Behind run-pass threat Eric Crouch, the Huskers eye the title run they blew last year
By Kelley King
Eight months later the Huskers are ready to forget the Alamo and that underachieving 10-2 season. Having rallied one another through what the seniors describe as an especially intense winter of indoor running drills and a summer vacation filled with 7 a.m. weight-room sessions, the Nebraska players are prepared for a schedule that summons Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Kansas State to Lincoln. "This team lost some exceptional athletes, but the young players that are starting have the ability to be tremendous," says coach Frank Solich. "Of course, we expect Eric to have a great senior season."
Though Crouch talks about wanting to double last year's 1,101 passing yards, what he really wants to do is lead the nation in rushing. The Cornhuskers did that as a team last year (349.9 yards per game, including 88.3 yards per outing by Crouch), but with the departure of center Dominic Raiola and guard Russ Hochstein, both All-Americas, duplicating that effort could be daunting.
Whenever Solich decides to let his nimble-footed quarterback air it out, Crouch will have a reliable target in tight end Tracey Wistrom, who led the team with five touchdown catches last year. In preparation for his senior season Wistrom has been consulting by phone with older brother Grant, a St. Louis Rams defensive end who helped Nebraska win three national titles in the mid-'90s. "This season reminds Grant of 1995, when the team went into the fall with lots of questions and no answers," says Tracey. "One by one guys stepped up, and by the end of the year they were national champs."
Issue date: August 13, 2001