Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 14, 1998)
NU to stay with run
Haafke’s experience ‘bittersweet’
There’s a history behind Nebraska
football’s passing success against
The veteran Husker squad is well
aware of the eight- and nine-man fronts
the Jayhawk defense is known to run at
the Comhuskers, usually discouraging
many run attempts.
Of the top 10 pass efficiency rating
games and passing yardage games in
NU history, three have been against KU
- more than any other team the Huskers
have faced. Two of those have come in
the last four seasons.
But there’s pride at NU. There’s
pride in the long history of the running
game, the very watchwords of the
Quarterback Bobby Newcombe
said it takes pride to get up after two
dismal running games and get right
back on the NU rushing treadmill.
many eight-man defensive fronts, but
he is not yet ready to deviate from the
“We can expect any number of
defensive fronts for them to major in,”
Solich said. “You’ve got to work a little
bit of everything.”
With eight or nine men on the line,
Solich said, a hole could mean a big
play, as fewer men would be in the
defensive backfield to stop a break
But if the ground game can’t get the
necessary holes in the KU defensive
line, Solich said, the only other option
is to pass.
In NU’s 28-21 loss to Texas A&M,
the Husker passing game netted 204
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HAAFKE from page 9
Saturday, he had caught two passes
for 15 yards this season.
“It was kind of a bittersweet
day for me,” Haafke said.
“Knowing that it was probably one
of the best games I’ve ever had and
then one play kind of dampers the
rest of it.”
But Haafke, who said he didn’t
know he was running a different
play than Newcombe until he was
on the bus to the airport, didn’t get
down on himself.
That didn’t surprise Brown.
“The way he’s handled this
thing - being blamed for some
thing that wasn’t really his fault -
he’s not going to cast the blame on
anybody else,” Brown said. “He’ll
take what he’s got to take. That’s
the kind of person he is. It’s a trib
ute to his folks and the kind of per
son that he is.”
‘Man, I’m going to go out there
and make it real hard for Coach
Brown to say no to me.’ That’s the
mentality he took.”
Haafke said he took Brown’s
advice and caught 300 footballs
five times a week all summer.
His hard work is finally paying
“I’m happy with the situation,
but I’m not content by any means,”
Haafke said. “I always thought that
if I work hard and give my all 100
percent all the time, something
good will always come out of it -
either in football or in life in gener
Haafke’s physical and mental
toughness has prompted Brown to
make highlight tapes to be used as
inspiration for future walk-ons.
“He’s a great example of five
years of just hard hauling every
single day,” Brown said. “I mean
Haafke recorded 1,100 all-pur
pose yards as a junior, but saw
action in just four games as a
senior after a table saw took a good
chunk out of two of his fingers.
A highly recruited Division II
player, Haafke sat on the sidelines
for the majority of the season while
his team finished 0-9.
But that experience, he said,
might have ended up helping him
while he served as a scout teamer
his first two seasons in Lincoln.
“The first day that I came in,
they put the depth chart on the
board, and I was listed ninth out of
10,” Haafke said. “I called my dad
that night and told him, ‘Don’t
expect me to ever see the field.’
But he encouraged me to stick with
“Quite a few times, I even
thought about trying to transfer to
(the Universitv of Nebraska at)
just carrying the load every day -
busting, hard every day. He’s one
of the most intense practice play
ers, and one of the hardest workers
we’ve had around here.
“Never has he ever complained
about one down of playing. Never
has he complained about not get
ting a ball or getting an opportuni
ty. He’s always kept his mouth shut
and worked hard. When a coach
sees a guy fight back and refuse to
die, my hat’s off to that guy. I have
tremendous respect for him.”
But Haafke admits that at more
than one point in his career, he has
thought about just throwing in the
His battles with adversity even
date back to high school.
Kearney after my second year. I
had it in the back of my mind. But
I decided to stick it out.
“I’ve never really wanted to
give up on any challenge that’s put
in front of me. I didn’t want to be
known as the guy who tried it out
and didn’t finish it.”
In other news:
Nebraska I-back DeAngelo
Evans, who missed practice
Monday, left practice early
Tuesday because of a tailbone
injury and is questionable for
Saturday’s game, NU Coach Frank
“I don’t think with the way
missed practice time has been
going (Evans) can start at this
time,” Solich said.
One hundred sixty-seven of those
passing yards went to sophomore split
end Matt Davison for a new school
Davison also said although there
might be a different approach with KU
on Saturday, don’t expect any shatter
ing trends in the Husker offense.
“I don’t think we’re going to get
away from Nebraska-style football,”
Davison said. “We’ve thrown it more
this year than we did last year, but it’s
not going to be a deal where we’re start
ing to put it up 35 to 40 times a game.
“I think the coaches have a lot of
confidence in the passing game right
now. That’s a real confidence booster
for the offense - knowing that if we
can’t run the ball we can get it done
“We’re not going to change any
thing we’re doing right now,”
Newcombe said. “We’re not going to
go to the pass. We’re not going to take
away our running game. We’re going to
go into every game with the game plan
that we’ve run in the games we’ve
Although the running game will
remain the top weapon, Coach Frank
Solich said he expected to run fewer
options against Kansas and throw a few
more passing plays into the mix, know
ing KU’s use of multiple defensive
fronts and the past passing successes
NU has had against the Jayhawks.
The latest big passing game against
KU was Scott Frost’s 254-yard, three
touchdown performance in 1996.
Solich said he knows KU will run
Haafke has displayed that kind
of mentality since he was recruited
as a walk-on out of South Sioux
City High School, Brown said.
His poise especially showed
last spring, Brown said, when
Haafke learned he would begin his
senior season ranked fourth on the
As a junior in 1997, Haafke
played in eight games and was
used primarily as a blocker in third
and fourth quarters of games that
were already under control.
“He came back this year, and
he had the odds against him a little
bit,” Brown said. “A lot of guys
would have wilted at that point.
“He fought back. It was like,
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