Tony Davis 1973 (copy)

During Tom Osborne's first spring as Nebraska's head coach in 1973, a sophomore from Tecumseh, Tony Davis, was soaring up the depth chart at running back.

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How many are going to show?

As of late Thursday night, more than 68,000 tickets had been sold for Saturday's Spring Game. What's amazing about that number besides the simple fact that it's 65,000 people showing up for a practice is that the scrimmage is also being shown on BTN.

A live TV broadcast wasn't part of the equation when a school record 80,149 showed up for the Spring Game in 2008 during Bo Pelini's first year. That's a tall order to top that number, but given a good-weather Saturday seems on the horizon, I wouldn't discount any possibility.

For Saturday's newspaper, I'll have a story recounting the fanfare that has accompanied the first Spring Games of Husker head coaches from Devaney to Osborne to Solich to Callahan to Pelini to Riley.

Granted, spring games around here didn't have near the attendance numbers during Tom Osborne's first year as head coach in 1973 that they have now, though even then 18,803 people showed up to watch a practice.

I was just looking at that Sunday Journal and Star sports page from the day after that Red-White game in 1973. It's quite a page.

The top headline reads, "Devaney: Husker Gridders Look Good." In the story, Bob Devaney says Tom Osborne's first team produced "the most interesting Spring Game I have seen."

Below the scrimmage recap is a story just as fascinating. See, Osborne's first Spring Game as head coach occurred on May 5, 1973. Same day as the Kentucky Derby. An amazing derby. Won by 2 1/2 lengths by a horse named Secretariat.

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Reach the writer at bchristopherson@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.

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