Lincoln Journal Star from Lincoln, Nebraska on April 21, 1996 · 23
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Lincoln Journal Star from Lincoln, Nebraska · 23

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Lincoln, Nebraska
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Sunday, April 21, 1996
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23
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IteiM NFL Ken A Hambleton f4b Week's loss puts game in perspective Grant Wistrom said he was ready to play football "Then, they showed that video tribute to Brook Berringer on the big screens and there were a million other things I wanted to do," said the Nebraska rush end. "Defense is emotional and it was hard to play right after that." Scott Frost, the No. 1 quarterback for NU, said the same thoughts entered his mind. "They showed that video and you couldn't hear a pin drop, and there were what, 50,000 fans in the stadium," he said. "The fans gave him the longest and largest ovation of the day. They gave Brook what he deserved." In the sun, on the turf at Memorial Stadium, the crowd of 48,659 and the entire Nebraska football team stood quietly and watched a video of Berringer. The former Husker quarterback, who died in a plane crash near Lincoln Thursday, was remembered by the song "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion and the pictures of Berringer visiting schools, reading "Green Eggs and Ham" to some children, hunting, talking to groups and playing football for the Huskers. "He taught me patience and the ability to keep my head up in adversity," Frost said. "He touched a lot of people and he was somebody you could learn a lot from." ;v: Backup quarterback Jeff Perino changed his usual No. 18 to No. 5 when it struck him that No. 18 was Berringer's number. Players injured oh the sidelines, and those in the game, wore black T-shirts with the No. 18 in respect for Berringer. Dismay, emotion Tom Osborne explained in the postgame press conference, "I have no regrets about Brook. I don't think the length of his life is as important as the quality of his life. I thought the tribute was well done. You know how the old cliche goes when someone young passes away, there is a tendency to say good things about them. And in Brook's case, it was all true. He was as fine a person, in character and in everything he had done, as I have known here." Osborne said there ha ve been other difficult times at Nebraska. This time seemed to show more on his face and in his voice. "There have been a variety of difficult things, and that's a part of life," he said. "When you have 100-plus people in your extended family and that's what we tell recruits, that they will be family that they become, not a son or daughter, but neither very far off from that." Osborne said it has been hard to concentrate. He said some players took the death of Berringer harder thaln others. Every player interviewed expressed dismay and the deep hurt in losing a teammate. Many questioned whether the emotional drain of the shocking death of Brook Berringer took something out of the final scrimmage of the spring. The players were moved, then played as. well as they could. A new beginning The spring game is merely a practice. It is one of four scrimmages in the spring. Osborne said it shouldn't be viewed as a finish to anything in Nebraska football' "Just one of four big steps," he said. The spring game is used for evaluation by the coaches. From all appearances the evaluation is very positive.? , The Nebraska, defense promises to be the best in a string of three excellent defenses. The offense has potential, but it's hard to grade its performance because of the smothering defense. Nebraska's kicking game is strong. 3 Depth at almost every position ,: appears solid. The schedule should play into Nebraska's favor with Colorado playing in Lincoln and the new Big 12 opponents among the v middle of the pack. And even the crowd, the team ' and the coaches, who fully expect a third consecutive national title, as well as the sun, moon and stars proved, in the face of Brook Berringer's death, that perspective and class are not lost In the shuffle. BY KEN HAMBLETON Lincoln Journal Star After the NFL draft opened in New York with a moment of silence for former Nebraska quarterback Brook Berringer, two other former Cornhuskers finally made a break from a past that included the of top of the college football world and run-ins with the law while in college. Lawrence Phillips, who bypassed his senior year, was the sixth player chosen in the NFL draft Saturday when he was selected by the St. Louis Rams. Tyrone Williams, a senior who still faces a felony charge, was the 93rd player taken in the draft when the Green Bay Packers made the cornerback their third- LV 1 f PHILLIPS to Rams WILLIAMS to Packers round selection. Phillips was considered possibly the best player available for the NFL draft but was dropped in consideration because of the high-pro file nature of his misdemeanor assault and trespassing charge he pleaded guilty to last fall. Baltimore was expected to take Phillips but chose UCLA offensive lineman Jonathan Ogden. "I think (the assault) hurt me a lot," Phillips said in an interview with ESPN. "I feel I'd been the first pick if I had no problems, definitely. I feel I'm the best player in the draft and I think that by far." Phillips later Was reported to be having problems with his agent, Mitch Frankel, but those reports were unfounded said Tina McElhan-non, who ran the Tina Mac homes in West Covina, Cal., where Phillips lived from the age 12 until attending Nebraska. Phillips spent most of the Jets tab Johnson in shocking draft. 