There are probably a few topics of conversation this week around Nebraska athletics, right?
The full Hail Varsity staff answers questions ranging from baseball to football, some serious and some . . . a little more lighthearted.
I hate attrition but know it's inevitable, can we expect much from the baseball team? Really hope not, seems like a good core group to build on. (@ChuckandM)
Kyle Kardell: You’re right, this is still a good core group to build on. There will be significant upperclassmen returning and the freshman class brought immediate impact to the offense and defense. Schwellenbach, Chick, Palensky (Soph.), Gomes, Perry, and Schanaman are all newcomers that had big impacts. These guys will all have important roles in the future. Perry and Palensky were very straightforward that they are not going anywhere. Both grew up in Nebraska and have wanted to be Huskers their entire lives. I would suspect the same with Gomes and Schanaman. Chick and Schwellenbach are very talented and could play baseball anywhere. The new head coach will play a role in keeping those guys around, but I would not be too worried about attrition. This team had a unique bond that Erstad pointed out was different from teams he had coached in the past.
Will Bolt….favorite to be next Husker baseball coach? (@kitten_rick)
Erin Sorensen: I honestly don’t know enough about the college baseball coaching landscape to offer any true insight on who should and should not be considered. However, radio host John Bishop tweeted this and I find it to be a fair point: “The first thing any program should do before it pulls the trigger is ask themselves the question: Would he/she be a candidate if he/she didn’t go to school here? And be HONEST about the answer.” I honestly don’t believe Bill Moos would hire someone strictly based on their connection to a program, so I’m confident he’ll only hire the right person. If that person has ties, then great. If they don’t, then so be it. So, to answer your question: I think Bolt is a favorite for some fans. I don’t think he’s an automatic pick for Moos. We’ll see.
Mike Babcock: Erin’s right, Bolt’s not an automatic pick. But he’s more than a former player. He was an assistant here, associate head coach, and losing him was tough. He has a connection and strong (obviously) connections to Texas, which would help in recruiting there. Bolt was hard-nosed as a player and continued that as an assistant. That’s a plus.
Who would you consider the best replacement for Erstad? (@_LilBigRed12_)
KK: The best replacement is probably Rob Childress with his continued success and Nebraska ties. Childress is at the top of most people’s boards, but it would be surprising to see him make the jump from the success and money he has at Texas A&M. Will Bolt and Justin Seely would likely be the next in line stemming from the same tree.
MB: Shock if Childress were to leave A&M. Bolt and Seely, yes, because of their connections; Seely was a volunteer assistant here and has been the Aggies’ recruiting coordinator, with great classes. But remember, Dave Van Horn came from Northwestern State. So the right guy might not necessarily be someone with Husker connections, or from a big-time school.
What do you think will happen with Maurice Washington? (@SeaofRedNU)
MB: I’ll hedge because I don’t know how the bottom line should be defined. Frost could cut him loose, make a statement early on that such behavior won’t be tolerated; it doesn’t represent Nebraska football. Others would certainly get the message, right? That would seem to be in keeping with Frost’s emphasis on recruiting “character” as well as ability. I’d guess if he stays, other schools will try to use that against the Huskers in recruiting; Greg could speak to that. On the other hand, is there an on-going responsibility to try to help him? He’s part of the Husker family, so maybe you don’t cut him loose despite potential criticism. He hasn’t made good decisions. But the California stuff is still pending. And again, what is the responsibility to him on the part of Nebraska, which brought him here? Finally, some will just look at talent and need and ignore everything else.
Brandon Vogel: Just as a total guess, I think he remains on the team (pending what happens in California) and serves some sort of suspension. There seems to be more going on here than simply Washington’s ability to help the team with his play. At least to my eye. If it was just about having a talented running back available, I don’t think the decision on his future with the program would be that hard.
