Old Guys Attempt NFL Combine, Flail Miserably

With the NFL Combine happening this weekend, I came up with hair-brained idea to find out how mere mortals would stack up against this year’s Husker invitees Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell, and Randy Gregory.

One of the best parts about living in Los Angeles is that fellow idiots are only a text message away. It didn’t take much convincing to get my friends Brent and Ray from the hilarious Ray’s N’ Brent Podcast to meet up bright and early on a Saturday morning knowing the only outcome would be self-induced internet embarrassment and shame.

Not long after Kenny Bell broke off a 4.42 40 yard dash at the combine, we met at the 50 yard line of one of the most hallowed football fields in all of Los Angeles- Van Nuys High. You may know it better as Ridgemont High.

Yes, it is that Ridgemont High. Unfortunately the doors were locked so we couldn’t sneak in and sniff Phoebe Cates’ locker.

Brent Todd Ray
It was an honor to stand on the very field where Charles Jefferson single-handedly destroyed Lincoln High.

Van Nuys High Wolves
True Story: After Fast Times at Ridgemont High was filmed at Van Nuys High, the school’s mascot remained the Wolves in honor of Ridgemont’s mascot.

Ray, Todd, Brent
Tale of the tape: Ray was a Randy Gregory like 6’4″ 240, your humble author was a doughy Kenny Bell at 6’1″ and 212, and Brent came in at 5’9″ and a stout 255 (aka Ameer Abdullah plus 4 bowling balls).

Our agenda for the day was the same as many prospects working out at the combine. After checking to see how we measured up/how much we’d let ourselves go, we set out to do the 40 yard dash, 20 yard shuttle run, 3 cone drill, standing broad jump, vertical leap and in lieu of decapitating ourselves trying to bench 225lbs, a push up contest would be our grand finale.

And we got it all on video.

If you’d like to rock the 8-bit Husker style, Nebraska Red Zone can hook it up. And be sure to listen to Ray and Brent’s post combine analysis and smack talk on their show.

Going from the couch to the combine is not a move many fitness experts would ever recommend. Writing this a day later, my shoulder is still sore from failing to stick a landing in the vertical leap, some side fat is feeling the pain of being stretched in a direction it shouldn’t have been and there’s a hitch in the ol’ get-a-long thanks to  shanking one too many attempts at a 20 yard field goal.

Finishing the day within two seconds of Ameer in the 40 yard dash felt pretty good but any shred of glory got washed away as I did some math while hobbling off the field.

A two second margin of victory in a 40 yard footrace means that Ameer would win by nearly 20 yards.

His top performances in the vertical and the broad jump are even more ridiculous. In our tryout tape, we jumped from the edge of the sand because we didn’t know if we could even make it to the sand. And we used the soccer goal as our vertical measuring stick because none of us could even graze the bottom of the goal post’s crossbar, we are not who to ask if you want to increase your vertical jumping.

With actual, real training (and maybe 15 years rolled off the odometer) could it be possible to even hang at the combine?

Maybe. But then there’s that whole also-having-to-excel-at-playing-football thing that gets thrown in the mix as well. Not even The Ocho has room in their schedule for pro shuttle runners.

Ultimately, the jaw dropping numbers you see put up at the combine are the result of a decade or so worth of focused, hard work. And that’s on top of a no doubt strong foundation of natural talent.

Each and every single one of those guys who make it that far all had a coach at some point who gave them the hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle speech and realized talent that hustles could be unstoppable. You just gotta commit and do the work.

We’ll go ahead and end there.

I’m running late for my nap.

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Rickey Thenarse Arrested on Burglary Charges (Again)

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that former Husker safety Rickey Thenarse has been arrested on burglary charges.

Rickey Thenarse via Mugshots.com

A recruit of Bill Callahan, Thenarse was briefly a member of the Seattle Seahawks  and apparently a grad assistant at Nevada before spiraling into a descent of poorly thought out petty theft.

Thenarse’s most recent arrest stems from an incident on January 14 in which a computer and several DVDs were reported stolen. (This is not to be confused with another bumbled burglary on January 24. )

WTF, who still even has DVDs? And who thinks they’d be a valuable commodity on the black market in 2015?

We know the answer to the second question would be Rickey Thenarse.

At least he didn’t waste valuable time rummaging through old shoe boxes on a quest to find a hidden collection of Cassingles buried like it was the Ark of the Covenant.

Then again, those would probably be worth more on eBay than DVDs at a Pawn Shop.

And this is all speculation, but our official Big Red Fury Magic 8-Ball says all signs point to Thenarse not being enough of a criminal mastermind to wipe the victim’s computer before attempting to exchange it for some valuable loot.

It’s not hard to imagine how that one played out.

“Hi, is this (anonymous victim)?”

“OK, great. This is Bill down at Capital City Pawn. Some big guy just returned your computer to us for some reason. We’re open till 6 if you want to pick it up tonight. Otherwise, we’ll reopen tomorrow at 9.”

Here’s the deal, Rickey. You’ve been rung up three times in four months dating back to November’s petty theft charge. (Btdubs, good job not getting arrested over the holidays.)

In all seriousness, don’t you think it might be time for a change of course? A new plan of action?

I’m not exactly a career counselor or a life coach but I did stand in line behind Tony Robbins at a Coffee Bean once so I feel I’m qualified to suggest that instead of strong arm robbing people of their Zoolander DVDs, why don’t you try gently knocking on the door of the next house you think about robbing?

Then, when it opens, say “Hi, I’m former Husker Rickey Thenarse. Maybe you remember me doing this on Tom Osborne Field?” (This is where you’d throw the bones for added flair.) “I’m a little hard up for cash right now and was wondering if you’d have any Husker items you’d like me to sign. Or, if I’m interrupting dinner, maybe I could join you and tell you some stories?  Heck, I’ll even wash the dishes when we’re done.”

Yes, Rickey. I know that sounds embarrassing but it can’t be any worse than what you’ve already done.

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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.

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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