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Roundball Shaman

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  1. Wisconsin Badger fans should have great appreciation for the Huskers. But maybe not the kind of respect you’d want them to. Snips from an article by Gary D’Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “1974 win over Nebraska kicked off new era for Badgers - Wisconsin provided a stunner when Cornhuskers visited. Throughout the 1960s, football was an afterthought at the University of Wisconsin...From 1964-73 the stumbling, bumbling Badgers compiled a pitiable 27-72-5 record, including winless seasons in 1967 and '68. Slowly and marginally, things started to change in the early 1970s under coach John Jardine, who recruited heavily in Chicago and brought a new breed of rough, tough, take-no-prisoners player to Madison. Still, almost no one was prepared for the lightning bolt that struck Camp Randall Stadium on Sept. 21, 1974. Little Bucky, for so long the laughingstock of college football, shocked No. 4-ranked Nebraska and a disbelieving regional television audience with a come-from-behind, 21-20 victory... the Badgers' upset of perennial powerhouse Nebraska, a victory so unexpected that it unleashed a different kind of mob scene in Madison, with giddy fans rushing the field and thousands of revelers partying through the night...The Badgers were laughingstocks no more. "I think that game helped turn around Wisconsin's program," said Terry Buss, who made his first start at safety for UW that day. "I think they were able to recruit a little bit because that was a televised game and back then there wasn't a game on every channel." So... maybe the Cheese State's major university would have gotten good on their own eventually. Or, maybe not. Either way, some of them feel that the Huskers gave them their turnaround. And who will be the opponents that now return the favor to recharge the Huskers? Found at: http://archive.jsonline.com/sports/badgers/74-win-over-nebraska-kicked-off-new-era-for-badgers-130823483.html
  2. For Husker fans, most of these issues are very well known and understood. But for most of America, they do not follow Nebraska football nor do younger fans even know much about the great Husker legacy. What they see is mostly the Big Red getting smoked by Ohio State or Wisconsin on the rare Saturday night that the Huskers are on nationally. This - for better or worse - is the Great American Story. It is another example of the story of someone or something that was very successful and known great heights and has since fallen down mightily. Even for non-football people, that kind of story is interesting. And when you add the angle of the successful former player who comes back to resurrect the program, the story is further enhanced. And when that player doesn’t perform instant miracles... even more drama. Stepping back a bit, the Husker story is puzzling. How is a “franchise” that knew mostly nothing but success for so many years so apparently incapable of righting the ship? Coach after coach. Assistant after assistant. Recruiting class after recruiting class. Nothing seems to work. That is mysterious and puzzling. How can you get things right for so long and then not seem to get much of anything right? ESPN is Disney. Disney is in the business of manufacturing drama - either legitimate or contrived. This is the kind of piece that Disney would encourage. Click bait, yes. But it is also based on a true and real dilemma that great minds for over 20 years have not been able to solve. That is, what is wrong with the Huskers and how can you fix it. Sears was a great company. It was so big that nothing could touch it. Now, it’s barely breathing. Slow to innovate. Slow to adapt to changing times. Bringing in the wrong people. Other companies have followed a similar course. In some ways, the Huskers are like Sears. Huskers were slow to adapt to changing times. Huskers let “competitors” - other major college programs - catch up and pass them by. And when you’ve lost market share, it’s not easy to get it back. Frost is not the only person who could right the ship. But he may or may not be the guy to do it. Some things are just not meant to happen.
  3. Ziebol: “Apathy is truly setting in. I think it is particular bad this season because fans bought into the national media hype and that has blown up in our face like a short wicked m-80. Most fans have a want it now approach to football and in our case, that wasn't going to happen.” Football fans in general follow a similar pattern anywhere you look as is this year with Husker Nation. There is a good percentage of fans that just want to see wins - period. They want that quick feeling of a jolt or rush of success. So the tendency is there to bail out quickly when the wins aren’t there. There’s another percentage of fans that has a bit more patience, but not unlimited. They are willing to take a few disappointments and wait longer for signs of success. If the success shows up, they can say they hung in there when others didn’t. And there’s the last good percentage of fans who will stay with the team no matter what. They love football - at least that team - and will put up with whatever happens good or bad all the way. There is no right or wrong way here. Fans aren’t getting paid to do this. Fans dedicate as much time and energy as they choose to. It is the responsibility of the team - any team that wants to attract fans - to provide something worth looking at. Fans are trading their time, energy, money, and attention in trade for something that gives them whatever it is they’ve looking for. Apathy is still a pretty new thing to Husker fans. Husker fans for 50 years have known almost nothing but all-out fervor for the Red. Sometimes what you get is a product worthy of a high-end department store. Sometimes what you get is more like a dollar store. Customer is always right and can shop where they want.
