Friday, August 04, 2006

Bay Area Huskers News 8/4/2006

Hey Bay Area Husker Fans!

OK...everybody hold up both hands with two fingers extended (like in V for Victory or Peace). Now repeat after me.....We're Number Twenty-Two, We're Number Twenty-Two ;o) Great to be back in the pre-season polls again! See the article below about the USA/TODAY poll that came out today. Kind of an eclectic mix of other info to pass along so here goes!

Lots of good news about our Volleyball Team below. Great athletes with great academics...another Husker Tradition!

Star Husker Hurler, Shane Komine, is now a Bay Area resident as he joined the Oakland A's a week ago when they called him up from their minor league AAA Sacramento team. See the article below for a recap of his major league opener...could be a rising star!

Barry Collier Leaving Huskers for Butler AD Job...
Basketball Coach, Barry Collier is leaving the Huskers for his dream job as Athletic Director of his alma mater, Butler University. Not much on the Husker website, but there is an article below in the 'news from the homeland' about this late breaking story.

I did find a link to AD Steve Pederson's remarks on the roundball coach's departure:

USC Game...
If you intend to join the migration south for the game, there are still a few package deals left at the HuskerPedia website, but they are starting to sell out the more popular events and hotel packages. I'd recommend checking their website and grabbing what you want before they disappear.

Go Big Red (White and Blue),


The poll came out today and you can see the entire writeup at:
Looks like we will play the #2, #3 and possibly the #5 teams this year (assuming we win the North and OU beats Texas in the Big XII South)...tough year!

Here's the top 25:
1. Ohio State (28) 0-0 1,487
2. Texas (11) 0-0 1,378
3. USC (1) 0-0 1,348
3. Notre Dame (9) 0-0 1,348
5. Oklahoma (13) 0-0 1,320
6. Auburn (1) 0-0 1,206
7. West Virginia 0-0 1,202
8. Florida 0-0 1,054
9. LSU 0-0 1,037
10. Florida State 0-0 874
11. Miami (FL) 0-0 839
12. California 0-0 798
13. Louisville 0-0 785
14. Georgia 0-0 784
15. Michigan 0-0 778
16. Virginia Tech 0-0 591
17. Iowa 0-0 519
18. Clemson 0-0 493
19. Penn State 0-0 406
20. Oregon 0-0 373
21. TCU 0-0 270
22. Nebraska 0-0 261
23. Tennessee 0-0 216
24. Alabama 0-0 210
25. Texas Tech 0-0 198
OTHERS RECEIVING VOTESArizona State 182, Boston College 87, Utah 84, Arkansas 64, South Carolina 55, Boise State 46, Wisconsin 37, UCLA 29, Georgia Tech 28, Fresno State 14, Tulsa 11, Iowa State 9, Minnesota 9, Maryland 8, Purdue 7, Texas A&M 6, Memphis 5, Nevada 3, UTEP 3, Rutgers 2, Northern Illinois 2, Northwestern 2, Oregon State 2, Arizona 2, Brigham Young 2, Colorado 1, Duke 1.


By Dave Weaver, AP
Zac Taylor did not expect Nebraska to recruit him, but the unlikely Cornhusker from Norman, Okla., set school records last year in passing yards, completions and attempts.
By Jack Carey, USA TODAY

The evolution at Nebraska is now bordering on a revolution.
Two years removed from a painful 5-6 season that marked the debut of coach Bill Callahan, the Cornhuskers hope to build on the momentum of a season-ending three-game winning streak last year, including a victory against Michigan in the Alamo Bowl that punctuated an 8-4 season.
Moreover, the Huskers are becoming more familiar and comfortable with the pro-style West Coast offense Callahan installed after arriving from the Oakland Raiders. And thus the Cornhuskers are becoming more dangerous.

The Big 12 North Division title is there for the taking and would be a legitimate first step toward getting the Huskers, who begin practice Thursday, back in the national picture. Nebraska is the preseason pick by conference media to win the North.

"I don't think we're that far away at all," says senior quarterback Zac Taylor, who set school season records last year for passing yards (2,653), completions (237) and attempts (430). "We feel if we take care of business, we'll be playing in some big games."

Taylor might best represent the new look of the Cornhuskers. A transfer from Butler County (Kan.) Community College, Taylor was being recruited by Memphis and Marshall two years ago when an unexpected call from Nebraska offensive coordinator Jay Norvell just before Butler County's season ended sent him north to Nebraska.

