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Secret starter limits K-State

By Mike Kluck / The Independent

LINCOLN - Nebraska secondary coach George Darlington wanted to make sure he kept the biggest secret of the night quiet as long as possible.

Darlington did not want Kansas State to get any advanced notice that true freshman Erwin Swiney would be making his first start at left cornerback in place of sophomore Jerome Peterson.

Swarm of red
AP Photo
Kansas State running back Brian Goolsby is snowed under by Nebraska's Eric Warfield (3), Eric Johnson (1), Jason Wiltz (99) and Grant Wistrom (98) during the first quarter.
Darlington went as far as having Peterson's name announced during the starting line-up of Memorial Stadium.

"We kept it very quiet," Darlington said. "They announced that Jerome Peterson was starting and I was talking to Jon Bostic and I told him 'Hey I better tell Erwin that he's still starting.'"

Swiney, who finished the game with four tackles including three unassisted said he didn't mind not being introduced during the pregame.

"I wanted to see my face and name up on that screen," Swiney said. "But I have to earn it. When I feel that I earn it then I will be proud."

It didn't take the Kansas State coaching staff long to find out about Darlington's secret.

On third and 15 on the Wildcats first drive, junior Michael Bishop hit junior wide receiver Everett Burnett for a 19-yard completion with Swiney defending.

The Huskers were in a blitz on that play, which is one of the reasons Darlington said he didn't blame Swiney for that catch.

"When you blitz, you are out there all by yourself in front of 76,000," Darlington said. "It's kind of tough when the first ball thrown is against a freshman, who's only played two years of high school and only one scrimmage snap against Central Florida."

Darlington said he made the decision to start Swiney solely because of the play of the freshman from Lincoln Northeast High School.

Peterson had also suffered a hamstring injury, which limited him and caused him to miss a couple of practices.

"We said we were going to evaluate the three corners and try to figure out who was playing the best in practice," Darlington said. "I've been pleased with the effort of all three kids but Erwin has made a lot more plays in practice."

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