The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, August 31, 2000, Page 10, Image 10

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NU's Adams
quiet but
In a Nebraska football camp,
where 400 kids become a maze of
40-yard dash times, swim moves
and free T-shirts,
first impressions
last. And
Demoine Adams
wasn’t about to
flunk his debut
NU Rush
Ends Coach
Nelson Barnes Samuel
was impressed. „„
There was the
speed. The ever
running motor.
Strong instincts. And, well, there
was the speed again. Again and
again and again.
But Barnes couldn’t help
noticing a problem. Not with
Adams’ work ethic, or his drill
work. Adams just looked... sick.
“It got to the point when, after
one of the sessions, Demoine was
just out of gas, just sick,” Barnes
said of the sophomore starting his
first game at rush end Saturday
against San Jose State. ”1 went over
to see what was wrong with him,
and he wouldn’t say what his
problem. I finally got it out of him.
“He was having an asthma
attack through the whole thing.”
You begin to notice this pat
tern with the 6-foot-2, 235
pounder. Thoughtful, business
like, tough to a fault. And
reserved, both in a small volume
of words and tone of voice. What
Adams speaks, it’s worth listening.
Hefc deemed it worth saying.
An asthma attack-not so bad
that itfc worth complaining about.
Apparently, neither was the left
knee injury Adams tried not to
report when he arrived in his first
season. He hid it as long as he
could, he said, until the coaches
spotted it, and he coughed up the
truth, leading to arthroscopic sur
gery and a redshirt in 1998.
And if injuries are worth
toughing out, it doesn't bode well
for TV cameras and notebooks.
Until now, the native of Pine
Bluff, Ark., hasn't seen die point
With the media, that is.
Comhusker beat reporters enjoy
the idea of the scoop on the next
big fish in die red pond. In spot
action last season behind Aaron
Wills, Adams showed flashes of
the show he hoped to put on this
season, so the media cast out die
worm And Adams swam away.
l was just trying to stay
focused,” Adams said. “I was just
getting playing time and every
thing. I didn’t want to get too
caught up in the media.”
So Adams “evaluated” how
he'd talk to the media
"1 don’t want to start talking
and land in controversy," he said.
“I feel more comfortable than
people think about talking.
Sooner or later, once I started get
ting more playing time. I’d have to
start talking to the media.”
Which means Adams is ready
after earning the starting job after
two-a-day practices. His quiet act
in the media has allowed him to
nab the slot with relative obscuri
ty. Notice, too, in a depth chart lit
tered with “and” and “or” at sever
al positions, Adams is alone as the
top left rush end.
Behind him are three equally
untested and talented players
who all had their shot of winning
the job, Barnes said, and couldn't
surpass Adams in workouts.
When he received his Blackshirt
last Monday, he expected that a
few other rush ends would, too.
But Barnes has two rush ends
positions to filL Itoo Blackshirts.
ands or buls,” Barnes said. “ThereSs
nothing next to his name. Hell be
the first in there. HeSs earned it"
Adams hears that and
responds with an smile, a shrug
and a guarantee that backups
Chris Kelsay, Justin Smith and J.P
Wichmann are just as capable. It’s
likely, Adams said, that ail four will
see time against SJSU Saturday.
And wien you re out there,
you’re a Blackshirt,” Adams said.
That comment is a good mark
of Adams, brought up “sir” and
“ma’am” school of manners,
along with the balancing of
school and sports, as he expects to
graduate in three years with a
degree in political science
He rattles off these academic
goals with an air of accomplish
ment that suggests the “shy” tag
has been unfairly placed. Adams
isn't introverted, Barnes said, just
measured with words and goals.
“You never have a problem
with Demoine," Barnes said. “He's
always ready to go, every play,
every down.”
Asthma, or any other obsta
cle^ be damned.
Pre-game rituals help players prepare for game day
Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch
dashes around the left side of the San Jose
State defense and just before being hit by
a Spartan linebacker, pitches it off to a
Husker running back, who scores a
Kicker Josh Brown lines up for a
game-winner against the Spartans from
45 yards out and the kick sails straight
through the uprights.
Joe Walker returns the opening kickoff
of Saturday’s game 101 yards for a touch
down, breaking through four defenders
and juldng the kicker out of his shoes.
