The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 11, 1989, Page 13, Image 13

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    ISU short of players but coach has faith
By LnUCK urccn
Senior Reporter
Jim Walden is stuck. He realizes
it, but he can do little about it — for
Walden, entering his third year as
Iowa State’s football coach, is still
feeling the effects of NCAA sanc
tions against the Cyclone program,
not the least of which limited Iowa
State’s allowed scholarships.
The Cyclones will have 78 players
on scholarship this fall — 17 below
the NCAA limit of 95.
Because of the low numbers,
Walden said, his chances to improve
on last season’s 5-6 record are slim.
“We’re ahead of schedule,” he
said ot his attempt to rebuild Iowa
State s program, “but we’re not
going any farther. To take the next
step, we need to beat people- like
Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma and
“Going from zero to five wins in
one season is not easy, but it’s a lot
easier than going from five to eight.”
But Walden docs have faith in this
year’s team.
‘We’ll be better organized and
better understanding of each other,”
he said. We have some very strong
points.” 6
One of the strongest is quarterback
Bret Oberg. Last season, Oberg com
pleted 99 of 179 passes for 1,360
yards and six touchdowns. Against
Iowa, he threw for 238 yards.
Oberg’s favorite receivers from
last year are gone and he’ll now have
to look for Steve Lester and Tyrone
Williams in the open field. Freshmen
Harold Champion and Matt Fauser
also will compete for playing time.
Mike Busch returns to his tight end
spot after earning second-team All
Big Eight honors last season by
catching 27 passes for 343 yards and
one touchdown. Backing up Busch
will be Craig Mahoney, a 6-foot-3,
228-pound junior.
Paul Thibodeaux will start the fall
as the Cyclones’ top tailback, and his
main challenge will come from
Edwin Jones.
At fullback, Ron Wilkinson and
Sylvester Nickerson likely will split
playing time, Walden said.
Three starters return to the offen
sive line. Tackle Gene Williams,
center Keith Sims and guard Trent
Van' Hoosen will be joined by tackle
Dave Benoid and guard Rick Wells to
open holes for Thibodeaux, Wilkin
son and Nickerson, as well as protect
Oberg in the pocket.
The Cyclone defense is spear
headed by the linebackers, which
Lindy’s Big Eight football magazine
rated as the best linebacking unit in
the conference.
At least one player was good
enough for most everybody in the Big
Eight last season. Mike Shane, a 6-2,
210-pound senior, earned All-Big
Eight honors last season before suf
fering a knee injury against Ne
braska. Walden said he expects
Shane to return at full speed this fall.
On either side of Shane will be
Randy Lendino, who started last
year, and Charles Vondra. The back
ups will be Melvin Coleman and
Larry Ratigan, as well as Tyrone
Davis, who filled in for Shane after
his injury.
At defensive end, Randy Bern apd
Mark Foley both return to give op
posing running backs headaches as
they try to turn the comers. Bern, a 6
4, 245-pound player is Iowa State’s
second-leading returning tackier
behind Shane.
Don Edwards is back at one tackle
spot, while juniors Phil Navarro and
Travis Block will compete for the
other position.
Comerback Marcus Robinson is
back after earning honorable mention
All-Big Eight last season, and free
safety Tim Baker also returns. Baker
finished fourth in tackles among Big
Eight defensive backs last season.
Jeff Bauer, Dave Eder, Rodondo
Johnson and Casey Martinez will be
the top contenders for the remaining
positions in the secondary.
Placekicker Jeff Shudak, a two
time All-Big Eight selection and All
America contender, returns this sea
son along with punter Judge Johnson.
Walden said that as the roster size
grows back to normal size, the pro
gram will improve.
“But there’s always a stump in the
road for everyone,” he said. “Our
stumps are Iowa, Oklahoma and
Nebraska. Our main objective is to
beat one of those teams, and eventu
ally all of them. But with 20 fewer
players than everybody else, I don’t
know if we can.
“We just have to keep believing
that we can overcome that obstacle,”
he said.
Until then, the Cyclones are stuck.
Game revealed Husker talents. weaknesses
Ho hum.
And so it began. Nebraska’s 100th
season of football began in less-than
glamorous fashion, as the almighty
Comhuskcrs beat the not-so-mighty
Northern Illinois Huskies 48-17.
