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First Downs and Second Guesses

Blog #163- November 2018

The University of Nebraska football team finished its first season under new head coach Scott Frost with a 4-8 record following a last-second 31-28 loss to Iowa.  The Huskers overcame a 15-point fourth quarter deficit to tie the game with a little more than three minutes remaining.  The Hawks converted a fourth-and-eight situation that eventually lead to the game-winning 41-yard field goal as time expired.

    After an 0-6 start, the Huskers won four of the last six games.  Frost had to fight a losing attitude among players along with a no-accountability culture established under former head coach Mike Riley.  Frost and the players now believe the new culture has been established, and off-season strength and conditioning will be critical to the success of the team in 2019. 

    Frost and his staff will now delve into recruiting until the early December 16th signing date.  Frost has recruited the state of Nebraska for the best football players to walk-on to the Husker program.  He is also scouring the nation for players to fit into his no-huddle, hurry-up offense that has given Big 10 opponents fits this season.  He expects to have a 25-30 player signing roster for the 2019 season. 

   He played a true freshman at quarterback this season.  Adrian Martinez set Nebraska freshman records for total offense, passing yards, and other offensive categories.  He is a strong candidate to be named freshman player of the year in the Big 10.  Maurice Washington, another true freshman running back, also excelled this season.  The major work in the off-season will be to build strength in the offensive and defensive lines, plus bring in play-makers on offense.  The future looks bright in Lincoln.


    Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska, has become the first college in the United States to partner with an AAU girl's basketball program to better support student-athletes in obtaining a college education.

     The Nebraska Attack Girl's Basketball Academy was founded in 2015 with the mission of serving Nebraska and Iowa youth athletes' academic and athletic goals.  Midland University is a member of the NAIA Great Plains Athletic Conference.  As part of the new agreement, Nebraska Attack athletes will receive an automatic $18,000 minimum scholarship to play basketball at Midland upon graduation from high school.  

    The award will be renewable for four years and will have a minimum net value of $72,000.  To reinforce the importance of success in the classroom, Midland University has agreed to provide additional scholarship aid to student- athletes with high-ranking grade-point averages and ACT scores.

      Shawn Gilbert, Midland's head women's basketball coach, is thrilled with the partnership.  "Zach (Isherwood) has built a strong program, and his track record of student-athlete success at the collegiate level is excellent."

       Isherwood called the partnership "a no-brainer" for his program.  "Coach Gilbert has transformed Midland into one of the top teams in the league and recruits hard-working young women of character for his program, which are qualities we expect from our players."

       For Midland, this is a very creative way to build enrollment.  For the athletic department, it's a great recruiting pitch to young women within the states of Nebraska and Iowa who want to further their education while playing intercollegiate sports.  The cost to attend Midland is roughly $32,000 a year, so the athletic scholarship wouldn't cover all costs.  But the good student can add to that amount through academic scholarships.  So it seems like a win-win for the school and student-athlete.

      Watch for other small colleges to investigate this type of arrangement in the near future.  It will be interesting to follow the academic and athletic paths of the Nebraska Attack players as they progress through Midland.  I wish them well in this innovative endeavor.

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