These Husker heroics haven’t hap
pened-yet. But the three NU players and
most of their teammates will have per
formed similar feats thousands of times
in their minds by 11:30 a.m. Saturday, the
beginning of the 2000 season.
From the moment they are awakened
on a Saturday game day, five to six hours
before kickoff, NU players turn to visuali
zation techniques to prepare for that
day’s game.
“I would say that the mental aspects
are a good 95 percent of what I do,” Brown
Thinking about the game is what the
Huskers are taught to do.
Team psychologist Jack Stark distrib
utes weekly tapes to the players in the
hope that peak performance can be
achieved at the exact time the ball is
The players said the tapes helped
them to clear their minds so they can
concentrate on their assignments.
"It helps the players who have a hard
time getting riled up, get up,” said offen
sive lineman Dave Volk. “And the guys
who have trouble getting too riled up - it
helps calm them down.”
The players are instructed to listen to
certain part of the tapes each night of the
week to the point where Saturday
becomes their peak day for performance.
Coach Frank Solich said the routine
the team goes through helps them focus
and Staik does a good job adapting to var
ious player’s needs.
"There are some individuals who pre
pare differently, and he does a great job
finding them their best way to prepare,”
said Solich, who puts his team up in a
Please see RITUALS on 9
Husker freshman pitcher Peaches James (right) and sophomore outfielder IQm Ogee joke around during practice on Wednesday.
The Huskers are busy preparing for a fal season that indudes two tournaments in late September and early October. During the
fal,NU is looking to buld on last part 52 wins* a school reconi and a sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. To do so, they
must replace AK-Amerkan hurler Jenny ¥oss. James, a highly touted recruit is expected to help fW the void.
Swiney is marked
man in secondary
■Thesophomore comerback
is ready for action againafter
being absent nearly two years.
Replacing an All-American
at your position is tough
enough. Playing for the first
time in almost two years after
coming back from medical
hardship certainly makes life
tougher. ,
Then you flip open Sports
niustrated’s college football pre
view issue, in which an anony
mous coach singled you out as
the guy to pick on if you want
your offense to beat Nebraska.
Such is the life of NU right
comerback Erwin Swiney as he
prepares for a rude awakening
to die gridiron this season.
Tm expecting a lot of teams
to come throwing at me,”
Swiney said. "They know that I
haven’t been out there, and they
probably feel I'm the weaker
corner. That’s going to test me
right away, and that’s better for
It will be a stem test right off
the bat San Jose State threw for
249 yards per game last season.
Sure, Swiney’s backfield
teammates - Keyou Craver,
Dion Booker, Clint Finley and
Joe Walker - are now proven vet
erans, which alleviates some
worries about replacing Ralph
Brown and fellow All-American
Mike Brown.
Sure, the Lincoln Northeast
standout has solid experience
-starting 13 games at left cor
nerback and was third on the
team in pass breakups with 13 in
What might worry George
Darlington and NU fans this
year are the passes Swiney didn’t
break up and the ones he got
burned on.
Like the third-and-18 bomb
Randy McCown threw to Chris
Taylor for an 81-yard touch
down to send Texas A&M on its
way to an upset
Or any of the bombs Troy
Edwards caught in his record
breaking performance for
Louisiana Tech. Or, despite
mostly decent coverage, any
Kevin Lockett catch in the
Kansas State loss.
But Darlington said he was
not as worried as history might
make him.
“Erwin played hurt most of
the time,’’ Darlington said. "And
that made it especially difficult
on him. Now, thankfully, he's
100 percent and ayear older and
has improved.”
Swiney had sqrgery after the
1999 spring game to repair
abdominal muscles, a problem
that had bothered him since his
arrival at NU.
After that, he went on the
same rehabilitation program
former NU running back
DeAngelo Evans was on. He
performed precise exercises in
the NU gymnastics facility and
spent countless hours in the
whirlpool. When he realized the
recovery process was stalling,
Swiney decided to take die red
“He’s a fighter,” Craver said.
"He handled it very well and
very maturely, and I think it will
pay off during the season.”
What impressed Darlington
the most was Swiney's perform
ance on die scout team.
