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January 20, 2011

Husker Buzz: NU will be well represented in Mobile

When the Senior Bowl practices begin next Monday in Mobile, Ala. no team will be more represented than Nebraska.

In all, the Huskers will have five players participating in the Senior Bowl. That number could've been six, but cornerback Prince Amukamara opted not to play in the game because in all reality he doesn't have a whole lot to gain.

Both ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have Amukamara going No. 9 in their latest mock drafts to the Dallas Cowboys.

Of the 32 players listed in Kiper's mock draft, only 10 will play in the Senior Bowl and all of them are either offensive or defensive linemen.

Meanwhile defensive end Pierre Allen, running back Roy Helu, kicker Alex Henery, tight end Mike McNeill and wide receiver Niles Paul will all get a chance to show their skills in front of the NFL coaches, scouts and executives on hand in Mobile next week.

I don't think Husker fans realize how big of a deal it is to have five players participating in the Senior Bowl.

If you compare that to other top programs around the Big 12, Oklahoma has just three participants and Texas two.

I think the two guys who could really improve their stock in Mobile are Paul and Allen. I know Husker fans were critical at times of Paul this past season, but his skill set projects very well in the NFL and I wouldn't be surprised if he had a big week.

Meanwhile Allen had a very strong senior season, but you wouldn't know that by looking at his stats. The fact the Big 12 coaches named him first-team all conference should show people he had a big impact on games this fall.

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The Nebraska basketball team saw their RPI shoot up to No. 87 after their 79-67 victory over Colorado on Tuesday night.

I'm really starting to buy in to this team. I was down in Lawrence last Saturday and both Kansas head coach Bill Self and his players raved about NU's defense and referred to them as a good basketball team.

The biggest thing this team needs to find is a legitimate scoring threat they can go to in the clutch, and it appears Toney McCray has started to assume that role, along with point guard Lance Jeter.

Saturday night will be another "must win" type game for the Huskers at Texas Tech. If they can get the win in Lubbock and be 15-4 when they take on Texas A&M, I expect to see a full house at the Devaney Center. If NU even wants to be in the discussion as a bubble team, it's going to have to start with getting a quality win over a ranked team like A&M.

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Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez opened up the checkbook this week to take care of head coach Bret Bielema and offensive coordinator Paul Chryst.

Alvarez bumped up Bielema from $1.78 million to $2.5 million dollars per season, while Chryst's salary jumped from $305,000 to $405,000 after being courted by Texas over the off-season.

Chryst's bump will make him the second-highest paid coordinator in the Big Ten behind Illinois's Paul Petrino. Nebraska's Shawn Watson ($380,000) and Carl Pelini ($375,000) are currently the third and fourth highest paid assistant coaches in the Big Ten based on last year's salary numbers.

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I'm officially impressed with what Michigan has done since hiring Brady Hoke.

The Wolverines announced the hiring of Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison earlier this week.

That is officially a "wow" hire in my book, as Mattison should offer a quick fix in turning around the Wolverine's defense.

The comparisons to Bill Callahan continues to be an accurate one when you look at how Michigan fans regarded the hire of Rich Rodriguez the last three seasons in Ann Arbor.

Former Wolverine running back praised the hiring of Hoke similar to the way former Husker players praised the hiring of Bo Pelini in 2007. Hart talked about how it takes a "Michigan man" to understand this job, similar to the way people around here said it takes a person with Nebraska ties to understand how this job works.

"I think that any Michigan man that would've came in would be hard to be mad at because I think people have been complaining so bad these last three years that - 'Hey, we want a Michigan guy here. We need a Michigan guy. Rich-Rod doesn't respect the traditions.' (For) guys that have been saying those things, Coach Hoke was the perfect hire because he brings back that Michigan legacy," Hart told the Detroit Free Press.

"I don't think it's just his name. I think it's what he represents and who he is. I think you see what you get, and you see it throughout the interviews. He doesn't lie about stuff, he's not going to sugarcoat stuff. He's all about the tradition and he's all about winning, and he knows what it takes to coach at Michigan, be at Michigan and be a player at Michigan."

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This year's Omaha recruiting dinner will be held at the Coco Key Inn on 72nd & Grover Feb. 2 and will kick off with a cocktail hour starting at 5:30 pm. The dinner and program begin at 7 pm.

Contact our friends at the Big Red Breakfast organization at 402-633-1467 for ticket information. The cost for the even t is $70 per person.

The Lincoln recruiting dinner will be held the following evening at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln with cocktail hour starting at 5:30 pm. Tickets to the event are $65 each. All orders must be mailed to: Lincoln Recruiting Dinner, P.O. Box 80305, Lincoln, NE 68501 and they only accept checks for the ticket orders.


Sean Callahan can be reached at sean@Huskeronline.com and he can be heard each day at 6:50 am and 4:50 pm on Big Red Radio 1110 KFAB in Omaha. He can also be seen on WOWT TV in Omaha four nights per week during the fall and each week he appears on NET's Big Red Wrap Tuesday's at 7 pm.



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