Big 10

Husker notes: Energy, swagger name of game for 'D'

July 17, 2017

By Brian Rosenthal / Huskers.com

Count Mohamed Barry among those players excited about Nebraska’s defense under first-year coordinator Bob Diaco.

Makes sense, given Barry, a third-year sophomore linebacker, figures to have a chance of a bigger role in the new 3-4 defensive scheme. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Barry, a native of Grayson, Georgia, could fit at either outside or inside linebacker.

But his excitement stems from more than an increased opportunity for playing time.

Barry raves about the energy and swagger that Diaco, the former Connecticut head coach and Notre Dame defensive coordinator, has brought to the Blackshirts.

“I love it, I love it,” Barry told me Sunday at the annual Nebraska Uplifting Athletes Road Race. “It’s more for me, more swagger, more energy. You’re going to see the defense having fun.”

That, Barry said, is the name of the game under Diaco.

“When he came in, it was kind of stiff on defense,” Barry said. “But he wanted energy, energy. Then you could see in spring practice, our tempo, how we played, it went up. Now everyone is flying around, having fun, celebrating. Back to the old-school days, when people had fun at Nebraska, bones up, swagger. You stop thinking and you just start making plays.”

Don’t take that to mean Diaco has simplified the defense, In fact, Barry said, it’s more complicated. Yet with the way Diaco and his staff teaches, and the emphasis on energy and having fun, more players are learning easier and buying in.

“Every year we’ve got the goal of winning big, but this year, it’s up,” Barry said. “You can tell that everyone is bought in and everyone is focused on that one goal.”

 

Movie night at Fan Day

Roughly 700 people attended Sunday’s road race event, which raised $35,000 toward pediatric brain cancer. Husker players signed autographs and mingled with fans in a very low-key environment.

Fans’ next opportunity to see the Huskers up close and in person is the July 29 Fan Day, from 6-8 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. The Nebraska Athletics Department on Monday announced a movie night at the conclusion of Fan Day to show the new video boards.

After Fan Day, fans will temporarily move to the West Stadium stands to allow workers to remove the tables and tents from the field prior to the movie beginning on the new HuskerVision screen in North Stadium, at approximately 8:30 p.m. 

Fans coming for the movie can bring blankets and strollers for the event, but not chairs. During the movie night, fans may sit in the designated sections of the Memorial Stadium stands to stay cool or sit on the playing field. Pepsi products, water and Gatorade will be available for sale, while free popcorn will be provided for the movie at the conclusion of Fan Day while supplies last.

For more information, visit here at Huskers.com.

Big Red Swarm

According to Lincoln Journal Star columnist Steven M. Sipple, as many as 20,000 Husker fans may attend the Nebraska-Oregon game in Eugene, Oregon, on Sept. 9. Sipple has a reliable source – local travel agent Steve Glynn, also a former Husker lineman from the late 1970s.

Glynn has been selling travel packages for Husker road games for decades, so he has a strong pulse on the ticket market, and the demand from Nebraska fans.

Some Oregon fans on social media questioned that 20K figure, given Autzen Stadium seats merely 54,000. They may have a point, yet they shouldn’t underestimate Nebraska fans’ means of finding their way into opponents’ stadiums.

Just ask a Notre Dame fan.

 

     Wrestling honors

Congratulation to former Huskers Jordan Burroughs and James Green, who both won gold medals in their respective weight classes at the Grand Prix of Spain.

Both Burroughs and Green will now compete at the World Wrestling Championships, Aug. 21-26 in Paris, France.

Burroughs dominated the 74 kg/163 lbs. weight class, as he did not allow a point in four 10-0 technical falls. The 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist took down three-time Grand Prix of Spain champion Taimuraz Friev of Spain, Nurgaliy Zholayev of Kazakhstan and Seyedali Mousavi of Iran before defeating Jevon Balfour of Canada in the final to win the gold.

Green won the 70 kg/154 lbs. gold medal. He began the day with a 12-2 win over Andruse Aimar of Estonia before pinning Azamat Nurykau of Belarus in the semifinals in 2:04. Green then won 11-0 over Zsombor Gulyas of Hungary to grab the gold.

 

Williams’ first class making waves

The first full recruiting class under Nebraska women’s basketball coach Amy Williams consists of only two incoming freshmen, but espnW thought highly enough of Taylor Kissinger and Kate Cain to rank the two-player class No. 20 in the nation.

Kissinger, a 6-foot-1 guard/forward from Minden, and Cain, a 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., were both ranked in the ESPN Top 100 of the 2017 class – Kissinger No. 38 and Cain No. 82.

A first-team All-New York performer as a senior at Pine Bush High School, Cain was ranked as the No. 10 post player in the nation. She averaged 25.2 points, 12.3 rebounds and 7.9 blocks per game as a senior.

Reach Brian at brosenthal@huskers.com or follow him on Twitter @GBRosenthal.