Category Archives: Mike Riley

2015 Oregon Ducks Preview

This site did not get hacked. We really are running an Oregon preview.

With Oregon being the team that the majority of Husker Nation covets… what with their explosive offense, head coach in-waiting Scott Frost, and those fancy pants non-adidas uniforms, there’s no denying the Ducks are the cat’s pajamas so it makes perfect sense to give a glimpse of just how much greener the grass grows in Eugene.

Plus, there’s that whole thing about the Ducks being Mike Riley’s Oklahoma, K-State, Colorado, Miami, and Wisconsin rolled into one AND Oregon just happens to be the marquee non-conference match up for the next two years. And let’s not forget about this season’s common opponent Michigan State.

So, in an effort to help Husker Nation to decide if we should start quaking in our collective boots about next season, we enlisted the help of Jason Selby, a junior at the University of Oregon and a contributor to FishDuck.com, the go-to site for Oregon sports. (Think HuskerMax without the doomsday vibe in the message boards.)

Jason was kind enough to write a preview for us. Our only word of warning is read it at your own risk. If you think the Ducks are going to have a drop off following the end of the Marcus Mariota era, guess again. Like the Huskers of yore, they don’t have to rebuild. They just reload with fresh young talent.

Take it away Jason…

If you asked for my opinion on the Ducks offense coming into this season immediately after the brutal loss to Ohio State in the College Football Championship Game, I would have been concerned.  Losing Marcus Mariota made everything seem difficult again – fans were happy for him, but worried about the team.  Questions about who the quarterback was going to be formed a thick cloud over what was still a very talented offense to be.

The Spring Game on May 2 helped answer a lot of questions.  Long-time Mariota backup Jeff Lockie commanded the offense, throwing for 223 yards and three TD’s.  When asked after the game about Lockie’s performance, head coach Mark Heflrich said, “He played well.  As far as being ‘the guy,’ he has done everything right.  He has had an awesome spring.” Former Eastern Washington star QB Vernon Adams Jr. has graduated from his alma mater with a year of eligibility remaining, and is now officially a Duck. We’ll see how long Lockie can hold up at the top of the depth chart.
(UPDATE: Vernon Adams Jr. has been named Oregon’s week one starter.)

Jeff Lockie
With that #8 guy now in the NFL, Oregon’s offense could be helmed by longtime understudy Jeff Lockie. (Photo Credit – Kevin Cline)

Adams has been off limits to media and will remain so until he sees action on the field, which is in line with Oregon’s policy that no first year players (even if they’ve have years of experience) are allowed to speak to the press until they play. While his play making ability during fall camp has been impressive, Adams is self-admittedly behind Lockie when it comes to mastering Oregon’s complex playbook.

The Ducks get a dynamic scoring threat in Bralon Addison back from an ACL injury that caused him to miss the entire 2014 season.  Along with Addison, the Ducks have Byron Marshall, Devon Allen (hopeful to return from an ACL injury), Darren Carrington (suspended from the Championship game because of a positive marijuana test), Dwayne Stanford, and a slew of freshman talent that are sure to find roles in the offense throughout the season.

Heading into fall camp, Oregon’s high flying receiving corps was expected to complimented by a heavy run based attack but that plan hit a snag when it was announced that 5 star running back Thomas Tyner would be out for the season following a shoulder injury.

With Tyner out, sophomore Royce Freeman looks to retain his title of Oregon’s feature back which he rightfully earned after Tyner was out for a stretch during 2014. Freeman had an incredible freshman campaign (Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year) that saw him run for 1,365 yards, and 18 TDs.

Royce Freeman
Sophomore running back Royce Freeman will again shoulder the load for the Ducks’ ground game. (Photo Credit – Craig Strobeck)

In a recent interview with FishDuck.com writer Daniel Kantor, Ducks linebacker Rodney Hardrick praised the Pac-12 freshman of the year: “He reminds me of some guys we played last season, not going to name any names.  He is such a great athlete; it is exciting to play against him every day.”

Look for red shirt freshman Tony Brooks-James to be Freeman’s top back up with Kani Benoit and possibly receiver Byron Marshall rounding out Oregon’s rotation of running backs by committee.

