Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bay Area Husker ENews 12-27-06

Happy New Year Bay Area Husker Fans!

Hope Santa was good to all the Husker Fans out there...the only additional gift I want is a victory next Monday morning. Should be a great game as Auburn is ranked #10 and has had a pretty good season in a tough conference. The Huskers have been getting ready for the Cotton Bowl during the last 3 weeks, and they should be as ready as they can get for the game. Lots of good reading and links below about the game. Kickoff is at 8:30 a.m. on New Years Day so set the alarm, head for the couch and either turn on the coffee to help wake up, or have a couple of red beers or bloody mary's for a little hair of the dog to get the festivities started off right! Go Big Red...Beat the Tigers! Get 'er Done!

Watch Parties:
Since the game is on so early in the morning on the 1st (and lots of you will be in no mood for an early wake- up after celebrating all night), we aren't asking our watch sites to open early. If you happen to be an early riser and want to head out to watch our game (and the other 5 bowl games televised that day), I would recommend calling ahead to your favorite pub to make sure they will be open. I did find out that Jack's in Fremont does not plan to open that day until 11 a.m and Knuckles in Monterey won't open until 9 a.m. Don't know about Final-Final in San Francisco, but Legends in Concord (sports bar for the Diablo Creek golf course) will be open at 6 a.m. because there are always crazy golfers who want to hit the links early on New Years Day. Phone numbers, addresses and directions for our four watch sites are listed at our website:

I've included another report from the 'Husker in Baghdad' (Thomas O'Hara III) at the end of this email, telling us how Christmas was celebrated by the military in Iraq, with a video link that shows a number of donations being delivered to Iraqi families in need by 'Santa' and his armor wearing 'elves'. Great reading and a great video! Thanks again Thomas for giving us another view of what is going on over there.

Best wishes for a safe, prosperous and happy New Year! Y'all be careful out there!

Go Big Red (White and Blue),


Nebraska Cotton Bowl Notes

Nebraska Cotton Bowl Media Guide in PDF Format

Nebraska will make its 44th all-time bowl appearance in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic on New Year's Day.

AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic
No. 22 Nebraska (9-4) vs. No. 10 Auburn (10-2)
Date: Monday, Jan. 1, 2007
Time: 8:40 a.m. (PST)
Site: Dallas, Texas
Stadium: Cotton Bowl
Surface: Natural Grass
Capacity: 72,262Series
Record: Nebraska leads, 3-0
Last Meeting: Nebraska 41, Auburn 7, Oct. 2, 1982 at Auburn
Television: Fox, National
Radio: Husker Sports Network,

Huskers Set to Make 44th All-Time Postseason Bowl AppearanceFollowing a season highlighted by capturing its first Big 12 North Division title in seven seasons, Nebraska returns to the New Year’s Day bowl menu in 2007. The Huskers will be making their first appearance in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic in 27 seasons, taking on Auburn in the traditional New Year’s Day bowl. Game time for the matchup between Nebraska and the Tigers is set for 8:40 a.m. PST. The game will be televised by Fox.

This year’s appearance in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic marks Nebraska’s first bowl game on New Year’s Day since a victory over Miami in the 1995 Orange Bowl. The Huskers have played their bowl game in January four times since that Orange Bowl, but have not played on New Year’s Day in 11 seasons.The appearance in the Cotton Bowl marks Nebraska’s 44th all-time bowl appearance, the fifth-most in college football.

Nebraska is familiar with the state of Texas for recent bowl appearances, but has not been in Dallas for the holidays for nearly three decades. The Huskers’ trip to the Lone Star State will be Nebraska’s fourth bowl game in the state of Texas in the past seven seasons, joining Alamo Bowl trips in 2000, 2003 and 2005. However, Nebraska last played in the Cotton Bowl following the 1979 season when the seventh-ranked Huskers were knocked off by Houston.

The Huskers are coming off a tough loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game on Dec. 2. The setback dropped Nebraska to 9-4 overall, after finishing Big 12 Conference play as the North Division champions with a 6-2 league record. Despite the loss, Nebraska remained in the final regular-season national rankings, checking in at No. 22 in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls.The Huskers have the opportunity to record the 25th 10-win season in school history with a victory in the Cotton Bowl.

Auburn enters the Cotton Bowl with a 10-2 overall record and finished 6-2 in the rugged Southeastern Conference, good for a tie for second place in the West Division. The Tigers were ranked as high as second in early October and are 10th in both polls entering bowl action.

Auburn has posted the nation’s third-best record over the past three seasons, boasting a 32-5 record, including a perfect 13-0 record in 2004.

The matchup with the Tigers continues a tough 2007 slate for Nebraska. Auburn will be the fourth Husker opponent ranked in the top 10 at game time, joining USC, Texas and Oklahoma. The game will mark just the fourth meeting between the two schools, but the second in postseason play. The Huskers defeated Auburn, 13-7 in the 1964 Orange Bowl. Nebraska also won two regular-season meetings between the two schools, knocking off the Tigers in Lincoln in 1981 and winning at Auburn the following season.

More about the game from this article at:


Major Culbert (6) has received a substantial amount of reps at I-back this week because of injuries to other Huskers.

Lincoln – Nebraska concluded its home preparations for the Jan. 1 Cotton Bowl Thursday with a two-hour, half-pad workout inside the Hawks Championship Center. The squad split up for the holidays following practice for a four-day break before it leaves for Dallas.

Head Coach Bill Callahan said that his team had a productive three days of workouts this week despite the looming holiday break.

“It was a very good practice—solid preparation by our football team,” Callahan said. “I’m really proud of their efforts in the way they came out this week focused and prepared. We’re excited about the challenge of going to Dallas and playing Auburn. We’ll reconvene down there on Tuesday.”

With many Huskers from around the country traveling home over the next few days, Callahan expressed concern for those players preparing to trek through inclement weather.

“I just hope the (players) make it home safe,” Callahan said. “We have a lot of players traveling from coast-to-coast. I hear there’s some bad weather out there, so I know the guys heading out west may be hung up a bit. But I hope everyone makes it home and arrives safe in Dallas.”

One development to surface during practice this week was freshman defensive back Major Culbert receiving reps at I-back for the first time this season. Callahan said Culbert was placed in the role due to recent injuries to I-backs Brandon Jackson, Cody Glenn and Kenny Wilson.

“We worked him pretty good,” Callahan said. “We’ve had some guys (injured), and Major filled in and unselfishly stepped up and got a lot of reps. We had a lot of confidence in his abilities when he came out of high school and thought he was a terrific back We bantered back and forth around the staff table about whether he was going to be a running back or safety, but we put him at safety because we needed the help there. Surely, he has demonstrated the ability to play running back, and he has picked it up pretty fast.”

Nebraska will break for the holidays until arriving in Dallas on Tuesday, Dec. 26. The Huskers have their first practice scheduled at Texas Stadium for Wednesday, Dec. 27.



2006 Nebraska Season RecapNebraska opened the 2006 season with the goal of reaching the Big 12 Conference Championship Game and collecting the school’s first Big 12 title since 1999.

The Huskers reached the first portion of that goal, sweeping their North Division opponents to earn a trip to Kansas City in early December, and fell just short of grabbing the conference crown in a title game loss to Oklahoma.

The Huskers showed their explosiveness on offense and an improved running game in rolling past Louisiana Tech (49-10) and Nicholls State (56-7) to open the season. Nebraska totaled 584 yards of offense against Louisiana Tech, including 252 on the ground, then posted 496 yards against Nicholls State, with 261 of those yards by rush.

Nebraska’s first big test of 2006 came at No. 4 USC. While the Trojans posted a comfortable 28-10 victory, it was evident Nebraska had the ability to stand toe-to-toe with the nation’s best teams in 2006. The Huskers completed non-conference play with a complete effort in a 56-0 whitewashing of eventual Sun Belt champ Troy in Lincoln. The Huskers amassed nearly 600 yards of offense, including 316 rushing yards.

Big 12 Conference play began with a dramatic 39-32 overtime win over Kansas. The Huskers jumped to a quick 17-0 lead, but KU was resilient, taking the lead in the fourth quarter. However, quarterback Zac Taylor threw his third touchdown pass of more than 75 yards late in the game to force overtime. In the extra session, Nebraska scored first, then held on defense for the victory.

Nebraska picked up a pair of solid road victories in Ames and Manhattan, ending losing streaks at both sites. Brandon Jackson and Cody Glenn both topped 100 yards on the ground in Nebraska’s 28-14 victory at Iowa State, the Huskers’ first in Ames since 2000. A week later, the Huskers jumped to an early lead, then watched the defense dominate Kansas State in a 21-3 win, ending a streak of four straight losses in Manhattan.

