Darin Erstad Getting National Attention

Baseball America just released their Top 10 College Head Coaches Under 40 list and Darin Erstad made the list at #9

Erstad, after his 14-year career which included 3 Gold Glove awards and World Series Championship, is entering his second season as head coach at his alma mater, Nebraska. Here’s what Baseball America writer Aaron Fitt had to say:

The Skinny: A two-time all-star during his 14-year big league career, Erstad carried his hard-nosed approach to his alma mater and led the Cornhuskers to their first 35-win season since 2008 in his debut as head coach last year.

What They’re Saying: “I was very impressed with his approach to the game, with how his players approach the game. They’re very businesslike; they get their work in before the game. To me, how a team does before the game starts tells me a lot about a program. I can’t see how other teams practice, so I look at how they approach their pregame work. I thought there was a dramatic difference in what they did, whether it be their infield work, their outfield work, their BP. They really emphasized a lot of things people are looking at, the speed component.”
—Creighton coach Ed Servais

Baseball season is quickly approaching, get ready for the Huskers to make some noise this season.

Nebraska 31 – Georgia 45

Nebraska held close, then fell upon the self-destruct button as they lost 45-31 to Georgia in the Capital One Orlando Bowl. The final score came pretty close to what my initial predictions were on the game when the match-up was first announced, but the Huskers played hard through 3 quarters, making the loss a bit harder to take.

The 2012-13 Season is in the books. People much smarter than me are/will be calling for coaching changes.

I’ll let them debate the merits of firing Bo Pelini (link to my comments last year, which are very much the same after this year), firing Barney Cotton, firing Tim Beck and/or firing John Papuchis. Everyone has pointed to the 2013-14 season as the year the Huskers will be making a run to the top of the polls. I’ll say this though, Nebraska loses 7 starters from defense next year, and this veteran team is giving up yardage to their opponents like the sun gives us sunshine. Something is broken, and something needs to be fixed if Nebraska is going to make that run.

Nebraska gave 589 yards to a Georgia team that was averaging only 467 yards of offense per game. Turnovers were an issue, but turnovers don’t put yardage on the board.

Offensively, yes turnovers are a concern, but this is only part of the problem. Taylor Martinez has continued to get these losses hung on his head because he is the offensive leader, but many of these turnovers are happening in come-from-behind situations. Times where big plays are in need and the risk/reward factor is high. He has improved dramatically in three years, and is an adequate quarterback and should put up similar – if not improved – numbers next year. Rex Burkhead will be gone next season, but I am encouraged by the depth at running back.

But then there is the Defense that I have mentioned previously. The Bend-but-don’t-break philosophy has failed. Youth will be taking over at key spots and that is troublesome to me. Losing 2/3 of your starting defense – a defense that has been getting blown out of the water – and replacing them from the bench. Big problems. And if there are improvements at key positions that have been sitting on the bench, you have to ask the question “Why haven’t they been starters?”

My brief tally on the season:

Offense Overall: B+
QB: A-
O-line: C+

Defense Overall: C-
D-Line: C
Run Defense: C-
Pass Defense C+

Special Teams Overall: B
Punt Teams: A
Field Goals: B- (not sure why Maher struggled this year)
Return Team: A

I’m sure I’ll have more to say as I start breaking this game down further. But the season is over. I bleed Husker Red.


Husker Gift Guide: Husker Coffee

GameDay600x600_largeLarue Coffee Roasterie in Omaha recently launched a line of officially licensed, specialty roasted coffee blends for the coffee drinking Husker fans.

Take your pick from:

  • Calvin Jones #44 – A light roast coffee with a medium body
  • Game Day Coffee – Smooth and Balanced, this blend features an up-front brightness, full-mouth flavor, and a lingering finish.
  • Rowdy Nation – A mid-depth body and mild acidity.  The oils rise to the surface to create a European style coffee.
  • Night Game Decaf – Relax with the mellow flavor of our decaf Arabica blend.
  • Java Jones –  Buttery caramel with a hint of vanilla and chocolate.
  • Red and White – Delicious red and raspberry meets White Chocolate essence, good to the last drop!

Available directly from Larue Coffee Roasterie and various retail outlets.

Don’t forget, as part of Husker Holiday Gift Guide series, we’re giving away a pair of Sol Republic Huskers’s Tracks Headphones (a $129 value). Enter the giveaway.