Even with Oregon’s 1b running back out for the season, the amount of talent that this offense has is enough to make coaches in the Pac-12 dizzy.

Oregon Defense

 Last season, the Ducks gave up close to 430 yards per game, including a total of 2,481 yards on the ground.  However, the defense finished at No.31 in the country with 23.6 points per game.  With an offense that averaged over 46 points per game, the defense just needed to survive in order to win.

The disparity caused by the actual amount of yards given up, compared to the amount of points allowed, is due to the opportunities that the defense created for itself.  Much like Florida State did in the Rose Bowl, teams marched down the field on the Ducks, but made one mistake, leading to a very costly turnover.

This year’s defense will have to deal with replacing massive defensive end Arik Armstead, who was drafted with the No.17 pick by the San Francisco 49ers.  Very talented senior DeForest Buckner, along with 5-star recruit Canton Kaumatule look to solidify a defensive line that underachieved on many levels last season.

DeForest Buckner
DeForest Buckner probably doesn’t get a lot of run, DeForest, run heckles. (Photo Credit – Kevin Cline)

Losing All-American defensive back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will be tough for this team to overcome.  Guys have been stepping up from all over, and it’s still unclear who will steal the show.  Charles Nelson, who many got to know for his play making ability as a freshman wide receiver last year, has made the switch to defensive back to help the depleted unit.

Charles Nelson
Charles Nelson-  Oregon’s version of DPE. (Photo Credit – Kevin Cline)

The defensive woes last year came from the inconsistent play of the linebackers.  This was made very evident in the thrashing that Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott handed out to the tune of 246 yards, and three TD’s.  Returning linebackers Joe Walker, Danny Mattingly, Tyson Coleman, Christian French, and the aforementioned Hardrick must work on securing more tackles and giving up less big plays.

Joe Walker
Oregon linebacker Joe Walker. Not to be confused with Nebraska’s Joe Walker. (Photo Credit – Kevin Cline)

Much like the offense, the defense has the players it needs to be successful – it’s all about finding the right combination.  In an interview with Chantel Jennings of ESPN.com, defensive coordinator Don Pellum said, “We lost some terrific players, but I think overall in terms of depth and experience, we are far ahead of where we were a year ago.”

I’m Buying the Ducks in 2015

 I am betting big on the Ducks this year.  I expect the Ducks to reel in 11 wins during the regular season, with the most difficult match up being at Michigan State week 2.  A late season match up against USC comes at the perfect time, as the Ducks will look to cement its top dog status in the Pac-12.

The immense amount of talent that this team has will certainly be exciting to watch.  It will be interesting watching the offense operate without Marcus Mariota, but there comes a time where every program must move on.  This will be another exciting year for the Oregon Ducks.

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Behind The Scenes At The Boneyard Bash

With just two weeks before football season and countless lost freshmen looking for something to do and people to meet, there seemed to be only one solution to everyone’s problems: open practice at Memorial Stadium at the first-ever Boneyard Bash.

Memorial Stadium
It’s good to be back. Soon, this place will be rocking.

Around 1:45  Saturday afternoon, I arrived at Memorial Stadium with a handful of the sport directors for The Iron N. Granted, I have no responsibilities when it comes to my minimal membership in the club, but much like all of the new freshmen on campus, I refuse to go to an event alone.

While we set up the tables of free t-shirts and koozies inside, a line of students quickly formed outside of Gate 24. Thirty minutes later, a flood of over 1,500 students poured in to the stadium. From wide-eyed freshmen wearing their lanyards around their necks to seniors claiming front row seats that were rightfully theirs, there was a good mix of different students in attendance.

Line of Students
Moments after this photo was taken, I was nearly trampled by the rush. Hope you enjoy it.

Suddenly caught in front of a Pamplona bull run of students, all I could imagine was how this was (almost) exactly how Mufasa died in The Lion King. (Editor’s note: Spoiler Alert!) I retreated back to my usual game day seat in the front row of the East Stadium student section and watched the never ending sea of students fill over two entire sections of seats.

