The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 25, 1999, Page 7, Image 7

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Sam McKewon
will fizzle
I thought it was Salman Rushdie
sitting in the stands at the Lincoln
Lightning press conference last
week. It open to the public, you know.
No, apparently you didn't. I think
the only guys that did know were
Salman (bearded, of course) and his
four friends who managed to sprawl
out over two rows of seats at the
Pershing Coliseum.
The Lightning, the new indoor
football team in Lmcoln, expects to
get more fans than that for its home
opener against Topeka on April 2.
The team's staff, all four of them,
have sold more than 1,500 tickets.
I have never seen indoor football.
I have no ambition to do so. I don't
believe that football is meant to be
played indoors, and that includes a
100-yard field under a dome. But I
sure don’t want to see a “WALL TO
WALL WAR!!!” as the Indoor
Football League promotes it.
But that s just me. 1 m not pro
moting it or shunning it. But I'll tell
you some of the tidbits from the press
conference to sway your decision.
■ This is not arena football.
That's another league. The good one.
This is a new league, spun off from a
guy, Keary Ecklund, who was in a
third league and now owns all eight
teams in this league. The league’s
commissioner might consider own
ing all eight teams a conflict of inter
est. But Ecklund’s the commissioner.
Sounds like the He-Man league I
lorded over as a boy.
■ The team will practice a dozen
times before it plays. A well-oiled
machine it will be, I’m sure.
■ But the team isn’t a bunch of
old men and beer guts. There are
some quality athletes here.
■ The Lightning has one player
who will have a killer nickname:
Charles “Who’s Your” Bodaddy.
■ Games will be played at
Pershing, which has all the charm of a
septic tank. It will be called the
Thunderdome. Oh God.
■ 1 he Lightning has the best logo
and helmet among the eight teams.
This is not an accomplishment. The
Green Bay Bombers have adorned
their team in the ever-popular colors
of puke and pea green.
■ The game will be played by
Canadian rules, with numerous men
in motion. The official rules won’t be
released to the media until Friday.
Until a couple of days ago, the staff of
the Lincoln Lightning didn’t know
how many players were on a side.
In the end, I don’t how the league
will fare. Or the team. It might go for
awhile, but eventually, it’ll fizzle.
Things like this usually do. I hope
Lincoln puts all its concentration in
getting a bona fide professional team,
like minor league baseball. A catch at
the warning track’s better than wall
to-wall war, any day.
Sam McKewon is a junior
news-editorial and political science
major and a Daily Nebraskan
senior editor.
Offense goes stale in loss to KSU
By Adam Klinker
Staff writer
MANHATTAN, Kan. - It was a tale of two halves
for the Nebraska men’s basketball team Wednesday
night in its 62-45 loss to Kansas State.
Two very different halves.
While the Comhuskers were able to stick with
KSU and have a lead for part of the first half, the sec
ond half turned into an offensive nightmare for NU.
Coupled with stingy' Wildcat defense, the Huskers
were held to 17 points in the second after going into
halftime tied at 28.
“We’ve got to play,” NU Coach Danny Nee said.
“If we score 17 points in a half, we can’t beat anybody.
We were just inept offensively.”
The loss dropped the Huskers to 17-12 overall and
9-6 in the Big 12 Conference, falling into a tie for fifth
with Oklahoma State. With Missouri’s win over Iowa
State, the Tigers have the inside track to the No. 4 seed
and a first-round bye in the Big 12 Tournament.
Kansas State 62
The defeat, NU’s third in a row, puts a dent in its
NCAA tourney chances, as well. And the Huskers lost
it in the second half, especially in the final 10 minutes.
In the first 10 minutes of the second half, KSU
scored 9 points, NU 5. But a swift ascent in Wildcat
scoring, saw them build up a 11-point lead and close
out the game with a 25-12 run.
“I thought their defense was excellent,” Nee said.
“And we just didn’t shoot well.”
NU shot 22 percent (6-22) in the second half from
the field and were only 18-55 (.327) for the game.
The only Husker in double figures was Venson
Hamilton with 18 points and 13 rebounds, his 16th
double-double of the season. But he had only 3 points
and three rebounds after halftime.
“I was going down there and getting double
teamed all over,” Hamilton said. “They had a lot of peo
pie on me and I couldn’t move. It was very crowded.”
KSU senior forward Manny Die.; said that was the
plan all along.
“It was probably about as good a haif of defense as
we’ve played all season,” Dies said. “And being senior
night, it over-emphasized that we had to come out and
get it done.”
Dies led all scorers with 19 points, and combined
with fellow seniors Chris Griffin and Ayome May
went on to outscore NU in the second half with 25
points before a crowd of 8,832 in their final game in
Bramlage Coliseum.
“They adjusted in the second half,” Hamilton said.
“They just played outstanding.”
“We were so up for this game,” Wildcats senior
forward Ty Sims said. “It meant so much to us.”
And it meant a lot to the Huskers to lose it. But
while Nebraska’s tourney stock continues to slide, Nee
said the formula for success stays the same.
“We just need to win,” Nee said. “I don't know
what the magic number is or anything; we just have to
Lightning mix of NFL vets, old guys
Rick Townley/DN
A TIMER STARTS for an athlete trying out for the Lincoln
Lightning. About 30 people showed up for the Lincoln
Lightning tryouts on Feb. 16. Each participant had to pay a
$60 fee in order to try out.
Indoor football team
ready to open season
By David Wilson
Staff writer
Not many professional football leagues can pit a 40-year-old
man - who hasn’t seen game action in almost 20 years - against a
20-some-year-old athlete just two years removed from a stint in the
Then again, not many football leagues play inside on a 50-yard
field enclosed by 48-inch walls.
Beyond that, well, the official rules of the Indoor Football
League, which include? the Lincoln Lightning, won’t be released to
It 11 be easy to play
defense here -
there s no room to
Dwayne Harris
Lightning defensive lineman
the media until rnday, but
the players and coaches
will say they’ll be ready by
the inaugural season’s
opening day.
The Lightning will
open its season by playing
host to the Topeka Knights
on April 2 in the Pershing
Auditorium - dubbed the
“Thunder Dome.”
The Lightning roster is
highlighted by six former
Nebraska football players,
including quarterback
Monte Christo, numerous other players from around the state and a
handful of out-of-state athletes. Some are looking for a stepping
stone to the next level; others just want to play ball.
“I thought about it and said, ‘It couldn’t be that bad,”’ said
Dwayne Harris, a 6 foot-1, 240-pound defensive lineman who
played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996.
Harris’ friend, while working at Old Chicago in Lincoln, told
Lightning Head Coach Vem Thomsen of Harris’ whereabouts. A
phone call and a tryout later and Harris, a former Comhusker, land
ed himself a $200-per-game contract with the Lightning.
“It’ll be easy to play defense here - there’s no room to escape,”
said Harris, looking up from the floor of the Pershing. “I don’t think
Please see LIGHTNING on 8
LEROY HARRIS, 33, leaps for the vertical jump test at Lincoln Lightning tryouts. Harris,
33, is a certified personal trainer. When he was in high school he was told he could never
make it playing football, but he said, “Now is my chance to show what I’ve really got.”