Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Cornhusker Kickoff" Now Available

Back again for it's second year (with a new name) is "Cornhusker Kickoff", a Husker football preview magazine that I've once again had the privilege to contribute to. This year's compilation contains contributions from Steve Sipple and Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal-Star, Darren Carlson and Brandon Vogel of, Mark Fricke, and David Max and Tad Stryker of Not mention my fellow blogger, Jon Johnston, who put the whole thing together.

My contributions to this year's publication is a 2008 season review and an in depth look at Husker offensive coordinator Shawn Watson's background. The 2008 review was much more pleasant to put together than the 2007 review, but perhaps more difficult because I tried to capture the feeling of each game, not just mention a few quick stats and summaries of big plays. I'm curious how fans like this year's version (or not); feel free to drop me feedback if you like it or don't.

The Shawn Watson article is one that grew on me as I dug into it. With a new quarterback and receivers coming onto the field, I wanted to get a feel for what Shawn Watson would do with new personnel. As I dug into it, I started to find a lot of parallels between this upcoming Nebraska season and 2001 Colorado. You remember that 2001 Colorado team, don't you? I think that 62-36 score is tattooed as a permanent scar on the psyche of Husker fans the world over.

But what struck me was the inexperience at quarterback that season, but the emergence of several strong running backs and game-breaking tight ends. Sound familiar? But what about the lack of experience at quarterback? Well, in 2001, Colorado bounced between Craig Ochs and Bobby Pesavento because of injuries, and yet still managed to win the Big XII championship that season.

Does Nebraska have that same combination in 2009? I think Roy Helu could explode this season, and Quentin Castille is no slouch either. At tight end, Mike McNeill became a game-breaker late last season, and freshmen Ben Cotton and Kyler Reed looked awfully impressive in the spring game.

Assuming that having strong running backs and tight ends automatically bring you a championship is dangerous, silly, and oversimplistic. But looking at Shawn Watson's career at Colorado, you see that having an experienced quarterback wasn't necessary to have success; Colorado won another Big XII North title in 2002 with an inexperienced Robert Hodge at quarterback. And ironically, when Watson had a three-year starter in Joel Klatt, the season ended badly (getting outscored 100-6 by Nebraska and Texas), resulting in Watson's dismissal from Colorado.

I hope you enjoy the magazine. It's available online from the publisher as well as at magazine racks across the state of Nebraska.

No comments: