Osborne switches to Plan B; hands Berringer starting QB job

(c) Copyright the News & Observer Publishing Co. and The Associated Press, 1994

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Now that star quarterback Tommie Frazier is out indefinitely with a blood clot in his leg, Nebraska coach Tom Osborne is forced to go to Plan B. As in Berringer, Brook Berringer.

The second-ranked Cornhuskers learned that Frazier would be out for an undetermined time after a clot was found in tests of his sore calf muscle.

Osborne said Tuesday that the junior from Bradenton, Fla., would likely be hospitalized at least a few more days to continue treatment with blood-thinners and enzymes to dissolve the clot.

That would mean Berringer, a junior, will be called to start Saturday when Wyoming comes to Lincoln. Osborne and Berringer's teammates said they had full confidence in the Goodland, Kan., native.

"I've really felt everybody was behind me yesterday at practice when we found out," Berringer said. "But I hate to have taken the job this way. I feel sorry for Tommie and hope he gets back soon."

Doctors told Osborne on Tuesday morning that the treatment had dissolved 40 to 50 percent of the clot.

"I don't think it's a done deal that he'll miss the rest of the season necessarily," Osborne said.

Neither Frazier nor Osborne could recall when the young quarterback might have taken a hit that could have caused the clot.

Frazier complained of some soreness in the calf the morning of the UCLA game, Sept. 17. He played most of that 49-21 victory, but was on the field for just nine plays in Saturday's 70-21 blowout of Pacific.

"I don't think it was something that occurred in the UCLA game," Osborne said. "We nursed it along last week in practice."

Frazier missed practice last Monday, ran full speed on Wednesday, then had soreness return the next day. Osborne, thinking the injury may have been a pulled or strained muscle, gave Frazier the option of playing against Pacific, and the junior wanted to go in for at least the early series.

"He did not get hit on the leg," Osborne said. "As far as I can tell, he never was hit anywhere hard on Saturday."

But a trip to the hospital for tests on Sunday resulted in discovery of the clot.

Osborne refused to speculate how soon Frazier would be ready to play once the clot is dissolved. He said that would be up to the doctors. Getting Frazier healthy was the key, the coach said.

He also was concerned whether Frazier would have to remain on blood-thinners, which could prevent him from playing due to the risk of internal injury and bleeding.

Nebraska's medical staff has been in contact with several NFL teams to discuss treatment and the length of recovery for such injuries. Osborne said there have been several situations, ranging from one Green Bay player being forced out for six weeks, to other players on blood-thinners early in the week, then be taken off late in the week and allowed to play.

"We're not going to do anything that's not recommended medically," Osborne said.

In the meantime, Osborne is trying to juggle his team to ensure it has enough quarterbacks. Berringer and Frazier are the only scholarship athletes at the position.

Listed third on the depth chart is sophomore walk-on Matt Turman. Safety Tony Veland, who converted from quarterback after a series of injuries, is taking some snaps this week.

Also available are freshmen Adam Kucera and Ryan Held. Kucera, who played quarterback in high school at Lake Havasu City, Ariz., started fall camp as a student manager. Held was a wide receiver until two weeks ago.