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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'd love to complain about the recent frigid weather that has rolled into our area, but I can't forget it was shirt-sleeve weather about a week ago.

What were the temperatures last week, the first few days of December, perhaps in the 60s for a day or two? Sixties in western Nebraska in early December? I'll take that any December, even if it means suffering the cold and snow that we've seen these past few days.

That old adage that reads something like, if you don't like the weather in Nebraska just wait a few minutes and it will change, is certainly most appropriate.

Oh no, don't even think it -- I didn't bring this cold air from Wyoming.

In my days spent out west, we had cold weather, but not too bad, considering Evanston was at 6,700 feet elevation. We never got those long spells of below-zero for high temperatures for days on end like I remember from my past history on the eastern side of the Cornhusker State. I remember watching the weather on TV and it always seemed to be colder in Nebraska than in wonderful Wyoming. It seemed like those blasts of arctic air coming down from Canada always went to the east of the Continental Divide, missing western Wyoming and blasting eastern Montana, the Dakotas and Nebraska.

One thing's for certain. You may be cursing the slippery city streets, icy sidewalks around town and trying to navigate treacherous rural highways, but I know the skiers are salivating about the abundance of the white stuff that has fallen.

Husker Heisman? I had a blast on the sidelines of the Nebraska-Kansas State football game in Lincoln a few weeks back. It certainly would have been an even bigger treat to have been at the Jerry Jones Playhouse (nee Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington, Texas last Saturday for the Big 12 Championship Game.

While on the sidelines at the Huskers-KSU game, I got a few yards away from Nebraska's all-world defensive end, Ndamukong Suh, as he was walking on and off the field. I swear, Suh must be carrying tree trunks around in the massive limbs hanging from his shoulders. I can certainly see why he throws offensive linemen around as easily as King Kong swatted the airplanes that attacked him atop the Empire State Building in New York City.

Speaking of the Big Apple, that might be a great photo opportunity later this week. Put the Husker standout on top of the New York City landmark and have him swat a few Texas offensive lineman aside.

Suh will be in New York later this week as one of the finalists for the coveted Heisman Trophy. It's very rare that a defensive player or offensive lineman wins the award presented annually to the best college football player in the country, and perhaps even as rare that a non-offensive player makes the top three in the final vote tally.

The Heisman honor has usually been reserved for those pretty-boy quarterbacks or running backs who score all the touchdowns and get most of the gridiron glory. The last non-quarterback or running back to strike the Heisman pose was Michigan defensive back Charles Woodson in 1997 -- but even Woodson returned kicks and dabbled on the other side of the line of scrimmage as a part-time wide receiver.

The Husker behemoth certainly made a big impression on the Heisman voters -- and literally on Texas quarterback Colt McCoy -- in Nebraska's 13-12 heartbreaking loss to the Longhorns in the Big 12 title game. The Web site: stiffarmtrophy.com says Suh is leading in first-place Heisman voting, but he is third in the point total behind Alabama running back Mark Ingram and Stanford running back Toby Gerhart.

As a Husker fan, I enjoyed watching the NU defense and Suh tear apart McCoy's Heisman hopes last Saturday night. The Blackshirts sacked the Texas standout nine times -- probably more than the Texas standout had been sacked all season.

I'm sure there will be many a TV set in Huskerland tuned to ESPN Saturday night to watch the Heisman presentation. What a great thrill it would be for Mr. Suh, the Nebraska football program and Husker Nation to see the giant defender make Heisman history by claiming the award.

Can you pronounce Suh's first name? I know it took me awhile to figure it out. Ndamukong is pronounced en-DOM-uh-ken. Hopefully the folks at ESPN have the chance to try and pronounce it correctly Saturday evening.

No offense ... Nebraska came painfully close to beating Texas and gaining a BCS bowl berth last Saturday. The last-second pass play aside, the Huskers had a ton of plays that were so very close to making a big difference in the game's outcome -- almost hitting the Texas running back in the end zone for a safety in the fourth quarter, the kickoff that went out of bounds after NU took a 12-10 lead in the final minutes, the times that the Longhorn linemen tackled Suh and Company and no holding calls were called.

The biggest problem for Coach Bo and Company was the total lack of offense. Just a little more success moving the football, perhaps one more first down instead of punts anywhere during the game, but especially during the final quarter, and the Huskers win and we're headed to a Fiesta festival in Arizona Jan. 4.

I still think the Husker program is a work in progress. WIth all the talented, young players gaining valuable experience this season, Big Red is a year, likely two seasons away from competing for the national title. Pelini won't be satisfied with this year's offensive woes, and I'm betting Bo and his staff and players will work hard in the off-season to improve the Husker attack.

Hopefully the Huskers can find a higher gear or two for the NU offense in the coming weeks in the preparation for Arizona and the Holiday Bowl. A victory over the Wildcats would cap another successful season and give the Huskers momentum for what promises to be a great 2010 campaign.


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Suh is a defensive tackle not a defensive end

-- Posted by cmg003 on Thu, Dec 10, 2009, at 12:18 AM


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Steve Kodad
Another Kodad Moment