Redskins

Osborne won't compare 1990s' Huskers to Alabama

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Osborne won't compare 1990s' Huskers to Alabama

Retired Nebraska coach Tom Osborne won't get drawn into an argument over how his 1990s teams that won three national championships in four years would fare against the Alabama teams that just accomplished the same feat.

``It doesn't come off very well when you try to compare a team that played 12, 14, 15 years ago with a team playing today and say this team would beat that team. Nobody knows,'' Osborne said Wednesday. ``The only way to do it is to play them. No question we had some very good teams. No question Alabama is very good, well-coached, very solid and certainly one to be admired.''

Osborne won all or part of national championships in three of his final four years with unbeaten teams. His 1994 and `95 teams were crowned by The Associated Press. In 1997, the Huskers won the coaches' vote and Michigan was first in the AP poll of writers and broadcasters.

Nebraska also played for the title in 1993 but lost to Florida State in the Orange Bowl on a missed field goal as time ran out. The `96 team was poised to play for the national title but was upset by Texas in the inaugural Big 12 championship game.

The Huskers' 60-3 record from 1993-97 remains the greatest five-year stretch in college football history. Alabama is 61-7 since 2008.

Grant Wistrom, who played defensive end on all three of Osborne's title teams, said the 1990s Huskers would be hard-pressed to beat the 21st-century Tide.

``It's only been 15 years, but it's a faster game now,'' Wistrom said. ``We dominated back then, but I don't know if our teams would have had the success (Alabama's) had now. It's tough to do what they've done in this day and age - not that it was easy for us back then.''

Ahman Green, who became the Green Bay Packers' all-time leading rusher after leaving Nebraska following the 1997 season, said he sees a lot of similarities between the `90s Huskers and today's Tide.

``It would be a three-point or overtime win for one of us,'' Green said.

Those who tout the Southeastern Conference's superiority - the league has won the last seven national championships - would argue the Tide has had to play a tougher schedule than the `90s Nebraska teams faced in the Big Eight/Big 12.

``You have to take your hat off to them because of the level of competition,'' Osborne said. ``I don't know that the SEC top to bottom is filled with great teams, but you have at least three or four very good teams in recent years. To survive that schedule, you have to be very good, obviously.''

Colorado was the chief threat to the Huskers in the `90s. Rival Oklahoma was in a down cycle, and Kansas State didn't fully emerge as a national power until 1998, the year after Osborne retired.

Wistrom, who retired in 2006 after a nine-year NFL career, wouldn't venture to guess what would happen if any of Osborne's and Nick Saban's title teams met in a hypothetical game.

``I'm not going to say we're the greatest thing since sliced bread, but we were darned good,'' he said. ``We had a lot of guys go to the pros, but so have they.

``If we could all get back together and be 18 years old and play them, we would decide it and there would be nothing more to talk about. No one would have anything to talk about on the radio. What's the fun in that?''

Saban witnessed the Huskers' mid-'90s power in person his first two years as head coach at Michigan State. Nebraska went into Spartan Stadium and won 50-10 in 1995, then put a 55-14 whipping to MSU in Lincoln the next year.

``The score did not indicate how bad they beat us,'' Saban said of the first meeting. ``I'm thinking we're never going to win a game. I must have taken a bad job, wrong job, no players, something.

``I remember Coach Osborne when we shook hands after the game, he put his arm around me and whispered in my ear, `You're not really as bad as you think.' So I think he knew he had a pretty good team. And we actually ended up winning six games, so we weren't really probably as bad as I thought.''

Wistrom said the most impressive thing about Alabama's roll is that it's occurred at a time when talent is spread out more than ever and more underclassmen are leaving school for the NFL.

The `90s Huskers and current Tide had similar personnel, and both played a bruising style of football.

Quarterback Tommie Frazier of Nebraska and A.J. McCarron of Alabama were undisputed team leaders. Nebraska had a beefy offensive line that cleared the way for Frazier, Lawrence Phillips and Ahman Green. The Tide's powerful lines have opened holes for greats like Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy.

McCarron is a superior passer to Frazier, but Frazier left his mark as perhaps the greatest triple-option quarterback ever.

Wistrom and fellow All-American Jason Peter anchored Nebraska's defensive lines. The Tide has had at least one defensive lineman drafted each of the past three years, and Jesse Williams is a sure bet to make it four in a row.

``We tried to beat teams into submission,'' Green said. ``(Alabama) didn't put up the scores we did, but they made it known when the game was over and the game was won.''

Osborne pointed out that the Huskers had to depend on the polls to win national titles more than the recent Tide teams, which have been able to settle things on the field through the Bowl Championship Series.

Had the BCS system been in place - and Osborne said he wishes it had been - Nebraska would have had to beat unbeaten Penn State in 1994 and unbeaten Michigan in 1997.

Of his three national championship teams, Osborne ranks the 1995 Huskers as the most talented team he coached.

That team outscored opponents by an average of 53-14, outgained them 562 yards to 298 and never trailed in a game after the second quarter.

Many observers have called the `95 Huskers the greatest college football team of all time.

Osborne declined to compare that team to any of Alabama's title teams.

``How people want to rank them,'' he said, ``is up to them.''

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Derrius Guice posts picture and message from White House visit with Donald Trump

Derrius Guice posts picture and message from White House visit with Donald Trump

Redskins third-year running back Derrius Guice first gained national fame during his breakout college career at Louisiana State University from 2015 to 2017. In three seasons at LSU he rushed for more than 3,000 yards and 32 touchdowns. Even more remarkably, as a sophomore Guice ran for nearly 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns as part of a backfield timeshare with Leonard Fournette. 

