Around the Horned With Brian Estridge
Aug. 23, 2001
It's that time: Hard to believe that the start of the football season and the "official" start to the Gary Patterson era is upon us. I don't know about you, but I am chomping at the bit. The Frogs have had two really good weeks of practice in final preparation for the Huskers on Saturday. These last several workouts have seen the emergence of several true freshmen that will travel with the team this weekend and have an opportunity to contribute this season. Included in that group are defensive back Jeremy Modkins, defensive lineman Raynorris Ray, linebacker Martin Patterson and defensive back Mark Walker. I told you in our last meeting that Gary had hopes to redshirt all of his freshmen, that lets you know how good these guys are. Good enough to change a head coach's mind, and that doesn't happen much!
Looks Like Deja Vu: Fifty years ago the Frogs made the same trek that the 2001 Frogs will make this weekend. Traveling to Lincoln on September 29, 1951, the Frogs knocked off the Huskers 28-7. Mal Fowler, who Blackie Sherrod referred to as big and bashful, emerged at tailback that day, replacing all-conference performer Gilbert Bartosh (Insert Ricky Madison for LaDainian Tomlinson here) and the Frog passing attack picked apart the `Blackshirts" for 189 yards (insert Casey Printers here). Again to quote Blackie Sherrod "...it was the success of the TCU passing efforts that kept the Husker defense perplexed and vulnerable for gains both aground and aloft." Lets hope history has a way of repeating itself on Saturday!
Also of historical note: Gary Patterson and Nebraska head coach Frank Solich have met before. In 1978, Solich was head coach of the Husker junior varsity team and Patterson was playing for Dodge City Community College, when the two teams met in Dodge City. The Conquistadors took it on the chin that day- that's the bad news. The good news is that they weren't wearing the lucky TCU Purple!
This team is ready: There is no doubt in my mind that we are in for a great ballgame on Saturday. But the offense you see on Saturday won't be the offense you see in week 5. Jon Muther and Matt Schobel still aren't 100 percent at fullback, wide receiver Reggie Harrell is fighting to get back and center Jamaal Powell has only been on the practice field for two weeks. Give them some time and I think this will be an explosive group. The defense will have its hands full on Saturday--heck even the famed "Blackshirts" of the Huskers gave up 616 yards and allowed the Big Red offense to score on three of their first four possessions in a scrimmage this fall. Look for the Frogs to play a lot people on both sides of the ball early in the game, a move Coach Patterson thinks will help the Frogs come the fourth quarter. Speaking of fourth quarters in Lincoln, I received an encouraging call from John Cox, the voice of Southern Miss football, on Wednesday. He just called to let me know that Nebraska is no different from anyone else. Truth is, the Golden Eagles should have beaten the Huskers in Lincoln back in 1999 if not for a late interception on the Eagles' final drive. Had Southern Miss gotten a win, C-USA would have already proven that a conference team could go into Memorial Stadium and win. Now that is left up to the Frogs!
Frogments: Just was handed the new averages from the weight room for the football team, and strength coach Donnie Summer and his staff have done a tremendous job. The average bench press for the team this year is 392 pounds and the average squat is 511. Now remember, that number includes everyone, from walk-ons to kickers to offensive linemen...By the way, if you think Donnie still looks like he can play, wait until you meet his new assistant, Brad Smith, a former Missouri Tiger, who goes a svelte 6'6" 305...Kudos are in order for another football support staff member. You may have read the article recently on gofrogs.com recognizing Mike Martin as the 2000-2001 Bob Matey/CSVA National Video Coordinator of the Year by the Collegiate Sports Video Association. Mike plays a vital role in getting this football staff prepared for each game through his video breakdowns. He also makes a great TV commercial--he served as producer of the 2000 TCU football ticket commercial airing on CBS 11 and local cable systems...Angie Bailiff, wife of assistant football coach David Bailiff, has joined our Athletic Academic Support Office and will be focusing on academic compliance and advising. Angie joins an already impressive staff lined up by Milton Overton, the Director of Athletic Academic and Continuing Eligibility...Oh, and rumor has it that Coach Patterson has already offered a scholarship to Milton's four-month-old son, Micaiah (Hebrew for-who is light the lord). If you've seen Milton, you'll know why!...I was startled to find the headline "Swimming Coach Locked Up" around the office last week. Come to find out that TCU coach Richard Sybesma was involved in an MDA fundraiser. Richard, who volunteers regularly in the community, raised $500 for MDA during their annual "jail day." Who was his judge for the day that finally released him, none other than Athletic Director Eric Hyman...Don't forget our airtime Saturday is 11:30 a.m. on the network, but be sure and join ESPN Radio 103.3 at 10:30 Saturday morning for "TCU Gameday" when Scott Masteller and Andrea Pilcher kick off the Frog football season.