Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's a Circus Nebraska Quarterback Controversy Even Has Elephants

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's a Circus Nebraska Quarterback Controversy Even Has Elephants

Article excerpt

By Saturday, it had come to this . . .

Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne was lamenting that the Orange Bowl allowed its halftime act - a circus - to rehearse on the lush stadium grass.

"We might have to hop over elephant tracks," Osborne said.

To which an alert reporter jokingly responded: Would Brook Berringer or Tommie Frazier be better suited to elephant tracks?

"I think Berringer," Osborne said, smiling. "He can throw over them."

No topic, and no decision, pertaining to Sunday's Orange Bowl has been more scrutinized and dissected in recent weeks than Osborne's choice to name Frazier the starter against Miami. Not that the brash Miami players were concerned - at least not outwardly.

"Frazier? Berringer? Superman? It doesn't matter who's back there," Miami linebacker Ray Lewis said. "It's all the same to us."

"I'm shaking," defensive tackle Warren Sapp said.

"We're still going to try to crush both of their facemasks," Miami's Malcolm X. Pearson said.

For all their bluster, though, the 'Canes obviously are aware of the difference in flourishes - and the controversy over Osborne's decision.

Sure, Frazier was the most valuable player of last season's Orange Bowl and a Heisman Trophy candidate. But a few pesky details seemed to preclude his starting:

Frazier hasn't played since Sept. 25, when he was sidelined nine plays into a game with Pacific with what would later be diagnosed as a blood clot in his right leg. He was operated on in early October, when doctors made a 4-inch incision in his calf to tie off the vein in which the clot was formed, and he took blood thinners for nearly two months.

Meanwhile, Berringer was sterling in his stead. After shrugging off a collapsed lung, he completed 62.3 percent of his passes and projected to seventh in the nation in passing efficiency if he had had the minimum amount of attempts. He also ran the option more than competently.

But it became apparent in early December that Frazier had recovered sufficiently to compete for the job. …

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