Photo by Kelly Mosier

Women's Clinic Fun Event For All

By Brian Rosenthal

Scott Frost asked for a show of hands from those women older than 70 who were among the some 350 participating in Thursday night’s Nebraska football clinic for women at the Hawks Championship Center.

Dobey Haws of Lincoln was one of seven women to put her hand in the air. She’d just turned 70, and although she’d attended Nebraska football clinics for women in past years, the return of this event meant something extra special.

This time, Haws could get some football pointers from one of her former students, first-year Nebraska linebackers coach Barrett Ruud.

“I just had to come to this one,” said Haws, a Falls City native who moved to Lincoln in 1966 and has attended every Nebraska home football game since then.

From former Huskers Jon Hesse and Jon Bowling to current senior offensive lineman Jerald Foster, and many others in between, Haws has a nice list of Nebraska football players and other Huskers athletes she’s taught at Sheridan Elementary School, where she’s taught physical education for more than 40 years.

Most all went on to Southeast High School before coming to Nebraska, either as a scholarship player or walk-on.

“I didn’t have Alex Gordon,” Haws said, referring to the former Nebraska baseball star and current Kansas City Royals outfielder. “Can’t have ‘em all.”

You could say Haws made up for it, though, by teaching a famous non-Husker athlete – Maroon 5 band member James Valentine, another Southeast graduate.

But, back to football.

Haws attended Thursday’s clinic – the first Nebraska women’s football clinic in nearly 10 years – with her niece and niece’s friend, both from North Platte. The friend recently had ACL surgery and walked on crutches, therefore not participating in drills, only observing.

Haws took her cue, as a precaution.

“I thought, ‘You know, I don’t need to do that,’ ” Haws said, pointing to the friend's knee.

Frost, in his first year as Nebraska’s head football coach, had told the women from the outset to participate only in drills or activities in which they felt comfortable or confident

“We’ve got all levels here, from people who look like they could play for our team …” Frost said, interrupted by cheers and laughter.

“Our coaches are going to put you through stuff, but be smart about what you take part in and what you don’t.”

Frost then jokingly told the women how tough he was in his recovery from athroscopic ankle surgery less than a week ago. He had neither the boot nor crutches he'd used earlier in the week on the Husker Football Tour.

"Just so you know you have a tough coach: They told me it would be 6 weeks before I could golf, and I played 3 holes yesterday."

The women participated in a question-and-answer session with Frost, and then with offensive coordinator Troy Walters and defensive coordinator Erik Chinander.

“The left tackle is the highest-paid lineman in the NFL because he has to protect the quarterbacks ….?” Walters said.

“BLINDSIDE!” most of the women responded in unison.

“Everywhere I go there are fans,” Frost said, “but nowhere else have I been where fans are more knowledgeable or passionate about football than Nebraska – especially the women.”

Other questions ranged from whether Chinander preferred to play man-to-man or zone defense in the secondary – it depends on the offense and what routes are run, he said – to how Nebraska is being received on the recruiting trail to whether the Tunnel Walk music is going to change to how coaches will address handing out Blackshirts.

“We hope we have 11 by the first game,” Chinander said in answering that last question, “but that’s not up to me. That’s up to (the players).”

After the Q-and-A and introductory remarks and pointers, the women divided into groups and rotated through 10 stations of various drills – offense, defense and special teams.

Haws said the pass route drill is probably her favorite.

“I don’t know that I want to be a defensive lineman,” she said, laughing.

Haws then pointed to defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun, one of a handful of players who helped with the event.

“Boy,” Haws said, “he should have a breakout year.”

She then said she wished she could talk to all of the players to gauge their excitement for the coming season, and to see their reactions in talking about all the recent changes, probably to see if they’re as amped as she is.

"You know, the most important thing to me is learning the coaches and just being them around them,” Haws said. “Oh, we’re so lucky. We needed this.”

Reach Brian at brosenthal@huskers.com or follow him on Twitter @GBRosenthal.

MORE NEWS

More News Sponsor - First National Bank

TICKETS

Tickets Sponsor - StubHub