We started with a few of the more infamous Husker Urban Legends last week, and were reminded of quite a few more we may have missed. Again, you can never really dig up official confirmation on many of these, hence they fall under the Urban Legend category. But damn if they aren't fun for everyone to revisit. A few more to discuss after the jump:
- "Tommie Frazier openly taunted Warren Sapp on the field during the 1995 Orange Bowl": Everyone assumes that this really happened. In fact, Frazier's quote to Sapp after he returned back into the game in the 3rd quarter has been printed so much it's now listed as one of the all-time great college football quotes. The quote (or a variation thereof) goes something along the lines of this...
Sapp: "Hey Tommie, where you been?"
Frazier: "It aint where I've been fat boy, it's where I'm going."
Neither Frazier nor Sapp has gone on record to admit this exchange really took place, unlike say Joe Montana's "Hey look, it's John Candy" moment in the 2nd 49ers/Bengals Super Bowl. What we do know for sure: For at least one week before the game, Warren Sapp could not stop talking. Tom Osborne named Frazier as his starting quarterback for the 1995 Orange Bowl, despite missing most of the season with blood clots in his right knee, instead of the late Brook Berringer, who led the Huskers to the National Championship game against the Hurricanes with Tommie watching on the sidelines. Along with the announcement, TO did promise that both quarterbacks would play, and it became one of Osborne's greatest coaching decisions of his career. He'd have the more athletically gifted Frazier to start the game, and the more game-sharp (at the time) Berringer to fill in mainly in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, and allow Frazier's quickness to help take over in the 4th quarter, provided the game remained close. We also know Frazier started the game poorly (obviously not sharp after waiting in the wings for so long), making a bad 3rd down decision on his first series and throwing a pick with Sapp in his face on his 2nd series. Also, Husker Defensive End admitted that, regarding Miami in that first half, "You wouldn't have believed all their trash talking." So I'm sure Sapp egged Frazier on when he finally returned to the game. In fact, knowing the mouth on Sapp and how he'd continue to yap during his professional career, he HAD to mouth off to Tommie at that moment. Sapp's brash talk was viewed upon as childish while he was at the U, but he became somewhat of a media darling for his quotes as a pro. For all we know, the exchange very well could have been a lot more intense and R-Rated than the legend has it. No matter what they said to each other, I don't doubt this legend for a second.
- "Frank Solich found out he was fired as head coach by finding a note Steve Pederson slid under his office door." For as big as a slippery prick Pederson was during his wild tenure as Nebraska Athletic Director, nothing would surprise me. But you have to think, not even Stevie P would do what the character played by Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea did in Back To The Future Part II, and print a note that said, "YOU'RE FIRED!!!" as a way to let Solich know it was time to pack up his shit and get the fuck out. Among what is confirmed: Scott Frost of all people is on record as saying that Pederson would repeatedly have letters slipped under Solich's door; Solich's daughter is also on record as saying Stevie P did the same thing repeatedly. Frankie avoided the media after the firing, but Solich's daughter Cindy Dalton, however was talking, and said Pederson "really hadn't made up his mind until five minutes before Dad walked through the door" and that Solich "couldn't believe that Pederson had the nerve to say that to his face." My theory is that Pederson, not one for face-to-face confrontation, had somebody put one of these notes under Solich's door, asking his soon-to-be-ex football coach to see him. After seeing how Pederson botched the entire firing to the point of having no backup plan in sight for Solich's replacement, other than to find his own guy and put his own stamp on the football program, I wouldn't have been surprised if Pederson had fired Solich via text message if that was in vogue in November, 2003.
- "Chad May forgot to wear a cup during the first half of a game against Nebraska": I've heard many versions of this story (from former Kansas State and Nebraska players), but they're all different. In fact, some have said it wasn't Chad May guilty of this, it was former K-State QB Matt Miller. And when you look back at the first halves of both the 1994 and 1995 games -- when this legend allegedly took place -- it's could have been either May or Miller. It starts with the 1993 game in Lincoln, when May embarrassed the Blackshirts by throwing for a then conference record 489 yards passing in Nebraska's 45-28 victory. So the 1994 defense was looking for revenge against the cocky May in their battle in Manhattan, Kansas. The Corn was ranked #2, the Wildcats #16, and at the time May was receiving serious Heisman consideration, throwing 188 straight passes without a pick. The game is mostly remembered as "The Matt Turman Game", as the Turman-ator had to fill in for an ailing Brook Berringer. The weather was sloppy, so Turman kept handing the ball to Lawrence Phillips as the Corn played smash-mouth football in beating the Wildcats 17-6. May was sacked 6 times, thrown to the ground a lot more, fumbled twice, and snapped that no-interception streak by throwing a pick to NU's Troy Dumas. In the 1995 game, NU was #2, KU #8, and Nebraska went into halftime leading 35-6. That Husker team is widely considered the greatest college football team of all-time, and Miller was beat around worse than May was the year before. Former Husker Jared Tomich said after the game that Miller, "was taking a long time to get up." K-State had -19 yards rushing, and their quarterbacks were sacked 9 times by the Blackshirts. So two ranked K-State teams, two different quarterbacks, both getting whacked early and often. Which one is (allegedly) guilty of the no-cup crime, May or Miller? The legend has it that word spread through the Husker Defense that (May/Miller) foolishly went sans protection, and the brutal Blackshirts went out of their way to exploit that error in judgement. The smart money is on Chad May, as he was extremely vocal and arrogant going into the 1994 game. He was STILL cocky after getting destroyed by the Corn. "They're beatable," May said after the '94 game. "I don't think they're a great team." The pre-game hype literally angered the Blackshirts, and cup or no cup, May was Public Enemy Number 1. Yes, May was brash enough to try to pull something like this at the time. Either way, playing quarterback for K-State against those defenses wasn't an ideal gig.
- "Emmitt Smith was thisclose to playing for Nebraska": The biggest "legend" regarding this is that Emmitt visited Nebraska wearing an all-red suit during his recruiting visit. The 1986 Parade Magazine High School Player of the Year, Emmitt was recruited by pretty much everybody, with Auburn, Florida and Nebraska as the front runners. On signing day, Emmitt walked into a crowded gym wearing a red shirt and hat, giving the packed school assembly the impression that he was heading to Nebraska. But then Gator Coach Galen Hall promised Emmitt he would start the first game of the 1987 season, and Smith signed with Florida. After an electrifying collegiate career with Florida, Emmitt left after his Junior year as Hall was forced out for violating NCAA rules. The Gators were placed on probation for the 1990 season, and Emmitt was ready to re-write the NFL record books. Yes, Emmitt did seriously consider coming to Nebraska, and things worked out quite well for him. Smith certainly wasn't going to start over Keith Jones in 1987, and would have likely red-shirted. But from 1988-1991, Emmitt could have been a major star for the Huskers, who didn't have a 1,000 yard rusher in 1990.