We’re Hiring a Student Contributor

Do you sit in the Boneyard?

Do you write good?

Are you suddenly confused by that last question?

Good. You just might have what it takes to join the Big Red Fury team. We’re upgrading and hiring a student contributor for the 2015 season.

In addition to a paid position as a writer for a Husker site that’s simultaneously mind boggling and brilliant, you’ll get a solid stack of great writing samples (if being a writer is your thing) and a legit reference from us when it comes time for you to leave the cozy womb of college and enter the real world. (By all means, stay in school as long as you can.)

WHO WE ARE LOOKING FOR: A UNL student who has a passion for writing, the Huskers, sits in the Boneyard (important because your column will be called View from the Boneyard) and never misses a home game.

If you have to miss one because an inconsiderate friend or relative chose to have a wedding on game day, you have our permission to attend. You’ll just have to do a write up on the anguish of missing a game.

This position is open to any grade level and major. If you’re an eager freshman to-be and you think you’ve got the chops, go for it.

The Husker Boneyard
Do one of you want to come work for us?

TO APPLY: Send an introductory email to –

bigredfury603(at)gmail(dot)com

– telling us about yourself (doesn’t have to be a formalized cover letter) and include the following three items:

1) A sample post: A recap of your favorite game last season or go to the Spring Game and do a write up of your experience.

Your recap should put readers in your shoes and give a feel for what it’s like to be in the Boneyard. Shoot for 500 – 800 words (no penalty for going over). Don’t worry about including photos with your submission but feel free to include any if you like. Recaps during the season should include photos and/or video.

You can check out examples our game write ups here and here. As you’ll see, they are a mix of humor and analysis.

Humor: If we had to describe our style, we’d call it semi-sophisticated potty humor. Deadspin, Grantland, and A.V. Club are some of our favorite websites. F-bombs, S-bombs, etc, should be used sparingly for maximum effect. Strive for PG-13, not R. Slang you’d find in the Urban Dictionary, witty pop culture references, and YouTube videos are always welcome.

Analysis: This is not a site readers turn to for a serious X’s and O’s breakdown but right-on if that’s your wheelhouse. Your analysis should be your description of what you saw.  That could mean a breakdown like this or this or this.

2) Links to your public social media profiles: Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Facebook. We’re old so that means we don’t understand that Chatsnap. If your profiles are private, that’s totally cool. We just want to get a feel for who you are and what you’re in to.

We’re looking for writing talent, not an influencer. However, you will be expected to share your work socially and we’ll be promoting you as a featured contributor.

3) Explain the significance of 603 in our email address: Bonus points if you get it right.

STIPEND: $25 per game recap, paid via PayPal upon publication plus an end-of-season bonus based on any potential ad revenue the site generates. (We have absolutely no idea what that could be.) Your deadline will be midnight (Lincoln time) the Sunday following the game so that your piece can run on Monday. For you anal retentive types that means Sunday night, not Saturday-just-turned-to-Sunday at the stroke of midnight.

Please keep in mind that the person who wrote what you just read has been working as a writer in one capacity or another since starting out at the Daily Nebraskan way, way back in 1997 and is a Jedi Master when it comes to laziness and creative excuses and has never missed a deadline. In other words, don’t be a flake.

Deadline to apply is May 1, 2015.

QUESTIONS?

Email us: bigredfury603(at)gmail(dot)com

 

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Taylor Martinez And Johnny Utah, Two Star-Crossed QBs

While Point Break may not be the most nuanced film in the world, I’m not ashamed to say it took an 87th viewing to have the sort of epiphany that makes a person take a step back and say “Whoa.”

If you don’t think you can handle it, stop reading now. Otherwise, hold onto your butt.

Taylor Martinez could be a real-life Johnny Utah.

Like, seriously.

For real, brah.

During the scene when Keanu and Patrick Swayze beat the crap out of Anthony Kiedis, lightning struck and the similarities between Taylor and Johnny presented themselves like constellations on a moonless night in Western Nebraska.

Both played quarterback at Big Ten schools.

Both played in the Rose Bowl. (Well, Taylor played at the Rose Bowl.)

Both suffered career ending injuries.

Both went on to careers as an “agent.”

Taylor Martinez Johnny UtahTaylor Martinez and Johnny Utah, two legendary dudes.

As the first outlet to blow the lid off Taylor’s new career as a real-estate agent, I feel like I have a special connection to the guy.

If it weren’t for a strict policy of Never-Go-To-Orange-County-Unless-You-Absolutely-Have-To (last time was November of 2012 to be in a buddy’s wedding), I would have immediately booked an appointment for a tour and bribed my wife with whatever it would take to get her to agree to dress up in Affliction gear and spend a day behind the Orange Curtain masquerading as OC home buyers.