Any remaining questions about Nebraska’s ability to compete with the best were answered a week later against defending national champion Texas in Lincoln. Trailing 16-7 entering the fourth quarter, Nebraska forged a 20-19 lead with less than five minutes left. The Longhorns pulled out a dramatic 22-20 victory with a field goal in the final 30 seconds, but Nebraska was confident it was on the right track. A week later, Nebraska ran into a fired-up Oklahoma State team on the road. The Huskers could not hold a 16-0 first-half lead, as the Cowboys’ explosive offense controlled the rest of the day in a 41-29 loss.

The Huskers showed their mettle after the two-game losing streak. Nebraska returned home for the biggest North Division game of the season against Missouri. The Huskers quickly erased any doubt about which team would grab control of the division. Nebraska jumped to a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter and led 27-6 at halftime en route to a 34-20 win and full control of the Big 12 North.

While Nebraska was in the division lead after its win over Missouri, the Huskers needed one more victory to close out the division. The Huskers got just that a week later at Texas A&M, but it did not come easy. Nebraska appeared to be in full control, leading 21-7 early in the second quarter. However, the Aggies rallied in front of their home crowd to take a 27-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter. After a blocked field goal, the Nebraska offense got one last chance and made the most of it, as Taylor capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Purify with 21 seconds remaining to pull out a 28-27 win.

The Huskers completed a perfect run through the Big 12 North with a 37-14 win over Colorado. The Buffs did not go quietly, tying the game at 14 in the third quarter, but Nebraska got big plays from its offense, defense and special teams to put the game away, marking its seventh straight win against North opponents.

Oklahoma used an opportunistic defense that forced five Nebraska turnovers to hold off the Huskers in the Big 12 title game. Nebraska again matched up well with a top-10 opponent, holding the Sooners to just 42 rushing yards, 82 yards fewer than OU’s previous 2006 rushing low.


Sarah Pavan is a finalist for the 2006 Honda Volleyball Award.

Lincoln – University of Nebraska volleyball player Sarah Pavan is one of four finalists for the 2006-07 Volleyball Honda Sports Award announced Saturday.

Pavan, the AVCA National Player of the Year and ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American of the year, led Nebraska to a 33-1 record and the school’s third national title in 2006. A three-time first-team All-American, Pavan set a school record with 5.10 kills per game to rank 10th nationally while also ranking among the Big 12 leaders in points per game (5.98, first) and service aces (0.34/gm, sixth). The 6-foot-5 right side hitter also averaged 1.50 digs and 1.00 blocks per game for Nebraska, which became only the third team in NCAA history to be ranked No. 1 the entire season.

Pavan, who was named the Most Outstanding Player at last week’s NCAA Championships, reached double figures in kills in 33 of 34 matches and had 10 matches with at least 20 kills, including three times during the NCAA Tournament. A two-time Big 12 Player of the Year, Pavan’s 5.10 kills per game broke the school record of 5.09 set by U.S. Olympian Nancy Metcalf in 1999. Pavan totaled 22 kills on .378 hitting, a season-high 13 digs and three blocks in the NCAA championship match against Stanford, played in front of the largest crowd in collegiate volleyball history.

Pavan is joined by three other college volleyball All-Americans in Stanford’s Foluke Akinradewo, UCLA’s Nana Meriwether and Washington’s Courtney Thompson, who won the Honda Award in 2005. Pavan will look to become the fourth Husker to earn the volleyball honor, joining Karen Dahlgren (1986), Allison Weston (1995) and Greichaly Cepero (2000).

American Honda will donate $1,000 to the women’s athletic fund of each nominee’s university, while the winner will receive a $5,000 donation. The award, which is voted upon by college administrators around the country, will be announced in mid-January. The volleyball winner will become a nominee for The Honda-Broderick Cup awarded annually to the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.


Lincoln – The University of Nebraska baseball team earned its first preseason ranking of the season, while two Husker baseball players were honored, as Collegiate Baseball released its preseason poll and All-American team on Friday.

The Huskers, who finished the 2006 season with a 42-17 record, were picked ninth in the preseason poll and were one of three Big 12 teams ranked in the top 25 by the publication. The Huskers return 22 letterwinners, including six everyday starters and 12 pitchers, from a squad that that reached an NCAA regional for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

The Husker returnees are highlighted by junior left-hander Tony Watson and junior shortstop Ryan Wehrle, who were both named preseason All-Americans. Watson, a second-team selection, compiled a 10-2 record with a 2.78 ERA in 2006, ranking among the Big 12 leaders in wins, innings and opponent batting average (.236) en route to first-team All-Big 12 accolades last spring. Watson was drafted in the 17th round by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2006 MLB Draft, but elected to return for his junior campaign.

Wehrle, a third-team preseason All-American, returns after hitting .367 with eight homers and 48 RBIs a year ago. The Papillion, Neb., native also ranked among the Big 12 leaders with 22 doubles and was a perfect 14-of-14 on stole base attempts in 2006. Wehrle, the first Husker shortstop since 1985 to earn first-team all-conference honorees, was picked in the 18th round by the Cincinnati Reds, but elected to return to NU for this upcoming season.

The Huskers will face a daunting 2007 schedule, as four Big 12 teams are in the preseason poll, led by seventh-ranked Texas. In addition to the Longhorns, who visit Lincoln for a three-game series in April, Baylor (No. 21), Oklahoma State (No. 24) and Oklahoma (No. 34) are all nationally ranked. In addition, the Huskers will also face top-ranked Rice in Houston on Feb. 24.

The Huskers will open spring practice in mid-January and will open the 2007 campaign in Arlington, Texas, on Feb. 16, against New Mexico.

Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's NCAA Div. I Pre-Season Poll (As of Dec. 22, 2006)
Rank School ('06 Final Record) Points Final '06 Rank
1. Rice (57-13) 497 3
2. Clemson (53-16) 492 5
3. South Carolina (41-25) 490 12
4. Arkansas (39-21) 488 25
5. North Carolina (54-15) 487 2
6. Miami, Fla. (42-24) 483 6
7. Texas (41-21) 482 17
8. Vanderbilt (38-27) 479 -
9. Nebraska (42-17) 477 22
10. Virginia (47-15) 474 20



* Nebraska Women Defeat Creighton 60-57

A close one.

* Nebraska's 3rd District Leads The Nation In Farm Subsidies

This annual bit includes all the links to all the specifics you might want: by name, by county, by congressional district, for the entire state. It also provides information on Nebraska moving up in the USDA rankings for organic farming; and the state's top spot as the nation's producer of red meat in November.

* Bruning Will Ask U.S. Supreme Court To Allow Corporate Farming Ban

Nebraska will ask the nation's highest court to save Initiative 300 from being erased from the state constitution.

* UNL Offers Entrepreneurship Program Materials In Spanish

Expanding programs to recognize and reach out in a world of changing demographics.

* Guess Who Is Hiring Americans Who Happen To Be White?

Your feedbacks are still coming in, and they are still welcomed and encouraged.

* The Road To The Immigration Mess Was Built By A Cowardly Congress

It's right to be concerned about the illegals in Grand Island whose lives were disrupted by the federal raids on Swift & Co. It's right to knock the meatpacking industry for shamelessly employing illegals. But don't forget that the whole mess can be traced back to members of Congress who have shirked their duty out of politial cowardice.

* State Population Grows

Oh, boy!

* City Council Says "No" To Frontier's Bid For Exclusive Broadband Operation

The company wanted a ten-year, excluse deal for high-speed, broadband service.


Seats still available to the cotton bowl –

We still have some seats left on our charter flight to Texas to see Nebraska in the ATT Cotton Bowl Classic on New Years Day. Executive Travel is offering a 3 day-2 night Husker Bowl package that departs Omaha on a direct charter flight on Saturday, December 30. The package includes 2 nights hotel stay, game tickets, transfers, pre-game party and much more. For additional information call our office at 402-435-8888 or visit our web site and click on our “Escorted Tours and Sports Tickets” button for all the details. Go Huskers!

HUSKER IN BAGHDAD 2006 - Number 5 (and 6)...

(Ed. Note: I've added an extra email Thomas sent today (Operation Santa) about delivering donations to the needy in Iraq to the beginning of his Christmas piece. At a minimum you should check out the video link he provided...does your heart good to see the children's faces when they receive a toy from "Santa". Although our shipment didn't make it in time for this delivery video, we are sending all of your watch site donations this week in hopes that they can be used to help those in need.)


Some of the folks back home have sent items for the children and needy here in Iraq. Attached is a link to our web page that shows a video of one of the ‘more fun’ deliveries we just made over the holidays.

These are some of the stories that should be getting out. Thanks for all your support and we appreciate the donations.

It’s Christmas here in Baghdad.

