It's Nebraska week in Lawrence, and that's supposed to mean the Weinmaster family dresses in red and heads to Memorial Stadium to watch the Cornhuskers add to a winning streak over Kansas University that stands at 36.
Not this year, for myriad reasons. Last things first. Kyle Weinmaster is a two-way lineman for Free State High, which, like Nebraska-KU, kicks off at noon Saturday. The Firebirds play Shawnee Mission West at Shawnee Mission South, and Kerry and Linda Weinmaster will be there cheering on their son. As soon as that game ends, they'll hustle to Baldwin to catch the end of Baker University's 1 p.m. kickoff against Culver-Stockton. Their son Phillip plays defensive tackle for Baker.
Even if the Weinmasters wanted to go to the Nebraska game, they wouldn't be able to because of the scheduling conflict. The "if" they wanted to go is where it gets interesting. Kerry Weinmaster played nose guard for Nebraska from 1976 to 1979.
Here's what he has to say about second-year coach Bill Callahan's Nebraska Cornhuskers: "I'm not too happy with the current regime. They've pretty much taken every tradition at that school and trashed it."
Traditions such as running the option out of the power-I formation.
"That was Nebraska's bread and butter," Weinmaster said ruefully.
Now the folks in charge butter their corn with the West Coast offense, which in essence uses the passing game as a means of controlling the ball, thus relegating the running game to a secondary role.
"It's embarrassing," Weinmaster said. "In two weeks, you rush for minus-2 yards against Missouri and rush for, what, 22 yards (16 yards actually) last week against Oklahoma? That's embarrassing. Nebraska's noted for ramming it down your throat."
Weinmaster's feelings toward his alma mater's football program first went south when Frank Solich was fired after the 2003 season. Weinmaster played at Nebraska with a few of Solich's assistants and was a graduate assistant on Tom Osborne's staff when Solich was an assistant. Even so, it's more than loyalty that drives Weinmaster away. It's common sense. The football program wasn't broken and didn't need fixing.
"Two years ago, they had this Husker Nation celebration, and 800 of us (former players) went in for that," Weinmaster said. "The team went 10-3, won the Aloha Bowl, and Frank gets fired. It was a big farce."
Callahan went 5-6 in his first season and brings a 5-3 record into Memorial Stadium. At least the streak of dominance over KU endures. So far, anyway.
"I will probably say Kansas is going to win just because of their defense," Weinmaster said. "Their defense has kept them in games this year. Look at their great linebackers, and they've assembled a strong defensive front. I hate saying that, but you look at what they have and they should win the game. Nebraska pretty much got torched against Missouri."
Weinmaster said the car radio would be tuned to the game on the drive from Overland Park to Baldwin, but his emotions wouldn't be tuned in.
"To tell the truth, I don't care about either one," he said. "We live in Lawrence, but I'm not from the area. I don't get into all the hype. I grew up in Nebraska, but I don't agree with the changes."
He'll save his rooting interests for Free State and Baker.