“That gave me a good per
spective,” Swiney said. "I was on
the sidelines during the games,
but I learned a lot just by watch
Swiney not only took note of
the pristine play of the Browns,
but also noticed the frequency
at which teams threw in then
Please see SWINEY on9
Husker volleyball welcomes new coaches
Here comes
the Lincoln
Much debate and consider
able anticipation ended
Wednesday afternoon with a
proclamation by the president of
Lincoln’s new minor league team.
“We have just
let die dogs out in
Lincoln, NE,”
Lincoln Pro
President Charlie Meyer pro
claimed on Wednesday.
With that, it was official. The
Northern League Baseball fran
chise in Lincoln will be known as
the Saltdogs.
“We feel we have a very
unique and appropriate name for
our Northern League baseball
team,” Meyer said. “Salt certainly
has a historic place in Lincoln his
tory, referring to the salt basin
area where the city was estab
lished. And we feel (fogs fit in with
our whole fon and family atmos
phere that we want our fans to
experience when they come out
to the ballpark.”
The team colors will indude
navy blue, red and goldThe mas
Please see SALTDOiS on 9
The Nebraska Athletic
Department surely plopped
down a few extra dollars into the
volleyball program going into this
There was the expense of
practice gear and all the materials
that go along with running a
highly touted volleyball program.
But maybe Bill Byrne should
have forked over some athletic
department green to purchase
some name tags and get-to-know
you worksheets for the team,
coaches and fans.
There’s a new look coaching
staff sitting the sidelines this sea
son for NU, as first-year Head
Coach John Cook tabbed Staci
Wolfe and Craig Skinner as his
assistant coaches.
Cook is no fresh face, having
served as an assistant to long
time Head CoachIferry Petitt. But
Wolfe and Skinner had no con
nection to the NU volleyball pro
gram before being offered assis
tants’ positions.
Despite their lack of Big Red
background, neither Wolfe nor
Skinner pondered the decision of
coming to Lincoln to assist the
No. 6 team in the country for too
“It’s probably the Cadillac of
volleyball programs,” Skinner
said. “So it wasn’t a very tough
decision when John asked me to
come back and join him.”
Skinner had assisted with
Cook at Wisconsin from 1994-96,
as the Badgers climbed to nation
al prominence under their direc
“He brings great familiarity,
having coached with me for three
years at Wisconsin,” Cook said of
Skinner. “He’s excellent in the
gym and he can pretty much train
any position.”
Nebraska’s top assistant
coach, Staci Wolfe, is familiar
with excellence as well.
Cook stole Wolfe from the
University of Florida, another
big-time volleyball program,
after five-years as an assistant
coach for the Gators.
Wolfe is also not new to the
NU Coliseum, where she played
at four times as a swing hitter for
Colorado from 1991-94, leading
the Buffaloes to the Big Eight
Tournament Championship in
“I am here because it’s
Nebraska volleyball, and a
chance to be a part of this pro
gram,” Wolfe said. “I wasn’t going
to leave Florida for just any
opportunity though.”
But Wolfe said coaching at
Nebraska was a “golden opportu
nity” for her.
“What Coach Pettit left us
here is quite an opportunity and
it doesn’t come around but once
inalifetime. I just happened to be
Steven Bexter/DN
Assistant Coaches StadWoHe and Craig Skinner work with the NUvoNeyfaaN team
and Skfamer joined the voieytoal program in March after coming from Bal State last
year. WoHe Joined the team after coaching at Florida last year.
at the right place at the right
Cook said Wolfe seemed to fit
the mold of what he was looking
for in an assistant coach.
“I really liked the way she
related with the Florida team. I
like her presence in recruiting
and she provides a female on staff
that the players can relate too,”
Cook said.
The new assistants have
grown on the players as well, with
the introductory aide of the
team's summer trip to China.
“They have been very posi
tive. They're very encouraging
toward us,” junior outside hitter
Kim Behrends said.
“As a team, we’re just having
fun and I think we play better
when we’re looser.’’
The move by both coaches to
join Cook at Nebraska appears to
be paying off.
“Athletically, and with its
potential, this team has a chance
Please see ASSISTANTS on9