Understandably Guice always vocally supports his college, and this year, during LSU's incredible run to the college football championship, the Redskins young running back loudly rooted on his Tigers. When LSU beat Alabama in November, Guice razzed many of his Redskins teammates that played in college for the Crimson Tide. Often. Loudly. 

So it should be no surprise to Redskins or Tigers fans that Guice accompanied LSU on their visit to the White House last week. He lives in the D.C. area and Tigers coach Ed Orgeron likes to include former players in many activities. 

On Friday Guice posted a picture from visit, but from one of most exclusive places in the world.

For a young man that dealt with tragic circumstances as a child and poverty throughout his young life, Guice's message is uplifting. In fact, if more people listened to what Guice was saying instead of an instant reaction to a picture, some things might be in a better spot. Right and left, executive and legislative, all could use to listen to Guice on this one. Not everything is about politics. 

So far in his Redskins career, Guice has dealt with multiple knee injuries, but when on the field he's been explosive. His season ended in early December but he's expected to be ready to go for offseason work. 

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A Capital doesn't win Hardest Shot at NHL Skills for the first time in 3 years

A Capital doesn't win Hardest Shot at NHL Skills for the first time in 3 years

ST. LOUIS -- John Carlson did a valiant job trying to defend his title for the hardest shot, but Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber took home the prize with a blistering 106.5 MPH shot at the NHL Skills on Friday.

Alex Ovechkin won the Hardest Shot in 2018 and Carlson won it in 2019. He looked to be in good position to win it again after taking the lead with only one shooter left to go.

As Carlson skated up for his turn, the number to beat was 102.4 from Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson. Carlson shattered that with a shot of 104.5, beating his own winning shot from last year of 102.8.

The only problem? Weber was the last shooter.

"With Webs going behind him you kind of just expect him to go put up some big numbers," T.J. Oshie said. "But when John put up 104.5, you thought maybe there was a chance, but obviously Shea stepped up and took care of business."

Weber had Carlson beat on his very first shot. Weber smashed the puck for 105.9 MPH on his first attempt. As he was the last shooter, he had already won, but took his second shot anyway and beat his own mark, finishing with a 106.5 MPH shot.

While the Caps had won the event in each of the past two seasons, Weber had won it three straight times before Ovechkin took the title in 2018.

Even when Carlson took the lead, he still did not believe he would win knowing Weber still had to go.

"I think I knew all along we were all just a part of the show," Carlson said.

Braden Holtby also fell short in his attempt to win the Save Streak event. Frederik Anderson had the number to beat of seven when Holtby went between the pipes. He faced shooters from the Atlantic Division and made a run at seven when he stopped David Pastrnak’s shot. A goalie's round could not end on a save. As the captain, Pastrnak was the last shooter unless Holtby saved his shot. When Holtby stopped Pastrnak, that meant he would continue facing shots until he was beaten. With two straight saves, Holtby denied Shea Weber and Brady Tkachuk to get his streak up to five saves before he was finally beaten by Jack Eichel.

"I was just hoping Shea Weber wouldn't come down and take a slap shot on me,” Holtby told the NBCSN broadcast.

St. Louis Blues Jordan Binnington ended up winning the event, much to the delight of the home crowd. Andrei Vasilevskiy raised the save streak up to nine with Binnington as the last goalie to go. In dramatic fashion, Binnington went on to deny 10 straight shots to take the win.

Other highlights of the All-Star Skills:

Ryan O’Reilly’s football helmet

Next week is the Super Bowl Sunday and Ryan O’Reilly showed who he is cheering for in warmups as he came onto the ice wearing a Kansas City Chiefs' helmet.


Connor McDavid is not the fastest skater?

We all know who the fastest skater in the NHL is. It’s Connor McDavid. You might as well just declare the race over, right?

Not so fast. (See what I did there?)

Stunningly, McDavid did not win the event and was edged out by New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal who completed the event in 13.175 seconds, just 0.03 seconds away from the record.

The Justin Bieber mask

San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl decided to have some fun during the save streak. Before his shot attempt on Binnington, he busted out a Justin Bieber mask and put it on before shooting.

No, he did not score. Yes, the mask was terrifying.


The women’s 3-on-3 game was awesome

If there is one complaint about the All-Star Skills and All-Star Game, is that it is not competitive enough. Players have fun with it, as they should, but they aren’t exactly going 100-percent like they would in an actual game. That was certainly not the case for the 3-on-3 women’s game between Canada and USA.

The women’s teams put on a great display of skill in what was an incredibly fun game to watch. Canada took a 1-0 lead in the first period off a goal from Rebecca Johnston. Melodie Daoust made it 2-0 in the second period and Hilary Knight finally put USA on the board putting them to within one.

But really it was the goalies who stole the show. With plenty of room to work, there were a number of breakaways and odd-man rushes. Both Alex Cavallini for the USA and Ann-Renee Desbiens for Canada were strong in net to keep it a three-goal game.

"It was pretty impressive," Oshie said. "The goalies stood on their head, but the girls were making some awesome plays, some great moves. It's always fun cheering on the Americans."

Desbiens had a drop the mic moment with a glove save just as time expired to maintain the 2-1 win for Canada.

Shooting Stars

You have to credit the NHL for trying. One of the new events featured players on a raised platform in the crowd shooting at targets on the ice. It was...different. The biggest issue with it was that the players could not hit most of the targets and the one that seemed the easiest to get was worth the most points. This one will need some tweaking if they want to bring it back again next year.

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