It took awhile for him to grasp the offense. But once he did, the records started to fall. That's how fast things can change these days for one of the nation's legendary programs. "I wasn't even sure they were looking at me," Taylor says.

Taylor, from Norman, Okla., started his career at Wake Forest but transferred to Butler County after two years, realizing the Demon Deacons' offense wasn't for him.

"He just took off last year; he just absorbed another level of the offense and was capable of taking us to new levels," says Callahan.

The changes have come with head-spinning frequency the past couple of years for the Cornhuskers and their fans, who were used to decades of rushing records and earth-moving offensive lines under former coaches Tom Osborne and Frank Solich.

At the same time Taylor was putting up record numbers through the air, the program that for decades personified the running game with a long legacy of great I-backs, finished last in the Big 12 in rushing at 96 yards a game.

That might not be exactly what Callahan wants, but there's a process to go through, he says.
"When you change a system and you change a culture, you're changing a whole profile of what you look for in talent," says Callahan. "Our emphasis (coming in) was a pro-style player, skill players, receivers, running backs, tight ends that would fit a pro-style attack.

"The receivers we had our first year were primarily blockers in the option system. Now we have kids catching 40-45 balls a year, and that's still not where we want it to be, but that (speaks to) the transition of personnel that goes with a change in systems."

The team's improvement last year was not limited to the passing game. Nebraska's defense also started coming into its own. Seven starters return to a unit that led the nation with 50 sacks and also had 140 tackles for loss.

Among the returnees are senior ends Adam Carriker and Jay Moore, who give the Huskers a potentially dominant pair of pass rushers. Carriker had 9½ sacks last season and Moore 14 tackles for loss.

"We've got athletes and a lot of players who can go out there and really play," Moore says. "And we have players who can really shut a lot of teams down if we play up to our abilities."
Both started their careers under Solich and have lived through the transition.

"We're on the same defense for our third year now, and it's amazing how much better you can get if you run the same things three years in a row," Moore says.

"You can see the painting starting to get finalized here. Earlier on, you weren't really sure what he was doing. It was like watching (the late painter) Bob Ross on TV. You'd say 'What exactly is he doing here?' Then it was, 'Wow! You can see what he's doing.' "

Moore, a lifelong Huskers fan from Elkhorn, Neb., would like nothing more than to be remembered for rekindling title dreams around a state crazy for the team.

"I lived those (championship) moments," Moore says. "I was watching all the games, celebrating with friends and family. You want to get that taste and feeling back and get the state back to a winning attitude. Things are starting to come around again."
Posted 8/2/2006 10:47 PM ET

Courtesy: R.J. Meyer/NU Media RelationsThe Huskers will look to defend its Big 12 title in 2006.

Nebraska is the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 title for the 10th consecutive season in a vote of the league head coaches, the conference office announced Wednesday. The Huskers received eight of the 11 possible first-place votes and 98 points overall, while coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.

In 2005, NU finished the season as the national runner-up to Washington, tallying a 33-2 overall record and 19-1 conference mark. The Huskers also claimed their eighth Big 12 crown (1996, 1998-02, ‘04-05). Coach John Cook earned Tachikara/America Volleyball Coaches Association Division I National Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his career, in addition to being named Big 12 Coach of the Year (2001, 2005). Nebraska also returns reigning conference player of the year Sarah Pavan.

Texas was second behind NU with 93 points, including three first-place votes. The Longhorns were followed by Missouri, Kansas State and Texas A&M filling the top five spots. Colorado was sixth with Kansas, Iowa State, Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas Tech rounding out the poll.

Pavan headlines the individual honors as the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year for the second straight season. Last year, the junior from Kitchener, Ontario, averaged 3.82 kills, 1.24 blocks, 1.66 digs and 0.31 aces in 35 matches. Pavan tallied four double-doubles and a triple-double of 11 kills, 11 blocks and 10 digs against Pepperdine. In conference action, the two-time All-America selection, ranked among the Big 12 leaders in points per game (4.87, fourth), kills (3.93, fifth) and hitting percentage (.365, sixth).

Pavan was one of two Huskers chosen for the preseason All-Big 12 team, as she was joined by sophomore outside hitter Jordan Larson, who averaged 2.82 kills and 2.79 digs per game in 2005, earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors.