The emotions for those who are deployed during the holidays is often melancholy. The Christmas season only magnifies the feelings of distance and separation from those at home.
Typically, the strength to get through these days comes from simple, sometimes silly, gatherings and morale activities from which the deployed draw strength from each other. Christmas in Baghdad 2006 is no different.

The last few weeks have been a roller coaster of highs and lows.

One of my dear friends and colleagues, an Iraqi Sunni journalist who works next to me in my office, lost his brother to a homicidal bomber in Baghdad. He was an innocent bystander on his way to receive medical attention for a blood disorder when he was caught up in militant gang activities occurring in the Baghdad streets.

The main stream news likes to romance these efforts as ‘suicidal bombers.’ The last time I checked, a suicide effort takes out only the misguided individual. But when that individual kills innocent men, women and children, the proper term is HOMICIDE. To me, any potential credit to the ideology of their misguided cause is lost in the mindless bloodshed by their actions.

To his credit, my Iraqi friend – brother -- mourned as he should and three days later was back at his desk helping get the word out on construction projects to the Iraqi people. I am humbled by his conviction and dedication. He honors his brother by continuing the fight for his entire family and country.

He is one of those referred to as the ‘educated Iraqis’. A term used by many to refer to a middle or upper class that has a higher education. While many people of his kind have left to neighboring countries with their families, my friend has remained because of his passion and dedication. We “bleed” red, white and blue but some like he “bleed” red, white, green and black. The irony in the similarity is not lost on me.

Also, in the last few weeks, the Iraqi football (soccer) team took the silver medal in the Asian games in Qatar. The celebratory fire from Baghdad and throughout the country displayed the ability for the Iraqi populace to gather around a common cause. Shia, Sunni, Kurd, Christian – whatever the label – in the end they were all Iraqis celebrating a joint achievement. Much like many of us found unity with the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team’s victory over Russia, the fellowship found by the brotherhood in Iraq was also united, if though briefly, by their joint success. “Do you believe in Miracles?” I do.

Yesterday, on Christmas Eve, as the latest deadly report from the sectarian struggle in Baghdad came in, and another homicidal attempt claimed many hard working innocent lives before their time, my momentary moment of despair was lifted by a simple Merry Christmas card handed to me by one of my other Muslim, Sunni colleagues. Proof again that people of different backgrounds and beliefs can find common ground.

Christmas is Baghdad is a roller coaster of emotions. The momentary pause of the Medivac heading out to pick up another wounded Soldier or Iraqi civilian is quickly replaced by the sight of our commanding general in a Santa outfit trying to raise his troops’ spirits. The crackle of gunfire from the edges of the International Zone is drummed out by Gulf Region Division staff officers giving their best effort to a warbling version of the 12 Days of Christmas.

The sight of our injured Soldiers in the Combat Support Hospital, and recognition of their sacrifice, dedication, bravery and resolve is further validated by the generosity, support and selflessness displayed in items such as dozens of Shoebox’s for Soldiers, assembled by children from St. John’s Lutheran School in St. Louis, Mo. These simple messages and care packages often provide the comfort that medication and surgery can not address.

The only thing stronger than American military might is the American family heart and soul. Both are dependant on each other during times like these. It is times like these that allow you to reflect on the mission, the men and the changes which have occurred in these three short years.

Baghdad Christmas Carol

Thinking back to Christmas Past, Christmas 2003, it was a much different time. It was not even a year since the toppling of Saddam. In August, Saddam’s sons Uday and Qusay had been cornered and killed hiding out in the Kurdish Mosul area. On Dec. 13, Saddam himself was ferreted out of his spider hole hiding place and soon in the custody of the Coalition Provisional Authority. We had made great strides in the initial construction effort in Iraq. Although World Bank estimates indicated the construction effort would be ten times initial projections, nation donors were lining up with promises to support this new budding democracy. In the U.S., political divides had not yet dominated the nation’s dialogue and the 2004 election year was still days away. The debate on the validity of this effort had not begun. Fighting over who to give credit for success and who to place blame was not an issue. If this effort ever had a Norman Rockwell moment, it was then.

Unfortunately, the unity displayed in Iraq in 2004 stood in stark contract to the very divisive election in the U.S. and it was then the fractures in the support for the common cause began to show. While the debate stateside did very little to change the reality for those fighting on the ground, the seeds of impatience were planted.

In Iraq, since then, the country has experienced not one, but two successful elections displaying the people’s resolve to govern themself. Although it came with great debate, a constitution was drafted and ratified. Granted, an imperfect document, but the beginning of a government they could truly call their own. The government in place today, despite nearly three years having past since the liberation of Iraq, is still only eight months old.

As I sit here in Christmas Present, as someone who has found himself ingrained in this effort from serving here portions of three of the past four years, it is difficult to fight the cynicism that comes from remembering promises made and unfulfilled, and commitments by others now forgotten. While no one promised this building a nation game would be easy, I don’t think anyone realized there would be a stopwatch timing the progress of this effort.

Today both nations find their governments steeped in debate on the path forward. Many of the promised donations from other nations are still yet to arrive. Posturing has replaced promises. Analysis has replaced action. All the while Coalition and Iraq forces continue to march forward establishing security and constructing needed systems to improve the quality for those living here. Saddam has been sentenced for his first set of crimes and on trial for more. For every success championed there is a hurdle still to pass. We are definitely at a milestone moment for this mission.

I wonder what Christmas Future will be for Iraq in 2009. By initial estimates, that was the target year when the lion’s share of the infrastructure improvements would finally catch up with the rising demand of an economically thriving Iraq (again, that was using the level of international investment and commitment in the early years as a guide.)

I wonder what provincial elections and three years of improved operations within the young Iraqi government will mean as far as the country’s ability to budget, spend and manage its own money to build its own systems.

I wonder where the American resolve will be for helping our fellow man live an existence without fear of dictatorship, militia, or other criminal threats. I wonder if our nation’s impatience will be replaced by abandonment.

I wonder what, if any, the US forces role will be. The future is wide open, but dependant so much on the continued commitment of those here today, and the revisiting of commitment by those who have yet to step to the plate.

Learning to ride on their own…

Christmas brings to mind another analogy to illustrate the present effort of transition ongoing in Iraq as its government learns more and more to take the lead. Much like the new bike given as a Christmas present to a child, there is a learning curve required prior to full appreciation for and use of the gift.

At first the gift comes with training wheels and the parent helps instruct the child how to operate the new toy. They teach them how to develop balance and control, how to steer, stop, start – and to learn that falling down comes with the territory. All of this initial assistance is required to give balance and control when it is not inherent. That was the US’s role here after giving the gift of freedom, the environment for democracy and the initial foundation of a new infrastructure system to service its people.

But now it is time for those training wheels to come off. However, like a parent teaching the child to ride, we still have a hand on the bike to help. It will be during this next year, while “running alongside” the Iraqis, will we decide when it is time to let go and let them ride by themselves. We must be patient, and we must allow, if not expect, that they may fall several times. We must also be prepared to be there to pick them back up and help them if necessary. I am certain, much as child after child eventually learned to ride their bikes, this country will learn to operate and function on its own. But we must be patient and realistic with our expectations.

Maintaining the systems we have already provided is another part of the learning curve in Iraq. After we learned to ride the bike, we also learned that we had to take care of the bike if it was going to last. That, too, is going on here in Iraq.

Of course, the Iraqis are not children and running a democracy is not riding a bike. But the faith of success and allowance for momentary failure without quitting is the same.

As Gen. Casey has stated, we’re here to help the Iraqis win, we’re not here to win it for them. We can’t want it more than them. The good news is no one wants this to succeed more than the Iraqis themselves.

Construction at transition point

In the last few weeks the US Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq have completed 11 more construction projects and started a dozen more. Three Gas and Oil Separation Plants will help increase crude oil processing capacity, feed gas required to support liquid petroleum gas, and sustain crude oil flow in pipelines -- all contributing to the economic viability of this country. (NOTE: Great piece in Dec 25 issue of NEWSWEEK about the ‘surprising’ economic boom in Iraq)

(Ed. note: Here's the link to the Newsweek article: )

Additional road projects are being completed to improve commerce and transportation throughout the country.

When the sovereignty of this country was transferred to Iraq in 2004, there were just 200 projects started. As of Dec. 8, the 2687 have been completed, 642 are underway and 117 are still planned.

This next year will be a crucial year. These last few weeks, many congressional delegations have come through here to get eyes on the situation for what is expected to be a year of hearings and debates on Capitol Hill on the progress here. Some visits have been genuine efforts to gain understanding. Some have been merely photo-ops so the representatives can say, while pounding the podium, that they were here.

