senior.

The line’s job was “to facilitate” the offense, “not screw it up,” said Rimington. “We’re here to make sure they (“skill-position” players) get their yards, get the accolades; that’s fine. I still can’t believe the stuff (awards) I was getting. I wasn’t even the best guy on my offense.

“I’m just a guy getting in people’s way. It doesn’t take that much skill for that.”

Nebraska’s interim athletic director was as humble as he was good, like those lines in 1982 and 1983, as well as many others during the course of Husker history

Dave Rimington, center, with Nebraska football coach Mike Riley, right, at the Outland Trophy banquet in Omaha about a month after Riley was hired by the Huskers. Former Husker Tony Felici is at left.

McKewon: Former Nebraska All-American DaveRimington named Huskers' interim athletic director  

Nebraska has hired Husker legend Dave Rimington as its interim athletic director.

Five quick thoughts on the decision:

1. A sometimes-forgotten Husker, but indisputably one of the great athletes in school history. Rimington keeps a much-lower profile than other Husker greats from the 1980s, but his pedigree as a Husker athlete — winner of the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award, Big Eight player of the year in 1981 — is close to unmatched. Rimington was so definitive as a collegiate center that the award for best center is named after him. When Rimington walked onto a field as a college player, opponents knew what they were in for — a long day.

2. Quick credibility with boosters and likely with coaches. Rimington has been in the college and pro competitive arenas, which should appeal to coaches who want to compete and win. Boosters should like the name recognition, Husker connection and friendly personality.

3. Omaha-born, Husker raised, with a NYC perspective. As president of the Boomer Esiason Foundation — which has raised more than $100 million for cystic fibrosis research and treatment — Rimington has lived in New York for years. Does the Omaha South Packer want to get back to the Midwest?

4. Worldly guy. As a 2014 Omaha World-Herald profile chronicled, Rimington is an accomplished traveler and photographer. Most of his work is nature photography.

“When you get out in nature, you feel better,” Rimington said in the story. “I can have a bad day but then go to the lake and listen to the water or the birds and it’s a stress reliever for me.”

5. The nationwide search for a permanent A.D. continues and has to progress quickly. Nebraska’s business and compliance folks run the day-to-day operations, but big decisions may await an A.D. going forward. The Huskers should attract some excellent candidates — especially if they’re willing to pay more than $1 million, like they were for the now-fired Shawn Eichorst.

Nebraska's Ben Stille warms up at the start of football practice in August at Memorial Stadium.

Stille lives dream, strives for more after first action as Husker 

Boyd Epley stumps for Mike Riley to get more time: 'It's just going...

Nebraska coach Mike Riley needs more time in Lincoln to recruit better players who fit his system, said a key part of Nebraska football's most dominant era.

Boyd Epley, Nebraska's associate athletic director for strength and conditioning, said he likes Riley's plan. He just needs an opportunity to get "the right personnel to carry out what he's trying to achieve." 

Epley was the architect of Nebraska's modern strength program and served as head strength coach for 35 years. He wore his Husker Power polo to the press conference introducing former NU offensive lineman Dave Rimington as Nebraska's interim athletic director. Shawn Eichorst — the man Rimington is temporarily replacing — rehired Epley to join the Huskers' athletic department in 2014, two months before Riley's hiring. 

"When I came here three years ago, the talent level was just not what it used to be," Epley said. "It's getting better. The strength program is strong, so you're seeing some improvements physically.

"But I think it's more of a matter of style of play that we're not used to. The West Coast offense is a little different. We're used to this road-grader approach where you knock 'em down and run over 'em. And we're just not going to be that type of a team moving forward unless you make lots of changes — unbelievable changes."

Epley uses his Performance Index to measure overall athleticism. Two of the best athletes on the team, Epley said, are defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun and running back Devine Ozigbo.

As a group, NU's running backs — Ozigbo, Tre Bryant and Mikale Wilbon — are among the top collective athletes on the team. Epley declined to say which unit still needed work athletically.  

"We have quite a few talented athletes on the team," Epley said. "We need to bring the lower level up so that we can create more depth." 

Epley had high praise for Rimington, who was a great ambassador for Husker Power during his playing days in the early 1980s. 

