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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 6, 2000)
Notre Dame coach admits he admires, copies Nebraska I
BY JOSHUA CAMENZISP
Notre Dame Coach Bob Davie
sees in Nebraska what he is striv
ing for with his own team.
after the No.
1 - r a n k e <
and he said he has taken into con
sideration some of the things NU
has done when looking to make
his program better.
"They have done a great job of
continuity on their staff and they
do a great job developing players,”
said Davie, whose team won its
first game in 10 months when it
beat Texas A&M 24-10 on
Davie also admitted to show
ing his team the NU/Tennessee
Fiesta Bowl game tape.
“After watching them play
against Tennessee, you can see
that Nebraska is a heck of a foot
ball team and a heck of a football
program,” he said.
“If you want to raise the bar as
a football team, you raise that bar
by comparing yourself to
Nebraska. I felt that strongly after
watching them in that bowl game.
I think that would be unanimous
across the country with college
football coaches, and that is why
they were preseason No. 1.”
Davie, whose team lost 38-14
to Tennessee in 1999, said he was
very impressed with Nebraska’s
31-21 victory over the Volunteers
Notre Dame’s offensive and
defensive schemes relate closely
The 25th-ranked Irish’s top
quarterback, Amaz Battle, is a fast
option quarterback who showed
he could throw the ball a little bit
against Texas A&M.
Battle completed 10-16 passes
for 133 yards and rushed for 50
yards on 12 carries. It is this dou
ble threat that makes ND’s offense
similar to Nebraska’s.
Davie said having similar
offenses would help his team pre
pare for the rushing juggernaut
that will invade Notre Dame
Stadium on Sept 9.
“You have to have a plan
against Nebraska,” said Davie,
whose defense gave up 255 yards
to die Aggies.
The Irish coach said some
time in fall camp was devoted to
looking past Texas A&M to
"I wouldn’t say there was a day
out there where we totally devot
ed to Nebraska,” he said. “But
everyday we did some things, and
from a defensive standpoint, our
offense does some things like
Nebraska. So it wasn’t like we had
to totally shift gears.
“Just about in every practice
we did some things like Nebraska.
I am not sure we did it quite as well
as Nebraska, but we tried to do
All things said, Davie is not
jumping for joy about the thought
of facing NU's offense, which
racked up 596 total yards in their
first game of the season.
“They have a tremendous
offense,” he said. “They give you a
lot of formations and there is
always the threat of option -
which they can take it to the house
on you at any time. They throw it
when they want to throw it, not
when they have to throw it There
is a big difference. When you can
do that, there is always the chance
for big plays.
“There is not a college football
coach in the country that would
say they are one-dimensional or
would be real excited about play
As much as Davie respects
Nebraska, he said a lot more goes
into developing a winning tradi
tion like NU’s than just mimicking
what the Comhuskers do.
“We don’t have to do every
thing like Nebraska to be success
ful,” he said. "But certainly they
have raised the bar for people
around this country.
“Keeping coaches in the pro
gram entails a lot of things.
Keeping players in the program
entails a lot of things. Being pro
ductive on the field entails a lot of
Notre Dame’s new tradition
may have begun last Saturday
Davie emphasized that the
opening win gave a big boost to
his team’s confidence. But he
knows that a bigger challenge lies
ahead and his team has only a
week to make the necessary
“We see who is coming up
next and look at the tape and
know that there are a lot of things
we have to do better to have a
chance,” he said.
Pitcher trio to replace Voss
Life is peachy on the
University of Nebraska softball
team this fall with the help of
freshmen pitcher Peaches James.
All-American pitcher Jenny
Voss is gone, but the Huskers
hope that James, a highly-touted
recruit from Papillion-Lavista,
can step in and help fill the void
left by the graduation ofVoss.
“Peaches is making a tremen
dous transition from high school
ball to the college level,” said
Coach Rhonda Revelle.
Peaches enters her freshman
year at Nebraska after an impres
sive high school career. James led
Papillion-Lavistar to a state cham
pionship last year and also was
honored as an all-state selection.
Revelle said all positions,
including the pitching rotation,
have yet to be decided.
Junior Leigh Ann Walker is the
top returning pitcher, along with
seniors Penny Cope and Lori
Tschannen. Walker was a second
team All-American last season,
while the other two were solid
yjlie umig id iui auic, joined
will see playing time this spring.
“Peaches is a great athlete,”
Revelle said "She will see the field
a lot either as a pitcher or an out
James knows the time to grow
up is now.
"I know that when I play, I
need to play like the seniors play. I
can’t play like a freshmen,” James
James isn’t the only Husker
using the fall as a stepping stone.
The softball team is working
hard in the off season after a dis
appointing loss to Arizona in the
finals of the NCAA Regional
Tournament. Nebraska is also
looking to build on last season’s
school record of 52 wins.
"Our motto this year is getting
it done in 2001,” said Walker.
“And that’s what we plan on
NU will see its first fall action
at Augustana College in Souix
Falls, S.D., on Sept 30.
