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Frazier 35 yard touchdown.jpg

Quarterback Tommie Frazier blasts through a huge hole on a 35-yard touchdown run in the Huskers' 62-34 thrashing of Florida in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl, as Steve Ott (69) helps block. 

Friends of Gunner and Megan Ott show the videos from the 1995 Nebraska football team. Friends of Bo and Nikki Ott keep tapes of NU's national championship team.

“Honestly, I don’t watch those games anymore,” said Steve Ott, the starting right guard for the Huskers in 1995. “We don’t watch them in our house, but it seems likes friends of my kids have them and I still get asked about playing on those Nebraska teams back then.”

Ott played considerably in 1994 but his season ended prematurely when he suffered a broken ankle late in the year. He came back with a vengeance in 1995 to start alongside center Aaron Graham and right tackle Eric Anderson, and opposite left guard Aaron Taylor and left tackle Chris Dishman.

The “pipeline” was full and running.

Nebraska replaced some starters from the 1994 national champion offensive line in 1995. But Ott, from Henderson, Dishman (Cozad), Anderson (Lincoln Southeast), along with Graham and Taylor, proved to be even better than the offensive line that gave Tom Osborne his first national title.

“Yep, it’s true, we never allowed a sack, never had a procedure penalty and we rolled up a lot of yards and scored a lot of points,” said Ott, now living in Ashland. “The sacks, well, Tommie Frazier had a major part in that. You had to catch him to sack him. The procedure penalties and the holding penalties were minimal, because we all knew you ran stadium steps if you messed up in practice, much less in a game.”

As stated before by many teammates, the Husker offensive line was good because it had to be in order to survive practices against the defense.

“We had four crazies in front of us — Christian and Jason Peter, Grant Wistrom and Jared Tomich, and those linebackers and the corners blitzing, all coming at us all the time, we saw gameday as a break from the day-to-day grind in practice,” Ott said.

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Recruited by NU offensive line coaches Milt Tenopir and Dan Young, Ott wasn’t sure whether he could make the team. Husker coaches saw Ott at a football camp and by October of his senior year in high school, he was offered a scholarship.

“Every Nebraska kid’s dream was to play at Nebraska and I was going to try,” Ott said. (Ott noted that Drew Ott of Giltner, who plays at Iowa, is a second cousin).

“I’m a Class C guy, weighing about 230 (pounds) dripping wet in high school and I’m supposed to be able to run scout team against John Parrella, David Noonan and Kevin Ramaekers, and all those Class A all-stars on the defense,” Ott said. “After about 10 days, I was ready to give it up. My folks said I should stick with it for some time.”

Ott worked his way into playing at 290 pounds of muscle.

“Two steaks for lunch and two for dinner and maybe Domino’s before going to bed, and all that lifting gets your weight up there,” he said.

After college and football were over, a doctor told Ott it was time to track triglycerides and such. It didn’t take too long before he was back to 230.

“It’s still kind of fun to hear people talk about that team as one of the best in college football ever,” Ott said. “We weren’t as big and powerful as the 1994 line, but we sure could get outside and get those downfield blocks. That was Coach Osborne coaching to his strengths. We had some success the first game and our confidence kept building. I don’t think anybody on the team thought we wouldn’t beat Florida by four touchdowns in the Fiesta Bowl.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7313 or khambleton@journalstar.com.

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Ken grew up in Chicago and is a Doane College grad. His Mr. Sportsknowitall column appears Sundays, and he covers a variety of beats.

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