Derek Peterson: Before Tuesday’s news, I thought Washington was headed for a suspension but not a dismissal. While the actual reason he was issued a citation isn’t that big a deal, the fact he put himself in that situation with a pending trial in California is cause for concern. It’s unwanted and un-needed attention on a young program that’s trying to get right. I would imagine if Nebraska could make a clean break, it would explore that option, but in these situations, I tend to believe coaches feel an obligation to their players. Does Frost feel Washington needs a stable environment to grow up in? Does he feel Washington needs a strong role model that can help him course-correct? If that answer is yes, then keeping him on campus is beneficial for his long-term well-being. Maybe that’s how Frost views this. He might not feel Washington deserves his spot on the football team anymore, but he’s worried for the man he promised to look after if he takes that spot away. I can certainly respect that. But the whole situation is made trickier by the comments Frost made early about picking high character over football talent. This particular player now represents the first chance to either make good on that promise or open yourself up to questions. Perception matters here, even if the choice is made with pure intentions. It’s a very tough spot to be in. I think Washington is on thin ice, but I know Frost cares deeply for his players and doesn’t want to see anyone sink.
Which FCS team is most likely to knock off an FBS team this year? Does SDSU have a chance against Minnesota? (@InDaWilderness)
BV: That SDSU-Minnesota game on the first Thursday of the season is really interesting to me. Minnesota will be a pretty big favorite, but I maintain there’s always danger for a P5 favorite against a program with a winning culture and results to match. South Dakota State has that. The Jacks have to replace their quarterback, which hurts quite a bit given how good he was, and their OC is calling plays for Northern Illinois now. But the first game of the season always has the potential to be a little wonky. I’d give SDSU a chance in this game. As for other potential FCS upsets, James Madison might have a good shot to spoil Neal Brown’s debut at West Virginia, UC-Davis could give Cal a run in Week 1 and, while it might not be an upset, Indiana State could beat Kansas. Oh, almost forgot, Wofford is beating Clemson, but everyone already has that one written in ink, right?
What recruits do you think will commit? Any long shot/not as obvious recruits that may commit? (@SeaofRedNU)
Greg Smith: At some point this summer, I think both Nash Hutmacher and Blaise Gunnerson will commit to Nebraska. As for not as obvious guys, junior college defensive end Ali Gaye is a name to tuck in the back of your mind. Something fun to consider about the not so obvious/unknown names: at this point last year no one covering Nebraska football knew who Wan’Dale Robinson was because he wasn’t on Nebraska’s radar yet. I say that to say, new exciting names will pop up.
The Magazine is giving each of you 10 days off before July 24th. You are still required to put in 3 hours of work per day and you must leave the state (don't argue, magazine is paying – expense account). Where do you go? (@Corn_Huskers)
ES: I hope Magazine isn't giving us all the 10 days off before July 24, because we won’t be covering Big Ten Media Days if so. If it’s just 10 days prior to July 24, I’ll be a little more OK with Magazine’s decision. For me, I’d probably go to Italy. I’d start in Rome and sight see before driving down to the Amalfi Coast to relax. I think that’d be a good way to spend 10 days, because it’d be a little history, a little relaxation and a lot of food.
GS: This answer changes for me depending on my mood but today my answer is Greece. Athens, Santorini and Mykonos are all high on my list of places to visit. I actually have similar reasons to Erin for picking Greece too. History, relaxation and food would be top notch.
MB: I would take my wife to New York City. She’s never been and imagines it as entirely like “You’ve Got Mail.” Then we’d go across the country to San Francisco, our favorite city, just because . . .
Jacob Padilla: I’ll go with Las Vegas for the NBA Summer League (July 5-15). It’s an annual convention of Basketball Twitter people from across the country, and I’ve always only been able to follow it from afar. I’d like to go once in my life.
BV: Ten days is just a little too short for my No. 1 draft pick here (Japan), but it’s long enough for a nice, relaxed Germany-Netherlands-Belgium trip.