The Boneyard Crowd
Obligatory photo of the ‘No Photos’ warning while students piled into the hallowed midfield seats.

Once the crowd had settled in, Mike Riley (looking sharp in a Boneyard t-shirt) spoke with students. I was able to overhear more than a few people mention how “adorable” he was, which is probably the polar opposite of any word students had used to describe Bo in previous seasons.

Mike Riley Addresses The Boneyard
Head Coach Mike Riley addresses the crowd before getting the Boneyard Bash started.

The players were out on the field as De’Mornay Pierson-El whipped some donuts on the sideline in his cart. Needless to say, I think he’s doing pretty well after his surgery.

Throughout the scrimmage, prizes such as gift cards and video game consoles were being given away to numerous students who checked in to the event on The Iron N Rewards app. The new app allows students to check in at various events to earn points to go towards different prizes. Despite currently sharing the first place title (not to brag), I didn’t win any of the giveaways. I’d also just like to take a moment to let the other seven students currently in first place know that they’re going down and I will win the free textbooks. Not that I’m competitive or anything.

Unfortunately since the event was still technically a practice, no photos or videos were allowed. I’m sure in that same nature they wouldn’t be too crazy about going into detail on what I saw on the field, and after seeing Bo’s interactions with the media, I’d rather try to stay on the coaches’ good sides. But I will say that with what I saw, I have high hopes for this season.

Editor’s Note: If the action on the field during the Boneyard Bash was anywhere close to the action in this Boneyard Bash, the Huskers might just be alright. Now the question is, which Blackshirt is going to step up and claim Grave Digger as a nickname?

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All Your Clichés Belong To Us: Predicting Husker Loss Reaction

As June creeps towards July, the dog days of the Husker off-season are upon us.

If you haven’t been swayed by summer and all her lovely distractions, you may have noticed the full-time Husker media has been chiseling away at the bottom of the Husker news barrel since just after Memorial Day. They have an unbelievable amount of air-time and column inches to fill and somehow, they’re making it work.

I imagine they all gather for regular meetings in Tom Shatel’s basement to discuss their story ideas for an upcoming week and draw their daily topics of discussion from a well worn bingo ball tumbler that was a solid find at a church garage  sometime during the Solich era.

How else can you explain the magic that no talk radio show or writer ever covers the exact same topic on the same day?

One area that has yet to become a topic of open discussion is the elephant in the room that is Husker Nation.

What will be the reaction if a Mike Riley led Husker team ever loses?

Please note: I said if. Not when.

I am by no means advocating for a Husker loss.

But I do know that during slow periods, it’s standard practice for news outlets to write obituaries in advance so that when a person famous enough to warrant a pre-written obituary kicks the bucket, they can have one ready to go with minimal updates.

With any Husker loss feeling like a death in the family, I’d bet a stack of Runzas there at least a couple sportswriters who’ve been outlining what they’re going to write following the first loss of the Mike Riley era- should one ever occur, of course.

With that in mind, we’re going to make some bold predictions, aka hot takes, on what might be said following such a tragic event.

Mike Riley Lincoln
Mike Riley, asking which way to run out of Lincoln. (Just in case.)

If Mike Riley’s Huskers ever suffer a loss, we’ll come back to this and see how we did on our cliché predictions:

“Well, the honeymoon is over. Like any marriage, this day was inevitable. The first test between Mike Riley and the state of Nebraska is upon us.”
– First writer to file their post game analysis gets dibs on the most obvious lede ever.

“The life of Riley just got a lot harder.” The second most obvious lede.

“The Mike Riley era began with a humbling loss in front of a nationwide television audience but when the final whistle blew, the Huskers and their new coach were not the laughing stock of the country unlike season’s past.” – On the off-chance BYU opens their season with a win in Lincoln.

“This defeat doesn’t sting or humble any less than the others but Husker Nation can show some pride in knowing this setback was taken on the chin with dignity and class, elements missing from the Husker sideline for far too long.” – Losing with class will be a major theme. (If a loss ever happens.)

“Sorry, Coach Riley. This is where Nebraska nice gives way to Nebraska expectations.” – This one is right in Dirk Chatelain’s wheelhouse.

