Quincy Hankins NebraskaQuincy Hankins a 6’8 240 lb forward from Polk County Community College in Florida has accepted a basketball scholarship from Doc Sadler reports are saying this morning. Hankins averaged close to 16 points and 12 rebounds a game last year for Polk CC.

Other schools like Oklahoma, Georgia Tech, Seton Hall, South Florida, and South Carolina were also recruiting him.

The Huskers are also recruiting Hankins’s teammate Lance Jeter who is a 6’3 point guard. I found it interesting that Jeter used to be a wide receiver on the University of Cincinnati football team. He says he does have some “football weight” to lose but once that is gone he will be “unstoppable.”

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Bo Pelini receives a raiseCoach Bo Pelini received a nice little pay raise today as Athletic Directory Tom Osborne announced that Pelini has agreed on a new contract through the 2014 season. Pelini will be paid $1.851 million per year which ranks him sixth overall in the Big 12 conference. Last season, Pelini made $1.1 million per year so he is looking at about a $750,000 pay raise after just one season.

Osborne also announced pay increases for Nebraska’s nine full-time assistant coaches. The increases push Nebraska’s salary pool for assistant coaches to just less than $2 million, the sixth-highest total among Big 12 Conference schools.

Sounds like everyone got taken care of very nicely on the staff!

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Nebraska Spring PracticeGood news Huskers fans! Spring Football is just around the corner for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and they held their first set of press conferences today in Lincoln. Coach Pelini had quite a bit to talk about today during the press conference. He talked about the quarterback situation, how he expects the defense to play much better this next season, and also mentioned the players that are no longer on the football roster.

We will start with the quarterback situation first. Coach Pelini and players have said that they have the up-most confidence in Zac Lee. Lee however will get equal snaps in Spring practice Pelini said. Nothing is being handed to Lee even though Patrick Witt has left the team. Lee will be going into the practices as he hopes to get the number one spot over Kody Spano, Cody Green and newly moved Latravis Washington.

I’m surprised that Washington moved back to the quarterback position after being recruited to play defense out of high school.  I suppose Pelini wanted more depth through Spring practice at the position. I just hope they don’t move Washington back and forth from QB to the defense and he never get settled into one position. It will also be interesting to see what happens once Taylor Martinez comes to campus for the fall semester.

Another thing with the quarterback situation to think about for the future is if Miami transfer Robert Marve decides to come to Nebraska. Marve will be attending the Spring game and Coach Pelini has already said if things fell into place they would accept Marve on the Huskers roster.

The four players that are no longer on the roster are Major Culbert, John Levorson, Justin Rodgers and Austin Stafford.

We plan on having a report after the first practice which is on Wednesday. We welcome all comments and hope to see your comments on the site!

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Husker Baseball

Week 5 Recap

It’s been said repeatedly here that this team is young and sometimes they’re going to look like world beaters and sometimes they’re going to look like they might miss the regionals.  If the last three weeks aren’t evidence of that, I don’t know what is.  From a 5-0 week over South Dakota State and Cal State Northridge to a disappointing 1-2 series loss at Texas Tech back to a 3-2 week against a pair of top 15 teams, one of which was on the road. 

Hopefully the Huskers can break that trend this week at Oklahoma, but it won’t be easy.   Oklahoma is ranked as high as #8 this week, posting a 20-5 (2-1 in the Big XII) record. 

Nebraska 3 - Arkansas 7
The Huskers traveled south to visit the home of a familiar face to Husker fans, Dave Van Horn.  In the first game of the visit, the Huskers were kind to the Razorbacks, letting them off the hook on a couple different big scoring opportunities.  In the 2nd, the Huskers loaded the bases with no outs off three straight walks from the Arkansas Staff, but was only able to get one run out of it, on a double-play grounder by Cody Asche in the 2nd.  The Huskers loaded the bases again off of 2 walks and an error by Arkansas in the third inning.  This time, Adam Bailey and Tyler Farst struck out, and Nick Sullivan grounded out to end the threat. 

