Rose Bowl Players Take Break for Fun

Dec. 27, 2001

AP Sports Writer

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch is unafraid ofhugeonrushing defensive linemen or lowering his head to bull over defensivebacks. Still, he looked a bit apprehensive as he glanced over hisshoulderThursday.

Nebraska’s quarterback said he would pass on riding CaliforniaScreamin’, atwisting, turning, G-force-inducing roller coaster at Disney’sCaliforniaAdventure theme park.

“Maybe when I was a little kid, I probably would have ridden it. Butnow Ithink it would just make me sick,” Crouch said with a smile as his No.4Cornhuskers and top-ranked Miami took a break from their rigorouspracticeschedule to have some fun.

“It’s been go, go, go as far as practicing, so it’s good to get sometime toenjoy the atmosphere, talk with some of the Miami players,” saidCrouch, whobecame friends with Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey when both were in NewYorkfor the Heisman ceremony this month.

On a sunny afternoon, Nebraska cornerback Keyuo Craver was thrilled tofinally meet his hero.

“I always wanted to see Mickey Mouse, and he shook hands with me,”Craversaid with a boyish grin. “Now my day is done, it’s all cool.”

Nebraska defensive tackle Jeremy Slechta thinks maybe Mickey Mouse isoverrated.

“Goofy’s my favorite. Everybody else seems to like Mickey, but I justlikeGoofy’s name,” said Slechta, a 6-foot-6, 285-pounder.

Cornhuskers coach Frank Solich, like his quarterback, didn’t intend toventure onto any thrill rides.

“I think I will just enjoy watching the players ride,” Solich said.

Miami defensive tackle Matt Walters said the bowl-wise Hurricanes knowhowto mix fun with the job they came to California to accomplish – winningtheBCS national title game.

“This is a business trip, but you don’t want to be too uptight,”Walterssaid. “Coach Coker has done a good job of keeping us loose. We knowwhat’sat stake, but it’s good to be able to enjoy being here, too.”

Solich obviously has been using the same approach with the Cornhuskers.

“We stepped off the plane (on Monday)and went right to practice,” hesaid.”We have a good attitude about it. It’s the 33rd straight bowl game(forNebraska) so I think these players know how to handle it.”

Solich visited Disneyland, next door to California Adventure, with hisgrandchildren two years ago.

“I didn’t know I’d be back here so soon,” he said. “You know how wecoachesare, we’re never thinking beyond the next game.”

Nebraska tight end Tracey Wistrom, unlike his teammate Crouch or hiscoach,could hardly wait to have his 6-foot-5, 240-pound frame tossed aroundonCalifornia Dreamin’ and other rides.

“I love roller coasters,” Wistrom said. “I feel like a kid in a candystore.”