I am reminded of a great quote provided to me by one of the professional U.S. field commanders here in Iraq. “The way to get things done is not to mind who gets credit for doing so.” (Benjamin Jowett, British Theologian and classicist, 1817-1893). Our nation’s leaders would benefit from taking those words to heart.

While those in the U.S. debate an exit strategy to make us ‘look good’, the people who are here are only interested in a strategy that lets us know we’ve ‘done good’. Appearances mean nothing. Soldiers prefer substance over sound bytes. Victory is more important than a victory parade.

I get my passion and determination to continue to believe in this mission from those around me. My fellow members of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the brave Iraqis who face their own threats coming in from the local area to work with us every day, and from the Soldiers I meet.

Work here continues, but the current effort is nearing its end unless the world donors show up with their promised support and unless the Iraqi government advances its ability to manage, fund and support these construction efforts themselves.

I have all the confidence in the world of the ability for these people of Iraq to do all of this. But they are still on a learning curve. Engineers will tell you, the vertical axis on a learning curve is knowledge and ability, but the horizontal on any learning curve, no matter how you cut it, is still ‘time’.

Melancholy, but also promise of tomorrow

As I mentioned in the beginning, holidays away from family at home are often a mixture of emotions. But as those here gather themselves and find strength in their temporary family here in the field, together, we all look for a promise of success in the coming year.

My hope for Iraq in 2007 is a stronger and more influential government exerting the will of the people over the will of a minority of extremists. My hope is the Iraqis take ownership of the thousands of projects provided to them by the coalition and improve maintenance and operation of them to ensure their continued value to their society. My hope is the many brave Iraqi patriots who have remained here to fight for their country’s freedom are rewarded for their sacrifice.

My hope for the people back home, in the United States, is they press through the political posturing and see this effort as an incredible testament to the generosity, courage and determination of free people and heroic servicemen and women. I hope, as a nation, we can press through the immediate gratification nature of our current society and find the fortitude to stick to a fight worth fighting. I hope American’s position on this effort, characterized as dissatisfaction, is perhaps simply ‘boredom’. If so, then I believe a better understanding of the successes here will heighten the support for a valiant and worthwhile mission, still yet to be completed.

As a member of the Army engineer forces, there is no place I’d rather be than here in the midst of the toughest engineering challenge of my generation. As a proud NCO and patriot, I count myself fortunate to be standing in the midst of heroes. As a public affairs officer, I am privileged to convey their stories to those willing to hear.

While I may be thousands of miles from my familiar holiday surrounding, and while I may miss those at home whom I love dearly, at this time, for these reasons, there is no place I would rather be.

Christmas is a time for a renewed promise for tomorrow, for rebirth, for generosity, and for peace on earth to men of goodwill. Christmas is also a time for family. For the moment, I am privileged to be part of a very dynamic and committed family here in Iraq.

All things considering, Christmas in Baghdad is not a bad place to be.

Please stay in touch

To the 983 people on this distribution list, and to the many, many this is forwarded to, thank you for your support to the troops and mission here in Iraq. I personally appreciate your support and interest in learning the whole story here in Iraq.

We just updated the Gulf Region Division Web site at We will be adding print, photo and video coverage of construction efforts as quickly as we can.

You can read much of the construction in Iraq in the latest issue of ESSAYONS FORWARD, the field magazine of the US Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq at: (Note: it is a large .pdf to download, please be patient).

You can follow the progress here in Iraq on the Multi-National Force in Iraq web site at There you can sign up for weekly emails/newsletters, view AFN broadcasts and video of real progress stories and send messages to the heroes here in Iraq. This is the news that should be getting out.

If you know of someone who you know was looking to receive these, and is not, have them contact me. The views expressed in this email are those of the sender and do not necessarily reflect that of the Department of Defense, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers.

(Go Cubs, Go Huskers ;)
Essayons!Thomas A. O’Hara IIIChief Public Affairs OfficerGulf Region DivisionU.S. Army Corps of EngineersBaghdad, Iraq

Visit our Bay Area Huskers website for additional Husker information, Links, Upcoming Events, Past Events, Watch Sites, and the Schedule of Games. Also order Merchandise online, and get information on Husker Scholarships. Check out the History of the Huskers and meet our Directors.

Say hello today, email us, sign up for our newsletter, and become a member of the Bay Area Huskers Alumni Chapter.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bay Area Husker ENews 12-19-06

HO, HO, HO, Merry Christmas Bay Area Husker Fans!

WOW!!! What a great Christmas present...another National Championship! Its been a few years, but the Volleyball Team did it again with great style and intestinal fortitude. Congrats to the team and the coaching staff on a "dig deep" victory over perennial favorite Stanford last Saturday night. See the articles below about the final four contests and the afterglow of victory. And to make it even sweeter, they are predicted to have an even better team next year!! Now lets get our football team back on track for another national title too. Will try to send another update before the Cotton Bowl on the 1st.

Best wishes to all the Husker fans out there for a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year. Be sure to check out the NORAD Santa Tracker to watch the progress of St. Nick on Christmas Eve for all of those little Husker fans waiting for his visit: . And check out this funny website with lots of holiday trivia, several interactive Christmas cards, "mature" cartoons, and links to music and games:

On a more serious note, please take the time to remember the true meaning of this blessed holiday, and please say a prayer for those on watch around the world who are protecting our freedom to worship and our ability to celebrate the season. May they come home safely and with honor to eventually enjoy a "belated holiday" with their families.

Go Big Red (White and Blue),



The Huskers won their third national title with a 3-1 victory over Stanford on Saturday night in Omaha.

OMAHA – Sarah Pavan and Jordan Larson combined for 41 kills as No. 1 Nebraska (33-1) rallied to defeat No. 2 Stanford (30-4) 27-20, 30-26, 30-28, 30-27 for its third NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship in front of a record-crowd of 17,209 fans at the Qwest Center Omaha Saturday evening.

Nebraska, competing in the finals for the sixth time, also captured NCAA women’s volleyball championships in 1995 and 2000 with Husker coach John Cook leading the team during the past two title seasons. Only Stanford has won more women’s volleyball titles with six. The Huskers are the first team since 1991 to win a national title as the host institution.

Stanford was playing in its 12th championship match in the 26-year history of the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal finished second for the sixth team in NCAA Tournament history.

Pavan, who was named the AVCA National Player of the Year earlier in the week, was selected as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and was joined on the all-tournament by Larson, Nebraska’s Tracy Stalls and Rachel Holloway. Stanford’s Kristen Richards, Foluke Akinradewo and Cynthia Barboza were also named to the all-tournament team.

The top two seeds in the NCAA Tournament met for only the second time in an NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship title match. In 2002, top-seeded USC defeated No. 2 Stanford in four games. The NCAA Selection Committee began seeding the 64-team tournament field in 2000.

The championship match attendance of 17,209 was an all-time collegiate volleyball record, surpassing Thursday’s semifinal attendance of 17,013. The all-session attendance at the Qwest Center was 34,222, a new NCAA Championship record.

Stanford overcame a 23-21 deficit in the opening game with five unanswered points, with three kills from Kristin Richards, en route to a 30-27 victory. Despite Nebraska going up 7-2 in the second game, the game became nip-and-tuck with six lead changes and eight ties.

The Huskers overcame a 22-21 deficit by scoring nine of the last 14 points as Stalls and Dani Mancuso each turned in two kills. Nebraska overcame a 26-22 deficit in the third game by outscoring Stanford 8-2 down the stretch as Holloway notched a kill and two blocks with Amanda Gates. Nebraska controlled most of the fourth game, but it was a 6-1 run after leading 18-17 that separated the Huskers from Stanford for a 30-27 victory.

Pavan netted a match-high 22 kills with a .378 attack percentage, 13 digs and three block assists in leading the Huskers. Larson, who had eight kills in nine previous games within the NCAA Championships (semifinals and finals) the past years, scored 19 kills on 45 swings for a .378 attack percentage. She added a double-double with 15 digs and three blocks.

Mancuso chipped in 12 kills for the Huskers, while Stalls added 10 kills and seven block assists. Holloway provided 58 assists, five blocks and two kills in leading the Husker offense. Dani Busboom provided a match-high 21 digs. Kori Cooper tallied two kills and a block solo, while Gates tallied three blocks and a kill.

Erin Waller paced Stanford with 18 kills on .394 hitting, while Akinradewo added 15 kills and eight blocks. Richards contributed 14 kills and 12 digs, while Barboza charted 12 kills and three blocks. Franci Girard provided 10 kills and four blocks in the loss, while Bryn Kehoe totaled 61 assists, three aces, 14 digs and three blocks.