“Those shallow wrinkles on the 62-year-old coach’s boyish face are about to become etched a whole lot deeper.” – Again, this one is all Dirk.

“Coach Riley is going to start looking his age real quick.”
– The over/under on sportswriters using this one is 5.

“Gone are the jaunts down to the Haymarket for a happy hour beer and a photo or two with the fans.” – Sipple. Naturally.

“It was a loss that will give Riley’s coaching staff dream team nightmares for days to come.” – This one better not happen. The Justice League of America is not as well assembled as Riley’s crew.

“After today’s humbling defeat, there’s no way the happy go lucky coach could ever be brave enough to bum a ride home from a fan.” – Not to worry, Coach. The code uberBigRedFury will get you a free ride from Uber. (This deal also applies to you, dear readers.) 

“The trio of coaches who failed to escape the long shadow cast by Tom Osborne’s 25 year legacy has now become a quartet.”
– Sam McKewon, Omaha World-Herald.

The Nirvana of coaches who failed to escape the long shadow cast by Tom Osborne’s 25 year legacy has found their Pat Smear in Coach Riley. – Sam McKewon, back in his Nebraska State Paper Days.

“When the consistent mediocrity of a 9 win season, suddenly becomes a pie in the sky dream…” – Worst case scenario if the Huskers lose more than once.

“No matter which way you slice it, losing with class is still losing.”
– An average member of Huskermax.

“Maybe he should have kept paying by the night at the Embassy Suites.”
– A below average member of Huskermax.

“If you take I-80 west for 140 miles or so, you’ll be able to pick up the Oregon Trail and follow that home.” –  A Huskermax member who thinks the coaches actually turn the forums for advice.

“The special, allergen-free paint in the home the Riley’s spent so much time searching for is barely dry and it may already be time to put it back on the market.” – Nobody better say this one. I feel bad for even thinking it.

 

 

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Nebraska: Where there is no off-season

Hey there. Remember us?

Yes, us. Big Red Fury, that Nebraska Cornhusker site that fell off the radar on the eve of the of the most important Spring Game in nearly a decade.

Well, there’s not much to say other than we got busy and by ‘we’ that is the proverbial royal we as this place is mostly a one-man operation but that is soon changing. We’re about to become a multi-person operation.

The last time we checked-in, Mike Riley was about to do his first Tunnel Walk and we were about to head out to scenic West Covina (aka the hometown of Lawrence Phillips) to play in the annual Dodger Blogger Softball Tournament.

Luckily for those of us on team Sons of Steve Garvey, we had a two game bye when Jon Soo Hoo, the Dodgers’ Team Photographer, was on-scene so our “athletic” exploits weren’t documented for posterity but we did succeed in having the drunkest team photo.

Anyway, we rolled our way to the semis which was no small achievement for us. Plus, we had our own team photographer to capture us at our best.

Todd Flailing
Your humble author, holding down the hot corner. Photo: Scott Killeen

The whole reason for bringing this up is that one of our female ringers on our team ended up being from Columbus. Once we discovered our Nebraska connection, that thing happened when you put two Nebraskans together and they instantly start speaking their own language.

“Runza!”

“Dorothy Lynch!”

“Potato Oles!”

“Dannebrog!”

We had a great Nebraska bro-down and it made the anguish of missing the Spring Game a little more bearable though it did get a little stressful checking Twitter between pitches. Depending on the source, players were either crushing it or forgetting how to play football or were already filling out their transfer paperwork on the sideline. Oh how the rumors swirl when you’re the last quarterback to take the field. (Looking at you, Johnny Stanton.)

By the time it was over, Tommy is still the man, there’s going to be a logjam for the backup spot, DPE will go HAM next season, Imani might not be the featured back, and if the defense can get any linebackers on the roster, things might be OK for the Blackshirts.

Then good ol’ Lawrence Phillips (TODAY is his birthday, btw) popped up in the news for being suspected of murdering his cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison. Apparently it’s not sounding like the most difficult case to prove. Two guys are locked in a cell, one guy ends up strangled.

