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The Illini reaped a good harvest. With Michigan they tied for the Big Ten title, although they had five victories to the Wolverines' four, and were awarded the national championship. Grange made nearly everybody's All-America team, McMillen was named on several. And Zuppke himself added the final touch with his cryptic comment after the Michigan student paper, the Daily News, put Grange on its second team All-America with the comment, "All Grange can do is run."
"And all Galli-Curci can do," said The Dutchman, "is sing."
There will be running and singing at Illinois this year, but not anywhere near as much of either as is likely to be seen or heard at Nebraska, which is not at all as humble as it was when it started Red Grange galloping toward his spectacular career.
Life at NEBRASKA has been just one Big Eight championship after another ever since Coach Bob Devaney got established in Lincoln. The Huskers have won three titles in a row and only one honor has escaped them—the national championship. They would have had that last season if Alabama had cooperated in the Orange Bowl.
Devaney's amazing success has not been purely accidental. He has an insatiable hunger for large, splashy football players, the more the merrier. He puts his recruits together to form a punishing defense and a ferocious attack, the kind that led the nation in rushing last year (290 yards a game) and was second in total offense (404 yards).
If it is any small comfort to Nebraska's rivals, the Huskers have lost some excellent players. All-America Ends Tony Jeter and Freeman White and Tackles Dennis Carlson and Jimmy Brown are gone from the offensive line and All-America Tackle Walt Barnes and Linebacker Mike Kennedy from the defense. Ordinarily, losses like these would be awful, but not at Nebraska, where there are 33 lettermen and 44 sizable sophomores trying desperately to beat them out. The coach's biggest worry will be deciding which of the sophomores to red-shirt.
The replacements are much better than adequate. Dennis Richnafsky, a good pass catcher, will be at split end while Mike Wynn, a red-shirt, will fill in at tight end. And no one will push around the tackles, 228-pound Gary Brichacek and either 264-pound Bob Taucher or 274-pound Bob Pickens, an Illinois transfer, on the other side. Guards La Verne Allers and Jim Osberg and Center Kelly Petersen are back, too.
"We'll be good," admits Devaney, but that is as far as he will go. The truth is, Nebraska may be stronger than last year. For one thing, the Huskers' offense could be better. Harry Wilson—called Lighthorse, of course—who turns corners like a London taxi, is back, and so is Ron Kirkland, a steady pounder who gets his 6.6 yards a carry. For fullback, there is a pleasant choice—214-pound Pete Tatman or Choo-Choo Winters, who can hit with anyone. More important, Quarterback Bob Churchich, a superb passer and option runner, is still around to set off an explosion.
But if all this proves insufficient for the devastation Devaney is planning, he has a few new twists to go with his usual unbalanced T, pro sets and spreads. Do not be surprised to see Nebraska go into a snappy I formation now and then and, occasionally, Wilson may interrupt one of his power sweeps to throw a pass.