Published Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 9:31 pm / Updated at 12:06 am
From the Sidelines: Crowd takes in East Stadium addition

LINCOLN — Some came to Saturday's Red-White game to see certain players. Others came to see the latest version of a certain offensive or defensive unit.

But there were plenty dressed in red interested in the towering East Stadium construction project.

Large groups of people gathered before kickoff to walk around — where permitted — in the new areas of the stadium. They pointed and stopped for pictures, even where construction wasn't finished.

“That's all kinds of sassy,” one fan said as he walked up to the new East Stadium entrance, a tall arch with the words “Memorial Stadium” etched into the wall.

Will's asking the questions now

Will Shields isn't used to spending much time on the sideline.

The former Husker great and 12-time Pro Bowl selection is used to being in the middle of the action on the field.

So it was a bit of an adjustment for Shields as he handled the sideline reporter duties for the Big Ten Network's broadcast.

“It's a little different,” Shields said during a break. “I'm not used to running around and seeking out guys or stories. It's fun though.”

Shields isn't a stranger to a television broadcast, though. He did color commentary for high school games in Kansas, where he lives, and was set to be in the booth for last year's Nebraska spring game before weather forced its cancellation.

So Shields, whose name is on the North Stadium as part of Nebraska's Hall of Fame, said he was enjoying his time back.

And how did his first halftime interview with Bo Pelini go?

“It went good,” he said with a laugh. “With those you never know what you're going to get, what's happened just before the coach runs over. It went good, though.”

Will and son Shavon, a Husker basketball player, also led a halftime pledge by kids to be drug, alcohol and tobacco free.

New workout trend?

The toughest job of the day may have went to the guy tasked with waving the giant red flag with the white “N” on it after Husker scores.

With strong winds much of the day, the member of the Nebraska staff struggled to stay upright as he toted the flag through the end zone and against the strong gusts.

They just keep coming

Past, present and future Huskers were all on hand, representing generations of NU football.

Past greats like Mike Rozier and Aaron Graham were there. Players that used up eligibility last season — Rex Burkhead, Will Compton and Ben Cotton — also showed up.

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And there was the next class of Nebraska football players like Johnny Stanton, Zach Hannon and Adam Taylor.

There were even a few potential recruits in the mix, including a pair of Lincoln Southeast teammates. Luke Gifford, already a Husker commit, and offensive line prospect D.J. Foster stood together for much of the pregame festivities. Foster is a coveted recruit with offers already from the likes of Florida and Georgia.

Stanton was one of the more popular names being yelled by Husker fans. The California product was sporting a backwards white Nebraska hat as he stood on the sidelines prior to kickoff.

He may not have taken a snap as a Husker yet, but Stanton was already doing what all good quarterbacks do: He gave his offensive line some love.

Stanton pointed out true freshman David Knevel — also a part of the 2013 class — as the teams warmed up, and shared a hug with the guy that will help protect him in the future.

Accurate arm

Not that he was ever in the running, but Vincent Valentine is officially not a quarterback.

The 6-foot-3, 325-pound defensive lineman was standing near the end zone during pregame warm-ups when a football came bouncing his way.

After Valentine scooped it up, a ball boy about 45 yards away threw up his hands.

Valentine cocked back to throw and realized the ball boy might be a little out of range. So he tried to pawn it off on teammates Daniel Davie (who stood with his left arm in a sling), Andrew Green and Tobi Okuyemi.

None bit on the offer. They wanted to see the big man throw it. So, after the ball boy had moved a little closer, Valentine fired a 30-yard strike. So, the scouting report on Valentine: He can put it on the numbers, but he lacks a deep ball.

Got tape of that?

What prompts Rex Burkhead to get out his phone and record a video?

On Saturday it was the Tunnel Walk.

The former Husker star, one of the more popular players in Nebraska history, was with a large group near the entrance to the field when the video presentation that accompanies NU's debut before games aired.

Burkhead pulled out his phone and started recording. Unbeknownst to him, a Husker fan standing just to Burkhead's right also had his phone out and was recording video of Burkhead recording video.

Red-White cheering?

They sure were serious about this whole Red vs. White thing.

Even the cheerleaders got into the mix.

Members of Nebraska's cheer and dance teams were split, with one group in red and the other in white, standing on the same sideline as their respective teams.

— Nick Rubek



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