Nebraska hit .240 for the match while limiting Stanford to a .197 attack percentage. The Huskers out-dug the Cardinal 70-63, while both teams totaled 13 team blocks. Nebraska held a 5-4 ace advantage, and both teams had eight service errors.
The Nebraska athletic department will host a championship celebration on Sunday, Dec. 17 at the NU Coliseum at 11 a.m. All seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, and parking for the event is free. Doors open at 10 a.m., while concessions and national championship apparrel will be available. For those fans not able to attend, the program will be available via a video web stream on Sunday evening free of charge on

Final Match Notes

Stanford Quotes

Nebraska Quotes

Nebraska vs. Stanford Box Score



Husker captains Tracy Stalls, Christina Houghtelling and Dani Busboom with Gov. Dave Heineman.

Lincoln – The National Champion Nebraska volleyball team returned home to the Nebraska Coliseum Sunday morning as nearly 2,500 supporters came out to celebrate NU’s 2006 campaign, culminating in the school’s third NCAA title Saturday night in front of an NCAA record crowd of 17,209 at Qwest Center Omaha.

The ceremony included a pair of declarations from Governor Dave Heineman, who not only announced that the week of Dec. 17-23 in the state as Nebraska Volleyball Week, but also declared Husker Head Coach John Cook as Governor for a Day. University of Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman and NU Athletic Director Steve Pederson also lauded the athletic and academic success of the Husker program before turning the dais over to Head Coach John Cook and the 2006 captains, who thanked the fans for their support throughout the season.

Fans can watch the entire ceremony by clicking the link at the top of the page beginning later this afternoon. In addition, Saturday’s championship match will be rebroadcast on ESPNU on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m. (central) and on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 3:30 a.m. (Pacific)


Associated Press (from ESPN website: ) See the video clip at the website.

OMAHA, Neb. -- Sarah Pavan and Jordan Larson led Nebraska to the NCAA women's volleyball title Saturday night, combining for 41 kills in the Cornhuskers' 27-30, 30-26, 30-28, 30-27 victory over Stanford.

Pavan had 22 kills and Larson finished with 19.

Nebraska broke an 11-all tie in the fourth game with a kill, consecutive blocks and a Stanford hitting error that made it 15-11. Stanford pulled to 29-27, but Larson's kill ended the game, giving Nebraska its first title since 2000.

"This team maxed out their ability -- and they never really wavered the entire year," Nebraska coach John Cook said. "To win it here in Nebraska with this group of people -- to overcome the expectations of getting hear and dealing with that pressure -- is definitely number one."

Stanford coach John Dunning called the final the biggest game in college volleyball history. The Qwest Center capacity crowd of about 17,200 was the largest to ever watch a college volleyball match.

"I don't think you can underestimate that. The Red Wave was pretty powerful," Dunning said. "To have that behind them was a big thing."

Nebraska (33-1) became the first non Pac-10 team in five years to win a title, capping a season-long run atop the rankings. The Huskers came from behind in its final three wins, starting with a five-game comeback after going down 0-2 to Minnesota in the Gainesville (Fla.) regional final.

"The game volleyball is a game of streaks," Stanford setter Bryn Kehoe said. "I would say we were up, we let a streak go and that's how the game goes."

Stanford (30-4) went up 16-12 in the first game after a 7-1 run during which Foluke Akinradewo had three kills and a block assist. The Cornhuskers tied it 18 after a Cardinal hitting error and net violation.

Stanford led 27-24 after a five-point run on two errors and a net violation by Nebraska, and eventually won the first game 30-27.

Larson had seven kills and no errors in the first game for Nebraska, after posting six kills and six errors in the semifinal against UCLA on Thursday.

The Cornhuskers jumped to a 5-1 lead in the second game, but Stanford reclaimed the lead at 9-8 after two blocks, two kills and a service ace.

With the score tied at 24, Pavan deflected Cynthia Barboza's attempt straight up into the air, but couldn't see the ball. Rachel Holloway scrambled to make the dig and Larson set the ball across the court to Mancuso, who ended the point with a kill. The Huskers won the game 30-26.

"Whenever anybody makes a great play, it definitely pumps the team up," Holloway said. "I had an opportunity to make the play and I saw she didn't see it. She had no idea where the ball was."

The Cornhuskers were down 26-22 in the third game but rallied to tie it at 27. Erin Waller had nine kills in the game for Stanford, but Larson blocked her possible 10th kill to put the Cornhuskers up 29-28. Pavan ended the game on the next point with her 16th kill, giving Nebraska a 2-1 match lead.

"Her [Holloway's] sets were unbelievable," Pavan said. "I was like drooling when I was hitting them."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press


Sarah Pavan was named AVCA Player of the Year on Friday.

Omaha – University of Nebraska right side hitter Sarah Pavan earned one of college volleyball’s top honors Friday evening, as she was selected the American Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Year at the annual AVCA Banquet.

Pavan, a junior right side hitter from Kitchener, Ontario, is the fourth Husker to earn AVCA National Player-of the-Year honors, joining Allison Weston (1995), Greichaly Cepero (2000) and Christina Houghtelling (2005).

“I was a little surprised,” Pavan said after the announcement. “There are so many great players out there. It was humbling to be up there with those great people and to be singled out among all of them is unbelievable.”

Friday’s honor for Pavan marks the first time that one school has won the AVCA honor in consecutive years with different players, a feat that Pavan, a three-time All-American, credits to the efforts of the Husker coaching staff.

“It proves how good of a program that Nebraska is,” Cook said. “The coaching staff has done amazing things to help me become the player I am. The fact that Nebraska players have won it two years in a row speaks volumes for our program .

Friday’s honor is the second major award that Pavan has earned in the past month, as she was the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American of the Year, carrying a 4.00 GPA in biochemistry. Pavan becomes only the second player in NCAA Division I history to sweep both major athletic and academic volleyball awards the same season, joining Stanford’s Ogonna Nnamani, who won both honors in 2004.

Pavan averages a Big 12-best 5.08 kills per game, a total that ranks in the top-10 nationally, while also ranking among Big 12 leaders in points per game (5.99, first) and service aces per game (0.35, sixth). Her 564 kills ranks third on NU’s single-season list, while her 5.08 kills per game is second only to Nancy Metcalf’s 5.09 kills per game set in 1999. Pavan, who also averages 1.01 blocks and 1.43 digs per game, has four double-doubles in 2006 and nine matches this season with at least 20 kills, including the regional title match against No. 9 Minnesota and Thursday’s national semifinal against No. 4 UCLA.

One of only three Huskers to earn three first-team All-American certificates, Pavan has led No. 1 Nebraska to a 32-1 record and a match-up with No. 2 Stanford Saturday night. The Huskers have been ranked No. 1 all season and will look to become only the third team in NCAA Division I history to be ranked No. 1 an entire season.


Sarah Pavan earned All-America honors for the third time in her career.

Omaha – Four University of Nebraska volleyball players were honored Wednesday with selections to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American team. The Huskers chosen for the AVCA accolades included first-team selections Sarah Pavan and Jordan Larson, second-team recipient Tracy Stalls and third-team honoree Rachel Holloway.

Wednesday’s selections marked the first time that Larson, Stalls and Holloway were chosen, increasing NU’s national-best total of AVCA All-Americans to 57 among 29 athletes. It marked the third time that the Huskers had four selections (2001 and 2005). Nebraska was the only Big 12 team with a first-team recepient, as seven Big 12 performers combined to earn a total of second first-, second or third-team accolades.

Pavan becomes the third Husker in school history to earn three AVCA first-team All-American certificates, joining Allison Weston and Nancy Metcalf in that distinguished club. The junior from Kitchener, Ontario leads the Big 12 and ranks 10th nationally with 5.07 kills per game, while also ranking among the Big 12 leaders in points per game (5.97, first) and service aces per game (0.33, sixth) Pavan had at least 20 kills eight times this season, including 20 in the regional final against No. 9 Minnesota last Saturday.

Larson earned first-team honors after an exceptional 2006 campaign. She averages 4.21 kills and 3.38 digs per game, ranking among the Big 12’s leaders in aces (0.50/gm, second), points (5.20, third), kills (fourth) and digs (10th). The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Larson has a team-best 21 double-doubles, including 10 in a row earlier in the season. She comes off one of the best performances of her career, a 21-kill, 17-dig effort in the regional title match. Larson also becomes the 12th Husker volleyball player from Nebraska to earn AVCA All-America accolades.

Stalls earns All-America accolades for the first time for a strong junior campaign. She averages 2.62 kills and 1.41 blocks per game, leading the Big 12 and ranking 11th national in hitting percentage while ranking fourth in blocks. She reached double-figures in kills 11 times entering the NCAA semifinals, including a 16-kill, 12-block effort at Colorado in November. Stalls’ hitting percentage is the best by a Husker since Amber Holmquist hit .406 in 2000.

