Coronavirus Prompts Huskers to Implement Unique Spring Game Experience
By Brandon McDermott, NET News
April 16, 2020, 1:13 p.m. ·
This weekend’s annual Husker spring scrimmage for football has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the University of Nebraska-Lincoln athletic department has something special planned for fans; a video-game simulation featuring greats from throughout Husker history that will be streamed online.
Garrett Klassy is the senior deputy athletic director at UNL. He says the athletic department was searching for ways to keep fans engaged and connected with the program, especially during these uncertain times.
“Though we understand this isn't the real spring game, we want to find a way to make it fun, create a digital sea of red and make them feel like they're part of the great Nebraska experience,” Klassy said. “When you have so many star studded alums like we do at Nebraska to put them in a game and have some fun and have Greg Sharpe and Matt Davison doing the play-by-play, we just thought it would make for a fun little Saturday for Husker Nation.”
Klassy says the on-line simulation will happen on Saturday at 1 p.m. central time and will be streamed on the Huskers’ Facebook, Twitter and Twitch pages. The game will have two rosters of former Husker greats, like Ndamukong Suh, Tommie Frazier, Mike Rozier and Will Shields. In addition to the simulation, the athletic department is trying to keep things interesting for fans watching from home.
“There's going to be an interview at halftime with Coach Osborne, the spirit squad is going to start the Husker power chant, there's going to be a tunnel walk just like we do before every game and a social media component to where fans, if they, take pictures of themselves barbecuing or watching the game or whatever they're doing with the #GBRUnited,” Klassy said. “We're going to show some of those on the digital stream and so fans can feel like they're actually at the game.”
There will also be a band performance and former Husker Steve Warren will sing the national anthem before the game. More than 60,000 tickets were sold for this year’s spring game before it was cancelled. Klassy says it’s something to help Husker fans take their minds off the coronavirus.