DP: If my ten-day clock doesn’t start exactly 10 days before July 24th and I can use any 10 days between now and then, I’m grabbing the brodie and we’re going to France to watch the United States in the Women’s World Cup. I would probably find some Husker fan there because you guys are everywhere and write about them to fulfill my work obligation.
Which CFB stadium would be the best for in a zombie outbreak? Which 6 huskers would you want to be on your survival squad? (@InDaWilderness)
What three NU players would you pick to be on your team during the zombie apocalypse? (@tklim2430)
ES: My initial reaction was Michigan Stadium because there is only one way in and one way out from the field, however they’d just crawl over the sides and come through the stands. What good would that do you then? I feel like you would need an enclosed stadium. I’ll take either North Dakota’s The Alerus or North Dakota State’s FargoDome. As for my team, I’m definitely taking Damian Jackson, Mo Barry, Cam Jurgens, Garrett Nelson, Darrion Daniels and Barret Pickering. I can’t really explain the Pickering choice, other than this feeling that he would be able to scheme for the squad.
JP: I’ll go with Jackson, Barry, Jurgens and Nelson as well. Daniels was originally on my list, but then I thought about what happens if a zombie were to get him and turn him. That would be one big zombie to try to deal with; no thank you. I’ll go with the other Garrett – Snodgrass – and Jack Stoll for my other two picks. Give me Jackson, Barry and Nelson if I only get three.
DP: I cheated to get this question into the mailbag because I wanted it in the mailbag. The Solid Verbal Podcast took this question on a recent pod and Dan Rubenstein said Doak Campbell Stadium was the only answer because it comes with a horse-riding, flaming-spear-wielding warrior. My stadium would need to be completely enclosed with plenty of food Michigan Stadium being partially underground feels like a potentially dangerous proposition. My pick would be Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge partly because it’s massive, partly because cajun food, partly because it’s nicknamed Death Valley and partly because I get a real, live tiger.
Did James Holzhauer throw Monday game because he was taking too much money from Jeopardy? (@ryan_schreurs)
ES: This is only right answer:
BV: I do wonder, given the ability Holzhauer displayed on Jeopardy, what is the job where he would maximize his potential daily income? Was it being on Jeopardy? Technically speaking, they record five of those a day and if he’s winning $70,000 on average that’s not a bad daily haul. But could he make more on the stock or commodities markets? Not just on one day, but every day on average? Maybe his real job as a sports bettor is better, but making a living off the sports book seems like a grind. I’m going with this: The reason James Holzhauer lost on Jeopardy. What is he got bored?
MB: The day he lost, he didn’t seem to try at the end. Curious. But the fame of his run and the money he earned will serve him well. If nothing else, he can now earn money as a celebrity, like Ken Jennings. James was far from destitute when he started on Jeopardy.
Predictions for the rest of the NHL and NBA finals? (@IBeLionsBeats)
GS: I’m sticking with Warriors in five. Blues in seven.
MB: Bruins in six, Warriors in . . . wait, I doubt they can win with reserves, still no Durant, hobbled Thompson, Curry not feeling well, Looney sidelined, hobbled Iguodala . . . that’s not even the Warriors playing in the finals. Raptors in seven, unless Durant decides to play before it’s too late. Otherwise, he’ll be a former Warrior anyway.
BV: Bruins in six, Raptors in seven.
JP: I can’t name a single player on either the Blues or the Bruins, so I’ll pass on that question. As for the NBA Finals, I’m not quite sure what to expect because like Mike said, the Warriors are a skeleton crew at this point. I think Toronto takes game 3 unless Curry drops a 50-piece because they’ll either be without Klay Thompson or they’ll have a limited version of him. I just don’t think there are enough guys that can score. I still think Durant will be back before the end of the series and it seems like Thompson should be well enough to make an impact by game four. I’ll take the Warriors in six unless Iguodala, Thompson and Durant don’t make it back or are a shell of themselves.
DP: I agree with Brandon.