Tag Archives: john papuchis

Song Girls vs Scarlets: Your Holiday Bowl Preview

It’s fitting that the epilogue to the crashed and burned Bo Pelini era at Nebraska will be written on the same field as his career’s finest moment- the 2009 Holiday Bowl.

Things would only be downhill from here for Bo Pelini.

What followed that 33 – 0 victory over the Arizona Wildcats was the most hopeful time of Pelini’s seven seasons at Nebraska. It was the perfect salve to the one more second debacle against Texas and had Husker fans licking their chops at a run for a National Championship in 2010.

That season began with the Huskers ranked #8 in the polls and unknown redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez lined up in the shotgun at quarterback. His jaw dropping speed lead the Huskers to a 5 and 0 start and a national coming out party for Martinez in a Thursday night match up against Kansas State on ESPN.

Nine days later, the wheels would fall off the Big Red Express when the unranked and hated Texas Longhorns  came to Lincoln and left with a 20 – 13 victory. In that game, the Huskers’ offense was absolutely stuffed with the lone touchdown coming off a 95 yard return of a pooch punt late in the game by Eric Haag. Martinez was benched as senior and 2009 starter Zac Lee entered the game for a rare appearance.

In retrospect, all the the negative aspects that would be a hallmark of Pelini’s tenure bloomed on that day.
Texas Commentary
(Screengrab via Huskermax.)

A month later, Pelini’s temper would take the national stage as he gave Martinez the ass-reaming of his life against Texas A&M. By Sunday night Martinez was already enrolled at UCLA (if message boards were to be believed).

A month after that, Martinez and the Huskers limped through a 19 – 7 loss against Washington in the Holiday Bowl- the same Huskies team that Nebraska destroyed 56 – 21 back in September.

Fast forward four years. Taylor Martinez is a mobile game developer and budding real estate agent (thanks for the hook up, Uncle Warren) and Bo Pelini has packed up for the gloomy pastures of his native Youngstown, Ohio.

At the helm for the Huskers in Saturday’s Holiday Bowl is the much maligned Barney Cotton. After the game, he’ll leave the Huskers (for a second time) for his new gig as UNLV’s Offensive Coordinator. With the exception of John Garrison and Charlton Warren, the futures for the rest of Pelini’s staff are up in air. The seniors have one final game together and the underclassmen will likely finish their careers as Mike Riley’s players.

About the only thing left for the Huskers to play for is pride. Pride for their team. Pride for their teammates. Pride for their coaches who deemed them worthy of playing for Nebraska.

Pride can be a dangerous weapon, especially with a healthy Husker squad and an offensive coordinator off his leash.

Scouting Report: USC started the 2014 season with a 52 – 13 win over Fresno State. Two weeks later, the Huskers muzzled the Bulldogs 55 – 19 while USC lost on the road to Boston College 37 – 31. The Trojans’ three other losses came at the hand of Arizona State, Utah, and UCLA. Their crosstown showdown was the only game the Trojans lost by more than a touchdown, falling to the Bruins 38 – 20, a game in which the USC defense got flustered and all but gave up in the second half.

The Trojans’ most notable wins of the season came against Stanford, Arizona on the road, and a 49 – 14 punch out of the Fighting Irish at home. In case you’re wondering, they did beat Mike Riley’s Beavers 35 – 10 in LA. Like the Huskers, the Trojans have the potential to run with anyone- if they can harness it.

The Trojan offense is lead by junior Quarterback Cody Kessler. He can sling the ball but he isn’t exactly fleet of foot having “rushed” 52 times for -149 yards. On the season, he’s been sacked 30 times.

An immobile quarterback has to have Defensive Coordinator John Papuchis licking his chops, right?

John Papuchis
Confidence is high for Papuchis.

USC may have the better team on paper but the reality is there is truly only one edge the Trojans have on the Huskers heading into the Holiday Bowl.

Song Girls vs Scarlets
Sorry, Scarletts. All the glitter in the world is no match for the simple white sweaters that are a trademark of the USC Song Girls.

And that’s about all the “serious” preview you’ll get from us.