Nebraska begins practice on Tuesday, Aug. 8, and will open the 2006 season against San Diego on Tuesday, August 29. First serve at the Nebraska Coliseum will be at 5 p.m. (PDT)

2006 Big 12 Preseason Awards and Polls
Rank Team (First-place Votes) Points
1. Nebraska (8) 98
2. Texas (3) 93
3. Missouri 79
4. Kansas State 71
5. Texas A&M 57
6. Colorado 51
7. Kansas 45
8. Iowa State 37
9. Baylor 35
10. Oklahoma 27
11. Texas Tech 12
Note: Ten points were awarded for first-place votes, nine for second, etc. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

Preseason Player of the Year: Sarah Pavan, Nebraska, OPP, Jr., 6-5, Kitchener, Ontario

Courtesy: Scott Bruhn/NU Media RelationsFormer Husker Linday Wischmeier was named Director of Volleyball Operations on Thursday.

Lincoln – University of Nebraska Head Coach John Cook announced Thursday the hiring of former Husker captain Lindsay Wischmeier (pronounced WISH-my-er) as Director of Operations for the Nebraska volleyball program.

In her role, Wischmeier will handle a variety of duties for the Husker volleyball team, including team travel, budgeting, coordinating tournaments and camps and assisting visiting teams. She also serves as a liaison for volleyball support units, including facilities and events, media relations, marketing, compliance, HuskerVision, the ticket office, alumni and The Match Club.
She will also provide radio color commentary during Nebraska's road matches.

Cook said that Wischmeier brings an impressive background to the position after serving coaching stints at Virginia Tech and Northern Colorado along with her experiences at Nebraska.

Lindsay emerged from a very strong pool of candidates as the right person for our Director of Operations position,Cook said. She went away and worked at other programs to gain experience outside of Nebraska. Lindsay bleeds Husker Red and accomplished a lot as a player, and we are confident she will bring her passion to her new position.

Wischmeier comes to Nebraska after serving as an assistant coach in the Northern Colorado program for the past year after joining the Bears’ staff in March of 2005. At Northern Colorado, she worked extensively with the setters and liberos and helped with recruiting in the Midwest. In 2005, she helped a pair of Northern Colorado players earn first-team Division I Independent honors, including libero Abby Mayne, who was named Division I Independent Co-Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 4.44 digs per game.

After serving as an undergraduate assistant coach at Nebraska in 2003, Wischmeier was on the staff at Virginia Tech, helping the Hokies finish with a 13-16 record, including a 7-9 mark in the program’s first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

During her playing career, Wischmeier was a four-year performer in the Nebraska program from 1999 to 2002, helping the Huskers to a 123-10 record, including a national title in 2000.
Wischmeier played in 133 matches as a Husker, including 438 of a possible 440 career games. She finished her career holding the school record with 1,111 career digs, despite playing three positions during her Nebraska career.

She competed as a setter her freshman year and a defensive specialist her sophomore and junior years before taking over the newly created libero role her senior season (2002). Wischmeier was the team captain in 2002, averaging 3.35 digs per game, a total that was fourth in school history at the time. As a setter in 1999 she posted a freshman record 724 set assists and was a second-team All-American Farm Team selection.

In the classroom, Wischmeier was a three-time, first-team academic All-Big 12 selection, a six-time selection to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll and finished her degree in business administration at Nebraska in 2003 when she serve as an undergraduate assistant coach. In that role, she assisted with recruiting, game day preparation and various coaching duties.
A native of Burchard, Neb., Wischmeier led Lewiston High School to a pair of Class D-2 State Championships (1995 and 1997), and D-2 Player of the Year honors while also being a three-time academic all-state selection.

Lincoln – The University of Nebraska volleyball team was honored Wednesday for its achievements in the classroom, receiving the Game PlanAVCA Team Academic Award for the 2005-06 season.

The award, initiated by the AVCA in the 1992-93 academic year, recognizes college and high school teams that displayed excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale during the previous school year. Nebraska finished the year with a 3.48 team GPA, including an impressive 3.74 GPA during the spring semester.

Nebraska was one of 54 Division I programs honored nationally and one of only three Big 12 teams honored during the year, joining Kansas and Kansas State. The Huskers, who finished 33-2 and were national runner-up in 2005, were also the only Division I program in the country to reach the national semifinals and be recognized for high achievement in the classroom.