Holloway becomes the second Husker freshman in school history to earn AVCA All-America honors, joining Pavan, who was tabbed in 2004. Holloway becomes the eighth Husker setter to earn All-Americans, as NU setters has combined for 16 AVCA All-America certificates. She averages 13.39 assists, 2.50 digs and 1.12 kills per game, ranking 12th nationally in assists. She guides an offensive attack that leads the country in kills and assists per game while ranking second nationally in hitting percentage. She had a career-best 65 assists in the win over Minnesota in the regional title match last Saturday.


The Big 12 Conference has announced Nebraska's conference football schedules through 2015.

Nebraska’s Big 12 Conference football schedules are set for the next nine seasons, as the Big 12 office released league schedules for the seasons of 2008 through 2015 on Tuesday.

Among the notes from Nebraska’s future Big 12 schedules are...

• Nebraska will continue to conclude the regular season with a Thanksgiving weekend matchup against Colorado. The NU-CU games may continue to be played on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but that determination will not be made until after the Big 12 has completed a new television contract.

• In five of the eight seasons between 2008 and 2015, Nebraska does not have a scheduled bye week prior to the Colorado game.

• The 2008, 2013 and 2014 schedules have 14 playing Saturdays, giving schools two off Saturdays during the course of the season. In those three seasons, the Huskers are scheduled to have a bye week before taking on Colorado to close the regular season.

• Nebraska will open conference play each year from 2008 to 2015 against either Missouri or Kansas State. The Huskers open against Missouri in 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013, and against the Wildcats in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015.

• The Huskers’ rotation against the Big 12 South will remain the same. Nebraska will face Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas Tech in 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013, and will take on Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015.

The Huskers’ 2007 schedule was set as part of the previous group of Big 12 schedules. Nebraska has completed its non-conference schedule for 2007, and has several future non-conference series’ set through 2017.

Minor changes to the Big 12 schedules could be made in the future to accommodate for television.

Nebraska Football Future Schedules (2007-2015)

Future Nebraska Football Schedules


Santa Claus made an appearance at the Husker Family Christmas party Sunday following practice.

Lincoln – Nebraska continued preparations for next month’s Cotton Bowl showdown with Auburn with its second straight day of workouts Saturday inside the Hawks Championship Center. Near the end of practice, the Huskers welcomed more than 60 youth from the Lincoln YMCA Community Learning Center to the Hawks Center and treated them to a Husker Family Christmas.

The kids first had an opportunity to watch the final 30 minutes of the Huskers’ afternoon workout. Immediately following practice, the children were able to play on the Hawks Center field for approximately 30 minutes.

Nebraska’s coaching staff and players then shared a Christmas meal with the children. In addition to a Husker gift bag presented by Santa Claus, the youth each received a gift personally chosen and paid for by Nebraska players. Each player was assigned a gift partner and the groups purchased a gift for one of the youth. The event concluded with the players and YMCA Youth singing three Christmas carols.

A monetary gift was also presented to the YMCA Strong Kids Scholarship Program. The money was a combination of monetary gifts by football staff and athletic department staff, with a matching donation by Coach Callahan Charities.

For photos from the event, please vist the web site.

Prior to the post-practice activities, Defensive Coordinator Kevin Cosgrove and Offensive Coordinator Jay Norvell took time to cover several topics with the area media. Norvell described Saturday’s practice as “high energy” and “high intensity,” despite to the absence of nine Husker seniors who took part in commencement ceremonies.

“We had some guys miss today to walk at graduation, so it gave some of the other guys an opportunity to practice,” Norvell said. “They were really excited. Joe Ganz got all of the reps with the (first-string offense) and did a phenomenal job. It was great for him, and Beau Davis got a lot of reps.”

While Nebraska has not played since the Big 12 Championship Game two weeks ago, Norvell said the squad is still finding ways to keep the level of intensity high at practice.

“We’re just practicing. We’re practicing and putting guys in competitive situations to keep them sharp,” Norvell said. “When those competitive juices get flowing you get a lot of quality work, and that’s what we had today. We had a highly, highly intense Husker (one-on-one) drill today, and everybody was into it. Those young kids don’t get as many opportunities as the older guys, so we were excited about that.”

Cosgrove used his first opportunity Saturday to praise recently hired defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt, who experienced his first practice working with the Huskers during the afternoon.

“He’s fit in very well,” Cosgrove said. “He’s a good guy who knows a lot of guys on our staff. He comes from an outstanding program that has played great defense over the last few years. He’s an impressive guy.”



Adam Carriker is one of nine current Huskers who will earn a degree from the University of Nebraska on Saturday.

Lincoln – Nebraska returned to the practice field Friday after a four-day layoff with a two-hour workout in full pads inside the Hawks Championship Center. New Husker defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt officially joined the team Friday, and Head Coach Bill Callahan welcomed him during a brief press conference following the afternoon’s exercises.

“Buddy comes from the University of Alabama and has an extensive career of coaching defensive linemen. He has done an outstanding job at every stop he has been. We are certainly glad to welcome him to Nebraska. He has all of the things we look for in a complete coach—he can recruit, he can coach, he can motivate and, most importantly, he can put his arm around these kids and take them to a new level. This is an excellent hire for us.”

Wyatt said he was excited to join the Huskers as they prepare for next month’s Cotton Bowl matchup with Auburn in Dallas, Texas.

“First of all, I am excited to be here. When you get into coaching, you dream of coaching at a place like Nebraska. It is rich in tradition. The job Coach Callahan and his staff have done is amazing. When you are in this game, you don’t get to watch everyone play, but I’ve had an opportunity to watch (Nebraska) here and there and I’ve been impressed.”

Callahan also took Friday’s media opportunity to congratulate nine current members of the Husker football team who will receive degrees on Saturday afternoon. Among those football players receiving degrees are quarterback Zac Taylor; defensive lineman Adam Carriker; safety Brandon Rigoni; tight ends Matt Herian and J.B. Phillips; linebacker Stewart Bradley; defensive tackle Ola Dagunduro; defensive end Newt Lingenfelter; and fullback Will Otto.

“I want to commend those players,” Callahan said. “Again, good luck to those guys who finished on time and early and showed that commitment to academics. It is so important.”

Friday’s return to practice also marked the end of the semester. The squad had not held an official full-scale workout since Sunday due to finals week.

“The kids have been off essentially the entire week with the exception of some lifting, running and a little bit of throwing on Tuesday and Thursday. It was just good to get them out on the field. I know they are kind of glad to get back and going again, because they had finals all week.”
The Huskers will hit the practice field again on Saturday before hosting a group of approximately 70 youth from the Lincoln YMCA Community Learning Center after practice for the Husker Family Christmas party.


Ray Hacker is one of two former Husker gymnasts set to graduate this Saturday.

Lincoln – Former Husker men’s gymnasts Ray Hacker and Nick Moore will be among 31 University of Nebraska student-athletes set to receive their degrees during commencement ceremonies on Saturday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Both Hacker and Moore competed for Nebraska from 2003 to 2006, in which time they helped the Huskers to four consecutive NCAA Championship appearances.

After playing a supporting role for NU during his underclass years, Hacker emerged in his senior season as one of Nebraska’s top still rings competitors and earned his first career title on the event against Air Force. Hacker went on to lead Nebraska on the rings at the 2006 NCAA Championships, advancing to the event preliminaries on the apparatus for the first time in his collegiate career.

Moore also made strides in his senior season after battling back from injuries he suffered in his sophomore year. After competing almost exclusively on the pommel horse in his first three seasons, Moore added floor exercise and vaulting duties in his senior year with tremendous success. In fact, the Indianapolis, Ind., native led Nebraska on the vault in 2006, notching two event titles behind a career-high score of 9.45 that launched him as high as seventh in the national vaulting polls.

Hacker will receive his degree in finance on Saturday, while Moore graduates with a degree in history.


Former Husker Kari Hogan is among 31 Husker student-athletes graduating in December.

Lincoln - Former Husker soccer player Kari Hogan will be among 31 University of Nebraska student-athletes set to receive their degrees during commencement ceremonies on Saturday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Hogan played in the midfield for the Huskers from 2002 to 2004 before injury cut her career short during her junior season. Despite being unable to complete her playing eligibility, Hogan made the most of her years as a Husker, starting in 40 contests, including all 22 of Nebraska’s matches in 2003.

Also in 2003, Hogan became known as one of Nebraska’s best set-up players, earning nine assists on the season, the second highest of any Husker that year. Hogan had four assists in one game alone against Iowa State, which ranked second in the NCAA for single-game assists that season.

The following year, Hogan added another assist to give her a career total of 19 points on three goals and 13 assists. In 2005, she continued her dedication to Nebraska soccer as an undergraduate assistant coach for the team.

Hogan graduates from Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer science.


