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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 6, 2000)
I admit it. I thought you
were blowing smoke when you
said this me- ■ zr " i
team was 1
better than 1
tasi year s
wasn’t your Christopherson
such false optimism. You just
took one too many Kim
Behrends spikes to the head.
I wanted somebody to whis
per the news to you.... “Psssst.
Hey Coach Cook, Nancy
Meendering is redshirting. Sweet
16 and seeya’lata’.
Psssst... Loach, you have a
completely new staff. It’s a
I figured you got the memo.
Obviously, you didn’t.
It seems that somewhere
between here and a trip to
China, you got this crazy idea
that this team can compete with
anyone in the country.
Correction. You don't just
think they can compete.
You seem pretty confident
that this team can beat anybody
when the machine has enough
Penzoil in it.
So I checked into your story.
And after setting up a few of
your career numbers and
bumping a few variables
around, I found out that you
were a winner.
You won the state champi
onship of the high school team
you coached in California,
You’ve been an assistant
coach on the men’s Olympic
team, aiding the Yanks to a
You took down a few crib
notes as an assistant to Coach
Terry Pettit, the man who built
Nebraska volleyball to what it is
today. Not a bad tutor.
Heck, you grabbed a cheese
head and took the University of
Wisconsin volleyball program
from obscurity to the regional
finals twice out of the seven
years you coached there.
But when you told us that
this new-look team is miles
ahead of last year’s Sweet 16
team, some Nebraska fans were
left scratching their heads.
They need not scratch any
more. Coach, you have a real
good team, a Top 5 team.
But then again, you told
people that a long time ago.
It was Saturday’s Colorado
State match that showed the
fiber this team was made of.
Your team was taken to the
woodshed in the first game.
It would have been easy for
Nebraska to throw in the towel
Please see COOK on 11
Huskers' running game back in action
Husker l-back Dan Alexander rumbles for some of his 208 yards Saturday. NU amassed 505 yards on the ground, its highest single game mark in four seasons.
■ The 208-yard career-high record for Dan
Alexander helped pave the way for Nebraska
to trample SJSU for 505 total ground yards.
Amid the Notre Dame talk, Heisman Ttophy
buzz filled the air at Nebraska football’s weekly
press conference on Hiesday.
That came as little surprise to anyone, con
sidering the fan and media obsession with the
award, the Huskers’ No. 1 ranking and last
Saturday’s explosive, 596-yard offensive output
in a49-13 stomping of San Jose State.
What was surprising was not only who the
boldest Heisman comment came from, but who
it was about
NU Coach Frank Solich had plenty of high
praise for early candidate quarterback Eric
Crouch, who was coming off a four-touchdown
But when asked about starting running back
Dan Alexander - who has received little national
praise and close to zero Heisman hype in his four
years at NU - Solich, usually subdued on topics
like this, offered quite a promotion.
“He’s right at the top of my list,” Solich said
without a hint of kidding. “After the first game, in
terms of yards per carry and total number of
yards, he better be at the top of all kinds of lists.”
Alexander’s career-high 208 yards leads the
nation, was the first 200-yard performance in
the Solich era and broke All-American Bobby
Reynolds’ 50-year-old NU record for yards in a
season opener. It was also just the fifth time a
Husker had rushed for200yards in fewer than 20
But it wasn’t just Alexander who wowed the
nation Saturday. The highly rated beefcake
offensive line opened plenty of holes, and other
running backs found them.
In fact, the entire Husker ground game,
which since the Solich era began in 1998 has
been suspect to injury and speculation that it
isn’t the same invincible crew that gave oppos
ing defenses nightmares in the mid-1990s, had
auite a coming-out Dartv.
“I definitely think the I-backs are back,”
Along with Alexander, backup I-back Condi
Buckhalter ran for 117 yards on just 13 carries,
Crouch gained 57 on eight carries, and fullback
Willie Miller rushed six times for 51 yards.
The505 ground yards shattered die record by
39 yards, with an average of 8.4 yards per carry.
“We have a unique group of running backs,
and all of them have shown they can be power
ful,” Solich said. “That includes (Crouch). We
consider him a running back, too.”