  4. Landlord: “You coach somewhere like Nebraska, especially if you're from Nebraska, part of your job is to know and be on top of media and fan expectations. You know how it works, and you know how to behave accordingly.” Frost knew how hungry the fans are. He wanted to give fans some immediate hope, and he wanted his team to raise their level of play to that expected of a 25th ranked team. In hindsight, in both cases that was a mistake. He should have lowballed everything and not put so much pressure on the team and himself. This current group of players can’t rise to the level of 25th ranked team no matter what Frost does. He needs to pull back his verbal and physical signs of frustration because that’s not helping. Go into the Patient Professor mode and wait for his students to show signs of catching on. And of course, wait for the next crop of students. And Coach, smile more. Either smiles of happiness or utter disbelief.
  5. Changing The Current Husker Vibe Husker fans: Won’t it feel good to hear the following kinds of comments about the Huskers and their Head Coach one day soon?... “When we were 2-4, I was one of the people asking for (his) dismissal. Now I am eating crow and it tastes great!” “Best thing about (him) is he will make your son a good player but also a better person. The team was happy about the win today, the biggest emotion they showed was for the coach. Parents of recruits take note that your son is going to get a good education, grow as a man and play football if you let him play for (him).” “We need to appreciate the fact that we have a coach that loves this university and loves these kids. THIS MAN ABSOLUTELY LOVES TO TEACH AND NEEDS TO BE AROUND YOUNG MEN, WHAT A ROLE MODEL!” “It is so good to see (him) having fun, smiling, jumping up and down, etc.” “I am so damn proud of this team. They have amazing heart and compete like champions.” “The No-Quit attitude of these kids is directly attributed to the coaches.” Won’t it be nice when these kinds of comments are made about the Huskers? If you were wondering, these are comments from Fighting Illini fans about Lovie Smith and the Illini. Many Illini fans were off the Lovie Train. Now they’re back on and enjoying the party. Huskers take note. It can happen that fast.
  6. Here’s a look at two legacy successful college football programs. Mystery Program #1 has the following win-loss records since 2014: 7-6 8-5 7-6 4-8 2-10 2-8 Mystery Program #2 has the following win-loss records since 2014: 9-4 6-7 9-4 4-8 4-8 4-5 The trajectory of these two programs are similar. First 3 years, not too bad. Last three years... ugh. Who is Mystery Team #1? The Arkansas Razorbacks. And Mystery Team #2? Who else but the beloved Huskers. The point? Huskers aren’t alone in being a successful program that can’t seem to find its footing. Tennessee also is close to fitting in with this same group. And some others. You can change the pieces on your program chessboard but that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get Checkmate. Other programs are going through the same things the Huskers are. There’s no magic formula to finding your mojo after you’ve lost it. Teams like SMU, Baylor, Minnesota, Indiana (and Illinois?) seem to have hit upon the right formula of pieces arranged the right way. All of them were down (some for along time) and they have turned their ships around. The Huskers can, too. Just like Frost’s first game in Lincoln as Head Coach, you never know when lightning is going to strike. And the chess pieces will all come together the right way.
  7. Igetbored216: “I have also been wondering since Scott got here: what exactly are they buying into? What is the culture they are trying to build?” Building a culture is something that results over time by doing the little things. Little things like good play calling, blocking, tackling, and executing plays. Doing that results in winning games. Winning games results in a winning culture. You don’t go out on the field one day and say, “OK, we build out our winning culture today”. This is what teams like Minnesota and Baylor have done. A couple years ago they were nowhere, and now they’re two of the top season success stories. As for the players, if they don’t know what their job is... things like playing to the best of your ability, performing well on each down, having a good attitude, staying away from mistakes, and playing with class... if they don’t know that’s what they’re out there for then they are in the wrong business. Arriving at Nebraska “isn’t their first rodeo”. They’ve all played before. I think that is what has Frost so frustrated. He can’t understand why some of today’s players don’t seem to play with the basics as when he did.
  8. tmfr15: “I am trying to work my head around the idea that the Husker program I have identified with for my entire lifetime... I was born in the 70s, is GONE and may NEVER come back. “ A little clarification. The Husker program of the 1970s etc. is still there. The City of Lincoln did not move somewhere else. Memorial Stadium is still there, though a bit larger. Huskers still wear Red (although some would argue lately it’s been looking a bit pink-ish). Husker fans still obsess over the team. Corn is still grown in the State of Nebraska. Beef is still found in Omaha. What you may have identified with mostly is the SUCCESS of the Huskers of the past, not the parts that make up Huskers football. Much of Husker Nation is having anxiety over this same thing since that success has gone missing. What to do? Don’t identify only with “success” (as in lots of wins) only. Enjoy the games for what they are - win or lose. These young men are only going to be on that field a short time. They will go on to other careers and other challenges. These years are a big deal to them. Whether they win or lose is important... but not as important as that they develop into outstanding persons in their lives and that Husker fans can find something in these games to enjoy even if it’s only complaining to each other after a loss. Enjoy the Husker successes already achieved and simply hope for the best going forward.