Husker Gift Guide: Capital One Bowl Trip

Short of getting your special someone a skybox at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, a trip to the bowl game is something every Husker fan would like to find in their stocking.

Husker Sports Travel, has you covered with a comprehensive travel package to Orlando with prices starting at $1799/person.

  • Capital One Bowl 2013 Nebraska vs. GeorgiaRoundtrip, non-stop air from Lincoln, Nebraska to Orlando, Florida
    • Flight schedule:
    • Sunday, December 30th: Departs Lincoln 8:00am; Arrives in Orlando 11:45am
    • Wednesday, January 2nd: Departs Orlando 9:30am; Arrives in Lincoln 11:50am
  • Roundtrip airport transportation, including luggage handling at the airport and hotel
  • Three (3) nights’ accommodations at the Peabody Orlando Hotel in Orlando, Florida – the official Nebraska Team/Alumni hotel
    • Check in on Sunday, December 30th 2012
    • Check out on Wednesday, January 2nd 2013
  • Nebraska Alumni Association hospitality desk at the hotel
  • Game ticket to the 2013 Capital One Bowl in the official Nebraska section
  • Admission to the Husker Huddle – Nebraska’s official pre-game event
  • Roundtrip, deluxe motorcoach game day transportation, including parking
  • Capital One Bowl Souvenir and patch
  • Souvenir name badge, credential, and lanyard
  • Fully escorted by Premiere Global Sports staff “at your service”
  • All taxes and gratuities included

For more information, visit: Husker Sports Travel

Don’t forget, as part of Husker Holiday Gift Guide series, we’re giving away a pair of Sol Republic Huskers’s Tracks Headphones (a $129 value). Enter the giveaway.

Husker Gift Guide: Husker Garden Gnome

Husker Garden GnomeSpruce up your garden or your front step with this durable Husker Garden Gnome.

I’ve had mine for a couple of years and it hangs out on the front step. It has survived windstorms, snowstorms, and back in the days when we used to get rain, it survived that as well. A hail storm took a piece out of the back of his head. But he’s been no worse for the wear.

Good gift for the hard-to-shop for Husker fan that seems to have everything already.

Buy now at Amazon.com: Husker Garden Gnome

Don’t forget, as part of Husker Holiday Gift Guide series, we’re giving away a pair of Sol Republic Huskers’s Tracks Headphones (a $129 value). Enter the giveaway.

Husker Gift Guide: Sol Republic Track Headphones

Sol Republic, maker of the high-quality, luxury Tracks line of headphones recently debuted a line of collegiate-branded Tracks.

Keep reading down below for your chance to win a pair!

Sol Republic Tracks by Sol RepublicDesigned for fans that bleed scarlet and cream, the SOL REPUBLIC Nebraska Collegiate headphones are the best way to show your Husker pride. Whether you’re in the Sea of Red or heading down O Street, or roaming Orlando on New Years Day, you can bring the bass while cheering on the Huskers.

  • Powerful Sound You Can Feel:  Featuring V8 Sound Engines, Tracks are fully loaded with deep bass and high clarity so you can feel the full power of your music.
  • Listen In Comfort: SonicSoft™ Speaker Pads and extra wide ear cushions let you enjoy your music in comfort for hours.
  • Virtually Indestructible: Constructed of a seriously advanced polymer compound, our FlexTech™ Sound Track headband is built to withstand heavy abuse. Twist it, bend it, drop it – it’s not going to break on you.
  • Personal Style: The world’s first interchangeable headphones, you can swap out our Cleartalk™ cables and Sound Track headbands with ease.
  • 3-Button Mic + Music Control: Lets you adjust the volume, pause/resume/skip music and answer/hang-up calls. The high clarity mic captures every word possible.
  • Compatibility: 3-button mic + music control is designed specifically for full feature compatibility with recent generations of Apple devices. The audio and mic are likely to work with most devices that have a 3.5mm jack, including but not limited to, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices

Buy Today at Amazon.com: Husker Sol Republic Tracks Headphones

Best of all, I have at least one pair to give away to my HuskerZone.com fans. Simply leave a comment on this blog post with your prediction of the Capital One Bowl on January 1, 2013, and you’ll be eligible to win*. First deadline to enter is 11:59 pm Central Time on Tuesday, December 18th (additional drawing may take place).