In our defense,  we did reach out to our friend Mick, an LAPD Sergeant and quite possibly the Trojans biggest fan. Seriously, he’s “The Dude” of USC football right down to his tattoo of Tommy Trojan holding the severed head of Notre Dame’s mascot whilst standing on the beaten pulp of UCLA’s Bruin.

This is the entire transcript of our chat.

Hey Mick-

What is your prediction for the Holiday Bowl and who are the USC players the Huskers need to watch out for?

Let me know and I’ll quote you in my preview for my site www.bigredfury.com

Mick- We ARE.. SC! Beat the Huskers!

Before we even had a chance to even think of being offended by such an epic brush off, we realized Mick had to already be in San Diego making his tailgate preparations and had no such time for silly questions. We’ve been his guest at USC games a few times over the years and aren’t kidding when we say he’ll show up at 6am to stake out his tailgate spot for a game that doesn’t start until 7pm.

Mick and your humble author at the 2006 edition of USC vs Nebraska.

Ideal Scenario: The Huskers close out the Bo Pelini era with a bold exclamation point with a fun and dominating performances on both sides of the ball reminiscent of the 2000 Alamo Bowl- arguably the Big Red’s most fun bowl game of the 21st century. A Kenny Bell to Ameer Abdullah touchdown pass would be absolute gravy.

Look for Tim Beck to empty his playbook with enough #TommyBombs to reenact Operation Linebacker I and II. That is of course when Ameer isn’t running wild on the Trojan defense.

On the other side of the ball, Randy Gregory and Jack “The Beastmaster” Gangwish will pin their ears back and give Cody Kessler a late Christmas gift of a world of pain. USC may get a couple of deep balls early but don’t be surprised when Papuchis stays calm under pressure and readjusts once he realizes no one is going to scream at him on the sideline.

Honestly, this game could go either way with a blowout for either team being the most likely outcome. It’s hard to imagine the Holiday Bowl going down to the wire so we’re gonna stick with our way early prediction of a 38 – 17 Husker victory.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 3 — ESPN will surely start the game with a montage of Bo’s “finest” moments.

Question That Needs an Answer: Will Barney Cotton finish his Cornhusker head coaching career undefeated?


Coach Riley Holding Staff Tryouts

While Coach Mike Riley strikes us as more of a Riddler than a Joker, the idea of him strolling into the lame duck coaching staff holding pen and busting a pool cue over his knee and announcing he’s gonna have tryouts makes us giggle.

Mike Riley Joker
“Which one of you fine gentlemen would like to join our team?”

According to reports based off of text messages from recruits, newcomer Charlton Warren won the battle royal to stay on as part of Riley’s staff.

Will another current coach be signing on as well, possibly on the offensive side of the ball?

Easy money would say that coach would be Ron Brown but that would all depend on what Ron Brown wants to do. If Ron Brown doesn’t feel like going anywhere, Ron Brown isn’t going anywhere.

RON BROWNGood luck telling this guy to go kick rocks. 

If Coach Riley “chooses” not to retain Ron Brown, don’t be surprised if the hottest recruit for 2016 is a seemingly out-of-nowhere Ron Brownstein.

Ron Brown 2
Even at 58-years-old, Ron Brown is just a fake ID and passable ACT score from becoming a college football player all over again.

In other coaching news: If you haven’t grown tired of getting duped by Football Scoop, reports are saying interim head coach Barney Cotton and John Garrison will be landing at UNLV. If that’s the case, this might a genius trolling power move. For as much of a barren wasteland the UNLV campus is, it has the rare distinction of boasting its very own In-N-Out burger. Even the students at UCLA have to walk a few blocks off campus to get their Double Double fix. We can’t wait to see the taunting tweets Cotton and Garrison fire off in the direction of Coach Riley every day at lunchtime.

Meanwhile, John Papuchis remains locked in Bo Pelini’s basement getting the Buffalo Bill treatment.


Halloween Huskers

With the Huskers busy trying to decide if tight end is a position that  needs to be part of the Red Storm, we took the liberty of coming up with Halloween costume ideas for players and coaches.

