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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 10, 1998)
These two words are still spoken
with hushed and reverential tones at
this university. It’s not that they don’t
like Arizona State - people fear them.
At Tbesday’s press conference, NU
Coach Frank Solich brought those two
words up a couple of times.
The Sun Devils beat Nebraska two
years ago 19-0 in Tempe. The game
wasn’t close. Not ever. The
Comhuskers played bad. ASU didn’t.
Now, in 1998, Solich brings it up
again. Understand, this game still
affects him- and the team. Solich has
said many times one of the reasons NU
scheduled Louisiana Tech this season
was iu gci iwu games turner us ocu
before it went to California - in order to
prevent another Arizona State.
Coaches and players talk about that
garde is if they lost a member of the
family. They bring it up more than
you’d think. When they talk of tragedy,
they talk of Arizona State.
“It was realty a heartbreaking loss
to the players and die staff” Solich said
Tuesday at his weekly press conference.
Heartbreaking? Come on. What
people seem to forget is that ASU hap
pened to be the second-best team in the
country. They had a great quarterback
in Jake Plummer, studs on defense, a
super receiving corps and an offensive
line that rivaled Nebraska’s.
And now, NU players talk about
making sure California doesn’t turn
into another Arizona State. They are
especially coneerned because Cal has
hired die defensive coordinator that
ASU had at die time it beat Nebraska.
A man that, apparently, is the only man
in the world that knows how to shut
down the Husker attack.
But die Golden Bears are a cut-rate
Pac-10 team that has a quarter of the
ability die Sun Devils had. Their
defense isn’t perfect and their offensive
line is porous. I don’t care who their
defensive coordinator is, their defense
isn’t good enough to stop NU for four
And, yeah, it is a road game. So
what? There will be 25,000 Husker
fans there, at least. Even if there
weren't, remember this is Berkeley.
They’re not going to scream their heads
nff few oruvt nlH Pal Thw wnn’t ram
Out there, football is not life.
(Shocking, isn’t it?) \.r% <•
Personally, I think this Arizona
State garble is a ruse. NU knows it’s
going to throttle Cal. Its defense hasn’t
blitzed in the first two games. When
the Huskers turn the defense loose
Saturday, Cal quarterback Justin
Vedder’s in for a long day.
Maybe then, we will have heard the
last of Arizona State or any team that
has beat Nebraska in the past. Until
Texas arrives on Halloween. Now
diem, I fear.
Sam McKewon is a junior politi
cal sdence and news-editorial major
aad the Daily Nebraskan sports edi
By David Wilson
Senior staff writer
The mere mention of the mane Joel
Makovicka can bring a smile to even
the most stoic of faces.
Neither formef Nebraska Football
Coach Tom Osborne nor first-year NU
Coach Frank Solich could keep from
cracking a grin when talking about the
progress of the fullbacks one day after
practice in early August
Willie Miller’s name came up first
as the two straight-faced coaches stood
across from each other in the tunnel
underneath South Stadium
Then Osborne mentioned
Makovicka, the Comhuskers’ senior
fullback and a team captain.
“Don’t let Joel get too big of a
head,” Osborne said
The coaches looked at each other,
and after a brief pause, they both started
Makovicka’s personality can some
times make him an easy target. He
knows it, and so does Solich.
“We have a lot of fun, Coach
r (Osborne) and I do, poking fun at Joel -
in fact die whole team kind of does.”
Solich said. “He’s one of those guys
that gets along with the linemen really
well, and so they’re the kind of guys
that will embrace him, but at times they
make little jokes with him.
“He^ got a great sense of humor, so
Coach and I have always been that way
with Joel and he^ been that way with us.”
Having a good relationship with
both the coaches and players has evi
dently earned Makovicka a lot of
respect But his solid work ethic and all
aypynd afJhleficabjlityareal&o key
ingredients in making Makovicka a
“great” football player, Solich said.
“When it comes to the weight
room, when it comes to off-season con
ditioning, he works as hard as anybody
works,” Solich said. “That’s his nature.
He goes about things that way. I think
he treats school that way.
“Everything he does, he gives it his
best That’s his personality.”
Makovicka credited both his broth
SENIOR FULLBACK JOEL MAKOVICKA lifts hi the weight room after practice Tuesday. Makmricka’s work ethic has
helped him become a “great” football player, NU Football Coach Frank Sollch said.
er, who played fullback at Nebraska
from 1992-95, and his parents for his
strong work ethic.
A walk-on in 1994, the 5-foot-l 1,
240-pounder had a chance to learn
from his brother, Jeff, for two seasons,
and played behind Brian Schuster in
1996, before taking over the starting
role last year.
While helping Nebraska to a
national championship, Makovicka
rushed for 685 yards - the fourth best
output by a fullback in NU history.
