The Big Ten Network bus tour rolled into Lincoln on Monday, reminding me of the old Big Eight Skywriters tour. Those were the days. I wonder if the Big Ten crew has donuts and beer for breakfast.
» The BTN boys watched practice and staff writer Tom Dienhart tweeted some observations, with a handful of revelations.
One was the defensive line, a point of curiosity among Husker Nation. Dienhart said ends Jason Ankrah and Randy Gregory and tackles Vincent Valentine and Aaron Curry made up the first-team group. Keep in mind this was one snapshot of practice. Don't forget Thad Randle.
Another sort of revelation was that Ameer Abdullah, Terrell Newby, Jordan Westerkamp and Jamal Turner were working as punt returners. It wouldn't make a lot of sense to have Abdullah in that role if there are three others capable. And we know Turner certainly is capable.
Dienhart gushed about Gregory and running back Imani Cross, the secondary, athleticism at linebackers and Taylor Martinez's autograph form when the QB signed the bus.
He broke down everything except the menu at Misty's, though he gushed over that as well. After this report, we'll expect NU to be the favorite in the Big Ten for prime rib, and up next to Ohio State and Michigan on the field.
» Dienhart is a long-time writer at the Sporting News and has an eye for football. But I'm very curious to hear what former coach Gerry DiNardo and former player Howard Griffith thought of the Husker bunch. They were very high on Michigan.
» The BTN stuff on Monday was good but hardly controversial. Which makes me wonder why the local media horde isn't allowed a peek once a week during camp. I know fans don't care about that. I'll always argue they should.
» I could argue that fans should get a glimpse, too. Watching “Hard Knocks” each week reminds us that the NFL, the most secretive organization around (just below the CIA), opens its doors to the media and the public for the first few weeks of training camp. Really. Anyone can walk right in and watch NFL practices for the duration of camp, until the teams move back to behind the iron curtains of their training facilities. Why couldn't Nebraska open the first two weeks of camp to the public? Just think of the tweets.
Maybe that's the reason not to do it.
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» Bo Pelini is having his office remodeled to include a recruiting room for the head coach. It will be just off from his office, a spot where he can meet with recruits. The NU staff plans to decorate it with highlights from his coaching career in both the NFL and college. It would be nice to add something from 2013.
» Loved Rob White's Sunday piece on Bubba Starling. You forget how long and tedious the minor-league process can be. The minor leagues don't fit today's microwave mentality, for sure. Every player blooms at a different rate. Would Starling have been better off to play college baseball, a la Alex Gordon and Evan Longoria? I'm sure he thinks about it. Except on the days when he's cashing his check.
» Tell me something: Why do they call it a sleepover when nobody in the house sleeps?
» If it's hot and muggy with no wind, it must be Cox Classic week. Do us a favor, Mr. PGA Tour. Schedule this thing in January sometime.
» The UNO hockey dismissals shocked folks in the hockey community. Kids get in trouble, but this? I thought UNO handled it perfectly, swift and firm.
» So far, so good for Fox Sports 1. It will have to be different to beat ESPN, but frankly, the NFL and MLB Networks do highlight shows better. It will take time. But here's what I already know: This will be a very good thing for Creighton basketball. Regis Philbin discussing Doug McDermott. That's what I want to see.
» Not sure which was a better deal for UNO men's soccer, outshooting Penn State and coming within 1-0, or playing before 2,581 fans. Playing a game at Omaha South is something UNO should consider every year. Maybe Creighton, too.
» I'm not saying Iowa fans should be looking ahead to hoops already. But ESPN announced three Hawk games on its “Super Tuesday” lineup: Michigan State (Jan. 28) and Ohio State (Feb. 4) in Iowa City and Iowa at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., on Feb. 18. No soup yet for Husker Hoops. But if NU can make some noise this season in front of packed houses at Pinnacle, that can't hurt.
» One more and I'm outta here: With all the new spots opening up down in the Haymarket in Lincoln, it warms the heart of an old-schooler to see that “Sweep Left” — the football hangout from the 1970s and '80s — has returned in the familiar old building next to Ninth and O Streets. Now, if they can just get that old marquee going again.