Lawrence Phillips Murder Suspect

Look, I’ve had some annoying roommates in my day and I know I’ve also been that annoying roommate but stone cold murdering one of them wasn’t exactly high on the list of options much the same as I hope I was never a potential “murderee.”

Ever since we shared our bizarre Lawrence Phillips story, I’ve kicked (OK, maybe not the best word) around the idea of reaching out to the guy to see how he’s been doing after being locked up for a half decade. Has there been any remorse? Is he working on his GED? Is he trying to mentor any short-timers?

Clearly that was not the case and for a guy who was on target to be released at the spry age of 57, tacking on a murder charge isn’t exactly the best move.

In better news though, Randy, Kenny and Ameer all got drafted by the NFL. Here’s hoping they all have long and illustrious careers.

Randy Gregory Dallas Cowboys
If Randy Gregory can make it through camp, look for Macho Man Randy Sackage be snapping into some quarterbacks this Fall.

Then how about that Coach Who Shall Not Be Named 2.0? Dude is  will be getting paid $128,009 a month for the next four years to not coach the Huskers. While a crappy lottery ticket every month sounds like a lot of money, believe it or not he’s actually saving Nebraska $1.4 million thanks to landing on his feet back home in Youngstown.

And finally, we’re thrilled to announce that Haley Archer, aka the Harchinator, is joining Big Red Fury as our first-ever student contributor. Hayley is a Broadcasting student from Minneapolis who made the very wise decision of defecting to Husker Nation. Sorry, Gopher-land. She’s one of us now.

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22 Red Hot Nebraska Spring Game Predictions

Where does the time go? Seems like just yesterday that Coach Who Shall Not Be Named 2.0 was dropping C-Bombs on a secret recording and now it’s already the first Spring Game of the Mike Riley era.

Just because I’m going to be a bad Husker fan and skip out on the Spring Game in favor of playing for Team Sons of Steve Garvey in the annual Dodger Blogger Softball Tournament doesn’t mean I can’t make some bold, bold Spring Game predictions.

If you’re reading from a mobile device, put on an oven mitt before scrolling because these are some hot takes.

1. Tommy Armstrong will complete some passes.

2. Tommy Armstrong will not complete some passes.

3. Quarterbacks AJ Bush, Johnny Stanton and Zack Darlington will all flash enough skill to give your annoying friend enough ammo to claim that Armstrong won’t be the starter in 2015.

4. Meanwhile, quarterback Ryker Fyfe will pop up just long enough to make you remember that he’s still on the team. Then again, this could be Ryker’s last stand once Maliek gets turned loose.

5. Five QBs will lead to message board rumblings that one or more will transfer.

6. It will be a record breaking day for the number of fans cheering for a Mike Riley lead team. Riley’s biggest home stadium was San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium with a capacity of 70,561. More than 65,000 tickets have already been sold for the Spring Game. Even if there isn’t a single walk up, a record will still be set because those 65,000 fans are all cheering for the same team. One of the perks of the Spring Game- no pesky visiting fans.

Now the question is, will the record 80,149 fans that attended Coach Who Shall Not Be Named 2.0’s first Spring Game be topped?

Mike Riley Huskers
Even if Coach Riley isn’t quite old enough to need Depends, we heartily suggest that he straps-on a set and buckles ’em up tight. That first Tunnel Walk will be a doozy.

7. A sportswriter will say the sky’s the limit for the revamped Huskers in 2015.

8. A sportswriter will say the sky is falling and the revamped Huskers are doomed in 2015.

9. If strength and conditioning coach Mark Phillip hosts a halftime arm rasslin’ contest, he will win.

Strength Coach Mark Phillip Nebraska
New rule: Any time Mark Philip is spotted in Lincoln you must yell “This is Sparta!” Then run away as fast as you can.

10. De’Mornay Pierson-El will do something awesome.

11. The Blackshirts will throw the bones like the days of yore.

12. However, too much bone throwing will cause people to fret that the offensive line has some leaky pipes. So please, Huskers, try to find a happy balance and not kick your own asses too bad.

