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Saturday, April 17, 2004
Husker QB throws scrimmage-record four TDs

Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Bill Callahan showed he's serious about overhauling Nebraska's offense.

Joe Dailey had 16 passing attempts in the first quarter of the Cornhuskers' Red-White intrasquad game Saturday in front of a spring game record crowd of 61,417.

Callahan's West Coast offense is quite a change for a team that averaged 15 attempts per game last season.

Dailey finished 29-of-49 for 241 yards and a spring game-record four touchdowns in the Red squad's 35-6 victory.

Asked if he had a sore arm from all the throwing, Dailey smiled and said, "No, no, not at all. I've been doing this four weeks now. It's a habit now."

Callahan said Dailey made major strides in learning the offense during the 15 spring practices.

"He's starting to get into a rhythm," Callahan said. "He's understanding progression reads, he's getting the ball off and getting confidence in the pocket with his protection."

Dailey hopes his spring performance carries over to camp, when junior-college transfer Jordan Adams is expected to challenge for the starter's job.

"This doesn't mean anything _ I have to earn my spot back come fall like everybody else," Dailey said.

Dailey and the first-string players on the Red offense piled up 354 yards against a White defense that had only six scholarship players. The Red defense was made up of first-unit players going against a squad of offensive reserves.

"In all fairness to the White team, those guys competed hard," Callahan said. "They were up against the 'ones,' and that is the ultimate challenge for a lot of those players."

The Reds went three plays and out on the opening series, with Dailey throwing three incomplete passes.

Fans used to seeing the I-back run between tackles on first down cheered when Dailey missed tight end Matt Herian on a deep pass on the first play.

Dailey threw scoring passes of 19 yards to Mark LeFlore and 18 yards to Ross Pilkington. He later connected with Herian and Cory Ross for 10-yard touchdown passes.

Dailey was intercepted once, when Donald DeFrand picked off an ill-advised attempt into the end zone.

"I'm sure Joe would like to have that one back," Callahan said.

Dailey said he was pleased with his overall performance.

"It was a great day rhythm-wise," Dailey said, "but there's more to come. This is the very tip of the iceberg."

Eleven Red receivers caught passes, led by Pilkington's six receptions for 61 yards.

The Red squad passed on 49 of its 73 plays (67.1 percent).

"We wanted to work the passing game and put our kids on display and watch our kids execute and perform," Callahan said. "There is a lot more work to do yet, but I was pleased with the way they performed."