Mailbag: The Off-Season is Here
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Mailbag: The Off-Season is Here

February 07, 2017

Now that National Signing Day has finally come and gone, the off-season for football is officially here. Sure, there will be news (because there’s always news) but it’s just not the same. How do you pass the time until football season returns? That’s one of the many questions we received this week, which felt pretty appropriate. Beyond that, we were asked about basketball, overtime and much more.

Brandon Vogel, Jacob Padilla, Jake Jensen and Erin Sorensen answer your questions in this week’s Hail Varsity mailbag.

Q: How do I fill this gaping, empty hole in my life now that football is dead? – S., Omaha, Neb.

JP: There is this wonderful game called basketball that runs all the way until July. You should give it a try.

BV: Read books about football. I heartily recommend Reading Football by Michael Oriard, The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam, Saturday’s America by Dan Jenkins and Tribal by Diane Roberts.

ES: I plan to start half-marathon training so you could join me in that? What does football season return again?

Q: Predict the rest of the Nebrasketball schedule? Will we get a NIT invite if we win 4 of the last 7? – D.A., New York City, N.Y.

JP: You want me to predict the unpredictable? This team has been so up and down and we still don’t know if or when Glynn Watson Jr. or Ed Morrow Jr. will return to at least close to full strength. That being said, home games against Penn State and Illinois and a road game at Illinois are all very winnable, while a home game against Michigan and road games at Michigan State and at Minnesota are certainly doable. Now that I’ve said that watch Nebraska beat Wisconsin and lose the rest.

Even if they win four of the last seven, that would still put then at 14-16, and with a sub-.500 record, it might be tough to get a bid to the NIT even with Nebraska’s difficult schedule.

Q: Is there an overall history of football overtime formats? NFL has to be one of the worst, right? But CFB isn’t perfect. But what do you choose? Something different? How long of an OT period? – M.S., Cook/Tecumseh, Neb.

ES: Can’t say I know the history of overtime off the top of my head, but Wikipedia actually provided some interesting reading (… That’s not a joke, either. It was actually interesting to read through that. Based on that, it looks like the sudden death overtime was introduced to the NFL in 1974 so that’s fun. I would agree with you thought that college football isn’t perfect either, but I like providing an opportunity for both teams to have a chance to score. If not that, maybe allow a full 15 minutes to play and instead of stopping after a score, keep going until time concludes.

Long story short? I also don’t have a good answer for this very complicated problem.

Q: Who wins in a bar fight – John Cook, Darin Erstad, Tim Miles, Mike Riley? – D.D., Lincoln, Neb.

JJ: Mike Riley. That guy played for Bear Bryant, he’s tough.

JP: Regardless of who they’ve played for, it’s hard to pick anyone other than Erstad considering he’s both the youngest and the biggest of the four. Eight years ago he was still playing in the Big Leagues.

ES: I have to take John Cook. He’s a really healthy guy. I suspect he could destroy anyone in his path.

Q: What past/current/future Husker would you most like to have seen or see win a professional championship? – M.P.

BV: I’ll nominate John Parrella. He had three cracks at a Super Bowl ring with three different teams — including two in his first two seasons — and ended up on the losing end each time.

Q: What should be reasonable expectations be for Nebrasketball year in and year out? – W., Neb.

JP: I’d probably say the NIT most years should be the floor with occasional trips to the Big Dance. Hard to expect anything more than that until the program can get to that level at least.

Q: Brought my 4-year-old to the Illinois game this year. She loved it. Not too hot, not too cold, NU won, etc. Rutgers this year? I guess what I’m asking is: should I expose my child to Rutgers? Or maybe NIU? – C.K.

JJ: Why not both?

BV: Has the potential to be a little warm, but Arkansas State is a solid program and that should be a pretty solid game for an opener. Also, Wisconsin is on Oct. 7 which is sort of the start of the “golden hour” for football weather, though that one might be at night. Between the two choices you offered, I’d pick NIU.

Q: Magazine reported 10 recruits from Cali in last 3 years. What should be the next state NU should lay claim to? – B.

JJ: Missouri. It’s stacked with talent and Mizzou isn’t very good right now, Nebraska needs to take advantage of that.

ES: Missou-braska just doesn’t have the same ring to it as Calibraska.

Q: What would be the type of business, catch phrase and/or marketing campaign for the Williams and Williams Company? – B.

JJ: I think the Huskers should just film their daily interactions with each other and post them online. I would totally watch that.

Q: What’s your prediction for the starting OL next season? Which RFr makes biggest impact this fall? – M.S.


  • LT – Gates
  • LG – Foster
  • C – Raridon
  • RG – Farmer
  • RT – Conrad

I think Raridon will win the starting job in the spring unless Nebraska shifts someone inside to compete with him. I’d also keep an eye on Boe Wilson; he’s pretty darn good and might give Farmer a battle for the right guard spot.

Q: Have any early enrollees in the past few years gone on to have productive freshman years? – M.G., Olathe, Kans.

JJ: Dedrick Young had a good freshman year after enrolling early, but the 2016 class only had two early enrollees in Patrick O’Brien and Derrion Grim, neither of whom played.

Q: Why is Coach Miles just as uninformed and confused about Morrow’s status as the rest of us? Is that on purpose? – A.A., Lincoln, Neb.

JP: Who says he is? Miles sees him every day and he talks to the trainers. He knows what’s going on.

ES: I think coaches always make it seem like they don’t know what’s going on to keep the future opposing team guessing. Riley did this quite a bit during the fall with Westerkamp and Armstrong. It puts the next opponent in a tough spot because they can’t just ignore that player because they may play but they also may not. It’s just a part of the game.

Q: Do you ever wanted to go back to 2001 when the XFL was still around? – T.

JJ: Yes! I’m a New York/New Jersey Hitmen fan for life.

BV: I remember watching that first game in college. A few weeks ago I went back and watched it again on YouTube, and that was not an enjoyable game. In general, I have little desire to go back to 2001 and the XFL definitely isn’t enough to change my mind.

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