Nebraska Football: Best and Worst of the Huskers' Offseason
Nebraska is a school that is known for one sport in particular: football.
The 2012 offseason was one in which the team needed to improve on an already solid 9-4 record last season. However, the Capital One Bowl left a sour taste in the mouths of Husker nation, losing to South Carolina in a lopsided game.
Every team has offseason news that is either good or bad—that holds true for the Huskers as well. After a season in which they joined a new conference and had to deal with adjusting and learning the new teams, they look to only get better from here.
I am going to take a look at the three best and three worst stories of the offseason thus far.
Spring Game Cancelled
With all of the anticipation and preparation for Nebraska's 2012 Spring Game, the cancellation of this event was a huge disappointment for everyone.
Inclement weather forced the event to be cancelled without a reschedule date. The spring game is the benchmark on which a team is to be evaluated by fans and coaches for the entire offseason. This is the biggest event related to football that happens between January and August.
Head coach Bo Pelini told Huskers.com, "It's disappointing, it's disappointing for the players who I know look forward to this day and it's disappointing for the fans, but what are you going to do? I think the right decision was made, they made the right call."
For this event to be called off and the fans to miss out on an opportunity to see their team scrimmage each other for the first time is nothing short of disappointing.
Rex Burkhead Wins 2012 Champion Award
Rex Burkhead could very well be the best running back in the Big Ten behind Wisconsin's Montee Ball. The First team All-Big Ten back was named the 2012 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion.
This award is given to an athlete who has been an inspiration for a person with a rare disease. According to Huskers.com, Burkhead received the award for inspiring Jack Hoffman, a young fan who has been battling a rare disease. Hoffman looked up to Burkhead while battling cancer.
This is a huge positive for Rex Burkhead and the entire university as a whole. This shows that Nebraska isn't just an athletically gifted school, but a school who cares about the community.
Rex Burkhead and Nebraska should be very honored to hoist this award for their participation in the community, especially by helping a young fan overcome such an obstacle as brain cancer.
Alfonzo Dennard Arrested
Although Alfonzo Dennard is now a former Husker, he still represents the university. This offseason was not good to the young cornerback trying to make it in the NFL.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, Dennard was arrested five days before the NFL Draft for suspicion of assaulting a police officer. Dennard allegedly attacked a police officer after he was involved in a fight at a Lincoln bar.
This was a huge black eye for Dennard's draft stock and the Nebraska family. There's no doubt Nebraska and its fans were disappointed in the star cornerback, who was predicted by some to be drafted in the first round, but he has to learn from his mistakes and become a better role model.
Made the Preseason Top 25
ESPN's "College Football Live" came out with a preseason top 25 and Nebraska made the cut.
Although preseason rankings mean next to nothing until the first game is played, Nebraska being ranked No. 17 in the country shows the school getting respect.
After a disappointing bowl loss and a season in which the team had a 9-4 record, being ranked No. 17 in the country shows that people still fear Nebraska football. This is a solid football team and is one of five Big Ten teams in the preseason predictions.
Although they are the second-lowest ranked Big Ten team out of the five in the top 25 poll, they are well respected and have a lot to prove this season and look to climb the rankings. Many predict Nebraska to contend for the Legends Division title with Michigan and Michigan State.
Assistant Coach Ron Brown Faces Heat
Nebraska assistant coach Ron Brown has been the center of controversy this offseason. He has been an outspoken opponent of a new Omaha gay anti-discrimination law.
According to ESPN.com news services and the Associated Press, Brown said he would fight for what he believes in despite the possibility of harsh consequences.
This is not something that the university needs. Brown is supposed to be a representative of Nebraska while being a positive role model with an open mind. Although it is a free country, Brown should know when to keep his thoughts private.
Signed Top 30 Recruiting Class for 2013
Nebraska's 2012 recruiting class came in at No. 25 and that will surely help them reach some goals this season. Nebraska is known as a football school and that is why they keep getting top recruiting classes.
Nebraska's 2013 recruiting class comes in at No. 28 in the country according to Rivals.com, and the fifth highest in the Big Ten.
The class is highlighted by 4-star quarterback Johnny Stanton, a prized recruit for the Huskers. He looks to take over for current quarterback Taylor Martinez in two years. The 6'2", 225 pound recruit led his high school team to the state title and has the talent to be great.
He was one of 25 quarterbacks invited to the Nike Elite 11 camp for 2013. He is sure to bring the class of 2013 a few bowl wins and other top recruits.
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