Steroid Use at Nebraska Acknowledged : Former Cornhusker Bill Lewis Says Some Players Took Drug

Times Staff Writer

Just in case UCLA Coach Terry Donahue was talking about steroids when he termed Nebraska players “atypical,” a former Cornhusker says that their size stems more from other factors--the five-year program, the weight training, the year-round training table--but acknowledges there was some steroid use.

“Sure, I knew some guys were using steroids,” said Bill Lewis, the Raider center who played at Nebraska in 1982-86.

“It’s fairly obvious that a guy is using steroids, once you’ve been around. But I don’t think it was any different from anywhere else. Steroids are a part of the game of football, whether anyone wants to admit it or not.”


Nebraska has a tradition of making huge linemen out of tall, thin recruits with a thorough weight-training program. Questions have been raised before.

“That was because a couple of big-name guys said they used steroids,” Lewis said. “If you’re asking if Bill Lewis used steroids, I did not.

“When I went to Nebraska, I was 6-4, 225. My senior year, I was 295.

“At Nebraska, you’re on a training table the year round. I know a lot of schools don’t do that.

“You go into the training table and you have four, five entrees. You can go back and get more. They put a lot of calories out there. You got things labeled low calorie for the guys who have to lose weight, and then there’s the cheeseburgers, real high-calorie stuff.

“They never used to serve breakfast when I was there. Now they have breakfast.”

Nebraska players are routinely red-shirted, and take five years to complete their eligibility.

“Especially offensive linemen,” Lewis said. “You’re guaranteed to go five years. It’s not a four-year program.”

Why is Nebraska getting this rap?

“If you have a program that is successful consistently, it’s almost a matter of jealousy,” Lewis said. “People want to make excuses for why they don’t do as well.

“That isn’t why Nebraska is consistent, year in, year out. The reason Nebraska is consistent is the way they practice. They get so many reps (repetitions), it’s like they’ve had an extra day and a half of practice.

“The varsity practices with 150 guys. You’ve got two different scout teams on offense, and two different scouts teams on defense--one for running plays, the other for passing plays. You get 100 reps in a practice that doesn’t last longer than 1:55 and that’s with all our stretching and loosening up beforehand.”