For those of you not familiar with my writing, sometimes in lieu of an actual column, I'll contribute what I call Hot Routes, just snippets of things I'm thinking about pertaining to the Huskers or other areas of college football. I'm still working on my next real column, but I thought this would be a good time to dust off the Hot Routes just to get the rust off my writing.
- Kody Spano tearing the same ACL he hurt earlier this year is a huge blow for the Huskers. It seemed like he had been playing really well in camp and had the confidence of his teammates, and then to see this happen to him, you can't help but feel for the kid. Now it comes down to Cody Green or LaTravis Washington for the backup job, and putting a redshirt on Green seems like a no-go after this news. That said, as we saw last year, this staff is not above keeping a redshirt on guys when they believe it will help them in the long run (Will Compton).
Furthermore, does this force Pelini and Watson to leave Taylor Martinez at quarterback when it still wasn't 100% he'd stay there? This injury changes a lot of things for this team and makes protecting Zac Lee all the more important. I mean, with no proven backup behind him, can you even attempt to run the option? That seems like you're inviting fans to have heart attacks every time he carries the ball.
- Darren Evans, the beastly running back and reigning Orange Bowl MVP for Virginia Tech, is out for the year after tearing his ACL. Obviously by now, unless you're living under a rock or aren't a huge college football fan, you've heard about this. I do feel bad not only for Evans but for the Hokie fans, because they had a legitimate shot to make a run at the national title. Va Tech must now choose between Ryan Williams or Josh Olson, both highly regarded freshmen (albeit Williams is a redshirt frosh), or Josh Oglesby, a redshirt sophomore who is the only one of the three to have a college carry. This will make it easier for the Huskers to focus on Tyrod Taylor, but you still hate to see a guy's season end that way. Just a reminder of what Evans was capable of:
Given our shoddy-at-times tackling last year, that would have made me nervous.
-The nation's #2 defensive end in the country (and #19 overall player according to Rivals) Owamagbe Odighizuwa has confirmed that the Huskers will be one of his five official visits. This is a coup for the Huskers staff and a testament to the kind of work John Papuchis is doing recruiting. I'm not one to get all that wound up about recruits who have never played a snap in college, that has a way of not panning out sometimes. That said, it's key that Nebraska is starting to get kids of this caliber to travel to Lincoln, especially when his other schools include Oregon, USC, and Florida. Do we land him? Tough call, especially when it's no sure thing that he'll make it to an actual game.
The appeal of Nebraska can only truly be seen in Memorial Stadium on autumn Saturdays, not on a tour of an empty complex on finals week. Still, progress is being made in recruiting, and I think this staff knows how to relate to kids really well. Plus, any defensive lineman should salivate at the thought of being coached by the Pelinis.
- Just stumbled across this article and was excited to see that former Husker cornerback Zach Bowman, finally free from injury long enough to recover, is making some headlines at Bears camp. This is awesome for me on two levels. The first is that few people deserve success like Bowman does. His injuries at NU, his fall in the draft because of them, the limitless potential that hadn't been realized, he's making up for lost time now. This is welcome good news after Stew Bradley injured his knee and is out for the year, stopping him from joining Barrett Ruud as one of the best 'backers in the game. The other reason Bowman's ascension is fun for me? It's nice to have one more guy to cheer for against the Vikings.
-Really liked Stew Mandel's opinion here on Notre Dame. Every year, we're subjected to the Irish getting an asininely high (and unwarranted) ranking. Luckily, they've been atrocious enough that they are quickly forgotten about. However, coming off of last year's bowl win in which Jimmy "I should change my name to Jim to be taken seriously" Clausen threw for 400+ yards and 5 touchdowns, everyone seems to be penciling in this year as a potential 10-win season. Obviously, this would be a nightmare, because once again a potentially more deserving (and higher ranked) team would be left out of the BCS.
The thing is, when you've been as irrelevant as Notre Dame the past couple of years, people are usually hesitant to chalk up wins before you've played the games. And as Nebraska fans know, that can be an extremely bad decision (remember 2007?). So I'm going to hold off my criticism of the Golden Domers for now, because if I were to bitch and moan about it, it would only give them more undeserved attention. Let them gain relevancy the way we have to: win games.