Former All-American Tomich back to teach the Blackshirts

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Back in the day, I used to really enjoy watching Nebraska defensive end Jared Tomich play.

Tomich was the pre-eminent bull-rush pass-rusher in his day. The two-time All-American was about as subtle as a sledge hammer, charging into opposing backfields with unbridled determination. You might remember he did it with flair, wearing a half-shirt jersey that was unusual for his position.

While combining with Grant Wistrom, the duo provided the Cornhuskers with the best pair of defensive ends that I can remember playing college football in a long time.

Tomich played in the NFL for six years, where he transformed himself and his career with an interest in martial arts. Instead of relying on brute strength, his new training enabled him to beat pass-blockers with guile and leverage.

Lincoln Journal Star columnist Steve Sipple has the story about how Tomich now is using that martial arts experience -- Tomich has a second-degree black belt in karate -- to help football players.

And he's going to appear at his alma mater later this week to instruct a new generation of Blackshirts on the benefits of what he likes to call "combat football."

Nebraska strength coach James Dobson told the Journal-Star he's interested in learning about Tomich's philosophy.

"Football's a game of hands," Dobson told the Journal Star. "Especially when you're talking about linemen and linebackers and even DBs and receivers. You're always trying to get people off of you. In martial arts, that's what the experts are great at doing. That's what really sparked my interest."

It's interesting to remember Tomich and wonder how great he would have been if he had incorporated his new football strategy when he had been playing.

He was a great player in college. But the extra benefit might have made him an off-the-charts college defensive lineman if he had known about martial arts a little bit sooner in his career.