The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 05, 1989, Page 6, Image 6

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Despite losses, schedule improved team
By Darran Fowler
Staff Reporter
On paper, Nebraska against Creighton does
not look like an even match-up.
But when unranked Nebraska, 13-17, meets
9th-rankcd Creighton, 21-5, in a softball dou
blchcader today, the outcome will be anything
but predictable. The games begin at 4 and 5:30
p.m. at the Creighton University Sports Com
plex in Omaha.
“I think Nebraska’s record is very mislead
ing,” Creighton coach Mary Higgins said.
‘They’ve played a very brutal schedule.
They’ve played a lot of tough teams awfully
close. But it’s always a big game regardless of
the circumstances.
“Nebraska always scares us offensively. It
seems they have kids that usually swing aw
fully big bats.”
Nebraska coach Ron Wolforth said Ne
braska’s losing record has made the season
“It’s very, very difficult for these players to
read in the paper ‘Softball team loses again,’”
Wolforth said. ‘‘There was a lot of pride and
high expectations at the beginning of the year
and I still feel those expectations can be met.
It’s hard on everyone. This coaching staff has
never experienced this either.”
Wolforth said the Comhuskers have never
backed off from top 20 opponents. He said
Nebraska and Creighton have a heated rivalry
regardless of the sport because the teams arc
located approximately 50 miles from each
other. In softball, he said, the rivalry has a
special flavor.
“It’s definitely a very strong rivalry,”
Wolforth said. “Especially since both teams
have had strong programs for quite a long
Higgins said she doesn’t know if her team is
aware of the rivalry because it is comprised of
younger players. She said that of the seven
freshman on her team, at least four are starters.
, Nebraska holds a 42-35 edge in the total
team series. Nebraska and Creighton split a
pair of games during the fall season, and also
split an eight-game series last season.
“Frankly I expect the same kind of battle
this year,” Higgins said. ,
Higgins said Creighton has had consistent
hitting and pitching throughout the season.
“We feel we’ve been successful at the
plate,” she said. “We’re not depending on one
or two players to carry us. Our pitching is not
overpowering but fortunately it has kept us in
some games.”
Wolforth said Nebraska’s losing record this
season reflects the type of schedule the Husk
ers have played. He said Nebraska has played
about 20 teams rated in the top 20, which may
have been too many for a roster which includes
a pair of pitchers who had never thrown at the
Division I level and nine freshman.
Nebraska also started its season earlier this
“Thai might have been our first problem,”
he said. ‘ ‘We probably didn’t get enough time
to develop them.
“Looking back on it, maybe it wasn’t a real
bright idea to schedule this many rated teams.
We may have overestimated our talent a bit.
But playing this type of caliber forces us one
way or the other. I ’ m certainly not giving up. ’ ’
Wolforth believes Nebraska’s early sched
ule was one of the l ive toughest in the country.
He said he docs not want to second guess it now
that the Huskers have played it, “but if I had to
do it all over again I’d do the same thing.”
“We’re a better team now and 1n the next
couple weeks we’ll get a chance to see if we
gained from playing this type of schedule,”
Wolforth said.
Creighton has played a schedule that fea
tures weaker competition, he said. But, Hig
gins said, the Lady Jays have played a very
competitive schedule.
“I guess we’ll see which schedule was
smarter (today),” Wolforth said.
Following road losses, Sanders pleased to be home
By Jerry Guenther
Staff Reporter
Nebraska baseball coach John
Sanders said the Comhuskers are
looking forward to playing at home
again after completing a challenging
eleven-game spring road trip in
Texas and Kansas.
The Comhuskers, 13-9, host
Creighton in a double header begin
ning at 1:30 p.m. today at Buck
Beltzcr Field. University of Ne
braska-Lincoln students can get into
the games free with their IDs.
“It’s nice to be playing back at
home again,” Sanders said. “We
played in some tough parks against
some quality opponents.”
The Huskcr’s finished the trip 4-7,
but upset nationally-rated Texas in
one of the contests.
Today’s double header against
Creighton, originally scheduled to
begin at 4 p.m., was to have been the
first night baseball contest at Buck
Beltzer Field. But because the lights
haven’t been installed at the field yet,
the games were moved to earlier in
the afternoon.
John Amend, assistant director of
the physical plant, said the lights
haven’t been installed because the
light poles haven’t arrived from the
Amend said the poles arc sched
uled to arrive on May 1 at the earliest.
Once the poles arrive, he said, it will
probably take another seven to 10
days to install them.
Nebraska’s last scheduled home
series this year begins May 12 against
Iowa State, so it is doubtful that
Nebraska will host a night game.
Sanders said it is unfortunate the
games will not be under the lights
because attendance would probably
be higher at night games.
‘They’re just like
any other team
except for the
color of their uni
form. '
But today’s games against the
Blucjays arc still important, he said,
because they are against a Division I
Sanders said that although Nc
braska and Creighton games are a big
rivalry in basketball, they aren’t in
“They’re just like any other team
except for the color of their uni
form,’’ Sanders said.
Nebraska enters today’s games
against the Bluejays after splitting
their last four games against Big
Eight Conference foe Kansas.
On Saturday, Nebraska lost the
first game of a double header 7-0, but
won the nightcap 10-7. On Monday,
the Huskers again split a double
header, winning 10-0 in the opener
and losing 13-12 in the second game.