Unfortunately, the Huskers were unable to keep Arkansas off the scoreboard in the meantime.  Husker starter Erik Bird (0-1) went just and inning and 2/3, giving up 4 runs on 5 hits.  From there, the young Husker staff did pretty well as 8 pitchers combined to pitch the final 6 1/3 and give up just 3 runs, but by that time the damage had been done.

Nebraska 7 - Arkansas 4
It looked like Nerbaska was going home without a “W” from their trip to Fayetteville.  It’s the top of the 9th, 1 out and no runners on and Arkansas is cruising to a victory with a 3-1 lead.   Ben Kline battled at the plate, fouling off pitches and coaxed a 1 out walk for Nebraska’s first runner of the inning.  Cody Asche also managed to work his way on via the free pass.  Then, what happened next turned the Husker “L” into a “W”.

Cory Burleson hit a soft grounder between 1st and 2nd, but the first baseman threw the ball wildly to his pitcher covering allowing everyone to advance, including Ben Kline to score the first run.  Then, true freshman Cody Asche made a heads up play and noticed that the catcher had backed up the throw to first and nobody was covering home.  In a sprint race to the plate, Asche just beat it out, pulling the game to a 3-3 tie and gave new life to the Husker dugout.  The play was ruled an infield single with an error on the throw allowing the runners to advance.

The Huskers weren’t done though, the next 2 batters singled in the runner on 2nd and took 2nd themselves before a 3rd single by Mort lead to Bubak being thrown out at the plate.  Adam Bailey decided it wasn’t enough though and drove his Big XII leading 9th homerun over the right-center wall to make it 7-3.

The Razorbacks opened the bottom with a solo shot to bring them within 3, but Nesseth struck out the site to finish the game and give the Huskers another great come from behind win.

Oklahoma State 4 - Nebraska 11
The #11 Oklahoma State Cowboys came and visited the Huskers this weekend and the Huskers were ready.  Friday night the Cowboys sent up their All-American ace Andrew Oliver who had pitched a complete game shutout against Nebraska in Stillwater just a year ago, but the Huskers were not intimidated.  In the bottom of the 3rd, the Huskers found themselves behind 3-0, but they didn’t panic.  The Huskers first got on the board with 2 singles and 2 walks, including a 2-out bases-loaded walk by Jeff Tezak.  Cody Neer started off what would be a great weekend with a 2-out 2-RBI double to center to tie up the game at 3.  Cody Asche continued the charge, ripping a triple down the line scoring Neer and Tezak to give the Huskers a 5-3 lead.

The Huskers added a couple more in the next inning with back-to-back RBI singles from Jake Mort and Adam Bailey to chase the All-American Oliver, and the Husker cruised to a victory.  Casey Hauptman got the start and the Huskers used 6 pitchers to keep the OSU bats at bay, including Mike Nesseth who was usually the Friday starter and was recently moved to the bullpen to close out of the latter part of the game.

Oklahoma State 4 - Nebraska 12
Again, Nebraska found themselves up against an All-Big XII pitcher in Tyler Lyons and again, they didn’t seem to notice.  In the first, Jeff Tezak and Tyler Farst singled to drive in a pair of runs to take the early 2-0 lead before Cody Neer ripped an RBI double to extend the lead to 3.

In the 2nd, the Huskers kept it going.  An error and a single by Jake Mort put runners on the corners for Nerbaska’s dangerous newcomer Adam Bailey.  Bailey did what he does best, he ripped a double to the left-center gap and scored both runners before coming around to score on Tezak’s second RBI single of the game.

The 6-0 lead proved to be all Jordan Roualdes needed as he cruised for 7 innings, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits to give the Huskers the series win.

Oklahoma State 6 - Nebraska 3
For the first time all weekend, the Huskers found themselves fooled by Oklahoma State’s starting pitching.  Ironcially enough, it came against a pitcher that they knocked all over the field a year ago in Stillwater in Tyler Blandford.  In fact, about the only Husker Blandford didn’t have in check was Nick Sullivan who was 2 for 4 with a homerun and two RBIs.

Husker starter Michael Mariot couldn’t keep the Oklahoma State bats quiet.  Mariot spent too much time over the plate and the Cowboys came up swinging most of the afternoon.  Mariot lasted just 3 innings, gave up 8 hits to just 16 batters and allowed 4 runs.