“Yeah, Taylor. Thanks for the walk through but we’re really not feeling the media room. We’re gonna keep looking. But would you mind signing this football I happened to bring along? If you could make it out to ‘Dear eBay purchaser’, that would be great.”

Since that will never happen, I decided the next best thing to do would be to use this pulpit to try and convince him to abandon his career as Taylor Martinez real estate agent and become Taylor Martinez FBI agent.

With his 25th birthday and quarter-life crisis approaching, I set out to pen the perfect Huskermax-esque long distance dedication to try to convince Taylor that there’s more to life than wooing people with granite counter tops and heated bathroom floors.

He could be busting up crystal meth rings, bank robberies, get in government sanctioned car chases- all kinds of fun stuff. And if he didn’t want to go it alone, I’d happily be his Gary Busey spirit guide.

That’s when my preliminary detective work uncovered something rather curious.

Taylor’s last Instagram post (his feed is delightfully silly, btw) was on February 5.

Taylor Martinez Foot Surgery
There are plenty of qualified surgeons in the OC/LA area, not to mention California. One does not travel to North Carolina for foot surgery unless something big is afoot.

Then, a look at his Twitter feed reveals he hasn’t tweeted in nearly a month and when he did, they were just links to long deleted Instagrams.

Taylor Martinez Twitter Stream

It’s a total social media shut down. You know who else does that when it’s time to get down to business?

Aaron Rodgers, Mr. Discount Double Check himself.

We can only imagine the grueling training regimen Taylor’s putting himself through to get back into game shape.

Then again, he might just be on spring break forever.

Taylor Martinez Spring Break
Taylor, whatever you decide to do, even if it’s comfortably living out the rest of your days in a real-life Margaritaville, this blog has your your back but don’t be shy about going for something big.

You would be so awesome at this.

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Dirk Calls Husker Program An Escalade. Was That An Insult?

Dirk Chatelain’s long-form biography of Coach Riley is an excellent, well crafted piece and is a must read.

Every word.

Every one sentence paragraph.

There’s no denying the care Dirk used when assembling it. What can we say? Game recognizes game.

However, one line gave us pause.

To quote Dirk: “…the local hero gave up everything he knew and cut a new trail east, trading his cruiser of a program for an Escalade.”

On the surface, the analogy is clear and easy to digest. By making the leap from Oregon State to Nebraska, Coach Riley swapped the key to his humble beach cruiser’s lock for the keys to a four-wheeled intergalactic spaceship of Olive Garden parking lots.

Beach Cruiser vs Escalade
Oregon State on the left. Nebraska on the right.

In the companion video that illustrates Riley’s commute from his former home to Reser Stadium, Dirk says “Riley isn’t much of a car guy, even if it’s the safer form of travel.”

For being such a huge stat-head, Dirk makes a blanket statement that is not at all correct. Bicycling has been statistically proven, time and time again, to be the safest form of transportation with a death rate 15 times lower than driving a car.

Except of course when Cadillac Escalades harass and/or kill cyclists.

Then there’s also the issue with the Escalade having the highest death rate in its own category at over twice the average.

But let’s climb out of the rabbit hole of statistical minutia and take a look at what the Escalade is on the surface.

It’s big.

Nebraska is a big state and Nebraskans are typically considered a big people, (in that strong, husky way of course).

It’s American made.

If you consider the Republic of Texas part of America.

It’s powerful.

Sort of. Weighing in at nearly 6,000 pounds, the Escalade requires a big engine for any semblance of speed, just as long as it doesn’t have to turn. And despite its SUV status, don’t even think about taking on an Oregon Trail-like expedition.

It’s loaded with all kinds of info-taining technologically wizardry.

Just like Memorial Stadium. We’ll overlook the part where Car and Driver calls the Escalade’s system annoying.

Its bench seating is cramped and uncomfortable.
Just like Memorial Stadium.

Its glory years were 2004 – 2007.

While the Escalade had its moment in the sun, Husker football was in the gutter. They both have yet to rebound to where they once were but at least the Huskers haven’t been reduced to being mocked by the New York Times for moonlighting as the heel in a second string Disney movie.

Cad Spinner

Cad-Spinner’s headshot from Planes: Fire and Rescue.

Maybe Dirk isn’t much of a car guy.  Or maybe he used the first analogous vehicle that came to mind. Perhaps an editor thought his piece needed a quick hitter comparison for the simpletons beyond Omaha’s cosmopolitan borders.

We’ll pretend it was the  latter.

It would greatly disappoint us that a writer as sharp as Dirk would leave a ball on the tee with a stout tailwind blowing straight down the pipe of a wide open fairway.

A year after Bob Devaney made his debut on the Memorial Stadium sideline, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche unveiled his new 911 at the 1963 Frankfurt Auto Show.