The softball team opens their
spring season Feb. 9 at the
Arizona State tournament.
Running game takes off again
BACKS from page 12
can count on any one of those
Especially Alexander, whose
245-pound size and bull strength
made him a hot fullback and I
back item when recruited. But
throughout his career he has been
scrutinized for two things: his
ball-control problems and his
But Alexander rushed for
more than 100 yards in four big
games last year - Texas, Texas
A&M, Colorado (season-high 180)
and Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl.
Last Saturday he showed a greater
f array of moves than in the past,
according to Husker coaches.*
Buckhalter, who has also been
criticized as not living up to the
NU I-back mystique, has also
been underrated, Gillespie said.
Gillespie also thought die criti
cism of NU not having one domi
nant back is unfair.
“I’m a little surprised at the
attention that Dan and Correll
don’t get on the national scene.
Take Dan's 17 carries and Correll’s
13 carries... most running backs
get 30 carries.
“Whoever would’ve had those
30 carries probably would have
over 300 yards, and they probably
would have gotten a lot more
“I think sometimes a running
back at Nebraska can get over
looked because in our offense, we
do always have a great offensive
line and a tremendous quarter
back. But (the running backs) do
deserve a lot of attention in their
They will get attention
Saturday in a nationally televised
game for the ages and for the rest
of the season as title contenders.
As for the newfound Heisman
watch that Solicit gave him, and
the much brighter light he’ll be
under if he keeps his current pace
up, Alexander isn't celebrating
after one solid game.
“I can’t express how much
Coach Solich has meant to me,”
Alexander said. “Him saying that
peps me up. But I want to go out
there everyday and say, ‘Thanks,
coach,’ play hard, play great and
earn that respect everyday. I’m not
worried about the Heisman tro
phy and all that silliness.”
NU, ND have common goals,different results
NOTRE DAME from page 12 .
“The tradition in both programs is outstanding," Nebraska Coach
Frank Solich said. “Notre Dame has a rich history in college football
when you talk about coaches, teams, awards received."
The national championship rings tell the story.
Notre Dame has collected eight AP national titles, and before 1936,
when the AP poll began, the Domers won three more consensus cham*
pionships. Notre Dame’s latest title came on the shoulders of quarter
back lb ny Rice and running back Ricky Waters in 1988. i
Nebraska has five trophies to ND’s 11. While the majority of the Irish
tides came before the Eisenhower administration, NU has won its
respective crowns in the last 30 years, with three coming in the last seven
years under former Coach Tom Osborne.
“If you want to raise the bar as a football team,” Irish Coach Bob
Davie said, “you raise that bar by comparingyourself to Nebraska.”
That said, Notre Dame has been the historic benchmark for com
paring programs, a benchmark of which NU is worthy.
Notre Dame has seven Heisman Ttophy winners, Nebraska two. The
Fighting Irish have won the most games in NCAA history, 767. NU ranks
third with 743. Nebraska ranks third in all-time winning seasons with 38
ND is tops with 42.
However, NU has the nation’s best record the past three decades,
and its 234 consecutive home sellouts beat Notre Dame’s by 80 games.
Both teams have proven themselves as the upper echelon of foot
ball. Notre Dame’s success has been spread out over the century and
peaked in dynasty-like fashion pre-Vietnam war.
On the contrary, NU has enjoyed success in the latter half of the cen
tury, and especially in the last ten years.
Producing the Rings
Whether it is 11 No. 1 trophies or five, national titles don't win them
selves. Talented players and experienced coaches combine for champi
Developing recruited talent is a major factor in the equation, which
includes molding players from high school to college athletes with the
ilse of a redshirtyear.
Notre Dame and Nebraska utilize different philosophies and ratio
nales for using, or not using as is the case at Notre Dame, a redshirtyear
for their players.
Tun Ridder, a former Creighton Prep standout and guard for the
Irish, 1995-98, said Notre Dame, because of the academic pressures
bestowed among all students, frowned upon redshirting.
“They try to get you to graduate in three and a half to four years,”
Ridder said from South Bend. "You can’t really spread a major across five
A fifth year of education at Notre Dame isn’t a given as it is in Lincoln,
where students re-enroll without re-applying. Notre Dame students
must apply for a fifth year, thus risking denial. This pressures students
into graduating on schedule.
It’s a philosophy that Davie wholeheartedly supports.
“You’ve basically slowed down a redshirt’s learning process,” Davie
"I think at most places what it does is it kind of gives those kids a safe
ty net if they fall behind academically. Here it’s the opposite of that -
you'll be granted a fifth year if, in fact, you’ve taken care of your business
It isn’t the same scenario in Lincoln. However, that doesn’t imply
everyone needs a safety net Bobby Newcombe proved that graduating
in three years.
Newcombe, however, did not redshirt That usually happens when a
player is behind in skill, speed, strength or is at a position with extensive
depth where he wouldn’t play right away.