The Huskers made it close in the 6th when Kyle Bubak reached with one out.  Bubak proceeded to steal 2nd and then came around to score on two wild pitches to notch the game at 4-2.  However, the Huskers weren’t able to do any more damage as Adam Bailey struck out to end the inning.

A look back: The Good

Adam Bailey- Again, Adam continued to show he’s one of the better hitters in the Big XII this year.  The JUCO transfer hit .381 for the week with a homer, 5 RBI and scored 8 times.  Adam is tied for the Big XII lead with 9 homeruns and leads the Big XII with 33 RBI.  He flat out is just getting it done at the plate.
Nick Sullivan - Just two weeks ago, Sullivan only held a .182 average, and for the 2nd week in a row, Nick was able to break out a little, posting a .333 average (.467 OBP) and with a homerun, lifting his season average to .254.
Jordan Roualdes - While allowing 4 runs over 7 innings isn’t going to turn any heads, I’m sure Mike Anderson will tell you that he’s been one of the Huskers most valuable pitchers on this young staff.  He’s been able to go deep into games almost every week and keep the young bullpen arms rested for the Friday and Sunday games.
Jeff Tezak - Tezak’s presence back in the lineup after being injured all year last year is very welcome.  Tezak continued to be one of Nebraska’s most consistent hitters posting a .357 average and a .526 on base percentage as well as 4 runs and 4 RBIs to help the Huskers.
Cody Neer - Despite a rough midweek game and a rough game on Sunday, Cody drove in 8 runs and scored twice in the Friday and Saturday victories for the Huskers, including a late 3-run bomb on Saturday to put the game away for good.  If Cody can learn some consistency and stay under control at the plate, he should see more of the starting lineup.
Jake Mort -Again, Jake is forcing Mike Anderson to keep him in the lineup.  The Senior hit .313 on the week and scored 5 times to help power the Huskers.
Matt Freeman -Matt Freeman has shown, that when he’s got his control, he’s one of Nebraska’s better pitchers. On the year, opposing hitters are batting an abysmal .148 against him (2.81 ERA), but also leads the team with 17 walks. This week, Freeman pitched better, going 7 innings in 4 appearances, allowing just 2 runs and striking out 4 while walking 4. 

A look back: The Not So Good

Runners left in scoring position (Wed) - Scoring just 1 run with the bases loaded and no outs twice really hurt the Huskers.  Had they been able to capitalize and possibly win the first game at Arkansas, they may find themselves ranked this week.  Posting a 4-1 record over two Top 15 opponents would have been huge.
Erik Bird - I’m not sure what’s wrong with Bird, but he’s really struggled as of late.  In his last two starts, he’s pitched 4.2 innings and given up 9 earned runs for a 17.36 ERA.

Overall Grade: B+
It’s hard to give them any lower, because they did go 3-2 against two Top 15 teams this week, including an impressive ‘last at-bat’ come from behind win over Arkansas on Wednesday and two convincing wins against what is probably one of the top 2 or 3 pitching duos in Oklahoma State on Friday and Saturday.  However, as you’ve been warned, the inconsistency of the team is still keeping them from being one of the very best in the Big XII.  On one end they got just one run out of two bases-loaded no out situations on Wednesday and they were hancuffed by the least heralded pitcher they saw on Sunday.  On the other end, they went up against two of the best pitchers they’re going to see all year in Oliver and Lyons and treated them like batting practice.    For the pitchers, even though we dropped our walk/9 rate this weekend, we are still walking too many and need to get that under control. The Big XII is just too darn competitive to be giving away free passes.  The bright side is, that when they play consistent baseball, they’ve shown they can play with anybody.

The Huskers take on Northern Colorado in the midweek before heading to Norman Oklahoma to face the #8 Oklahoma Sooners.  Oklahoma can be summed up in one word, offense.  They lead the Big XII in runs (248), homeruns (40), average (.348 team average), hits (309), doubles (63) and walks (111).  Fortunately, they’re 7th in the Big XII in pitching with a 5.16 ERA.  Expect some high scoring, whoever scores last types of games.  If you’re an old-fashioned pitchers duel kind of fan, you might want to look away.