*One entry per person. Eligibility based on score prediction comment, not subject to accuracy of score prediction. Must be a resident of the United States. Must be over 18. Product(s) provided to Huskerzone.com in exchange for this promotion.

Giveaway Entries:

1. T Husker
2. Tim Eurich
3. Lance Hinschberger
4. Craig Bourduin
5. Kiley Ward
6. Joe
7. Daniel
8. Jon
9. Chip Duden
10. Tyler Wellman
11. Frank Tudor
12. Travis Bellinghausen
13. Keri Kearns
14. Jill L
15. Ashley K
16. JMenendez
17. Joe Hayes
18. Brady Allen
19. Ann Parrish
20. PickSix
21. William Blake


Winning Entry:

Congratulations to Kiley Ward



Huskers Drop in the Polls

The Huskers expectantly tumbled in the polls after their loss 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game.

In the poll that matters, the BCS, Nebraska dropped from 12 to 16.

In the AP Poll, Nebraska tumbled to #23, behind Big 10 foes Ohio State (#3, not bowl eligible), Michigan (#19) and Northwestern (#21)

In the USAToday Coaches Poll, Nebraska fell to #21, behind #17 Northwestern and ahead of Michigan (#22) and Wisconsin (#23). The coaches poll does not allow teams with bowl ineligibility punishments to be ranked.

See the rest on ESPN.com at Week 15 Polls.

Huskers to face Georgia in Capital One Bowl

Capital One Bowl 2013 Nebraska vs. GeorgiaThe bowl selection process is done. Nebraska is heading to Orlando to face Georgia in the Capital One Bowl. The game will kickoff at 1:00 pm ET on January 1, 2013 from Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium with television coverage on ABC.

Grab your Capital One Bowl tickets now.

Georgia makes its sixth appearance in the Capital One Bowl, its last coming in a 2009 victory over Michigan State. The Bulldogs won the SEC East for the second year in a row.

Offensively, the Bulldogs have had their success behind the play of junior QB Aaron Murray. The Tampa native leads the nation in yards per attempt (7.8) while ranking second in passer rating, throwing for 31 TDs against only eight interceptions.

Defensively, star LB Jarvis Jones leads a Georgia defense that ranks second in the SEC in pass defense, allowing only 120 yards per game through the air. Jones also ranks second in the conference in sacks with 12.5.

Nebraska heads to Orlando for the second year in a row after posting its third 10-win season in four years. The Huskers fell to South Carolina in last year’s Capital One Bowl, 30-13 in a game many of us would like to forget.

Taylor Martinez, who is now Huskers’ all-time career leader in total offense with more than 9,000 yards will lead the offense. Running backs Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah will be in the backfield leading the most explosive ground game in the Big Ten this season, averaging 254 yards per game.

Nebraska is one of only four teams in the nation to win nine games each of the last five seasons, joining Alabama, Oregon and Boise State. The Huskers bowl appearance is their 49th all-time bowl appearance.

Georgia has been waiting 44 years to avenge their last meeting when Nebraska bested the Bulldogs, 45-6, in the 1969 Sun Bowl – a game in which Osborne was in his first season as the Cornhuskers’ offensive coordinator. The Huskers hold a 94-47-4 all-time record against the SEC, while the ‘Dawgs are 8-4 all-time against the Big Ten.

The Vegas line opens Georgia as a 12.5 point favorite.

Nebraska Upended in Indy

Nebraska’s quest to send Tom Osborn out with a trip to the Rose Bowl is ending in utter disaster as Wisconsin has now hung over 60 up on the Huskers.

I’m disgusted. This team wasn’t ready to play. The defense has been confused and out of position for most of the first half. In the second half, they are worn out, and signs of quitting are all over the field.

Through 2 and half quarters, the Blackshirts have given up 554 yards of offense, including 454 yards of rushing.

I’ll keep updating periodically, but let’s hear your comments.

Nebraska 13 – Iowa 7

A hard fought battle in a cold and windy Kinnick stadium saw Nebraska squeak out a 6 point win, and more importantly, punched their ticket to Indianapolis for a date with the Big 10 Championship.

It wasn’t a pretty win, but a Rex Burkhead touchdown with 4 minutes left in the 3rd quarter proved to be all they needed – thanks in part to an Alonzo Whaley interception in the final minutes of the 4th quarter.