Nebraska shooting guard Ray Gallegos had a career-high 30 points on Tuesday against Minnesota, shooting 12-for-17 from the field and 6-for-9 from 3. That wasn’t enough to beat the long and whippet-quick Gophers, who had nine dunks (NINE DUNKS!) in the 84-65 win.
This was a strange one for the Huskers and the final score doesn’t fully tell the story. Nebraska shot well but the Huskers normally reliable defense was absent. Still, good to see Gallegos getting back to his non-conference form.
Nebraska will need it on Saturday when Ohio State comes to town.
THE HEARD SAGA >>> Seemingly everyone but the individuals most directly involved — Bo Pelini and Braylon Heard — has confirmed that the Youngstown running back will indeed transfer from Nebraska at the end of the current semester.
The Omaha World-Herald confirmed the transfer report with a “source close to the situation” on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday we finally got a name attached to the reports when one of Heard’s high school coaches spoke on the record with the Youngstown newspaper.
When Nebraska’s coaches asked Braylon Heard to change positions for the third time in three years, Heard decided it was time to change schools instead.
Rather than move to wide receiver, Heard, a former All-Ohio running back at Cardinal Mooney, will finish this semester in Lincoln, then transfer to a school to be determined, one of his high school coaches, Chris Amill, confirmed Tuesday.
“He’s tired of being moved around so much,” said Amill, who has been close to Heard for years. “He just wants a shot to play running back.”
So far that sounds like the narrative that was the backbone of the various transfer reports, but here’s a little more from that Vindy.com story:
After the season, Heard met with offensive coordinator Tim Beck (a Mooney graduate) and running backs coach Ron Brown, who asked him to move to receiver, Amill said. Heard then called head coach Bo Pelini to inform him of his plans to transfer, Amill said. That contradicts a report in the Lincoln Journal Star; Pelini told the newspaper that neither Heard nor anyone else told him of the running back’s plans to transfer.
Something about this position switch narrative seems a little too convenient. Based on the statement above, the key question seems to be when this conversation between Heard and Beck happened. Terrell Newby didn’t officially commit to Nebraska until Jan. 9. Maybe the Nebraska staff knew he was coming before that, but my sense is, if they did, it wasn’t weeks ahead of time. Maybe just a day or two.
Even if the Huskers had both freshman running backs on board at the time of that conversation, would the staff really ask Heard to move to wide receiver? If the freshman backs weren’t on board, would the staff really ask Heard to move when one injury to Ameer Abdullah would leave them with only Imani Cross, a guy who would drastically change Nebraska’s offense? That seems unthinkable but that’s the story that’s being peddled right now by people in the Heard camp.
If the position switch story turns out to be true — and whether Heard was asked to become the 14th wide receiver on the roster or just take some snaps at slot matters quite a bit — then Nebraska has serious personnel management questions to answer. But I can’t make that jump quite yet. Not based on what we have here.
GEOGRAPHY! >>> On to some lighter and brighter news, it’s looking more and more like there’s serious support among the Big Ten brass for the geographic division split everyone’s been clamoring for. ESPN.com spoke with a bunch of Big Ten administrators and there’s a lot of good stuff in there. Penn State’s athletic director, Dave Joyner, makes his pitch for having both Rutgers and Maryland in the Nittany Lions’ division. The ADs at Michigan and Ohio State both say they don’t have a problem playing in the same division.
Those are a couple of key dominoes that would need to fall to get to something like this:
“I do think we have a chance to have a little bit more of a geographic look to it, which I think is great,” Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said. “It’s great for fans, it’s great for student-athletes, it considers travel, rivalries. With us, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, Nebraska, those just make great sense.
“It would be terrific if it works out, but we have to make sure we maintain and achieve competitiveness as well.”
Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, Nebraska. Of course, there’d have to be another team in there and the Big Ten officials would likely have to decide between splitting up Indiana-Purdue, Michigan-Michigan State, or keeping Ohio State and Michigan separate. If they protected crossover game goes away, my money is on Michigan State.
Nebraska fans have to like that setup.