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Thursday, December 2, 1999

Eagles' swimmers face El Paso teams

PECOS, Dec. 2, 1999 -- The Pecos Eagles swimming team will finally get to do what all of the Eagles' other teams have done for the past 15 months -- take a long late-night trip back from El Paso.

Pecos will head out to El Paso this afternoon to compete in the Border Invitational, against that area's Class 4A and smaller 5A schools. The meet will start at 6:30 p.m. CST, and the team doesn't figure to get back into town until sometime after 3 a.m. Friday.

The Eagles have competed as a member of District 2-4A in all other sports since last year. But none of their district rivals has a swimming program, so Pecos has continued as a member of District 4-4A against other Permian Basin schools. But with the creation of a sub-Class 5A regional and state meet for the first time this season, coach Terri Morse said she wants to get a look at the District 1-4A swimmers from El Paso today.

"I believe after this meet we'll have seen everybody we're going to see at regionals," Morse said. "When we've gone to regionals before there haven't been a lot of kids from this district, and that could be for a couple of reasons.

"They've been split up between two 5A districts, so they've been getting blown away there before they even got to regionals," she said. "That's why I want to go there, those schools don't ever come to a meet in this direction until regionals. I want to see them, because that will give me the ability to make some decisions on where some people will swim and when to rest them before regionals."

The Eagle boys have won every meet they've been in so far this season, while the girls have placed fourth in their last two meets in Pecos. They have yet to swim against any of the schools they'll face today, which include El Paso High, Burges, Riverside, Ysleta, Parkland and Bowie from District 1-4A, Class 5A schools El Paso Bel Air, Del Valle, Socorro, Andress and Austin, and the Alamogordo Tigers from New Mexico.

Morse said she would only make a few changes from two weeks ago in Monahans. "Tina (Grice) is going to try the 500 (freestyle) and for the boys Grant (Holland) is going to swim the 200 and 500.

"The relays are going to be pretty much the same. On the `B' relays I may have somebody in there who wasn't here last time, but that's about it," Morse added.

Nebraska hopes not to fumble away Big 12 title

Associated Press Writer
LINCOLN, Neb., Dec. 2, 1999  - Nebraska coach Frank Solich is willing to laugh at the glue, gloves and some of the other suggestions fans have come up with for helping the Cornhuskers hang on to the football.

He won't be laughing Saturday if No. 3 Nebraska's fumble problems continue in the Big 12 championship game against No. 12 Texas, the only team to beat the Huskers this season.

"As a staff, when we go over the tape, there have not been many chuckles whenever fumbles have occurred," he said. "Our players know how serious it is. Our players know that in order to beat a great team like Texas, we can't have happen what has happened to us - certainly what happened the last time we played Texas."

The Huskers (10-1 overall, 7-1 Big 12) fumbled twice inside the Texas 20, including once at the goal line, in a 24-20 loss to the Longhorns (9-3, 6-2) in October. The rematch is Saturday in San Antonio, Texas.

Nebraska has set a team record for fumbles this season with 47, breaking the mark of 46 set in 1967. The Huskers have lost 23 fumbles, which is three shy of the team record set in 1954.

"What we need to do is just have a stretch where it doesn't happen. I guess you could certainly say we're due," Solich said.

Coughing the ball up nearly proved costly again last week at Colorado when running back Dan Alexander couldn't handle an option pitch at the Buffaloes 16. Colorado recovered and drove for what was nearly a game-winning field goal that drifted wide. Nebraska won 33-30 in overtime.

Solich said fumbles are always a risk when running the option, but a lot of the Huskers' turnovers have come from players who just aren't hanging on to the ball. He said fans have tried to help.

"We've gotten gloves. We've gotten glue," Solich said. "Somebody sent me a football with a handle on it when I was coaching running backs. Over the years, if I had kept what I'd been sent I'd have a pretty good collection of things. But that's just the way it is. If you're not doing something well, you know and everybody knows."

The Huskers say thinking too much about fumbles can lead to them. They know fumbling like they did against Texas the first time could easily lead to another loss.

"It definitely puts us in a tough position to have that many turnovers or that many balls on the ground," quarterback Eric Crouch said. "Sometimes, maybe it seems like if you're focusing on taking care of the ball and not just being a runner on the field and you're thinking about not fumbling. Maybe you're thinking about it too much and maybe that's what's happening."

Solich said looking back, he wouldn't call the option in the same situation when Alexander dropped the pitch in Colorado.

Solich, a former fullback with the Huskers in the 1960s, is confident the number of Nebraska fumbles will eventually come back to normal. He just hopes it's this season.

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