Bill Callahan used the Red-White Spring Game as a glorified exhibition intended to entertain crowds and woo recruits. Top units never squared off against each other, and scores got a bit out of hand. After a year or so of this, hard-core NU football fans grew pretty tired of the lack of competition. Many folks - BRN included - would like to see a stiffer level of competition in the Spring Game. And we'd hoped Bo Pelini would bring it. Interestingly, according to reports we won't be seeing true ones-vs.-ones action this spring either. My mild disappointment is offset only by the notion that there will be some sort of "draft" used to select the Red and White squads.
Who are the GMs?
My first question when it comes to Pelini's draft system is ... who will be picking the teams. If it is the offensive and defensive coaches, I suspect they would tend to pick some of their guys, right? That may lead to a heavy dose of first-team players getting paired together. Or, maybe it would be cool to have two player (possible future captains) do the picking. Wow, that would be fun to watch. I think it would be somewhere between the NFL draft and picking sides for kick ball in the 6th grade, with one part strategy the other part friendship. I am very curious to see who will be doing the picking, and the order of selections. It could make for some nice PR fun.
I'm No Mel Kiper Jr.
I have a woeful time forecasting the NFL draft. I lack Mel Kiper’s love of minutia and his amazing head of hair. I can't even think how the Husker draft would play out. Who would you take first? I assume QB1 Joe Ganz would top the list. But, maybe he's doing the picking? Would he take one of the offensive line's big uglies to protect him? Where would you slot Marlon Lucky? He's got to go in the first few rounds, right? On defense, where would you start? Murillo is the top corner on the team, they have market value in the NFL. Would that hold true here, too? I would think Phil Dillard the defacto leader of the defense at middle linebacker would go pretty high in this format too.
As it relates to the Spring Game, I think the idea of a draft is pretty fantastic, actually. It inserts a bit of fun in to a fairly mundane activity. And, it's a little more authentic than last year’s ridiculous fake photo shoots and celebrations. And seriously, won't this create fairly equal teams? Assuming the captains or coaches are taking turns making picks, it should put significant players on both sides of the ball for Red and White. It's not truly the ones-vs.-ones, but it is an improvement over the Christians vs. Lions set up fans endured under Callahan.
The only downside I see to this - as both a fan and media outlet - is that we won't have a really good sense of the depth chart following spring ball. Maybe Pelini is savvy to that notion too, and it is exactly how he wants it. Even teams and no depth chart may very well drive home the intense sense of competition he is trying to foster.