13. Imani Cross will break off a beastly run that will remind everyone that it’s his turn to be in the spotlight.

14. The first offensive play will be a run through the tackles and have the QB under center.

15. The second play from scrimmage will be a COMPLETED deep ball.

16. At least one coach will take the reins of Der Viener Schlinger.

17. A blue hair’s “Sit down. We can’t see through you.” will be in mid-season form.

18. The newly installed jet sweeps will send fans into Wisconsin induced PTSD panic attacks.

19. While it may not run like a well-oiled machine all of the time, the new, “boring” offense will not make anyone miss that guy at Ohio State.

20. Some Huskers will win.

21. Some Huskers will lose.

22. Following the game, all of the coaches will gush about how they’ve never experienced anything quite like a Husker game day before remembering the Spring Game was just a warm up for the real thing. Then they’ll hunker down and really get to work.

Inheriting a program as hallowed  as the Huskers is something that doesn’t come around often.

GBR!

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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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Why the Spring Game Needs to be a Sellout

Lost in the thunder of National Signing Day is the fact that Spring Game tickets went on-sale today. (Details here.)

There’s no pressure or anything, but it’s up to every man, woman, and child who bleeds Husker Red to do their part to fill the aisles and make an April Saturday feel like it’s October with the Badgers in town.

While Mike Riley and staff have no doubt been given an off-season taste of how deep Husker fandom runs, nothing can send a bolder welcome (or stronger message that Husker Nation means business) than a Spring Game Red Out rolling 90,000 fans deep.

At Riley’s final spring game at Oregon State, 8,263 fans showed up to see some hot Beaver on Beaver action.

That number is correct. There is not a digit missing in front of the ‘8’.

Oregon State Spring Game 2014
Bet those four kids who sneaked into an empty stadium to burn a doobie had their mellow harshed when a football team showed up.

Oregon State Spring Game 2014 - 2Somehow, all 8,263 fans managed to hide in every photo.

Oregon State Sping Game 2014 - 3
Everyone who stuck around until the end got to meet a Beaver.

Let’s contrast the Reser Stadium ghost town to last year’s scene in Lincoln when 61,772 fans turned up to see the Big Red take on the Big White. (If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 16,098 more fans than Reser Stadium even holds.)

Husker Spring Game 2014 - 1
Always remember the good times.

Husker Spring Game 2014
Not an empty seat in the Memorial Stadium troposphere.

NEBRAKSA SPRING GAME 2014 - 3
Good luck not losing your mom in this crowd.

Here’s the hard truth: BYU comes to Lincoln to start the 2015 season. Coach Riley and company are going to hit the ground running directly to a possible bautismo del fuego.

Without a Northeastern Mid-Central Kentucky to kick things off, the Spring Game is the closest thing the new Husker regime will have to a dress rehearsal.

That’s why it’s crucial that everyone in the stadium (including you, Blue Hairs) needs to be on point with their game day performance, all the way down to the Der Viener Schlinger guy. The last thing we need on September 5th is a coach distracted by flying hot dogs and shoes waving in the air on every kickoff.

Mike Riley and company have been around the football block a few times but nothing can prepare them for finding out there is no place like Nebraska until they see it and feel it for themselves.

Go Big Red.

 

 

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Our Top 25 Google Search Terms

How do you Google?

Thanks to the wonderful powers of magic, it’s easy to see exactly how some of you have used the Google when it comes to finding this little corner of the Husker internet. Most searches were bland and normal, some were a little crazy, and a few are worth immortalizing.

These are the top 25 Google searches that have lead people to Big Red Fury.

25. husker fanny pack

Husker Fanny Pack
Pity the fool who got one of these for Christmas.

24. scott frost girlfriend

Don’t know who Scott is currently dating but on more than a few occasions I did witness him cruising for chicks in his Wood River letterman jacket at the Conestoga Mall way back in the day.

23. mike riley affair

Wait… what? Does Coach Riley have a secret sidepiece a la Frank Solich?

22. tim miles dumb

Tim Miles

After this week’s loss against Iowa, Coach Miles is probably more frustrated than dumb.

21. wisconsion badger racoon selfie

Have you ever seen so much confusion in only four words? There may be two Os in Goose but there’s only one O in Wisconsin. We’ll just leave it at that.

