Sunday, August 13, 2006

Week in Review: Injury to Bowman & Return of #23

In all the hullabaloo over Harrison Beck, I didn't get a chance to touch on Zackary Bowman's torn ACL. Is this a big loss for Nebraska? Well, it depends on your definition of "big"; it hurts, but I think some people are overreacting. I heard one radio talking head argue that Bowman was the player Nebraska could least afford to lose to a season-ending injury. Uh, no. Bowman isn't even the most important Zac to the team. I think Bowman's injury certainly hurts the depth at corner, but there are players and athletes available. I think the drop-off from Bowman to Andre Jones isn't going to be quite as severe, and certainly anywhere close to the gap between Zac Taylor and Joe Ganz.

Last week, Bill Callahan pulled another surprise recruit out of his hat, getting QB Brian Hildebrand to transfer late last week. This "surprise" was in the works all along, and wasn't the result of Beck's departure. In fact, it may have played a small role in Beck's decision to leave. In any event, Hildebrand's arrival provides more depth for 2007 after Taylor leaves. For 2006, he's merely an emergency quarterback who will hopefully only see spot mopup duty. If injuries knocked Taylor, Ganz, and Beau Davis out of action, I'd expect to see Jordan Adams moved back to QB before throwing Hildebrand into the fire. Even Hildebrand is just looking to learn the offense this fall. Steve Sipple of the Journal-Star had a nice column today about Hildebrand's humility and how he wants to earn his stripes.

Speaking of quarterbacks, today's Omaha World-Herald had a nice article about how pure physical talent may not be compatible with the Huskers "West Coast" offense. In many respects, the mental aspects of the game, learning the nuances, mastering the playbooks, and exhibiting the patient to go down through your reads, learning to trust your mind over your arm simply aren't compatible with young hot-shot quarterbacks who've made their mark thus far with their arm. Perhaps that's why unheralded Joe Ganz gets rave reviews from the staff. Hopefully, we'll get to see him this season, no later than the Nickolls State game.

Turning to the ice, UNO all-American and Hobey Baker finalist Scott Parse announced that he planned to return to the Mavs for his senior season. Although his line-mate Bill Thomas now skates for Wayne Gretzky in Phoenix, this is huge news for Omaha hockey. (Husker baseball fans can compare this to Tony Watson's decision to return next season) UNO clinched their first NCAA tournament berth last year with a very young roster, and with most of the roster returning, the Qwest Center will be rocking this winter.

As long as were talking hockey, Ak-Sar-Ben Knights president Doug Soetaert resigned as OAKs president and as Calgary's assistant GM. The Knights struggled in the first season in Omaha with a horribly counterproductive marketing campaign (Best! Best! Best!) that alienated much of the audience they were trying to connect with. During most of the season, they played in front of a few hundred fans many Knights, and by the end of the season were reduced to giving away free tickets like gardeners give away zucchini. ("I once left 2 Knights tickets by the coffee machine one morning with a note saying they were free for the taking. That afternoon, there were 6 more tickets there...") In any event, I wonder if the OAK's will announce a new team president before the team folds or moves elsewhere.

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