6C day with McElhannon and former high school coach and counselor Ty Pagone and was flying to St. Louis for a Sunday press conference. Phillips is the third Corrihusker taken by the Rams in the last three years. Toby Wright was taken in the second round in 1994 and Zach Wie-gert was taken in the second round in 1995. Phillips became a priority for the Rams after the St. Louis team traded former top back Jerome Bettis to Pittsburgh. "We obviously don't think it is a major risk," Rams Coach Rich Brooks said in a press conference. "I'd be kidding you, if I didn't think there was some concern. But he has had as much scrutiny as a presidential candidate in the iast month leading up to the draft." Brooks said that Phillips assured him he would continue anger counseling. "It's not even a situation any more," Phillips said. "I'm past that and I think everybody else should get past that. I'm not worried about myself getting into any more problems and I don't see why anyone else should. I feel very stable and I feel like when I get there I'm just going to play football like anybody else." Rams general manager Steve Ort- More on DRAFT, Page 6C Hack sluiKts Mro nap oieimse tl.1 1 1 ;S ' -1, 1 vS'- k ) y VH V . . rf ) S V -C; t rWv- lu ' L... - r r-- rw- ,, 1. V. .X. s,4'.-j S VV i iW 1 ltd )i nf ft-m-fl m "iff 1- ir-lf - Trrim rrinwmir ii'iffiiii -iniiTiiiiriiiirri iii'nin rmr 'iiiiitilni-imn-n-y-if T rn '-"n- .k.J1rr.Y ;,:( TED KIRKLmcom Journal Star Jl White team linebacker Jamel Williams (28) trips up Red split end Brendan, Holbein at the White 5-yard line in the first quarter Saturday in Memorial Stadium. Holbein's reception set up the first score of the annual Nebraska spring game. Benning's performance truly special BENNING punt return TD BY STEVE SIPPLE Lincoln Journal Star Like most of his offensive mates. Nebraska backup I-back Damon Benning was frustrated by the Cornhuskers' lack of movement. Saturday's annual Red-White intrasquad game in Memorial Stadium will go down as a dominating day for the defense. But the special teams also had their moments, highlighted by two long punt returns by Benning. "I take a lot of pride in my special-teams play," Benning said. "I've always said that there's no quicker way to turn a game around than on special teams." Benning, held to six yards on six carries at I-back for the Red squad, returned a punt 87 yards for a touchdown, helping tie the game 14-14 with 4 minutes, 22 seconds left in the third quarter. He broke free for 38 yards on the next punt he fielded. Benning's late returns might not have sparked a Big Red offensive onslaught, but they certainly helped brighten his postscrim- More on BENNING, Page 3C Bulls lose, fail to tie home win standard CHICAGO ( AP) - The Chicago Bulls failed to tie the NBA record for home wins in a season, falling in Saturday's regular-season home finale as Eddie Johnson's last- second free throw gave the Indiana Pacers a 100-99 victory. The Bulls lost two of their last four regular-season games at the United Center after opening with a league-record 37 consecutive victories. They needed a win to tie the 1985-86 Boston Celtics' mark of 40-1. The other home loss, to Charlotte on April 8, was also by one point Chicago (71-10), the only team ever to win 70 games in a season, completes the regular season Sunday at Washington. r ," .. Michael Jordan scored 24 points and rallied the Bulls from a 99-91 , W H , f 1 Iff .v V ' ASSOCIATED PRESS A Chicago's Michael Jordan (right) pleads his case with referee Tommy Nunez (left) after Jordan was called for a foul in the final second of the game Saturday at Chicago. Indiana's Eddie Johnson hit one of two free throws to give Indiana a 1 00-99 win. RODMAN flaming hair deficit to tie with 50 seconds left, hitting a three-pointer, assisting on Toni Kukoc's three-pointer and then making a 10-foot jumper. But Jordan missed a 20-footer for the lead with about 10 seconds left, then was called for fouling Johnson, who was firing up a jumper from just inside the three-point line with a half-second left. Johnson made the first free throw and missed the second intentionally. The Bulls got the rebound but weren't able to get off a final shot. -- Indiana set a team record with its 20th road victory despite playing without top scorer Reggie Miller, who will miss at least two more weeks with a fractured eye socket. Rik Smits had 17 points, including the first four as the Pacers scored nine straight points for their 99-91 lead. The Pacers, who will be the Eastern Conference's third seed in the playoffs, became the only team to beat Chicago twice this season. Indiana finishes at home Sunday against Cleveland. Both teams rested their starters for most of the fourth quarter, with Chicago not playing Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman at all. Rodman still had 15 rebounds. He also unveiled his newest and most inventive hairdo of the season: shades of red, orange and yellow arranged to form the image of aflame. Low-scoring game pleases NU coach BY KEN HAMBLETON Lincoln Journal Star Spring game scoring, statistics! 