"He came in ready to go," Epley said.

Be it blocking for Wilbon or Csonka, Decker glad for his chance

OK, so his name was Larry and not Frank. Michael Decker maybe thought it was the latter and it's actually the former, but first names aren't important here.

The play was just simply named "Csonka" and Husker linemen aren't expected to know the history of the former NFL running back it's named after, nor any fun facts about the 1972 Miami Dolphins. They're just supposed to know to how run the dang play. And run it they did.

They ran that same power-run play 31 times this past Saturday against Rutgers. Identity run? Thy name is "Csonka."

"That was awesome," Decker said. "It's one of those storybook things linemen talk about — that you can run a play over and over again and they can't stop it."

And to think that wasn't the most memorable part of the Omaha North grad's last weekend. That'd have to be getting a chance to start his first game as a Husker center after toiling behind the scenes the past two-plus years.

"I'd like to say I didn't have a chance to think about it that much, but it certainly was an adrenaline rush," Decker said. "It was so much fun to go out there and be able to compete. Not only that, but lean on the guys that you've worked with forever, really was endearing to me."

He is described by Mike Riley and some teammates as an "analytical" sort. Decker is a thinker.

You can tell it even in the way he gives an interview after a mid-week practice. A few phrases pop up you don't hear from just anybody.

"The more and more you play at a certain level, the more and more comfortable you are with not only the speed, but the body language of the guys and wherever the defense is declaring their intentions," he said.

It may have been his first start, but left guard Jerald Foster thought Decker was as "calm and collected" as junior Cole Conrad is at spelling out what might be coming from defenses.

Foster said both centers "put us in order and make it so our blocks are that much easier because we don’t really have to think as much just because they really do get what’s going on out there."

Which center will play against Illinois is still a mystery. Conrad is back to practicing this week after dealing with some ankle and knee injuries, but Husker head coach Mike Riley didn't let on after Saturday's practice who will start at the position, nor did he say whether they'll start senior David Knevel or true freshman Brenden Jaimes at right tackle.

"Honestly, me and Cole have such a good relationship that whoever is chosen to be the starter, we're going to have each other's back," Decker said.

When he wasn't playing, Decker tried to be use his analytical ways to help Conrad. This past week, Conrad was giving him technique hints.

"It's a two-man spot the way I envision it," Decker said.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound center dominated at North, helping pave the way for one of the most dominating rushing attacks there's been in Nebraska high school football. He won back-to-back state championships with the Vikings.

Winning was normal.

So it felt natural wearing down an opponent this past weekend in the 27-17 win over Rutgers.

"I think I did pretty well," Decker said. "I did a good job with leverage for the most part. I think toward the end I could have done better, but overall I think I did well with my communication back on the sidelines and making sure we stayed on top of whatever the stuff they did in-game."

Decker wants to make sure he communicates louder in his next start, and that he is good with his hands.

But it's clear he'd have no problem if they keep calling "Csonka." It's the kind of play linemen love, whether they're blocking for someone named Larry or Frank, or Mikale or Devine.

For Decker, it was also a big plate of red meat after grinding the past two years for such an opportunity. It's easy for him to spot what kept him going.

"Not only is it the group of guys I'm around, I feel like I'm really loyal to them," Decker said. "But also just making sure that when times get tough, that I have a good support system. And those guys are part of it."


Author

Brian Christopherson


RSS

Live Husker links

Listen to Unsportsmanlike Conduct (KOZN - AM 1620) here
Listen to KNTK The ticket FM for the latest sports news.  Catch Steven Sipple Show from 6-8 AM CDT here
Click here
to see who's on line talking about the Cornhuskers
Click here for the latest show!
The Bottom Line-logoOmaha World Herald THE BOTTOM LINE, click here
247 Podcasts click here

Looking for Husker stuff?

Throw the Bones T-shirts supporting the Goodfellows Charity Click here

Members

Nebraska Cornhuskers Auction Items

nebraska husker shirts, tickets, caps

Husker Spot is a Nebraska football fan online community. Create a profile, watch videos, view pictures, blog, and discuss UN athletics.

Husker Stuff on Amazon.com

© 2017   Created by NeFan4Life.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service