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Mailbag: Memorial Stadium Survey and Husker Stocks Rising at the Combine

March 09, 2022

It’s a jam-packed Wednesday in Husker land.

Fred Hoiberg’s rejuvenated men’s basketball team, which might be without Bryce McGowens, is playing Northwestern for the third time this season today at 5 p.m. today in the Big Ten Tournament while the high school state basketball tournament is raging on inside Pinnacle Bank Arena. The football team is five practices deep in its spring schedule, and the Husker baseball team looks to keep the good vibes rolling this afternoon at Kansas State.

However, there’s always room for the mailbag. Let’s dive in.

Were any of the results in the fan survey surprising to you? Which piece of data in there do you think the athletic department acts on first? (@huskerfan4life9) 

Mike Babcock: Wasn’t surprised by the alcohol. I’d guess there will be alcohol sales at Memorial Stadium in 2023. No on-site gambling though. There are NCAA considerations on that count as well. The responses didn’t surprise me. But again, alcohol probably makes sense—don’t expect Tom Osborne’s blessing, though. On-site gambling does not. 

Erin Sorensen: Not really. People are mostly in favor of alcohol sales and really in favor of more seat space (or a more comfortable seat). Neither of those took me by surprise. I was also not surprised that the game day experience people like most is the light show between the third and fourth quarter and the experience they like least is The Cornhuskers Song. The experience one higher than The Cornhuskers Song? The balloon release. I think fans are ready to let that one go. 

Steve Marik: I wasn’t surprised that the majority of fans would be in favor of selling alcohol at Memorial Stadium. And I definitely wasn’t surprised to see everyone wants bigger and more comfortable seating.

Greg Smith: I am going to go a different direction here. The median income of the people answering the survey jumped out to me. The median income of the group answering fell into the 100k-149k range. The average income in America is $64,000. That changes the perspective of who exactly the athletic department should be catering to in my opinion. It seems like seat comfort needs to be addressed ASAP, but that wasn’t surprising.  

Who/what position is going to be the hardest to replace on the football team this year? (Graduates, transfers, etc) (@GraysonKielhold) 

Steve: I’ll go with Damion Daniels as a player who will be the hardest to replace. Luke Reimer and Nick Henrich combined for 207 tackles last year—that’s really good. I’m not trying to take anything away from those two, but a big reason why they were so good last year was because of the defensive line in front of them. That d-line loses three key guys in Ben Stille, Deontre Thomas and Daniels. Daniels is your prototypical space eater that essentially took away two offensive linemen at times, leaving one-on-ones for others and clear lanes for Reimer and Henrich. Ty Robinson and Casey Rogers will be relied on heavily next season, and I’m sure Mike Dawson is really hoping Nash Hutmacher takes the next step. The 325-pounder from South Dakota got some experience last year and showed promise. 

Mike: I’ll say Cameron Jurgens. I’m big on the importance of the offensive line, and the center calls the signals in addition to taking all of the snaps—the starter; you don’t typically rotate centers as you might guards and tackles.

Greg: I am with Mike on this one. I’m not sure how they’ll go about getting close to replacing Jurgens.  

Is there a chance the Ireland trip gets canceled next season? (@Sal_Vasta3) 

Mike: I’d be surprised if it’s canceled. Wait a second, nothing surprises me these days. But at this point, I’m expecting it to be a go. Ask me, say, tomorrow or a week from now . . .  

Erin: Could it be canceled? Sure. Will it be? I have no idea. Like Mike, I’m expecting it to be a go but I guess that could always change.

Did all four guys at the combine have their stocks go up so they can get drafted a little higher? (@Peyton51533) 

Steve: I really think all four raised their stocks in Indianapolis. Does that mean all of them will get drafted? No, but I think their performances will help them down the road when teams are looking to invite guys to camps. JoJo Domann is tailor-made for today’s NFL, a scout told me, and he ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash, which was middle-of-the-pack for his position group, linebacker. Cam Taylor-Britt ran the seventh-fastest 40 (4.38) of the corners in attendance, which I think surprised a lot of people. His old position coach, Travis Fisher, sure thought Cam killed it at the combine. Cam Jurgens really impressed—his 4.92-second 40 tied for the fifth-fastest among offensive linemen, and his 25 reps in the bench was near the top for his position group, too. The interesting thing with Jurgens when he showed up to the combine was his weight—he added some bulk as he weighed in at 303 pounds (he played around 290 at Nebraska). Jurgens will get a good look with that size and that 40 time. Austin Allen’s 40, 4.83, won’t impress many, but it’s pretty good for a guy who’s 6-foot-8 and 253 pounds. Allen did, however, impress in the three-cone drill (first among tight ends; seven seconds), 20-yard shuttle (second; 4.26) and broad jump (third; 10 feet, 1 inch).  

Mike: Agree with Steve. All four. Let’s see how that translates come draft day. I hope well. 

What’s the best guess for number of Mountain Dews consumed by Jacob Padilla this week? (@The_Bigelow) 

Mike: With shipping delays and so forth, maybe his consumption will, of necessity, be reduced. On second thought, never mind. Are we talking 12-ounce cans here or gallons? Just asking. 

Erin: I was at Pinnacle Bank Arena for the first day of the Big Ten Wrestling Championships and the most-stocked item in the fridge (behind Gatorade) was Mountain Dew. Assuming that is the same, Jacob will have an endless supply to survive one of the wildest weeks of his year. 

Steve: I’ll put a number on it and go with 13 Dews from Monday to this Saturday. I wonder if Jacob has kept count? 

Jacob Padilla: Take the over.

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