3 17 6 20 Defense with an attitude. "These guys have- an attitude that nobody is going to do anything against this defense," said Nebraska running back Damon Benning. "It's scary, because that attitude shows in the way they play." Defense limited the annual Nebraska intrasquad Red-White game to the lowest combined offensive score in 13 years as the Red team (No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense) top the White squad (No. 1 defense. No. 2 offense) 20-17 before the largest spring game crowd ever of 48,659. The crowd and players who seek a third national title to go with back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995 were subdued at the start after a moving video tribute to Brook Berringer. a former Nebraska quarterback who died Thursday in a plane crash near Lincoln. "It took a bit to get yourself going because Brook touched so many of us," Nebraska rush end Jared To-mich said. "But he would have wanted us to play and to play our best. I think eventually, we all got that message right" The No. 1 defense wrecked most of the plans of the offense throughout the day. "It's the old adage, either the offense isn't very good or the defense is good," Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne said. "We have a decent offensive team and an outstanding defensive team. Grant Wistrom and Jared Tomich (rush ends) give people problems. If you can't block those two people you've got problems. We had a couple of our better blocking tight ends not there but they are good. "But you get Tomich, Wistrom, White 7 7 Red 3 3 Red FG Kris Brown 26 White James Sims 2 run (Tad Retztaff kick) Red FG Brown 25 White T.J. DeBates 18 pass from Monte Christo (ReUlaff kick) Red Damon Benning 87 punt return (Brown kick) Red FG Brown 23 White FG Retzlaff 30 Red FG Brown 25 A 48.659. First downs Rushes-yards Passing yards Total yards Passing Return yards Punts Fumbles-lost Penalties-yards White Red 10 13 47-102 46-93 129 116 231 209 9-20-1 7-20-1 44 126 7-45.1 5-46.8 1-0 5-2 13-99 7-49 Jason Peter, and big old Jeff Ogard, and we didn't play Terrell Farley (discipline), and our middle guys are good. "We may be hard to move on." Osborne added. "The kicking game is good. We had excellent punting and field goals. Like they say, if you play good defense and have a good kicking game, you've got a chance to be good. Offensively, we'll get better as time goes by." In the third quarter, the top offense managed just four yards on More on SPRING, Page 3C Jayhawks capitalize on Husker mistakes BY CURT McKEEVER Lincoln Journal Star Nebraska's baseball team got mesmerized by the Bobby Randall hex again Saturday. Randall's Kansas team played nearly flawless in the field and took advantage sloppy defense by the Cornhuskers to post a 10-7, 14-4 dou-bleheader sweep at Buck Beltzer Field. The result dropped Nebraska to 17-23-1 overall and firmly into last place in the Big Eight Conference standings at 7-13. The Huskers are 0-4 against the Jayhawks this season, and went just 3-9 in the previous two years when Randall was at Iowa State. "It's not me," said Randall, smiling after Kansas' first two conference road wins of the season. "Those guys are fighting hard right now. They've come together." Kansas, which improved to 20-20 overall and fourth in the league at 10-12, rallied from a 7-4 deficit in the final three innings to win the opener. Nebraska had overcome a 3-0 hole when freshman Josh Dalton hit the first home run of his career a grand slam to make it 4-3 in the fifth inning. After Kansas tied the game in the sixth, the Huskers got three more in the bottom of the inning on Larry Hartzell's two-run single and Dalton's sacfice fly. But Kansas, thanks largely to consecutive puich-hits, came back to take the lead for good with a four-run eighth. Mike Dean started the rally with a one-out RBI double, and Nick Frank then came off the bench to supply a two-run single off Jay Si-rianni to tie the contest. Corey Mill er then relieved Sirianni, and after issuing a walk, gave up an RBI single to Andy Juday. After Nebraska was denied a run in the bottom of the inning on a run-' ner's interference call, the Jay- hawks got more breathing room on Ted Meadows' eighth-inning RBI -single and Joe DeMarco's solo '; homer in the ninth. ; In game two, the Jayhawks, who made only one error all day, jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first four innings to take control. Of those runs, six were unearned because of three errors and three passed balls. "We got off to such a terrible start... that magnifies our problems," Nebraska Coach John Sanders said. "It was not a pretty sight." Coming into Saturday's game, the Huskers had won seven of their last 10 games. During that stretch, the Huskers team earned-run average was a respectable 5.10. "They didn't play real welL but they've been playing welL" said Randall, whose team won a pair of -one-run games against Nebraska' earlier this week. "They're like us -you go how your pitching goes. They'd rather not go to their bullpen " early." ' . Nebraska will try to salvage one'! game from the series in the capper at 1 p.m. today. : J "We're just in a little slump throw- ' ing around the ball, said Nebraska center fielder Francis Collins, who extended his hitting streak to 25; games (tied for second-longest In school history). "We have a good de-; fense. It's not like we're not making" . the plays, it's more on the throws."

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