It is the 11th time that Nebraska has received the AVCA Team Academic Award – the most of any Division I program nationally.

Shane Komine's bio
Shane Komine pitched six innings, allowing one run during his Major League debut.

(George Nikitin/AP) ANAHEIM -- Lost in the excitement of Milton Bradley's walk-off home run Sunday, the coming and going of the trade deadline and the staying of Barry Zito on Monday was the Major League debut of Shane Komine.

The 25-year-old Komine (pronounced Ko-MEE-Nay) pitched six strong innings on Sunday, allowing just four hits and giving up just one run -- a home run to Toronto's Reed Johnson on his second Major League pitch.

While he didn't wind up with a victory, Komine did earn another start, as manager Ken Macha has tabbed Komine to pitch next Tuesday at home against Texas.

Komine might not have as big an entourage as he did last Sunday, but he'll have his share of family and friends at the Coliseum.

Asked about his debut, Komine said, "It was awesome, a dream come true to be playing professional baseball and to have my parents, my fiancée, my youngest brother Scott, my Little League coaches and so many friends and family from California sharing that moment."

Komine's father Gerald and mother Donna, along with fiancée Jodi Nakama, made the trip on Sunday from Hawaii to watch the game.

The A's selected Komine in the ninth round of the 2002 draft out of Nebraska, where he went 10-0 with a 2.33 ERA and a 115 strikeouts in 97 innings as a senior. His strikeout prowess earned him the nickname "The Hawaiian Punchout."

"That nickname came from Baseball America," said Komine, "and it has stuck."
A year ago Komine was just starting to throw again after missing a year because of Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. He wasn't sure how his career would go.

He even had more doubt at the start of this season when he went 3-7 with a 6.01 ERA at Triple-A Sacramento. However, his "dead arm" revived and with the aid of pitching coach Rick Rodriguez, who helped him with his mechanics between starts, Komine won six straight games and here he is in the big leagues.

"I am still learning every day," said Komine. "The hitters here a lot more patient and a lot better than they are in the Minors. You can't make your mistakes. If you hit your spots and you change speeds, you'll do well at any level."

Asked about giving up a home run on his second Major League pitch, Komine said, "It was just one of those things; you don't expect it to happen. But I guess I got it out of the way and settled down after that.

"I relied on the defense to make some plays," Komine added. "I wasn't gong to let it affect me, I was just going to stick to my game plan and go out and keep executing pitches."

And that he did as he was cruising along until the sixth inning, when Toronto loaded the bases on two walks and a single. He got Alex Rios to line out to second, then popped up Aaron Hill to third to end the threat and leave the A's with a 2-1 lead.

"This guy showed a lot, standing up to the pressure," Macha said. "It's just a shame he didn't get the win."

"It's a team game," said Komine, "and any way we win it's a win whether it's the starting pitcher who gets it or someone else. It was just great to see us come back there in the ninth. In this close pennant race we're in right now, every win counts and Sunday was big for us."

Komine says he hasn't been told what his short- or long-range situation is with the A's, but if he keeps on pitching like he did on Sunday, no one will have to say anything. He will be here to stay.

* Fire Spares Chadron But Devastates Pine Ridge
This is local coverage from the Chadron Record. The lead story is by Editor George Ledbetter. It links to the Record and a half-dozen or so other news pieces and features.

* Could Troubled Archway Wind Up In Private Hands?
The Great Platte River Road thing continues to have financial problems.

* Collier Leaves NU Basketball Post To Become Butler Athletic Director
A good deal for all involved. This piece links to other copy, and includes the text of Collier's opening remarks at his Indianapolis news conference. It also provides access to a video of the news conference.

* Governor Chooses North Platte's Robert Phares As Next NU Regent
Phares will represent western Nebraska counties. He replaces David Hergert, removed from office by the state Supreme Court.

* It's Husker Football - Big Happy!
There's the usual sort of news about the first practice and all such as that - but there is also good news of another sort, involving a poll of Big 12 football players. Nebraska ranked highest in a couple of categories. Read on, then head for the Feedback feature.

* Fake News, Nebraska Style
This one brought a lot of interest and comment. We commend it to your attention and hope you will share your thoughts.

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