Kansas outfielder Jeff Mcntcl was
instrumental in the Jayhawk victo
ries. Mentel, who only had one home
run before the Nebraska series, hit
five home runs and collected nine
“He really improved his (statis
tics) against us,” Sanders said.
Although Sanders said the split
with the Jayhawks was disappoint
ing, there were some bright spots.
“Offensively we got into a
rhythm, and we were able to establish
some things that way,” Sanders said.
“We also got some good pitching in
One of those bright spots was the
pitching of junior Pat Leinen in the
opener Monday. Leinen pitched the
entire game, scattering four hits over
eight innings, while walking one and
striking out nine to improve his rec
ord to 4-2.
Leinen also figured in the decision
in the second game Monday. He gave
up the winning run in the seventh
inning when Kansas’ Mcntcl hit his
fifth home run of the series.
Gdowski and Joseph top picks for
No. 1 Husker quarterback position
By Steve Sipple
Staff Reporter
The only certainty surrounding
the Nebraska football team’s quar
terback situation is that there’s a
lot of uncertainty.
Junior Gerry Gdowski and
freshman Mickey Joseph, consid
ered the front-runners for the
Comhuskers’ starting quarterback
job, both admit the race is wide
On Monday, the first day of Ne
braska’s spring practice season.
Coach Tom Osborne did little to
simplify things. He narrowed it
down to six players: Gdowski,
Joseph, sophomores Keithan
McOant, Tom Haase, and Jerry
Dunlap and freshman Mike Grant
“Those guys all have a good
chance,” said Osborne, who’s be
ginning his 17th season as Husker
coach. “We’ll see how they rank
at the end of spring ball,”
The quarterback vacancy was
created by Steve Taylor’s depar
ture to Edmonton of the Canadian
Football League. During the last
three years, Taylor led Nebraska to
a Big Eight tide and three major
bow [games
“Anydme you replace a quar
terback with three years starting
experience, you got a major task at
hand,” Osborne said.
A task Osborne’s not real used
to. Before Taylor, Turner Gill had
a lock on the position for most of
1981 -83 Travis Turner stepped in
for a year before Taylor took over.
And while things aren’t so clear
cut now, it does appear Gdowski
and Joseph will wage the main
battle for the job. Gdowski, a 6
foot* 1,195-pound player, is listed
No. 1 on the' first spnng depth
chart. Joseph, at 5-10,170, is 2nd.
“I think I’m listed No. 1. But
right now it doesn’t matter who’s
No. 1,” said Gdowski, a former
Sunday Lincoln Journal-Star Ath
lete of the Year from Fremont.
“Whichever player has a good
spring and fall practice will be the
guy (who starts next season). But it
might look like I have the edge
right now.”
Nebraska has more than two ca
pable quarterbacks, Joseph said.
“All the quarterbacks are ca
pable of playing,” Joseph said.
“There’s four quarterbacks that
can step in and play. People just say
the competition’s between me and
Gdowski because we’re on the first
Gdowski’s experience from last
year gives him an edge, Osborne
* ‘He's got the most experience,
the most knowledge of the of
fense,” Osborne said. “He’s a
good option player, but doesn’t
have a real good arm.”
Last season, Gdowski took 90
snaps and completed 5 of 8 passes
for 64 yards and a touchdown. He
rushed 17 limes for 158 yards (9.3
yards per carry) and two scores.
Gdowski and Joseph are both re
garded as more effective runners
than throwers. Joseph, of Marrero,
La., took 70 snaps last season,
completing 2 of 4 passes and run
ning 24 times for 218 yards and
three touchdowns.
Osborne said Joseph’s lack of
height limits his passing prowess,
but that Joseph “has good running
Joseph said he’s rusty.
“I have to show people what I
can do on the field,” he said. ‘‘I
haven’t played a full game in two
years. I haven’t had any pressure on
me. That’s one of my biggest ob
stacles right there. It might take
two or three days (of practice) to
get into the rhythm.”
By getting out of the rhythm off
the field, Joseph said he’ll get back
into the swing on the field.
“I used to party a lot,” Joseph
said. ”You don’t want to get that
rep as a street kid. I’m more low
key now - I'm not hanging out as
much. Not as much as I did last
*‘I think that hurts you.”
Gdowski said it’s possible that
he and Joseph may alter Ne
braska’s first few games next sea
son battling for the starting job. If
that’s the case, Gdowski said he
hopes the matter's settled before
the Huskers’ Big Eight home
opener against Kansas State.
Hopefully, Gdowski said, there
will be an outright No. 1 quarter
back for the Sept. 9 season-opener
against Northern Illinois at Memo
rial Stadium. He said he wouldn't
he thrilled with a two-quarterback
Grant, at 6-2, 210, will chal
lenge Gdowski and Joseph.
‘‘He’s got a lot of talent,”
Osborne said.
Giant showed his talent last
year, guiding the Nebraska junior
varsity to a 5-0 record - its first
undefeated season since 1985.
Gram rushed 64 times for 444
yards (6.9 per carry) and hit 19 of
40 passes for 468 yards. He rushed
for seven touchdowns and passed
for 11 more.
Nebraska quarterback Mickey Joseph.
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