Bob Devaney 1962 Huskers
Porsche911_1500-700x421Bob Devaney and Ferdinand Porsche embarked on their legacy defining work a only a year apart. The foundations they built are still recognizable to this day.

Ameer Abdullah 2014
2015 Porsche 911
The Huskers’ most recent masterpiece and the 2015 Porsche 911.

Before you get up in arms about the notion of a German car being symbolic of a team as American as the Huskers, think about the country where the bulk of Nebraska’s early pioneers came from.

Now, with that strong German heritage in mind, let’s take a closer look at the iconic 911.

From its 1963 debut through 1989, every year brought new variations and upgrades with many components remaining the same and were interchangeable from year to year.

When Porsche engineers felt they had wrung every last drop of performance out of the existing platform, they started over with a clean slate. The signature look and air cooled, rear engine design remained the same. The next few years that followed were spent working out the kinks of modernization.

By late 1993, another step in the 911’s evolution was taken. Three  decades may have passed but perfection was finally realized. The next five years were a celebration of full potential reached. A car that should have ceased production by the time the 80s rolled around had found new life. A design that pundits had deemed antiquated was thriving and leaving its rivals in the dust in the 90s.

The  historic run would come to an end in the fall of 1998 when the first 911s with liquid cooled engines rolled into dealer showrooms.

One era ends. Another begins.

Does any of that sound eerily similar to the fate of the Huskers?

Boom. Change a single detail and Dirk’s story takes on a whole new historical dimension.

— Bonus content —

While the 911’s history and philosophy meshes almost too perfectly with that of the modern era Huskers, if one single car were to truly epitomize Nebraska football, we’d be inclined to pick this bad boy.

Dodge Viper GTS

The Dodge Viper GTS features a 488 cubic inch V-10 that puts out 450 horsepower the old-fashioned way. This beast has enough torque to rip the capitol off its foundation and isn’t afraid to take a punch in the mouth. Let’s hope Coach Riley found the keys to an unmarked storage shed in his welcome packet. It’s time to release the Kraken.

What car do you think is most symbolic of the Huskers?

Let’s hear ’em.

 

 

 

 

 

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Field Trip: Husker Baseball Visits Loyola Marymount

The Husker Baseball team returned to Los Angeles for the first time since 2013 to take on the Loyola Marymount Lions in a three game series this past weekend.

The last (and only) time Nebraska and LMU met on the diamond was back in 1988 with the Lions going for the jugular in both games. LMU extended their winning streak over the Huskers after Friday’s match up under the lights on an evening that was about as miserable as the weather gets in LA.

Lucky for me, I could only make it to the two games the Huskers won. Or, maybe my little Buddha belly is Husker Baseball’s lucky charm? (Feel free to get at me, when the CWS rolls around.)

With StormWatch 2015 in full effect throughout the weekend, Saturday and Sunday’s games were bumped up a few hours to avoid impending weather doom.  LMU’s scenic campus is built on a bluff overlooking the Pacific and is perfectly positioned for a Day After Tomorrow kind of situation.

We courageously accepted the risk and braved a wind chill in low 60’s with possible water falling from the sky. Bad weather can’t keep us from the Huskers.

George Page Baseball Stadium
George Page Stadium, home of the LMU Lions. George left his hometown of Fremont, Nebraska at age 16 and headed to California with $2.30 in his pocket. He went on to become a very successful businessman and one of LA’s most prominent philanthropists.

PRIDE PARK LMU
Located at the entrance, Pride Park is dedicated to beloved LMU fan Grandma Cruz.

PRIDE PARK LMU 2
View of Pride Park from behind Grandma Cruz’s home plate memorial. During Sunday’s game, LMU hosted a Wiffle Ball game for kids. We thought we’d be solid ringers but didn’t get picked.

Upon entering the stadium, this is the sight that greeted us.

HUSKER BASEBALL FANS
No matter where any of the Husker teams go, fans will be there an hour early. By game time both days, the visitor’s section had swelled to a mighty Puddle of Red.

HUSKER BASEBALL
Oh, hey there, Husker Baseball. The most fascinating element of Page Stadium is the Mikos Blue Monster measuring 37 feet tall, the same height as Fenway’s Green Monster.

LMU SEASON SEATS
One neat perk for LMU season ticket holders is getting their names on their seats. Once the game started, we took it upon ourselves to check IDs to make sure no riff-raff was poaching the Gill Family’s seats.

Husker Baseball Coach Darin Erstad
Husker Baseball coach Darin Erstad exchanges line up cards with LMU Coach Jason Gill. Sorry about hassling your family for ID, bro.

