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October 5, 2009

Compton has no hard feelings towards Gabbert

Linebacker Will Compton and quarterback Blaine Gabbert always knew they'd be playing in a Nebraska vs. Missouri game in Columbia, but there was a time when the two thought it would be from the same sideline.

From May 15 to October 27 of 2007, Gabbert was committed to Nebraska and talked to Compton on a near daily basis throughout that summer and fall.

Gabbert and Compton were the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked players in the state of Missouri for the class of 2008, and they spent several weekend's with one another during time that time.

"We became pretty good friends," Compton said. "I'd go to his place for a weekend and he'd come to mine. We'd hang out and spend time with each other's families and at the time talk about Husker football."

However, everything would drastically change in their relationship when Gabbert decommitted from the Big Red and switched to Missouri after uncertainty in the Husker program.

The Tigers were in the middle of their best season in school history finishing 12-2, while Nebraska was having their worst season in modern day history finishing a disappointing 5-7.

Compton said Gabbert had to do what was best for him, and he has no hard feeling towards him for the decision he made. There was a time where Compton even considered following Gabbert to Mizzou, but at the end of the day he followed his heart to Nebraska.

"He didn't try to pull me in, because he knew the situation," Compton said of Gabbert. "I knew the night when he was going to decommit and do different things. He didn't try to pull me in a certain direction because what was going on with both situations. We both did our own thing and we decided to go elsewhere."

Tuesday press conference takes
Harsh crowd: During Nebraska's 41-6 loss to Missouri in 2007, senior offensive lineman Jacob Hickman told an interesting story of how harsh the Tiger fans were towards the Huskers. Hickman said during pregame warm-ups, a Mizzou fan dumped a full beer on him as he was walking back into the locker room. Hickman joked that he smelled like beer for the entire game.
National stage: Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said it was a no brainer for several different reasons to move this year's Missouri game to a Thursday night. Pelini said he likes the idea that the game was sandwiched between an off week, which means NU essentially gets extra prep time for each of the next two games. Playing on national TV is also a huge benefit for the program.
A dime base: Redshirt freshman linebacker Will Compton said that NU will attack the Tigers with a dime base defense in Thursday night's game. Compton said he will serve as the dime linebacker, while both redshirt freshman Sean Fisher and senior Phillip Dillard will rotate in as the other linebacker with him when the Huskers are in the nickel package.
Safety talk: With senior safety Rickey Thenarse out for the entire 2009 season, Pelini said the Huskers will look towards either redshirt freshman P.J. Smith, sophomore Austin Cassidy or redshirt freshman Courtney Osborne to play more as the season moves along. Junior Eric Hagg can also move over from the nickel corner spot to play safety as well.
Compton said it was an in-home visit made by NU Athletic Director Tom Osborne that helped him stick with the Huskers and give their new coaching staff a chance to make their pitch before announcing his final decision.

"When I was recruited by Nebraska still during the time of the coaching change, Coach Osborne assured me that they were going to get somebody in here that I would like," Compton said. "I needed to have that patience. I committed here, so Nebraska deserved patience like that. I just had to wait and give Nebraska a chance. I didn't have to commit until February, so I wasn't going rush anything."

The interesting twist to the Gabbert story now is his younger brother Tyler Gabbert is currently a Husker commit, but there's been recent speculation that he could also switch to Mizzou just like his older brother did two years ago.

In an interview with HuskersIllustrated.com on Sunday night, Tyler Gabbert said he's still committed to NU, but he didn't completely close the door that he was considering other options.

"I'm still committed," Gabbert said. "Considering options… I don't know how to answer that. I mean, yeah in terms of Missouri, it is in the in-state school, so I see the coaches when I go down there to watch my brother play sometimes.

"With Missouri, I have family connections, you're always hearing about [the team] and the stuff around here, with my brother."

It will be interesting to see how the latest chapter with Nebraska and the Gabbert family will play out.

One thing is certain about Blaine Gabbert though when you look at his play on film-he's backed up his five-star rating by throwing for 1,161 yards and 11 touchdowns over Mizzou's first four games. Maybe the most impressive stat is he hasn't thrown a single interception in 131 passing attempts.

"He was recruited highly because he's a good player," NU head coach Bo Pelini said. "We have a lot of respect for him and the offense. He's the next guy that we have to play against. He's a good player. It's like anything else. If he plays good or doesn't play good it doesn't change anything.

"If he has a good game or he's mediocre or however people perceive him to be, this is only his fifth start too. It's not going to change it. Regardless of what happens, he's still a good player. He's just going to keep getting better with the more experience he gets."

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