First of all, kudos to Husker head baseball coach Will Bolt, his staff and the entire Husker baseball team for the great season (34-14) they had this spring. The Huskers, who were picked in the preseason to finish in the lower half of the Big Ten Conference actually won the regular-season championship (B1G Commish Kevin Warren nixed the idea of a conference tournament). And by winning it, Nebraska earned an automatic bid to the Arkansas Regional in Fayetteville June 4-6th.
It was there that the Huskers had to face the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament (Arkansas). And NU had to play the Razorbacks in their own backyard. So what did Bolt and the Huskers do? They didn't blink. They went toe-to-toe with Dave Van Horn's Omahogs, going 1-2 against them and 3-2 for the weekend.
It's true, the Huskers won only one game against Arkansas, but the Razorbacks knew they had been in a real dogfight in all three of those games. Nebraska was just one out away from going into the ninth inning tied at 2 in the championship game. Arkansas won the game and the regional, but the effort Bolt's team gave all season should make all Husker fans very proud.
One of my favorite Husker players this season was LF Mojo Hagge. He made hustle plays all season and helped inspire the entire Husker baseball program.
If he's such an inspirational player, why did the Arkansas fans boo him every time he came to the plate or made a play? Why the animus for Mojo? Apparently, he flipped off the Arkansas fans. I didn't see it and Mojo said he never flipped off anyone. So who knows? We'll probably never know the truth.
I would just add that Husker A.D. Bill Moos needs to get out his checkbook and make sure young Mr. Bolt stays at Nebraska. Oh, and I hope some of Bolt's mojo (no pun intended) rubs off on the Husker football program this fall.
(Note: Sunday night, North Carolina State eliminated Arkansas by winning 2 of 3 from the Omahogs in Fayetteville. Go figure.)
Not so Cool Hand Luke?
The saga of former Nebraska Cornhusker and Louisville Cardinal QB Luke McCaffrey continues. Just when you think his football career path couldn't get any wackier, Luke just entered another transfer portal! He spent less than one week at Louisville and is now headed to Rice University in Houston. Huh? I know, it's not even July, so maybe Luke has another couple of moves left in him. Sigh.
BTW, the Owls have four QBs on the roster, with only two players-Mike Collins (Sr.) and Wiley Green (So.) with much experience. Robbie Blosser (Jr.) is a walk-on and Evan Marshman (Sr.) came to Rice as a walk-on but has since earned a scholarship. Looks like the Owls are in need of a talented QB.
So how have the Owls (members of Conference USA) fared the past few years?
Not so well. They went 2-11 in 2018, 3-9 the next year and in 2020, just 2-3.
I just hope Luke finds himself a good fit for his skill set.
Another No. 7
Last week, one of the Omaha sports talk shows was discussing McCaffrey's leaving Louisville. The conversation then turned to another former Husker QB who wore No. 7, Eric Crouch. If you'll recall, Eric was in a QB battle with Bobby Newcombe in fall camp of 1999. The competition was fierce and when Eric found out he wasn't going to be the starter, he went back to Omaha and regrouped. Husker assistant Ron Brown came to Omaha to talk with him.
Whatever was said between Ron Brown and Eric is a moot point. We all know what happened. Eric went on to be the starter and won the Heisman Trophy in 2001. You'd think that would be the end of the story.
But some malcontents have insisted that by going back to Omaha, Eric was acting like a spoil sport.
I've known Eric since he was in fourth grade when he was a power forward on our Y basketball team. He was one of the most coachable players I've eve known. Here's the Cliffs Notes version of what happened in 1999:
Eric and Bobby were told that summer that whoever graded higher at the end of fall camp would be the starting QB that fall. So when Eric saw that he graded higher than BN, he assumed he would be the starter.
And why wouldn't he?
But when then Husker head coach Frank Solich named Newcombe as the starter, it was natural that Eric would be upset. Eric is a fierce competitor. Solich had gone back on his word, which was clearly a betrayal. In my view, his handling of the QB race that year was not one of Solich's finest coaching moments.
Huskers' first five-star player?
We just learned that former Ohio State five-star cornerback/safety Tyreke Johnson has decided to transfer to Nebraska and will be eligible to play right away. Johnson joins a pretty good Husker secondary. He will likely play one of the CB slots.
I'm not sure the Huskers have ever had another five-star football player -- at least since star rankings were introduced to college football. (ESPN began its rankings in 2006 and 247Sports started its rankings in 2011. And in 2017, 247Sports Composite combined three major services into a single rating system.)
I'm not sure why a player from Ohio State would want to transfer to Lincoln, but Johnson's coming to Lincoln should be a big plus for Nebraska for several years to come.
College Football Hall of Fame
Offensive tackle Zach Wiegert (1991-'94) is on the 2022 ballot. Outland Trophy winner on a national championship team. Should be a lock.