On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS September 19, 2016 #611 up next…” The Missing Man”
After further review…Does it need to be repeated how important every T*E*A*M member can be? The old saw: “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” tells just a part of the story. Each member’s contribution to its culture is a vital element of any successful team regardless of the circumstances.
To illustrate, the University of Nebraska football team began its 2016 season in an atmosphere of loss. On July 25, punter Sam Foltz, 22 and a senior, was killed in an auto accident in Wisconsin while driving home from a summer camp for punters. Also killed in that accident was former Michigan State University punter Mike Sadler. Fortunate to survive that crash was Colby Delahoussaye, an LSU team member. The accident was caused by a wet roadway; no alcohol or drugs were involved. Such a tragedy for these men, who were so admired by their colleges.
So what did the Nebraska T*E*A*M do in its opening game against the Fresno State (CA) Bulldogs? In their first offensive series of plays the Cornhuskers were fourth-and-four on their own 32-yard line. Naturally, they opted to punt. Ten players ran onto the field and set themselves in punt formation. But wait! There was no punter lined up to punt. It should have been Sam Foltz, of course. The 10 Cornhuskers just waited – and waited – and waited – until the play clock expired, causing delay of game and the resulting 5-yard penalty. The Bulldogs head coach Jim DeRuyter told his players to just stand there and not to accept the penalty.
Mike Riley, in his second year as the Cornhuskers head coach, had forewarned the Big Ten game officials and Coach DeRuyter of this opportunistic play. Drew Brown, Foltz’s closest friend, pointed skyward as the Nebraska players, both on the field and on the sideline “took a knee” as the play clock counted down to zero. The Bulldogs players, knowing the motivation behind this unusual salute, stood and applauded as did the 90,013 fans in the stands.
Coach Riley, who previously coached at Oregon State and for three years in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, won his 100th game as the Cornhuskers prevailed that day, 43-10. Riley said later “There was no better way to start this season than paying tribute to a fine young man”.
Will you recognize the full value of each individual on your T*E*A*M?
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