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10/09/2007 - From the Press Box: Football in Nebraska is huge on all levels, good and bad



Jeff Motz



What do Kearney, Nebraska Football, and Danny Woodhead have in common?  It's not a riddle or joke.  They're the talk of football statewide this week.  

Bad way to start an article, I know.

But it's true.  Kearney is back at the top of the Class A football ratings, after being shunned by many of us in the media, including myself, as a team that maybe should have been there from the start.  All the Bearcats had to do is wallop Fremont 42-6 last Friday night and have Omaha Creighton Prep beat Omaha Westside 19-14 to dethrone the Warriors at the top of the heap.

I've seen Kearney and Prep play football this year and both are pretty talented.  Rustin Dring is a tough and strong running back, who's mowed down the competition several times this year.  He and the rest of the Bearcats could be tough to beat in the final two weeks of regular season play and the playoffs.  Coach Brandon Cool's team is off to a 7-0 start and are rolling along at the right time.

Former North Platte Bulldog and current Chadron State running back Danny Woodhead last Saturday set the all-time rushing record in all levels of NCAA Football, including Division I,  against Western New Mexico.  His more than 200 yard performance gave him the all time mark of 7,441 yards.  Woodhead is now on track to run for 8,000 yards.  I saw him run rough shot over the Class A competition in high school.  In fact, he's a very gifted athlete.  In a basketball game I covered against Lincoln East in 2004, Woodhead scored 36 points, despite East winning 68-53.  Trust me, at his 5-7 height, he wasn't afraid to take the ball to the hoop and crash into guys that were 6-6 and 6-7.  Congratulations, Danny.  You are one great athlete and may you have a fabulous career in the pros.

Speaking of North Platte, do you think 'Platters are proud of their native son Steve Pederson?  Probably not.....and they haven't been for a long time.  Mediocrity, huh?  Man...seems like he's starting to eat those words right about now.  This leads me into Nebraska Football and the state of the program that has been the feeding tube of the NU athletic department for years.  While I'm not a supporter of the program, yet just an observer, I'm guessing some heads are on the chopping block if the Huskers can win at least two more games this year.  The 41-6 Missouri win has awakened the beast within Big Red fans, but it's been building up for a while now. 

Personally, Ball State should have beat Nebraska.  There is no doubt in my mind that this Husker team is the complete opposite of what the Huskers were 10 years ago.  I'm not in the loop with NU football a whole lot anymore and they're plenty of reason why I'm happy for that, but that's for another day.

In talking with former Husker Jason Peter in the past couple of weeks, he says it's not the players that are at fault for lackluster's the coaching staff.  When Bill Callahan was introduced in 2004 as Frank Solich's replacement, you knew then he wouldn't be at Nebraska very long.  Despite the contract extention through 2012, Callahan could still be fired or leave for another gig.  If rumor is absolutely true about Jon Gruden being a candidate for the Philadelphia Eagles head coaching job, don't be surprised to see Callahan tag along with him. 

I've seen the website,, and it's nothing special....other than to get you to hop on the bandwagon to fire NU defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove.  He's been the subject of many criticisms from you about the Blackshirts' efforts this season.  The Husker defense is on track to be one of the worst defenses statistically in Nebraska history since 1948.  But, again, as an outsider I'm just sitting back and watching.  Outsider ties to the program at all. 

Just a reminder.....we'll let you know in a couple of weeks which District Volleyball games we'll broadcast, along with our schedule for the Football playoffs.              


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