“The educational aspect doesn’t figure into (redshirting) as much as
Volleyball preseason hype becomes reality
COOK from page 12
After all, the Rams had just
beaten the preseason No. 1
Bruins of UCLA and were brim
ming with confidence.
But you had some fire on the
By the second game, your
fire was passed down like a bad
case of flu throughout your
Nebraska came out with
their Rocky boxing gloves on
and started retaliating.
Some sophomore named
Laura Pilakowski started
pounding kills into the
Coliseum floor, playing like she
owned the joint.
Angie Oxley, Jenny Kropp
and Amber Holmquist built a
brick wall at the net.
Kim Behrends looked miser
able early, but she came back
like a senior is supposed to in
the fourth game, knocking
down five kills with no errors.
Your team rallied to win
deciding games three and four
from 8-2 and 9-1 deficits.
"Chalk it up to the
Coliseum,"the press wags said of
Nebraska’s emotional come
But it wasn't just the aura of
the Coliseum that won the
match. A gym, a crowd, the
familiarity of being at home;
these factors didn't win or lose
the CSU game.
Talent won this game. A
young team had found out how
to get dirty and won a dog fight
in only the third game of the
And all of a sudden, all your
preseason high hopes for this
team made sense.
You have a multiple attack
this year, Coach. Setter
Greichaly Cepero can flip the
ball over to Behrends or
Pilakowski with the game on the
If need be, Oxley would take
a big swing for the team. There's
a trio of weapons at your dispos
Meendering is still the ulti
mate weapon, but the loss of her
services has made this team
explore its’ options.
You relayed an interesting
statistic to the media the other
day. You said Nebraska lost
every match where Meendering
had over 30 kills last season.
Every team knew
Meendering was going to take
the shot with the game on the
Nebraska was predictable.
Colorado State’s Courtney
Cox had 30 kills on Saturday,
while no one from Nebraska did.
Nebraska won. Colorado
State lost. Go figure.
New weapons are being
unveiled, and your team looks
like the real deal early in the sea
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the football aspect,” Solich said.
It’s done to help a player grow, Solich said.
“The mission would be to try to build him in the areas that he needs
to develop to play major college football,” Solich said.
While Notre Dame is stressing academics, Nebraska is no slouch in
that department. NU is the all-time leader in first and second team
Academic All-Americans with 74 selections. Notre Dame has 42 over the
How redshirting affects an education is unclear, but Davie said the
wav Notre Dame handles it is different, doing it "in kind of a reverse way.”
“We don’t waste a player,” Davie said. “If a player doesn’t look like he
can help us as a freshman, we won’t play him to try and save that fifth
year. But there’s no guarantee that he’ll get that year.”
Ridder, who is currently working out for an NFL tryout, did not red
shirt at Notre Dame.
"They're coaxing you through it,” he said. “It's not the easiest of
schools or environments.”
Making A Change
Both programs have undergone changes at the head-coaching posi
tion within the last four years. In '97 and '98 when Nebraska and Notre
Dame made their respective changes, both new coaches replaced insti
The results, however, were drastically different
After Solich moved up through the 19 years in the NU system to
replace 25-year Coach Tom Osborne, the main staff remained ultimate
The transition was made from a national championship season in
Osborne’s last year to a 9-4 record in Solich’s first campaign. A12-1 sea
son followed in 1999, and now NU is poised atop the polls entering
Solich’s third year.
When Davie was promoted from defensive coordinator to replace
the resigned Lou Holtz, the staff was horribly upset Only two members
of the Holtz era remain on the sidelines today.
Linebackers Coach Kirk Doll and Receivers Coach Urban Meyer are
the only holdovers, and Doll has been at ND the longest of any current
coach, six years.
Nebraska has six coaches with at least that much experience and
three with more than 20 years on Big Red sidelines.
“The fact they’ve been able to win the way they have is due to the
coaches,” Davie said. “That’s just something everybody in the country
While Solich’s three years have gone smoothly, Davie has encoun
tered rough seas.
In Davie’s first year he endured a 7-6 record. The .568 winning per
centage was the worst in South Bend since 1986.
“Coach Holtz’s staff had been there a few years," said Ridder, who
played under both coaches. “When Coach Davie came in you could see
the coaches were feeling each other out, seeing how they would all react
in certain situations.”
Since Davie’s inception as coach, seven coaches have arrived with or
after him. The staff has led the Irish to just a 22-16 record since, includ
ing a 5-7 finish last year, South Bend’s worst in 36 years.
Separate but Equal
Both programs have sent hordes of its athletes into pro football -
according to the Notre Dame press guide, over 400 Darners have played
professionally in America.
Nebraska offers no such estimation, but 34 Huskers are on NFL ros
ters according to NU’s press guide. Notre Dame puts their number at 40.
Whatever the number is, Nebraska players talk consistently of the
fan base and praise the NU tradition.
It’s the same way for the Irish.
“I wouldn't trade my four years there for anything,” Ridder said.
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