Junior pitcher and outfielder Jake Meyers needed just 104 pitches to throw nine shutout innings for the Huskers on Sunday. Good timing on a couple of fronts. One, the performance helped Nebraska to a 10-0 win, allowing the Huskers to avoid a series sweep at the hands of Western Carolina. Two, it was further proof of the competitiveness that drives Meyers, which editor Mike Babcock wrote about in his cover story, featuring photographs by Eric Francis, for the latest issue of Hail Varsity. The issue ships this week. Not a subscriber? Join the fun today.
Below is this issue’s Letter from the Managing Editor, which previews a little more of what you’ll find in the March issue.
Bob Diaco needed 40 footballs painted gold. Nebraska’s defensive coordinator didn’t say why, just placed the request.
A football staffer told Hail Varsity online editor Erin Sorensen that the first batch of footballs came back and Diaco determined they weren’t gold enough. Having coached at Notre Dame, Diaco knows gold. The footballs went back to the equipment room for a second coat.
Sufficiently gold, one of those footballs was on display at Nebraska’s practice on March 12. Diaco plans to award one a week to the most disruptive player on the Huskers’ defense. Small totems like that are a big part of college football and I always get a kick out of them. You’d be amazed at how much a football spray-painted gold can come to mean, but it gets the message across loud and clear – “Hey, we’re competing here.”
That’s a key distinction in the spring when the Huskers will compete only against one another. It’s something of a theme throughout this issue as well.
Competition might be the defining trait of Nebraska’s defense this spring as it transitions to a 3-4 scheme under Diaco’s direction. He wants competition and early reports are he’s very good at getting it. Sorensen takes you inside what that transition looks and feels like for some of the players making position moves in her feature for this issue.
Nebraska pitcher and outfielder Jake Meyers might also be defined by his ultra-competitiveness. It sort of runs in his blood. His father, Paul, was an All-American baseball player at Nebraska. His mother, Laurie, and sister, Lauren, were standout basketball players. Editor Mike Babcock tells that story in this issue.
Freshman outfielder Mojo Hagge, the subject of our Q&A, appears to have the competition gene as well, working his way from walk-on to top of the Huskers’ order early this season.
We’re already halfway through Nebraska’s spring semester. Soon enough, the games and practices will take a break for summer, but as this issue illustrates, the competition never really ends.