“I’ve always had confidence in my
abilities,” Makovicka said. “This is a
program where if you practice well and
play well, you’re going to see the field.”
Makovicka, who was the first play
er to stand up and support Solich the
day Osborne announced his retirement
last December, also credited his suc
cess to die Husker coaching staff.
“They want to get die most out of
you and for the most part, they do,”
Makovicka said. “I think anytime
you’re a running back under Coach
Solich (NU’s running backs coach
under Osborne), you develop a special
friendship and kind of a great reladon
ship. He’ll get on you at times, and that’s
because he wants you to do your best”
It was almost fitting that
Makovicka, the most experienced ath
lete in the Husker backfield this season,
was handed the ball in the first play of
die Solich era.
Solich, a Nebraska fullback from
1963-65, said he felt that the choice was
“He’s certainly the most experi
enced player in our backfield, and we
had a quarterback that really hadn’t
taken a snap for us,” Solich said. “It just
kind of made sense to give Joel the ball.
“He’s been a tremendously reliable
player - a guy that will do what it takes
to get the job done. That’s the kind of
guy we like to give the ball to whether
you’re talking about the first play or the
last play.” ; ' ; •: ? ; ’ *;•.
The result of the Huskers’ first play
from scrimmage against Louisiana
Tech was a 12-yard gain by Makovicka.
“I knew that I was getting the ball
and I wanted to have a positive play
happen,” Makovicka said. “I knew I
was the guy in die backfield with die
most returning experience, and I just
Please see MAKOVICKA on 11
Pettit spearheads scheduling change
By Shannon Heffelfinger
Senior staff writer
Two seasons after Big 12
- Conference volleyball coaches adopt
ed a Friday-Saturday scheduling for
mat for league matches, Nebraska
CoachTory Pettit played a key role in
convincing them to change the sched
Athletic directors and senior
women’s administrators voted this
summer to alter the current schedule
after weighing league coaches’ argu
ments, many of which were voiced by
Pettit, former Texas Coach Mick Haley
and current Ifexas CoachJim Moore.
Beginning in 199$, conference
teams will play matches on
Wednesday and Saturday instead of
Friday and Saturday.
“Nebraska really led the charge for
the changeColorado Coach Pi’i Aiu
said. “Terry (Pettit) wanted this and
people have a lot Of respect for him.
“When someone who has had the
kind of success that he has had talks,
you’re going to pay attention. A lot of
schools jumped on board because of
In the former Big Eight and
Southwest Conferences, schools
played primarily on Wednesdays and
Saturdays. When the two leagues
merged, coaches and athletic directors
bowsd to the pressure of a new format
to avoid excessive travel costs.
The majority of schools did not
want to spend the money to provide
their volleyball teams charter flights -
a necessity for the Wednesday
The original proponents of the
switch were those schools who did not
have to battle budget constraints for
volleyball. Nebraska spent $458,053
in 1996. Texas, another strong sup
porter of the change, operated with
; On die other end of the spectrum,
Missouri, which initially opposed the
switch, spent $36,187 on volleyball in
But a two-year experiment has
produced fewer benefits than costs,
and aching adiletes have overruled the
“We were asking our athletes to do
a lot,” Pettit said. "Last year, Lisa
took about 120 swings during a week
end You wouldn’t ask a pitcher to go
out there and throw on back-to-back
Moore said Pettit’s “pitcher” argu
ment sent a message to athletic direc
“If you have one big gun like we
do who is swinging 70 times per night,
that’s going to cause some wear and
tear,” said Moore, who coaches Big 12
Player of the Year candidate Demetria
Aiu lists several other benefits of a
Wednesday-Saturday format. J
Fan apathy, the opportunity to play
matches at home more frequently, and
the challenge of preparing for two
quality opponents at the same time
contributed to the decision to abandon
die weekend schedule.
But Aiu only began to recognize
the disadvantages of the weekend
schedule last December when
Colorado defeated volleyball power
Texas on a Friday then lost to Texas
A&M the next day.
“We played well when we beat
Texas on Friday, but it was so emotion
ally draining that it took a lot out of us.
We weren’t ready to play A&M the
nett night,” Aiu said. “The bottom line
is this: Ifwe had played a Wednesday
Saturday schedule last year, we proba
bly would have won the Big 12
Both Aiu and Moore said they
expect the 1999 schedule to create
more parity among league teams.
When each team has three days to
prepare for one match instead of five
days to prepare for two at the same
time, Moore said, the playing field
will level. Teams will have to rely
more on strategy than talent.
But coaches usually revert back to
die strain on athletes- Pettit’s original
argument - when explaining the
change to a Wednesday-Saturday
“When the athletic trainers heard
about this, they showed a great deal of
support,” Pettit said. “We don’t want to
cause chronic shoulder and knee
injuries for our athletes. Really, I just
think people wanted to do the right
thing for the sport”
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