An interesting list came from the worldwide leader this week. Brian Bennett, an ESPN staff writer, compiled an all Nebraska Cornhusker team since the year 2000 (http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten/post/_/id/134604/nebraskas-all-century-team-best-lineup-since-2000). I love lists like this, particularly at times like this. It’s great mental fodder at a time of year when it is so richly needed. This is a fascinating list, and one that is pretty well put together. I really like what they did here. Naturally, I have a few thoughts and what better venue for those thoughts than my own personal blog!?!
*Bennett put Eric Crouch as QB. This is a slam dunk. Crouch wasn’t perfect, but he was transcendent. Crouch guided NU to a conference title in 1999 and the National Title game in 2000. The 2001 outfit was extremely short on game breakers and Crouch carried the squad to our last outstanding season. I feel like over time Crouch’s greatness gets lost. He was a home grown super star from Millard. Im not sure how this happens. I know folks don’t care for some of his choices and feel like he’s an entitled rich kid. Whatever, I think far too much is made of this. Crouch should be loved and revered by this fan base. As it stands he is largely forgotten. It’s a shame. Lets work to not forget how awesome Crouch was.
*The RB position is tough. Bennett selected Ameer Abdullah and Roy Helu. Thats fine. I’ve got no real beef. Those 2 are extremely worthy and I’m a big fan of both. But let me take this opportunity to say that Rex Burkhead was an awesome back. In 2011 he ran for nearly 1400 yards and was primed for an enormous 2012. Then he hurt his knee in the season opener and was never right again that season. That injury opened the door for Abdullah. I have to wonder what might have been if Rex had not suffered that knee injury.
*Bennett selected Kenny Bell and Nate Swift for WR. Ive got a small beef with this. I’ve always really liked Swift, but Jordan Westercamp will own many receiving records after his record end. Perhaps Bennett chose not to include current players, I can respect that. But Westy belongs on this list with Bell.
*Ricky Henry was chosen. Ive got a pretty big problem with this. Henry was good, but in my opinion he is not worthy of inclusion on this list. He had a great reputation as a bulldog, but that didn’t make him a great player. I would rather have any of the following: Lydon Murtha, Matt Slauson, Marcel Jones, Jeremiah Sirles, and maybe even Greg Austin, Jake Anderson, Keith Williams or Carl Nicks.
*Bennett did a great job putting together the defensive side of the ball. There are great players at every position. I must give credit where it is due. He clearly knows what he is talking about. Mr. Bennett, in the off chance you read this, I salute you. But…..
*The biggest problem I have with this list is the inclusion of Randy Gregory. I know folks love him, but I don’t exactly understand why. Was he all world physically? Sure, but he was far too light in the shorts and would absolutely disappear at inopportune times. Gregory is long on highlights, but turn on the tape of NU/Minnesota from 2014. The Gophers ran at him all day long and Gregory was worthless. That’s not the only time that happened. It seemed that he always knew when the cameras were on him and would turn it on. This never sat right with me. Nebraska Football was just a vehicle to improve his draft stock. Perhaps I’m being too sensitive, but he always struck me as a me first guy. Hell, how many drug tests did he fail in Lincoln? I know Nebraska fans will begin throwing rocks at me. That’s fine, I’m a big boy, I can take it. Remember this, How can you possibly include any defender on this list that participated in the abortion in Madison in 2014. To refresh your memory, that defense allowed Melvin Gordon to RUN FOR MORE YARDAGE THAN ANY OTHER PLAYER IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL HISTORY!!! Again, Gregory’s inclusion on this list is borderline criminal.