Kyle Kubat delivery
Senior Kyle Kubat yielded just one run and three hits over seven innings to pick up his first win of the season on Saturday.
Photo: @JoeJanecek

Jake Schleppenbach Bunt
Lead off hitter Jake Schleppenbach was a thorn in LMU’s side all weekend but was at his thorniest laying down a sacrifice bunt attempt that ended with two Huskers scoring and him sliding into third.
Photo: @JoeJanecek

The Huskers used the bunt to their advantage both Saturday and Sunday, forcing LMU to make decisions and plays. I like that Coach Erstad seems to be aggressive when it comes to getting that first run on the board. All too often I’ve seen coaches (well, at least Joe Torre and Don Mattingly) save the small ball until it’s desperately needed. By then it’s usually too late.  The only move that didn’t pan out was a potential first run on Saturday that was snuffed out at home on a contact play.

PLAY AT THE PLATE
Sequence of the contact play that went in LMU’s favor. Even with a chopper to third, it was close play at the plate.

Random observations from someone who hasn’t seen the Huskers play since 2013, yet has attended 54 Dodger games and watched at least another 200 on the TV during that stretch:

Plate discipline: The Huskers clearly have it. On Saturday Blake Headly worked an epic at-bat (I stopped counting after the 37th pitch) into a 2 run double. The Huskers weren’t shy about swinging at the first pitch but were very selective in doing so. LMU’s pitchers really worked bottom of the strike zone and the Huskers showed restraint in laying off some very close pitches. When the count got tight, they showed a knack for making defensive contact and keeping at-bats alive.

Speed: To quote the great Vin Scully:

Once on base, the Huskers weren’t shy about turning on the jets. While I don’t recall any steals, there were several instances of extra bases being grabbed off hits and very aware base running. As soon as a player slid into base, the first order of business was finding the ball. Which leads to-

Fundamentals: All weekend long the Husker defensive moved as such a cohesive unit it was like the whole team was mentally linked up and driving a Jaeger from Pacific Rim. As soon as LMU put the ball into play, back ups flew into position. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see a catcher and second baseman sprinting to back up a routine grounder from third to first. Following the Huskers’ work on bunt defense during BP on Saturday, the exact scenario played out on the field and they executed it just like they practiced. I wish there was a situation where LMU got caught in a pickle because I have a hunch the Huskers would have handled it perfectly, which would have brought tears of joy to Vin’s eyes. If there’s one thing on Earth that grates his cheese, it’s seeing a bad rundown play.

Defense: Granted, this could be the years of horror that was watching Hanley Ramirez try to play shortstop talking but Steven Reveles has such an insanely fast and smooth glove to hand transition it’s like watching a magician play baseball. From deep in the their respective corners of the outfield, Luis Alvarado and Austin Darby launched guided missile heat-seeking laser bullets to home from on Sunday. The Huskers were one loose ball away from negating both of LMU’s scoring chances.

The defensive play of the weekend belonged to LMU left fielder Billy Wilson. Immediately following Tanner Lubach‘s bomb off the top of the Blue Monster, Darby followed with a line drive shot that sent Wilson into full Superman mode, not stopping until he slid across the warning track. When the dust finally settled, Husker fans were cheering just as much as they did on Lubach’s dinger.

Overall, if the pitching can remain stout and the bats stay warm, there’s no reason why the Huskers can’t make a solid run to Omaha. The foundation is certainly there. LMU was no slouch and this weekend’s tournament in Houston will be a great test to see how the Big Red stacks up against perennial powerhouses.

Now that you made it this far, here are some highlights from the weekend. And keep on scrolling for more photos.

Huskers Batting Practice
The Huskers wore camo jerseys for batting practice on Saturday.

Husker Fans 2
The Puddle of Red cheers on the Huskers. You could figure out who the California Nebraskans were based on the amount of layers. Had the day’s weather hovered over Lincoln, shorts would have been worn and classes held outside.

LMU SOFTBALL
LMU softball played the same time as their baseball counterparts on Saturday. You can see the Blue Monster peeking out through the trees. The LMU fans I talked to were impressed by the gravitational pull of the Big Red.

Blake Headly
Blake Headly swung a hot bat all weekend.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0753.
Jake Schleppenbach proved to be a legit threat at the top of the line up and his mom proved to be a great ambassador for Husker Baseball. She introduced herself and thanked us for coming out on Sunday. We also met family of Taylor Fish, Tanner Lubach, and Steven Reveles. They were all super nice.

CHURRO
First churro of the season! A ballpark staple in LA.

Donuts
With Sunday’s first pitch at 11am, we brought a box of donuts to share with fellow Husker fans. Baseball and donuts were a great recovery from staying up until 3am on a House of Cards bender.

PREDICTION
Boldly wore my prediction for Sunday. Some real gems turn up when you search ‘Vintage Huskers’ on eBay.

GO BIG RED
Go Big Red!

LA RAIN
Sunday’s rain held off until the bottom of the ninth.

HUSKERS WIN
Huskers get the series win. Now on to the next one.

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