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Nebraka loses to New MexicoThe Nebraska Cornhuskers played in the opening round of the NIT Tournament on Tuesday night and after receiving a tough draw and opening up the tournament down at New Mexico, their season came to an end with a 83-71 loss to New Mexico. Playing in “The Pit” is never an easy game for an opposing team as the Lobos play very well from home and they showed that once again against Nebraska.

The undersized Nebraska squad just couldn’t shut down the Lobos like they usually do to a team on the defensive side of the ball. The Lobos hit 51.1 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from 3-point range in the 12 point victory.

For the Huskers, they were led by Sek Henry with a team high 13 points. Steve Harley was right behind Henry in the scoring column as he added 11 points.

Overall this small team showed that they could play with the bigger and stronger teams through out the season, but when it came down to it, they didn’t have enough depth and size to really contend in the conference and win some post season games. We wish the outgoing seniors the best as the move on from Nebraska Basketball.

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Husker Baseball

Week 4 Recap

The Huskers dropped their first Big XII series of the season 1-2 this week in Lubbock against the Red Raiders of Texas Tech.  As I’ve said before, this year’s team is young and inexperienced, especially on the mound.  There are going to be stretches where this team looks great and some stretches where Coach Anderson will lose hair on his head. The good news is the talent seems to be there and as the players learn Division I baseball, they will get better and more consistent. 

The last two weeks combined are probably a sample of what we’ll see all year.  Last week the pitching was good and the hitting was even better.  This week, the hitting was still solid, but the pitching, especially the bullpen, was hit or miss.  Again, this was to be expected.  None of Nebraska’s starters (Nesseth, Roualdes, and Mariot) saw any significant time as a starter last year and most of our main core of relievers either weren’t in a Husker uniform last year or very part-time players.  The Big XII is a great league this year and there are going to be some times where our youth is exposed. 

The 17 walks on the weekend (often a sign of young pitching) played a big part and while it’s tough to work on mid-season, it will have to be a point of focus for this coaching staff.  Even though we’ve seen some consistent scoring from the offense so far, I doubt that the coaches are comfortable being in a slugfest week in a week out.

Nebraska 8 - Texas Tech 16 (Game 1)
After a rainout on Friday, the Huskers opened the series with a double-header on Saturday.  In the first game, everything looked to be going the Huskers way to open the series with a Friday night “W”.  In the 7th inning, the Huskers held a 6-4 lead, the “Ace” of the staff Mike Nesseth is on the hill.  However, after Nesseth allowed the leadoff runner to reach, Eric Rose, Casey Hauptman, and Matt Freeman couldn’t stop the Red Raiders.  The trio combined for just 1 out, allowed 6 runs (5 earned) on 5 hits and 2 walks that allowed Texas Tech to blow the game wide open 11-6.  The Huskers got a couple back in the top of the 8th, but the Red Raiders struck back in the bottom of the frame with 5 more runs (2 unearned), putting the game out of reach.   Nick Sullivan powered the offense with a 3 for 5, 2-run and 2-rbi day that included a pair of doubles.  Tyler Farst also contributed with a 2 for 3 day with an RBI and 2 runs.

Nebraska 10 - Texas Tech 1
Fortunately for the Huskers, Jordan Roualdes quickly helped the team forget about the  woes of the first game.  Roualdes scatted 5 hits, allowed 1 run and struck out 3 and it was just what the team needed to recover from the pasting the pitching staff received the game before.  Adam Bailey powered the offense once again with a 2-run homerun and a 2-run double.  Jeff Tezak chipped in 2 RBIs and Cory Burleson went 2 for 3 and scored twice.

Nebraska 3 - Texas Tech 10
Again, Nebraska seemed to be cruising.  They had already posted 2 runs against Texas Tech ace AJ Ramos and in the bottom of the 4th, Mariot seemed to be able to get out of the small jams he had been in up to that point.  Over the next 4 innings, Texas Tech scored all 10 of their runs, all of which came with 2 out in the inning.  Had the Husker pitching staff been able to record 4 outs when they needed, they would have shut out the Red Raiders and won the series.  Adam Bailey chipped in a 2 for 4 day with 2 runs and an RBI and his 8th homerun of the year.  Tyler Farst also continued his offensive tear with his own 2 for 4 day and 2 RBIs.