20. selfie de old yeller

Not to sound like a broken record but have you ever seen so much confusion in only four words?

19. faux pelini knock knock joke about new head coach

If you have to turn to the Google to find a knock-knock joke that was made on the Twitter, how are you able to even dress yourself in the morning? This search was so bizarre Faux had to know about it.

Faux Pelini Knock Knock Joke Twitter

18. nebraska cornhuskers suck

Hey now.

17. dirk chatelin writer omaha world herals paper

From this point forward, the World-Herald will now be referred to as the World-Herals and Dirk Chatelin is the evil twin of Dirk Chatelain.

16.  usc song girls at the holiday bowl

15. holiday bowl usc cheerleaders

14. usc song girls holiday bowl

13. holiday bowl 2014 song girls

12. song girls usc nebraska

When in doubt, boobs in sweaters get the page views. Every time. Thank you for reading this far. Song Girls are your reward.

USC SONG GIRLS

USC SONG GIRL DIVING BOARD

11. analysis of the bad news bears

Bad News Bears - Open Liquor in the Car

Uh OK. Through the lens of 2015, the original Bad News Bears is a wonderful time capsule, capturing a bygone era where causal racism, drunk driving, and beating kids in public were all socially acceptable. Its underlying theme of valuing fun over competition and doing the best you can remains true to this day.

10. forum huskermax www tunnel walk shame

After a long season, all Husker sites start looking alike.

9. gif jake cotton knocked over by jedi husker

Poor guy will never live that down.

8. which husker player recorded bo meeting

That’s a secret we’d all love to know. Maybe the Omaha World-Herals’ Dirk Chatelin will tell us some day.

7. bear riding a shark

Bear Riding a Shark

Seriously. This one warms the cockles of my heart so much.

6. mike riley gotta make dur

Mike Riley gotta make dur what? Big bucks? Playoffs? Dur-licious tacos?

5. mike riley is full of shit

I respectfully disagree. Coach Riley seems like a very nice and sincere guy.

4. is ron brown going to be able to stay coaching at ne after peleni let go

You very easily could have been reading a list of the top 25 Google searches for Ron Brown. This was by far the best.

3. does bo pelini hate dirk chatelain

Think we all know the answer to that one.

2. is bo pelini on the cusp

How little did we know.

1. peace out bitches pelini

What do you think Pelini is up to right now? Not trolling. Just curious.

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CONTEST: Mike Check – Is It Mike Hill or Mike Riley?

Imagine this very real scenario:

You are strolling a public area in Lincoln or Omaha, say the Haymarket or the Old Market when you notice a slim and fit man with steely eyes and nicely trimmed side hair framing a gloriously reflective chrome dome.

People wave to him, and say, “Hey Mike, how ya doing?”

He replies, “Just fine. Thanks for asking.”

Somebody else shouts, “You ever gonna pick out the rest of your assistant coaches?”

That question only gets a funny stare in return. Then, finally, an answer.  “I think you’ve mistaken me for Mike Riley. I’m Mike Hill.”

Who’s that, you ask?

Before the new “Most Important Man in Nebraska” ever set foot in our great state, his doppelgänger (and first-name-ganger, and birth-year ganger — both men are 61-years-old) Mike Hill was cranking out Oscar-worthy editing jobs for Ron Howard. The two have been working together since the cult classic Night Shift. Classics such as Splash, Cocoon, Parenthood, Backdraft, and The Da Vinci Code  all came together under Hill’s expert sensibility. A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, and Frost/Nixon all garnered Oscar nominations. In 1996, he earned his field’s highest honor when he took home Academy Award for his work on Apollo 13.

For those of you whose eyes are now glazed over from having read an entire paragraph without mention of Husker football, here is a gridiron analogy for you. So accomplished is Mike Hill in his chosen profession that, if he were a college football coach, his team would have played in the BCS Championship in 2002, 2006 and 2009 and would have won a pre-BCS era National Title in 1996.

Not too shabby eh? It’s too bad that Mike Hill is not the current coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Or is he?

You be the judge. We’ve assembled a gallery of photos. Some are of Mike Riley. Others are of Mike Hill. Your job is to pick out which Mike is which.