Most of you know Thomas O'Hara through his "Husker in Baghdad" emails. He's also an alum of the UNL Triangle fraternity (Engineers, Architects and Scientists) whose house was taken for a campus improvement project. He sent me the attached ad describing the signs. They are trying to raise funds to pay of the mortgage and repairs for their new house (actually another defunct frat house on campus) by selling these very creative Husker lighted signs. Currently they are sold out of the "N" signs, but have a few "Huskers" signs left. They are trying to find a new manufacturer to create more. Call them directly if you are interested.

Contact Person: Eric Thomsen
Home 308-750-0202 (Preferred)
Work 402-510-6435



* Husker Volleyball - They're No. 1!

Nebraska does it from wire-to-wire. No. 1 all year, capped off with a national championship victory. Be it ever so raucous, there's no place like home for the NU women. Read and comment, please. ALSO: We link to a terrific ESPN video that is worth a look - just for the look on a Husker player who slams home a big 'un against Southern Cal.

* Vigils Bring Out Support And Criticism of Feds' Raids On Meapacking Plants

In the wake of the raid at the Swift & Co. plant in Grand Island, there is support and criticism of the feds' action. This piece will link you to the latest coverage of the story, along with several good video reports. Comment with civility, please.

* Fifteen Indictments From Grand Island Meatpacking Raid

The basic story from the raids last week.


Visit our Bay Area Huskers website for additional Husker information, Links, Upcoming Events, Past Events, Watch Sites, and the Schedule of Games. Also order Merchandise online, and get information on Husker Scholarships. Check out the History of the Huskers and meet our Directors.

Say hello today, email us, sign up for our newsletter, and become a member of the Bay Area
Huskers Alumni Chapter.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Husker Women's Volleyball Team Wins National Title

Congratulations to the Huskers Women's Volleyball Team

The Nebraska volleyball team won the third national title in school history Saturday with a four-set victory, 27-30, 30-26, 30-28, 30-27, over No. 2 Stanford in front of an NCAA-record crowd of 17,209 during the NCAA final at Qwest Center Omaha.

Visit our Bay Area Huskers website for additional Husker information, Links, Upcoming Events, Past Events, Watch Sites, and the Schedule of Games. Also order Merchandise online, and get information on Husker Scholarships. Check out the History of the Huskers and meet our Directors.

Say hello today, email us, sign up for our newsletter, and become a member of the Bay Area
Huskers Alumni Chapter.

Husker News ENews 12-12-06

Hey Bay Area Husker Fans!

How about those Lady Husker Volleyball players!!! Don't know if you got a chance to watch the match on Saturday (ESPNU), but what a comeback victory over Minnesota in the Florida regionals! Down 0-2 it was looking grim, but they did a gut check and won the next three in a row decisively. This means they are headed back to Omaha for the Semi-finals and hopefully the National Championship. The games will be televised live on ESPN2 and ESPNU so check the article below for details

Thanks again to everyone who donated to our clothing drive. I have collected all of the watch site donations and will be sending three large boxes to Iraq for the needy. Will give you updates when I hear they have arrived. And check out a repeat Husker Holiday Humor poem at the end of the email.

Go Big Red (White and Blue),


Dani Mancuso and the No. 1 ranked Huskers will take on UCLA Thursday at 6 p.m.

The No. 1 Nebraska volleyball team will square off against No. 4 UCLA in the first NCAA semifinal on Thursday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m. (pacific) at Qwest Center Omaha.

The contest, which is already a sellout, will be carried live nationally on ESPN2 and on ESPNU and is the first of two national semifinals on Thursday.

In the other matchup, second-ranked Stanford (29-3) will take on defending national champion and sixth-seeded Washington (29-4) at 6:30 p.m. or 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first match. Thursday’s two winners will advance to the national championship match, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16.

The matchup between the Huskers (31-1) and Bruins (33-3) is a rematch of last season’s NCAA regional semifinal, a 3-0 Nebraska win last December in Omaha. NU leads the all-time series, 7-4, with four of the previous meetings taking place in the NCAA Tournament.

The Huskers earned their ticket to the National Semifinals, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to top No. 9 Minnesota in five games. Regional Most Outstanding Player Jordan Larson paced NU with a career-high 21 kills and 17 digs, as Nebraska overcame a 2-0 deficit in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. The Huskers will be making their second straight appearance in the national semifinals and 10th in school history.

UCLA, which tied for second in the Pac-10 Conference, features the country’s top middle blocker in senior All-American Nana Meriwether, who averages 4.12 kills per game, while leading the country in both blocks (1.97 per game) and hitting percentage (.460). Meriwether is one of five Bruins averaging more than two kills per game, as UCLA brings an eight-match win streak into Thursday’s match.


Nebraska's next match is at the Qwest Center on Thursday.

Sarah Pavan and Jordan Larson combined for 41 kills, as No. 1 Nebraska clinch├ęd the first berth in the NCAA National Semifinals with a 25-30, 22-30, 30-20, 30-25, 15-9 victory over No. 9 Minnesota Saturday afternoon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla.

The Huskers, who improved to 31-1 on the season, did it the hard way, winning the final three games after falling behind 2-0 to earn their 10th trip to the national semifinals. It marked the 10th time in school history and the first time in NCAA tournament play that Nebraska had rallied back from a 2-0 deficit.

“This is the way it should be to get to the Final Four.” Nebraska Head Coach John Cook said. “Our team certainly showed a lot of character tonight, and prior to this we weren’t sure we had a lot of character because we hadn’t been put in a situation like this before. Minnesota played very, very well, especially in the first two games, but we hung in there and did what we’ve been working on all year, which is playing point by point and not taking our eyes off of this match and looking ahead to Omaha.”

Larson posted her 21st double-double of the year, totaling a career high 21 kills and 17 digs en route to Regional Most Outstanding Player honors. Pavan finished with 20 kills and 11 digs for her fourth double-double of the year and joined Larson and freshman setter Rachel Holloway, who totaled a career-high 55 assists, on the Regional All-Tournament team. It marked the first time that two Huskers had at least 20 kills in a match since the 2004 campaign.

The Huskers would not be going to Omaha if it weren’t for the efforts of seniors Dani Mancuso and Dani Busboom, both of whom made major contributions in NU’s comeback. Mancuso totaled a season-high 15 kill, while Busboom tied Larson for team-high honors with 17 digs. Tracy Stalls was the fourth Husker to finish in double figures in kills, totaling 13 kills on .375 hitting and adding a team-high six stuffs.

Cook said the comeback capped an amazing season that will see the Huskers shoot for their third national title in school history in front of sellout crowds at the Qwest Center in Omaha beginning Thursday evening. Nebraska will play in Thursday's first national semifinal, slated for a 4:30 p.m. start.

“I can’t tell you how much this team has been living with what I want to call pressure to play in the Final Four in Omaha in front of a sold-out Qwest Center,” Cook said. “They’ve done an amazing job of handling those expectations, so this is a tremendous and historic win for Nebraska since it’s the first time we’ve made it to the Final Four without going outside of Nebraska to get there.”

Busboom, one of three captains, said the Huskers showed the fortitude to be the first Nebraska volleyball team to win a regional away from home.

“All year we’ve been saying that this team is different than all of the other Nebraska teams in the past, and I think it really showed tonight,” Busboom said. “Everyone was struggling in the first two games, and then everyone picked it up instead of putting it all on one person’s back.”

The comeback was never more evident than in game five, when the Huskers hit a match-high .522 on 23 swings, including four kills by Pavan and three each from Stalls and Larson after the Huskers hit under .300 in each of the first four games.

It looked bleak for the Huskers early on, as Nebraska struggled offensively in the first two games, hitting under .120 in both games in falling behind 2-0 for the first time all season. NU committed 22 errors in the first two games, while the Gophers played inspired ball early on.

According to Larson, the Huskers’ intermission talk awoke NU from its sluggish start.

“We came into the third game knowing we were better than how we’d been playing. We’ve worked all year to get this far, and so I think we all just had a complete mental change.”

In game three, the Huskers took control midway through the game, as strong serving from Rachel Schwartz and Tracy Stalls keyed a 7-1 run, turning a 9-all deadlock into a 16-10 advantage after a Gopher hitting errors. Minnesota pulled to within 17-14, but could not get closer as a Larson kill began a run of four straight points with the sophomore at the service line, as Minnesota would not get closer than five points the rest of the way.

Nebraska continued the momentum in game four, hitting .255 as Larson keyed a 30-25 win. The Huskers jumped on the Gophers early, racing out to an 11-3 lead after a Pavan service ace. Minnesota, which ended its season with a 26-8 mark, fought back to within 22-20, but kills by Mancuso and Larson gave NU a four-point lead. UM got to within 24-21, but two Pavan kills and a Gopher hitting error gave Nebraska the margin they needed to get into a game five.