A look back: The Good

Adam Bailey- At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s amazing what Adam’s done for the offense so far this year.  He still leads the Big XII in homeruns with 8 and also leads the Big XII in RBIs with 28.  I’m pretty sure that most Husker fans (this one included) would not have expected to have anyone in the lineup leading either category 4 weeks into the season.  He is flat out swinging a hot bat and the rest of the team is responding.
Nick Sullivan - Coming into the weekend, Sullivan only held a .182 average, Nick broke out a little this weekend, posting a .385 average raising his overall average to .235.
Jordan Roualdes - Especially with the way the rest of the weekend went for the Husker pitching staff, it’s tough to put into words the importance of Roualdes’ dominating performance in game 2 on Saturday.  Roualdes held the Red Raiders to just a single run and chewed up 8 innings giving the young bullpen a much needed rest after the pasting they received earlier in the day.  Roualdes has been pretty solid all year, but this was definitely his best outing yet.
Jake Mort - With the emergence of Cody Asche, the senior has taken more of a late-game defensive replacement role for the Huskers.  However, Jake made the most of his few opportunities against the Red Raiders.  In just 3 plate appearances, Jake posted 2 doubles and a single, driving in 2 and scoring twice himself.  If Jake can prove himself a capable hitter, expect to see him on the field a lot as his glove is probably the best on the team.  However, Coach Anderson will want to find somewhere for Asche as he leads the team with a .390 average.
Nebraska Hitters - It’s been a long time since Nebraska has been an offensive team, but it should be pointed out that this year’s team is 4th in the Big XII in average (.301) and 6 regular players have posted an average greater than .300 (Asche .390, Bubak .389, Burleson .371, Bailey .364, Farst .364, Tezak .320).

A look back: The Not So Good

WALKS - 17 free passes over a 3-day weekend is unacceptable in the Big XII.  While it’s something you would expect from a young pitching staff, it’s also something that this group needs to find a way to fix ASAP.  On the season, the Huskers are giving up 4.99 walks per game.  Compared to last year’s 3.31, it’s easy to see part of the reason why this year’s staff has struggled so far.
Cody Neer - After tearing the cover off the ball a week ago, Cody went 0 for 6 against the Red Raiders.  With the hot bat Burleson is swinging, Neer needs to recover quickly or he’ll be relegated to the backup role.
Ben Kline - With a 1 for 9 performance at the plate and a pair of errors in Friday night’s game, Ben probably would like to forget this weekend and move on to the next.

Overall Grade: C+
The weekend wasn’t all bad as the offense still managed to produce 21 runs and the pitching staff really, outside of a few key moments was pretty good.  Had they been able to sew up 2 innings in the first game and get 4 outs at the right time in the 3rd game we’d be talking about a sweep instead of a Big XII opening losing record.  One thing baseball fans have learned over the years is not to put too much stock in any one weekend or even any one 5-10 game stretch.  This will be especially important this year as I’m guessing sometimes it will seem like we could make a run possibly into Omaha and other times it will look like we could stay home during the playoffs for just the 2nd time in 11 years.

The Huskers travel to Fayetteville Arkansas to face a familiar face to Husker fans in Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks in a Tuesday/Wednesday matchup before heading back home to face Oklahoma State in the familiar confines of Hawks Field.  It should be interesting to see how the pitching staff responds as Arkansas is a very solid team and Oklahoma State is 3rd in the Big XII in runs scored.

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Nebraska NIT BidThe Nebraska Mens Basketball team will continue playing this season as they were selected as a number six seed in the NIT Tournament. They will leave Monday afternoon and head to Albuquerque, N.M. where they will take on New Mexico Tuesday night. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. CST and will be aired on ESPNU.

Sure the Huskers didnt make the big tournament, but the NIT is good for the team as it allows them to continue playing and hopefully get some extra practices and games in. The Lobos however will give the Huskers a battle as they come into the game with a number three seed and an overall record of 21-11.

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