Please write your answers in the comment box below. All who guess correctly will be entered to win the Grand Prize of…
Sacred Husker Nacho PlateThe Sacred Husker Nacho Plate

This rare, handcrafted gem is a true Big Red Fury heirloom. Our dear mother would kill us if she knew it was up for grabs. The Sacred Husker Nacho Plate is in absolutely pristine condition and would be a marvelous addition to any Husker fan’s collection.

Good luck.

Hill or Riley Round 1 Round 2 Round 3THE FINE PRINT: The winner will be drawn at random among all eligible entries on 12/31/14, unless of course the Holiday Bowl is such a debacle we end up getting blackout drunk and do some very bad things that lead to our incarceration. If that is the case, winner will be drawn upon elease and/or making bail.

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Guest Post: Nick Allen’s Husker Coaching Staff Wish List

Here’s our first ever guest post courtesy of Omaha based stand up comic and huge Husker fan Nick Allen. If you’re in the Big O over the holidays, you can catch Nick at The Funny Bone December 26th – 28th.

Take it away Nick Allen…

As Nebraska Cornhuskers coach Mike Riley puts his staff together, here’s a breakdown where we’re at so far and what we’d like to see. And by we, I mean me, because this is my coaching dream team.

We’ll begin with the confirmed hires:

Defensive Assistant Mark Banker
Has never surrendered 56 unanswered points to Wisconsin.
Trusted confidant of new Head Coach Mike Riley (just typing Mike Riley again to get used to it).
Has never given up 70 points to Wisconsin.
Mark Banker
Editor’s note:  Let’s not forget he held Wisconsin to 35 yards rushing in 2012. And that wasn’t just on a single play but the ENTIRE game.
Editor’s note: Dude looks like Mark Harmon!
Editor’s note: Never forget that Mark Harmon beat the Huskers.

LB Coach Trent Bray
Tough to take a guy named Trent seriously but let’s give Riley the benefit of the doubt.
Probably got laid pretty easily in Corvallis (OSU hero), but left that behind for the uncharted waters of Lincoln.
Has never been a golf coach.
Trent Bray

OL Coach Mike Cavanaugh
Gnarly old/slightly overweight white dude.
More rock of the earth than salt of the earth.
Swears repeatedly on OSU promoted coaching clip.

QB Whisperer Mike Riley
Track record of sending QB’s that no one can name to the NFL.
An actual QB coach.
An actual QB coach.
Mike Riley

Secondary Coach Charlton Warren
Only confirmed retention of Pelini’s staff.
Good recruiter.
Hated Pelini’s fake cat.
Could probably land the team jet in case the crew gets sick from the in-flight meal.
Captain Charlton Warren

Special Teams Coordinator Bruce Reed
Currently building his own office.
Already has a huge man crush on De’Mornay Pierson-El.
Hopefully has the stones to block a kick or two.
BRUCEREAD-OSU

Filling out the rest of the staff:

Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst says resources are not an issue. This list assumes that is true.

Defensive Coordinator Mike Ditka
Leader of the 1985 Chicago Bears.
Politics aren’t as bad as Ron Brown‘s
Proves that while you may need a pill to get your dick up, if you have a legit mustache you’re never a pussy.
Mike Ditka

Defensive Line Coach Ndamukong Suh
Single-handedly cost Colt McCoy the Heisman Trophy.

Stomped on the opposing coach’s kid while rumbling for a touchdown.

The Blackshirts need an attitude.
He’s a free agent at the end of the season.

Offensive Coordinator Bill Callahan
Head Coach of a Super Bowl team. Granted, it was a game mired in controversy but you live and learn, right?
Called Oklahoma fans “fucking hillbillies.”
Message boards would explode.
Bill Callahan

Wide Receivers Coach Terrell Owens (T.O. 2.0)
Great receiver.
Needs the money.
Makes Mike Riley less boring.
Could probably still play the college level.
Terrell Owens

Running Backs Coach Christian Okoye
The Nigerian Nightmare looks good in red.
Won a collegiate hammer throwing title.
Brings serious Tecmo Bowl clout.

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