It’s human nature. When something’s wrong, you instinctively want to fix it.
Nebraska Football is 2-4 for the first time since Eisenhower was President. (My thanks to hilarious columnist Brad Dickson for that bit of trivia..) Saturday night, I was in the audience at the Miss Omaha/Miss Douglas County pageant and my friend Grady nudged me, showed me the score and whispered ‘WHY CAN’T WE FINISH A GAME?!?!’
When we lost over the final play against BYU, it was heartbreaking. When we lost in OT against Miami, it was bad dejavu. When we lost in the final moments against Illinois, it was annoying. HOW DID IT HAPPEN AGAIN against Wisconsin?
If I’m frustrated as a fan, I CAN ONLY IMAGINE how guys like Tommy Armstrong and Coach Riley feel. Maybe that’s why at least one former player isn’t judging, isn’t making assumptions.. he’s just giving his full support.
#4 Judd Davies, Nebraska Fullback 1999-2003
“A lot of things go into having a new staff, I’m definitely sympathetic to that,” Davies told KETV in a recent interview. “It’s easy to become frustrated and upset once you start having difficult games, but they’ve played extremely well, they’ve played close games, they’ve only lost by a number of points total between wins and losses.”
A glass half-full statement from a guy who’s been a longtime model of composure and maturity. In the early 2000’s, Judd Davies was the hometown guy who delivered in Lincoln on and off the field. He headed to Nebraska along with several other Millard North Mustangs (including Pat Ricketts and Eric Crouch), and took the Huskers to the 2001 national championship game.
As I wrote about last season (click here to read Brothers in Blue) I first met Davies through my longtime friend Jeff Nathan back when we were in college. (Part of the same group, I should mention, so excited about Judd’s Rose Bowl touchdown they fell on an elderly woman seated in front of them in the stadium.) I also had Davies in a speech class at UNL, where he presented an informative speech on how to run the option, and I found out that even at 245+ pounds of sheer muscle he was terrified of the movie Candyman. (Quoting Judd, “don’t even joke about that.”)
Back in those days, Judd Davies was a studious guy in the classroom, focused on his job as a student and his faith. (Quick story, when KETV photojournalist Tyler White arrived for our interview, Davies still remembered him as a fellow member of Omaha’s Christ Community Church many years ago.) Family and his close circle friends has also been priority for Davies, who married his longtime girlfriend, Tracy, the summer before his senior year at Nebraska. It was a busy time for the Nebraska Team Captain, an Academic All-American who also earned the 2002 Brook Berringer Citizenship Award for the time he spent volunteering in his community and across the state.
Davies taking part in a Special Olympics event, photo courtesy Nebraska Athletics.
12 years out, most of the stats, touchdowns and awards are a blur to Davies
“It’s really the relationships you remember as you get a little further out from it,” said Davies. “You remember the coaches, the guys you played the same position with because you were with those guys every single day.”
And Davies remembers his awareness that someday, his football days would come to an end. He was focused on his next step, medicine.
“I love it. I always wanted to do something with surgery that I thought I would be able to treat conditions, to cure conditions,” said Davies.
After graduating from Nebraska, Davies studied at Vanderbilt before returning to Omaha to open his own private practice and work with Nebraska Medicine. Dr. Judson Davies is now a respected urologist and surgeon across the Omaha area and beyond.
“Sometimes I sit down, people will look at me, look at my name on my jacket, then they’ll look back up and me and say ‘I swear, I remember you from somewhere,” said Davies. But he’s quick to say that football connection doesn’t give him any special insight into today’s team or coaches. When we first talked several weeks ago, hopes for the season were high with a new program, unknown to most Nebraska fans. When we circled back to Davies just last week, his opinions about the team were the same, even with a losing record.
“It’s about the process. Don’t worry about where they’re at now. You want to see improvement and the season is still very early,” said Davies. “There’s a lot of room for them to grow and improve and hopefully they will.”
And Davies is excited about the guy playing his old spot, Andy Janovich, another Nebraska native just like Davies (Janovich is from Gretna.)
Photo courtesy Nebraska Athletics
“I think he’s doing a great job!” said Davies. “If he would’ve played in a different era, in my era, he probably would’ve started ahead of me. So I’m glad he wasn’t there when I was there or I might not have ever played!”
To players EVERYWHERE, Huskers, Mustangs and everyone else, this doctor has some solid advice.
“GO TO CLASS!” said Davies, looking right into the camera before laughing. “But in all honesty, I’d say GO TO CLASS, GET A DEGREE.”
As for the 2015 Huskers, there may not be any universal fix. Dr. Davies suggested treatment and prescription for success.. to learn from the experience itself.
“Those lessons you learn day in and day out, how to handle adversity, how to deal with poor performance and improvement and critical feedback, those are extremely valuable,” said Davies. “You’re going to have lots of ups and downs in your career, business, personal and otherwise, but having the discipline to go through what they’ve gone through, you can’t duplicate that or replicate that anywhere else.”
Note from the author:
THANK YOU to Dr. Davies, his staff, and Nebraska Medicine (especially Jenny Nowatzke) for facilitating TWO interviews due to technical difficulties on our end. Your patience and time are MUCH appreciated!
NEXT WEEK.. CLASS OF 1990 LT. GREGG BARRIOS!