  9. So, bottom line is... Basically engaged, 56%. A little over half Husker fans. Checking Out, 44%, or a little less than half Husker fans. Sounds about right for a team with 4 wins, none of which were over a really good opponent. It all depends on one’s level of pain absorption. Some people handle pain better than others, so there’s no moral judgment in any of this. But remember... for a true Husker fan, a bad Husker team is still always of better value to them than a really good Ohio State or Oklahoma or Alabama team. It’s like that old thing about a bad day fishing is always better than your best day working. It’s always more fun to win. But it can also be fun to watch how freaked out people can get when their beloved team is losing. Take a look at Chicago Bear and Cleveland Browns fans right now.
  10. Making the paper stadium is a great accomplishment. But are we to get the idea that Husker football has become a House of Cards?
  11. “...who panicked, who celebrated when reading the title?” The Hollywood ending to the story is of course that Frost turns things around in Lincoln and becomes a legendary Husker head coach like the other two already on Nebraska’s Mount Rushmore. A problem is that Hollywood endings are written by fiction writers. Reality is much more harsh, as the Coach and team is experiencing now. If there isn’t some tangible sign of a turnaround soon, it’s doubtful that Frost stays the full contract term. They could work something out that is “mutually agreeable” and is in “the best interests of the Program”, or some other such lawyer-speak. There just might be too much pressure on Frost to succeed in original home turf. Husker fans are too hungry right now to have patience to let things build slowly, and Frost is visibly frustrated. And we don’t know what conversations are going on in the big offices around campus that move all the pieces around. Sometimes things are meant to work out and sometimes not. It would be great to see him get it done for the Big Red and have that Hollywood ending. But that might not be in the cards. For his sake and that of his family, I hope that Frost doesn’t take things too hard or personally and both he and the Huskers find that happy ending with or without each other.
  12. If the Huskers beat Wisconsin it means... 1. That the big turnaround in attitude and establishing a winning culture is on. Or... 2. That Wisconsin is dis-spirited and did not bring their “A” game... Or, 3. That Husker Nation will feel better about things... until the next game.... Or, 4. That Coach Frost can get a few nights of better sleep... Or, 5. That the Cheese State’s Burrowing Mammals (a proud part of the Weasel family of critters) will gain a bit of respect for the Big Red... Or, 6. The weather will be used as an excuse for the losing team. Even if it’s beautiful out.....Or, 7. Fans in Wisconsin will give up their Dairy State Red Jerseys and start buying Husker Red jerseys...Or, 8. Husker fans sold on Frost will say I Told You So, and those who have doubts will say But It’s Just One Game... Or, 9. ALL of these things... Or, 10. It is just one game and won’t mean a (darn) thing much. But it will change the conversations around these parts for a day or two.
  13. Here’s a hypothetical situation. Disclaimer: Resemblance to any current situation is purely coincidental. You’re the Head Coach. You’ve got a first-string QB with great potential but for whatever reason he’s been off his game all season. You have a fan base that’s choosing between revolting and giving up and a team that’s desperate for a win. You have a national media that either shows pity or shows delight in your misery. You have a conference that has not yet learned to show you any respect. You know that if you bench the QB for reasons other than injury, you could stall his development and damage his confidence. Maybe permanently. Maybe recruiting, too. You further know that if you don’t get a win soon, you may lose the rest of your team. And, many more of your fans. The Questions You Now Face: Do you change QBs in hopes for a quick win? Or do you keep playing the first QB and keep hoping that he find’s his game and you get that win in the process? Or do you decide the problem is really somewhere else? How do you ignite the “on” switch on a team that lacks energy and cohesiveness after you’re tried? And do you ever look in the mirror and wonder why you decided to leave a good job you had before?
  14. It’s hard for Husker fans to feel it right now, but you can turn a program around quickly and it doesn’t have to take 20 years... or even 5. Husker fans... look to the Baylor Miracle. OK, maybe miracle is a bit much, but here’s what they’ve done in a very short time. In 2015 they had a good record of 10-3. Dismissed the coach as he got caught up in an on-campus scandal. Brought in a caretaker coach in 2016, still got a 7-6 record after much turmoil. New coach comes in 2017. Recruiting had been scarred so he didn’t have much to work with. Ended up 1-11. People were patient. 2018, they go plus-six-wins over prior year and end up 7-6. And this year? Just a nice bright sparkling 8 wins, 0 losses. So, anxious Husker Nation, it can happen. It didn’t take a long time or anything earth-shaking. Just bring in the right guys and let things grow together. Sure, it’s not an equivalent situation as Huskers have been so Not-Husker-Like for a generation. But with the right mix of guys and a little time, good things can happen quickly. As underachieving as they’ve been, Huskers haven’t been 1-11 in all that time. And be glad you’re not a football fan in the State of New Mexico. This season, New Mexico Lobos are 2-6, and the other major program in the State - New Mexico State - is 0-8 for a combined 2 wins, 14 losses. Bad football in the Land of Enchantment. The future is bright, Husker fans. Things either get better or they get worse. And things won’t get worse in the Land of Tall Corn.
  15. It is a MORAL IMPERATIVE to beat Wisconsin. And not just ‘cause Huskers need a win. Look at the name: WIS...CON...SIN. Who doesn’t want to prevail over a “con”. And we know “sin” isn’t good for anybody. And as for “wis or wizz”... won’t get into that.
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