The first half was interesting, as
Northern Illinois — thanks to five
Nebraska turnovers - forged a 17-17
tic. But in the second half, things got
out of hand as the Huskers exploded
for 31 points en route to pulling away
from Northern Illinois.
Despite being a rout, Saturday’s
game showed a lot. It showed Ne
braska has a lot of talent - particu
larly at the receiver and running back
positions - and is capable of over
coming its own mistakes.
But it also showed Nebraska has a
lot of work to do if it is going to
seriously challenge Oklahoma and
Colorado for this year’s Big Eight
Nebraska showed early that its
defense is shaky, as Northern Illinois
mounted a 9-play, 53-yard drive
midway through the first quarter by
running straight up the middle and
picking on comerback Bruce Pick
When the Huskies drove to the
Nebraska 2-yard line -- after repeated
runs by fullback Adam Dach and
Stacey Robinson to split end Mark
Clancy -- Comhusker defensive co
ordinator Charlie McBride yanked
middle guard Mike Murray and in
serted Junior Monarrez. Monarrez’s
6-foot-1, 270-pound frame towers
over Murray’s 5-10, 240-pound
build, but Dach also found him to his
liking, as it took him exactly one play
to score.
While that touchdown turned out
to be inconsequential, it showed that
Nebraska needs to improve. More
proof of that can be found in the
statistics, which show that Ne
braska’s leading tackier was
weakside linebacker Pat Tyrance.
That fact means one of two things:
either Tyrance was a dominating
force or the Northern Illinois offen
sive line was at least partially control
ling Nebraska’s defensive line. It’s
likely that it was a combination of
both, as the Huskies’ wishbone attack
strung out Nebraska’s defense and
forced many players into one-on-one
Tyrance’s efforts did not go unno
ticed by Dach, who praised the play
of Nebraska’s linebacking corps.
“I thought their linebackers were
excellent,” Dach said. “I was im
pressed with those guys.”
Dach also should have been im
pressed with Nebraska coach Tom
Osborne, who kept his promise and
opened up the Huskcrs’ offense
more. Now, instead of running the
standard power sweeps with an occa
sional fullback trap and virtually no
passing, Nebraska has discovered the
value of the pass.
Would you like to communicate your thoughts and feelings
more effectively with others? Our group will help you to
become more direct and honest while respecting the rights
of others. We will meet for 8 weeks on Tuesdays, October
3-November 21,1:15-3:15. If interested, contact Sue at the
Counseling Center, 226 Administration, 472-3461.
■■■'! ii- " _—-jv
Y - Y
UNL Forms Now Available
for Directory Exclusion
Forms are now available for University of Nebraska
Lincoln students who wish to EXCLUDE individual
student information from the 1989-90 Student
Directory. This form is for EXCLUSION OF
INFORMATION ONLY, no changes can oe maue.
The name-exclusion forms may be completed in the
Office of University Information, 208 Administration
Building. Forms must be completed in person before
Sept. 15,1989. Proof of registration or identity
is required for completion. ^
— _ _.
Midway through the first quarter,
Nebraska even committed the previ
ously unthinkable, as it passed on two
consecutive downs. The second pass
was predictable, as the Huskers were
facing a third-and-10 situation.
The first was not, even though a
Ken Clark run had just netted no
yards. In previous years, Nebraska
would simply run a power sweep,
which probably would have worked.
But this season, Osborne kept to
his word of adjusting his offense and
called for quarterback Gerry Gdow
ski to pass. He also called for Gdow
ski to pass seven other times in the
game, and called for Mickey Joseph
-- Gdowski’s replacement — to throw
five times.
That does not mean Nebraska has
realized the full value of a passing
game. The Huskers still do not throw
over the middle, and they have yet to
try to throw deep.
But things are improving. Wing
backs Richard Bell and Nate Turner
are now more a part of the offense, as
they return kicks and run reverses in
addition to fulfilling their receiving
duties. And Nebraska’s light ends,
who previously were used almost
exclusively for blocking, also are
more active, as Monte Kratzenstein
and Chris Garrett both caught touch
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down passes.
It took Nebraska 100 years to fig
ure out, but it’s good to see the Husk
ers arc finally seeing the value of a
respectable passing attack. It’s a
change that should guarantee success
for the next 100 years.
A pel is a senior news-editorial major and
is the Daily Nebraskan sports editor.
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