Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 28, 1999)
Page 10 Tuesday, September 28,1999
Raiola brings intensity to trenches
role for Huskers
By Samuel McKewon
Senior staff writer
Nebraska offensive lineman Dave
Volk understands the question as it
has been posed to him: Give his best
Dominic Raiola “intense” story.
But Volk is taking his time.
There’s no one moment that stands
out above another when considering
the mentality of the sophomore NU
Raiola is all-intense, all the time.
“Geez, where do we start?” Volk
said. “Anytime we’re in the weight
room and he doesn’t get his last rep,
or anytime he doesn’t make his
assignment in practice. Or anytime.
He’s pretty much the same level,
That s the way Volk likes it. With
senior guard Jason Schwab out for the
season, Raiola has assumed a leader
ship role, along with captain Adam
Julch, in the trenches, an area of the
field where the Cornhuskers have
gathered some heat already this sea
Despite paving the way for just
114 and 119 rushing yards in the two
games vs. California and Southern
Mississippi, Raiola insisted the NU
line was in fine shape - just a few
blocks away from big yards - and they
proved it with a 333-yard rushing out
put in a 40-10 victory over Missouri.
“Our running production isn’t
what we want it to be,” Raiola said.
“But you see guys making plays on
films - guys getting after things, fin
NEBRASKA SOPHOMORE CENTER Dominic Raiola has the opportunity to become one of the finest centers in Husker
history, according to Offensive Line Coach Milt Tenopir.
If there’s one element of the game
where Raiola excels, NU Offensive
Line Coach Milt Tenopir said, it’s in
his finishing ability. That takes tenac
ity, which Raiola has plenty of.
A native of Honolulu, Hawaii,
Raiola spent his first season, 1997, as
a redshirt, learning the offensive sys
tem and one of the more difficult
positions on the line - center. The red
shirt season allowed Raiola to play on
the scout team, where he learned
“I take this stuff seriously,” Raiola
said. “I take it for the team and for
myself. I look back on Jason Peter and
Grant Wistrom and how they did it
when I was on the scout team. Their
motor was going 100 miles per hour
even on Monday, even in half pads.
“I knew then I couldn’t be half
intense, half the time. It had to be all
That suits Tenopir just fine.
“He’s like we like ’em,” Tenopir
said. “The quality of intensity is very
difficult to teach. He’s certainly a guy
that’s going to go to the whistle.
Sometimes a little after the whistle.
But he’s learned to control that a little
But not always. Raiola’s fierce
demeanor boils over occasionally. He
has picked two personal fouls this
season, including one against
Missouri for a late hit. Raiola says
he’s a “perfectionist” and wants to
make zero mistakes, but sometimes it
just can’t be helped.
It’s easy to see in an interview,
when Raiola’s motor isn’t running full
speed but is definitely still on. His leg
bobs up and down constantly, he fid
gets in the chair, leaning forward,
leaning backward. He smacks his
right fist into his left hand, then
switches hands without noticing. He’s
In the trenches,
though, its just pure
hate. There s pulling
and scratching and
eye gouging and
whatever you ve got
to do to get the job
not the kind of person who would
have done well in a grocery store
shopping cart as a kid.
Occasionally, Raiola gets the
knock of being a dirty player, which
he doesn’t agree with, but doesn’t
vehemently deny, either.
“I don’t think I am,” Raiola said.
“I never try to intentionally hurt
someone out there.
“In the trenches, though, it’s just
pure hate. There’s pulling and
scratching and eye gouging and what
ever you’ve got to do to get the job
So far this season, Tenopir said,
Raiola’s been up to the challenge,
both in terms of his own play and in
being an emotional catalyst for oth
ers. He’s not a bad recruiting tool,
Being from Hawaii, Raiola has
helped create recruiting inroads to the
Aloha State, which has proved fertile
for interior lineman recently. Last
season, the Huskers were able to lure
Please see RAIOLA on 11
No. 2 back records
1st 100-yard game
By Brandon Schulte
At one time it was shocking for a
Nebraska running back not to
eclipse 100 yards on the ground in a
With the likes of Ahman Green,
Lawrence Phillips, Derek Brown
and Calvin Jones at the featured run
ning position in the 1990s, going
over the century mark was a com
mon occurrence every week.
So far this season, a back going
over that mark has been anything but
common. Until the Missouri game
Saturday, it had been five games
(against Iowa State last year) since
an I-back had eclipsed the mark.
I-back Correll Buckhalter
became the first NU player to gain
100 yards in a game this season in
the balanced offensive attack.