Bo Pelini as James Bond

Bo Pelini James Bond
Pelini. Bo Pelini. Maybe it’s their similar haircut and head shape but we’ve always thought Bo could make a good Danial Craig James Bond. We sincerely believe that. This is not an attempt to try and suck up to Bo. Nope. No way.

Kenny Bell as Irwin Maurice Fletcher

Kenny Bell Fletch
Fletch was listed at 6’9″ with his afro so Kenny gives up a little height but his speed would make him a terror around the perimeter. All we ask is that he doesn’t put his Halloween bar tab on the Underhill account. It’s way too late in the season and his career for an NCAA violation.
*Random sad but true story: When I first saw Fletch as a kid, I really thought he played on the Lakers.

Ron Brown as Morpheus

Ron Brown Morpheus
“I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one who must walk though it and accept Jesus in your heart.

Jordan Westerkamp as Bo “Bandit” Darville

Jordan Westerkam Burt Reynolds
Jordan already has the ‘stache. He just needs a cowboy hat and a bad ass 1977 Pontiac Trans Am.

John Papuchis as Igor

John Papuchis vs IgorLike Frankenstein’s monster, this pick is a no-brainer and one that we’ve covered before.

Randy Gregory as Charles Jefferson

Randy Gregory Jefferson
We’re gonna go out on a limb and assume that Randy has never seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High. We’ll also go out on a limb and assume that he’d enjoy going trick-or-treating as the most badass football player in movie history. The game footage between the Ridgemont Wolves and Lincoln High may be horribly dated but we’re pleased to report that the PHOEBE CATES BIKINI SCENE looks as good as ever.

Barney Cotton as Major John D. “Mac” McGillis

Barney Cotton Major Dad
As the sire of three Huskers, it’s safe to say Coach Cotton is a major dad so it’s only fitting he dress as one. Maybe once in costume, he’d get into the character and yell at himself for a while. Or has being perpetually mad at Barney stopped being a thing?

Jake Cotton as Leatherface

Jake Cotton LeatherfaceHe’s got the same vacant expression and hair. All Jake needs is to shop for a chainsaw on sites like thetoolboss.com and he’s good to go as long as he remembers that Halloween is on the 31st. Because going trick-or-treating on the 30th would be a false start.

Ameer Abdullah as Carlton Banks

Ameer Abdullah Carlton
We know Ameer’s got all the right moves on the field but can they fly in stuffy Bel-Air? How meta would it be if Ameer did his own tribute to the Carlton  on Dancing With The Stars 10 – 15 years from now?


It’s Time Coach Papuchis Got a Nickname

Unlike the half dozen or so fans at our Husker watch site afflicted with a Tourette’s like compulsion to yell some variation of Papuchis any time there’s a Blackshirt miscue, I will proudly go on record and say that I love the guy.

While this love for John Papuchis isn’t quite at the level of a serious man crush, there is solid admiration for a dude of decidedly modest stature who can lead and motivate a legion bad asses and doesn’t melt when Bo Pelini’s rage goes thermonuclear.

Papuchis 1
Papuchis may not melt under the glare of Pelini but a little personal security is never a bad idea.

In fact, as the match up with Miami showed, it appears his third season as Defensive Coordinator is a charm for Papuchis. Watch as he harnesses Pelini’s rage into his own after the interception that was nullified due to a bogus roughing the passer call.


Just look at that laser focus. Papuchis is like a lion cub stalking his very first prey. He ignores Kenny Bell’s plea to get out of the scrum and tentatively joins the polite conversation. Notice how he licks his lips and goes for the kill. You can clearly tell he’s saying ‘after his pass’ to hammer home Pelini’s argument. While his head veins might not have the same bulge as his boss’, it’s clear Papuchis has forgotten what it’s like to know fear- like a guy who has spent a lot of time being exposed to Heart of Darkness kind of stuff.

Seriously, just look at the way he bares his fangs. Papuchis might have a baby face but that is the look of a man ready to tear out his first throat.

Pelini Papuchis

But where have we seen this expression before?

John Papuchis vs Igor

Oh hello, Igor.

Before you say bestowing the nickname Igor upon Papuchis is rude, consider for a moment the monsters he and his master have created. These are but only two of their masterpieces.

Randy Gregory-2

Ndamukong Suh