Husker fans went through many emotions last week and if you are anything like me, your opinion of the entire situation changed several times throughout the week, which is why I remained quiet (not that anyone needed my opinion).
Ultimately, the Huskers got the result they hoped for in a 59-20 win over South Dakota State. The situation is still tenuous, but in the spirit of introspection were going to look in the mirror and ask ourselves a few questions of the past, present and future.
"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future." – John F. Kennedy
— For Good's Sake (@goodnews) September 22, 2013
When you saw, or felt the tunnel walk Saturday afternoon, did you feel the calm before the storm of Tom Osborne or the spirit of Brook Berringer? Did you feel the Husker Power of the true Blackshirts or get choked up as the memories of championships past flew by on the big board? Did you cheer when Bo Pelini appeared in the tunnel to lead his team? Was it sincere, despite or in spite?
Or did you wait for everyone else to react and guide you as to just what to feel?
I could tell you it’s just a game, but you know if you have spent any time in Nebraska, that’s not true. It’s a sense of pride, a quality of life, a reason to escape and often celebrate on Saturdays. It’s a state-wide party, and to some, just as much a part of life as the sanctuary on Sunday.
We celebrate the traditions of Nebraska. The championships, the Blackshirt program, the walk-ons, the Heisman Trophy winners. We revere guys like Turner Gill, Mike Rozier, Johnny Rodgers, Eric Crouch, Tommie Frazier and countless others. We hold these traditions on a pedestal and expect that every Husker, present and future, aspire to that standard. When tradition is not held paramount, feathers get ruffled. Which leads us to the present.
Are you ok with the fact that Bo Pelini is not Saint Osborne?
Are you okay with a guy that has an edge to him, that has passion and fire good and bad? That is learning to control his emotions, evolving, if you will, from a first-timer to a veteran? Bo Pelini is going to be a winner at a high level, at Nebraska or otherwise. This guy is a head coach. He also understands that this is bigger than football.
Under him, we’re building new traditions. We’re celebrating toughness again as the Kenny Bell hit from the Big Ten Championship plays on the big board. The completion of East Stadium, putting us over 90,000 strong. Jack Hoffman. We’re having fun again. There is a lot of reasons to be proud of the direction we are going.
Did you smile when you saw support signs in the stands? Did you feel yourself starting to forgive? Then did you change your mind after 15 minutes of the South Dakota State game, and change it back after 60?
Were you glad that Taylor Martinez didn’t start this game or were you like me and indifferent except that it was South Dakota State and he should rest anyway. Did you just snicker at that sentence? Why?
Taylor has been a bitter-sweet pill for the Huskers. The guy that holds all the records, and no titles. It will be curious as to how history will remember Martinez. Will he ever be considered great? A Husker great?
Either way, he is our present. The team will go as far as Martinez takes them this year, if and when he comes back. Whether leadership was thrust upon him, or it’s something he truly embraces, 2013 is on him, as a senior, as a captain as the holder of the traditions. Let us pray he doesn’t fumble that away too.
How will you feel about the team, the school, the coach if Nebraska wins a Big Ten Championship? If they don’t?
What was great about Saturday, though is that we got to see the future. We saw a young defense step up and only allow three points and 279 yards in the last three quarters of a game where they allowed 17 points and 186 yards in the first. The offense behind a combination of veteran Ron Kellogg III and freshman Tommy Armstrong confidently and smoothly put up 645 yards, balanced 335/310 rush/pass*.
Armstrong led the Husker offense on two scoring drives of 66 yard and two of 80 yards. Junior Ameer Abdullah rushed for 139 yards and one score. Sophomore Imani Cross averaged 10 yards a carry and scored twice and freshman Terrell Newby piled on 52 yards on eight carries and two scores as well. Martinez or otherwise, the offensive attack is in good hands.
But what do think of the program as a whole being in good hands? Can you, as a fan also evolve as your coach is trying to do? Are we ready to embrace new traditions and meld them with the old to become ever better. Are we not afraid to be Nebraska again?
After a week that began with Nebraska being the sub-plot to the UCLA inspiration tour, and exploded into a civil war among Husker fans and faithful, tested the mettle of a team, humbled a coach and put us back in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons, now is the proper time to take a step back and take inventory … of the past, present and future.
Don’t you think this is the perfect time for a bye week? iThink so.
*Interesting fact, both Kellogg III and Armstrong were identical 7 completions for 117 yards and a touchdown at the half. Kellogg finished 8-9 for 136 and Armstrong 12-15 for 169.
The Husker Monday Marinade gives us a day of rest to let game day soak in. It strives to be a voice of reason for a Husker Football fan base that is the most loyal, and at times the most rabid in the country. We encourage fan engagement and interaction. Please feel free to react on Facebook, Twitter, or leave your thoughts below.