The Huskers, who had played only two five-game matches all season, used strong serving from Holloway to jump on the Gophers, scoring the first five points. From there, the Huskers continued to add to thei lead, pushing the margin to 11-4 on Rachel Schwartz’s third ace of the night. Minnesota cut the lead to 14-9, but Pavan slammed home her 21st kill for match point, setting off a jubilent celebration among the Husker supporters who traveled to Florida for the regional.


Defensive Coordinator Coach Cosgrove and the rest of the coaching staff traveled around the country this past week recruiting.

The Nebraska football team looked crisp and ready for action in a two-hour full-pad workout in the Hawks Championship Center Saturday. The practice consisted of several fast-paced offensive series’ that saw action from players deep into the depth chart. The team was back at work following a five-day break after the Big 12 Championship game as the team begins preparations to take on Auburn in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove was excited to return to an energetic Husker squad following a week of recruiting across the country.

“It was good,” Cosgrove said. “I got back in from (recruiting) on the road on Friday, and it was nice to get back on the practice field. We gave a lot of our young kids an opportunity to get some practice reps today and some great individual work. It was a good overall day.”

Cosgrove additionally touched on the many reps they will be giving to the younger portion of the squad during the three weeks of practice leading to the bowl game.

“We’re trying to get young guys as many reps as we can,” Cosgrove said. “We also use this time to take a look at kids in different positions, so that will be interesting.”

Much of the next month will be spent recruiting for most of the assistant coaches, as Cosgrove confirmed an excitement amongst recruits following a season in which the Huskers continue to make strides.

“It’s been really positive,” Cosgrove said. “The recruits are excited. We’ve made a lot of progress, and things are going really well right now. We’re still getting our regular workouts in, and getting a chance to get out there and show recruits what we’ve been up to.”


NU's younger players, such as freshman Corey Young, have received numerous reps during the start of bowl practice this week.

The Nebraska football team held its second day of Cotton Bowl preparations Sunday with a three-hour workout in full pads inside the Hawks Championship Center. For the second straight day, some of the more inexperienced Huskers received a portion of the practice’s focus with a scrimmage to conclude the afternoon’s exercises.

Head Coach Bill Callahan singled out several players whose play stood out during the scrimmage.

“Our younger players did a nice job,” Callahan said. “We scrimmaged at length with our younger players—freshmen primarily—and they did some awfully good things. Corey Young had some hellacious hits. (Tyler) Kester, he did well. Thomas Lawson carried the ball quite a bit in the scrimmage. Our young linemen, they just can’t get enough reps right now. All in all, it was a great day for our young players.”

The depth that the Huskers have built this season has allowed the squad to designate sections of their bowl practices for the sole development of their younger players.

“I don’t know if we had enough bodies to do it last year,” Callahan said. “We’re a little bit deeper right now, so it has allowed us some flexibility in trying to get these guys a little more experience.”

Callahan said repetitions like those offered during Sunday’s scrimmage can be very important for the development of younger players.

“They’ll have an opportunity so see themselves on film. They will get a chance to evaluate and assess their fundamentals and techniques in a scrimmage situation, so it is just invaluable, to say the least.

“The players are all in position meetings during the course of the season. They have a great idea of what is being taught. It is just a matter of executing and getting practice with it. (The scrimmage) was great for everyone. These guys have been absorbing the system now for the entirety of training camp and the fall, so it was great to see them get to try and execute under duress.”

On the injury front, Callahan reported that freshman offensive tackle Jacob Hickman was sidelined by a knee injury during practice on Saturday after suffered a sprained MCL. While still unsure of the severity of the injury on Sunday, the squad has not ruled Hickman out of action for the Cotton Bowl matchup with Auburn. Additionally, junior fullback Matt Senske has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after undergoing back surgery.

Nebraska will take the following four days off from practice during finals week before returning to the field on Friday.


Rickey Thenarse was named Nebraska Special Teams MVP Friday for his efforts during the 2006 season.

The Nebraska football program honored its 19-member senior class on Friday night at the Huskers’ annual team banquet at the Lincoln Station in the Haymarket. Seven Husker players were also presented with awards as part of the evening’s program.

Senior quarterback Zac Taylor continued his post-season awards haul, receiving two honors at the banquet. Taylor was chosen as Nebraska’s Offensive MVP in a vote of his teammates, and was also presented with the 2006 Guy Chamberlin Trophy, as voted on by media members who cover Nebraska football on a daily basis. The Chamberlin Trophy is presented to the senior player who has shown by his play and contributions to the betterment of the University of Nebraska football squad that he has the qualities and dedication of Guy Chamberlin to the great Cornhusker tradition.

A native of Norman, Okla., Taylor shattered nearly every passing record at Nebraska, including setting both season and career marks for passing yards and passing touchdowns. Last week he was chosen as the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year by both the Big 12 Coaches and the Associated Press.

Defensive end Adam Carriker received Nebraska’s Defensive MVP award for the second straight season. Carriker finished his senior season with a team-leading six sacks and 15 tackles for loss. He finished the regular season with 49 overall tackles, the most among Husker defensive linemen. He closed his senior year in strong fashion, recording five sacks in the final five games of the season. Carriker was picked as the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year by the Big 12 coaches.

Freshman cornerback Rickey Thenarse was honored for his special teams work by being named the Huskers’ 2006 Special Teams MVP. Thenarse was a key member of Nebraska’s kickoff and punt coverage units and routinely made key plays. His efforts helped the Huskers rank 15th nationally in kickoff return defense and 22nd nationally in net punting.

Senior offensive guard Greg Austin was presented with this year’s Tom Novak Trophy. The Novak Trophy is presented to the senior who “best exemplifies courage and determination despite all odds in the manner of Nebraska All-America center Tom Novak.” Austin has started eight games this season despite injuring his knee on two occasions. Austin suffered a career-threatening knee injury as a freshman in 2003, but has battled back to contribute to the Husker offensive line each of the past three seasons.

The Huskers’ third senior award, the Cletus Fischer Native Son Award, was presented to fullback Dane Todd, a Lincoln native. The award is presented annually to the senior player selected by the Husker coaches, who best exemplifies the following qualities: good work ethic, competitiveness, leadership, forthrightness, sense of humor, pride, loyalty and love of Nebraska.

Todd is a two-year starter at fullback who has played a key role in Nebraska’s resurgent running attack that has produced more than 180 yards in eight games this season. Todd was a first-team All-Big 12 selection at fullback by the Big 12 coaches and also earned second-team academic All-America honors this season.

The offensive scout team MVP was quarterback Sam Keller, who joined the Nebraska program as a transfer from Arizona State in August. Despite impressive credentials when joining the program, Keller displayed a team-first attitude in helping the Huskers prepare for the opposition each week. On the defensive side, the scout team defensive MVP was junior defensive end Tony Sullivan, a native of Wahoo, Neb.

Todd lead a group of Nebraska’s academic award winners who were also honored at the banquet, including 15 first-team academic All-Big 12 selections.

Approximately 400 people attended the Saturday night banquet. The winners of the Chamberlin and Novak trophies and the Cletus Fischer Native Son Award will also be honored as part of the Outland Trophy Banquet in Omaha on Jan. 11.

Former Husker linebacker Jay Foreman ('99) just signed as a free agent with the 49ers!!!

* About This Cortney Grixby Fellow

Cortney Grixby knows that criticism just comes with the territory, especially when your territory is in Nebraska's defensive secondary.

* NFU Hears Differing Views On Developing Wind Energy

Critics say NPPD opposes wind-energy development. NPPD says it isn't so.

* Lincoln Takes A Do-Over On Verizon Building

Better safe than all manner of legal problems.

* Drive-by Killers Take Another Life In Omaha

What can you say? Moreover, what can be done?

* Gering Cowboy Is NFR World Champion

Congratulations! Anyone who would wrestle a steer deserves whatever they earn.

* Comeback Sends NU Into Final Four Against UCLA Thursday night. ESPN.

* Agricultural "Red States" Hope Democrats Can Enact Emergency Aid Bill

There is an irony in it. Overwhelmingly "Red" agricultural states are looking to the new Democratic majority to get disaster relief through Congress. The measure would still face a veto from President Bush.


Christmas in Nebraska (a repeat from last year, but still funny!)...

When it's Christmas in Nebraska,

And the gentle breezes blow,

About seventy miles an hour,

And its fifty-two below,

You can tell you're in Nebraska

'Cause the snow's up to your butt.

And you take a breath of Christmas air

And your nostrils both freeze shut.

The weather here is wonderful,

So I guess I'll hang around,

I could never leave Nebraska--

My feet are frozen to the ground!

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