Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Few Thoughts about Jordan Stevenson and Nebraska's I-Back Situation

When word leaked out on Friday that Jordan Stevenson wasn't able to enroll at Wisconsin, I had a feeling that Nebraska was going to try to pounce on an opportunity to sign a touted running back prospect. For one thing, it appears that attrition has brought Nebraska under 85 scholarship players, so there is room for him.  The bigger issue is this:  I'm not sold on any of Nebraska's I-backs at this time.

The previous staff saw something in Terrell Newby that they weren't able to bring out.  As a freshman, he really, really, really struggled with ball security, and while he was better as a sophomore, he wasn't terribly dynamic running the ball.  I didn't see that much from Newby in the spring either - though to be honest, I didn't see ANYTHING promising on offense.  It's definitely a work in progress.

Imani Cross is solid in short yardage situations, but he never was able to make much of a case for more playing time.  Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf apparently don't see it either; they've moved Newby ahead of him on the depth chart, it appears.  Adam Taylor looks to me like the best of the bunch, but I'm not sure anybody sees him as a potential star.  In fact, most people seem to think that Nebraska is going to use an I-back by committee approach.  That's something I read as "Nebraska doesn't really have a top-notch I-back right now."

And that's a problem when you've got a roster that's geared towards running the ball.  Nebraska may have the receivers to throw the ball more (unless there is more roster attrition), but I'm not convinced that Nebraska has the quarterback for it.  It's one of the reasons I told Mike'l Severe on the World-Herald's "The Bottom Line" show that I'm predicting the Huskers to go 7-5 this season.  I thought at that time that Nebraska's next great I-back was still in high school.  Well, maybe he just graduated and he's still looking for a place to go.  I'm skeptical that it'll be Nebraska, because his mom clearly wants him to go elsewhere.  And when Mom can't be sold on Nebraska, that makes Nebraska an unlikely destination for a kid.

Another concern I have is whether Riley and company promised (or at least insinuated) that they weren't going to bring in any other running backs this fall while recruiting Devine Ozigbo. His response this weekend on Twitter says it all.
Apparently someone quickly talked to him, because he apparently made peace with the situation on Monday.
Still, you have to wonder about the Nebraska I-back situation - regardless of whether Stevenson ever shows up in Lincoln again.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Call Me Still "Skeptical" About The Royals Move to Sarpy County

Sunday's World-Herald featured an interesting column by Tom Shatel about the Sarpy County ballpark and how it was the best decision for the AAA baseball team.  He may very well be correct, from the baseball owner perspective.  Most people who talk to me about the team also talk very favorably about the ballpark and their experiences out there.

So does that prove I was wrong about my opposition to the ballpark?  Hardly.  I get the concept that this works better for the ownership; remember, that's what the Royals were asking for ten years ago.  It's what's best for the community as a whole that drives my concern.

And frankly, I remain convinced that, in the grand scheme of things, one baseball stadium in the metro area would be better than two.  Sadly, TD Ameritrade Park is likely closed down until next spring. That's a shame, because as we see during the College World Series (and to a lesser extent when Nebraska is playing baseball there), the environment in North Downtown is prime for more development. Out southwest? Still nothing. Plans for "Pennant Place" continue to sit - and nothing seems to happen out there from a commercial perspective.  As Papillion grows, housing developments get closer and closer.   Eventually there will be commercial development there, but it'll be because of the houses - not the ballpark.

Shatel does point out that many people have thumbed their noses at the Sarpy County ballpark, proving that I wasn't the only one who thought it was a mistake.  And I do see signs that even folks in Sarpy County have second thoughts about all of the money that was sunk into the ballpark - especially when the County has to foot the bill to build more parking and replace a faulty scoreboard.

In the end, I think it comes down to whether or not you believe that the Royals would have stayed in the area if it weren't for the Sarpy County deal. I still believe that they would have stayed - albeit with some different managing partners.  I don't believe that the Gary Green/Alan Stein/Martie Cordaro organization would have stayed, but I believe the AAA franchise would have, because prior to the construction of the new ballpark, they were only half-owners of the franchise.  Warren Buffet and Walter Scott owned the other half, and repeatedly said that their investment was intended to keep the franchise in Omaha.  And frankly, I don't see how they would have approved any sort of move.

It's not "cheering for failure"...just observing that it would have been cooler to maximize the use of one stadium for the benefit of the community rather than investing in two stadiums with less of a reward.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Only THREE Tickets Remain Unsold For UNO Hockey

I've long felt that UNO is building their new arena too small, and now I have my proof.  It's the second day of July, and the first game is still three and a half months to go.

And there are only THREE tickets left.  They aren't together, either. Each of the three tickets is an isolated single ticket in a different corner.  So let's just call it what it really is:  sold out.

How many more tickets could a Frozen Four hockey program sell?  We'll never know...but we do know that it's more than what UNO built.