In fact, last year, Crouch was the first NU
quarterback to lead the team in rushing in 44
years. But was that because of his abilities, or just
weaknesses in the running-back core?
NU won nine national rushing tides and fin
ished in the top three in all but ohe year of
Solich’s stint as running backs coach from 1983
97. However, in the last two years, the Huskers
saw their two worst rushing seasons since the
pass-happy team of 1976.
Alexander and Buckhalter have been the top
two backs and have batded inexperience, injury
and most of all fumbling problems. Last year,
NU led the nation with 49 fumbles, 25 lost.
Now, especially after Saturday, it seems the
backs are carrying the load the way Nebraska
backs are expected to - especially when looking
at one statistic: zero fumbles.
“Last year, it might have been a freakish kind
of thing, or maybe it became a psychological
thing, and it started to snowball a bit,” said third
year Running Backs Coach Dave Gillespie, "and
Id be surprised if that trend continues this year.”
The I-backs’ problems put the weight on
Crouch’s shoulders, which may prove unbear
able if the trend continues. Crouch isn’t worried.
"There’s a big difference about how these
/ guys feel this year compared to how they felt last
I year,” Crouch said. “That’s just a confidence level
and believing in themselves. It's great knowing I
Please see BACKS on 11
NU rolling after weekend victories
a kill during a
Oral Roberts at
BY SEAN CALLAHAN
Confidence can travel a long
During the preseason,
Comhusker volleyball Coach John
Cook didn’t think his team was
good, he knew they were.
This weekend, Cook’s young,
inexperienced squad finally had a
chance to prove to the critics they
are for real.
With Saturday’s 3-1 decision
over No. 7 Colorado State the No. 4
ranked Huskers (4-0) went on to
destroy a helpless Tulsa, Okla.,
Oral Roberts team on Monday 3
Sophomore middle hitter
Amber Holmquist thought this
weekend showed that the Huskers
are in the hunt for the National
Championship. The fact they have
championship aspirations shows
Cook is a great motivater, she said.
“From hearing it from him we
started to get more confident as a
team,” Holmquist said. “His confi
dence in us to perform at that high
a level helped us gain confidence.”
One of the players that had to
step up this weekend for NU was
senior Angie Oxley.
With senior All-American
Nancy Meendering redshirting
this season, Oxley was given some
big shoes to fill.
Against CSU, Oxley met the
challenge when she recorded a
triple double with 15 kills, 12 digs
and 10 blocks.
Oxley attributes much of the
success she and her teammates
had this weekend to the confi
dence Cook instilled in them early
“Coach Cook is all about being
physical and aggressive,” Oxley
said. “If you make mistakes, make
them aggressively, not passively.”
Cook said he was happy with
his team's performance this week
end. There’s always room for
improvement, though, he said.
“Colorado State stressed us in
a lot of ways on what we need to
work on for our team,” Cook said.
“We let somebody get 30 kills
against us. We can’t let that hap
pen. Some of the rhythm of our
attack needs to improve.
Defensively the play of our middle
back has to be much better. We
need to start digging more balls.”
Oxley was on the same page as
“We have ton’s more of
improvement we can make. If
everything goes right we can go all
] A week-long series
devoted to taking
at Notre Dame ***
Notre Dame, Huskers
share similar history
BY DAVID DIEHL
Tim Brown and Johnny Rodgers. Joe Montana and Tommie Frazier.
Knute Rockne and Tom Osborne.
Notre Dame and Nebraska.
In over a century of college football, both schools have established
themselves as two historically celebrated football programs, gaining fan
following and support nationwide.
Both Nebraska and Notre Dame football programs contain many
similarities - among other things, their histories and fanfare. Amid these
similarities are stark differences that define each school’s standings in a
Checking the History Books
The Irish and Comhuskers have co-existed in college football for 104
years, and Saturday’s meeting in South Bend will mark the 15th time the
two will clash and the first since the 1973 Orange Bowl. Notre Dame leade
the series 7-6-1.
Through the 100-plus years, both teams have staked a claim to
national prominence from the records, legends, players and personnel
representing each school.
Please see NOTRE DAME on 11
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