Nebraska’s spring practices have been consumed by questions. After the departure of nearly every Blackshirt on the team, the return of players plagued by late-season injuries and the introduction of a few key early-enrollees, Husker football has been ripe for wild speculation and predictions.
Yet in a time of the year so easily overrun with these sorts of projections, the Big Red has provided more than a few reasons to forget about next fall, set the Spring Game interpretations aside and focus on the successes achieved this spring that transcend the win-loss column.
And none was greater than Jack Hoffman’s touchdown run during the Red-White Game. Bo Pelini and his staff showed their true colors, allowing the business of football to take a backseat to something much more important: providing a young man with a few moments he will never, ever forget.
While this story has stolen the spotlight over the last couple weeks (as it should), there are a few other reasons Husker fans should be smiling this spring.
Heading into this weekend, the (admittedly unreliable) spring game attendance rankings still have Nebraska sitting in first place in the nation. Although weather, location and a host of other factors can influence turnout at these glorified scrimmages, this is still something Husker Nation should be proud of.
And how about the graduating seniors still making fans proud even in the midst of their departure from the program? Senior linebacker Sean Fisher, a product of Millard North High School, is not just heading off to medical school (as commentators insisted on mentioning every Saturday last fall). He will be doing it in style, thanks to the 2013 Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award he received, the highest academic honor awarded in the Big Ten.
If all of that was not enough reason for Husker fans to celebrate, seeing how the other half is living this spring can only make it that much sweeter.
Penn State is in the middle of its program-throttling sanctions, Auburn is facing new accusations of wrongdoing, Ohio State is preparing to return from its postseason ban and now Oregon is coming under the microscope for its dealings with a “recruiting” agency.
In short, there are a lot of fanbases that are not dawning their schools with the same pride they once had. But while scandal and controversy is gripping many top programs in college football, Nebraska seems to be doing all the right things off the field. Players are performing in the classroom, the coaching staff has its priorities in order and Husker fans are outclassing the rest of the country.
Some may be optimistic and others pessimistic about the team’s progress this spring. But whatever this team is able to accomplish next season, these are great days to be a fan of the Cornhuskers.