Coach Frank Solich said
Buckhalter brought several dimen
sions to the ground attack.
' “He showed great tough running
inside and was able to get die tough
yardage when it was needed,” Solich
• said. “He also showed a lot of move
ment and the ability to make the big
play. That was great to see for our
football team and for Correll as
Against the Tigers, Buckhalter
ran 14 times for 132 yards and a
touchdown. For the game, the I-back
Any time we have a
long run, we take
some satisfaction in
NU running backs coach
position combined to rush for 195 of
Nebraska’s 333 yards on the ground.
More important than the rushing
totals was the big-play potential dis
played by Buckhalter, NU Running
Backs Coach Dave Gillespie said,
which was something the running
backs had been missing so far this
year. In the third quarter, Buckhalter
had the longest run by a back this
season - a 57-yard ramble.
Gillespie said he hoped that long
run signified what is yet to come
from the position.
“Any time we have a long run,
we take some satisfaction in the run,”
Gillespie said. “I’m glad it happened
for Correll and for our football team.
But we can’t be so excited about it
that we forget about how we did it.
We want to have more of those.”
Part of Buckhalter’s and the rest
Please see BACKS on 11
Tiger game brings out sincere apologies
I admit it: I was a non-believer. I
was sure that the 1999 Comhuskers,
much like the team that immediately
preceded them, were not capable of
reaching the standards placed on
them by the Big Red faithfiil.
I tried to warn everyone.
“Nebraska is not going to win 10
games,” I explained to my zealot
friends as they stared sadly at the
“Texas and Texas A&M are not
only going to beat the Huskers, they
are going to beat them bad,” I offered
as I paid the Kwik Shop employee
dressed in official Husker gear.
“Hey, look at the bright side,” I
chirped as I consoled a despondent
Husker fan after the Southern Miss
game. “I hear the trip to Hawaii for
the Aloha Bowl is a fantastic one.”
And, high atop my soapbox, I pro
duced this little gem for my fellow
students in Political Science 100
when asked for my
Missouri/Nebraska prediction (after
all, I am an expert -1 write sports for
the Daily Nebraskan): “I’m sorry, but
Missouri is going to win, guys. I’m
sure of it.”
Damn, I hate being wrong.
Not just about Missouri - about
all of it. I retract all negative state
ments I may have made to you about
the current Nebraska team. Please
accept my sincerest apologies
Saturday night, the Huskers
forced me to believe. I think my con
version came at some point in the
third quarter, when I realized that the
offensive line was dominating
Missouri. Those holes were big
enough for not only Correll
Buckhalter, but also his mom, Ruth,
to run through.
Or maybe it was when Eric
Crouch connected with Bobby
Newcombe for a 53-yard scoring
strike. One gets the feeling that these
two might hook up another time or
two and manage to bring even the
most jaded Nebraska fans (me) out of
Actually, it was probably when
Missouri quarterback Kirk Farmer
looked scared enough to pass for the
fourth member of the “Blair Witch
Nebraska’s offense is not always
going to be a beautiful thing to watch.
The duo of Dan Alexander and
Buckhalter isn’t going to make any
body forget about Roger Craig and
Mike Rozier or, for that matter,
It doesn’t really matter all that
much, though. If you haven’t noticed,
the defense is good. Really good. We
are talking legendary here. After four
games, the Blackshirts have given up
30 points, 14 of which were not
scored on the first-team defense.
Every time a Nebraska opponent runs
the football, he can expect an average
of 1.2 yards per carry and 36.8 yards
Yes, Nebraska still has much to
prove against tougher competition.
After all, the Tigers on the field
Saturday looked like they hailed from
the University of Pacific, not Mizzou.
But there are signs that we may
have passed judgment a little quickly.
If the defense continues to dominate
as it should, and if Crouch throws the
ball well enough to keep defenses
honest, who knows?
That Oct. 23 trip to Texas still
looks ominous. When coupled with
the fact that winning the Big 12 North
guarantees the Huskers nothing but
another date with either the
Longhorns or Aggies, the chances of
an undefeated regular season seem
High atop my soapbox, I will
offer this, though: Nebraska has a
It isn’t a great one, or even a good
one, but it is still a chance. You non
believers left out there, jump
onboard. There’s room for everyone.
I’ll be there, too, if that helps. At least
until the Oklahoma State game.
Matthew Hansen is a sophomore
news-editorial major and a Daily
Nebraskan staff writer.
Powered by Open ONI