Iowa CITY, Iowa - You've seen those shirts representing loyalty divided. They're sometimes worn by mothers of sons playing against each other in a college football game. They're hysterical.
Cathy Fisher, Omaha mother of linebackers Sean (Nebraska) and Cole Fisher (Iowa), enters Year 2 of The Heroes' Game series with sons on opposites of the field. Cole redshirted last season and will play in the rivalry for the first time this Friday (11 AM CT, ABC).
"I'm sure my mom will whip out her half-and-half (shirt)," said Cole, who enjoyed talking about his family dynamic for the Heroes' Game. "My whole family will be coming. They'll be rooting for both of us."
Sean starts at linebacker for Nebraska. Cole is a redshirt freshman who sees most of his action on special teams but has spent the season in the Hawkeyes' two-deep.
Cole said he didn't think he and his brother would see each other on special teams. Sean is a senior.
Cole grew up rooting for Nebraska and always thought that's where he'd play. The Huskers did not offer him a scholarship. The boy's father, Todd Fisher, played cornerback for Tom Osborne in the early 1980s.
Back when he committed to Iowa, Cole looked forward to Saturday's game. While it's true he didn't get a Nebraska offer, he didn't wait for one, committing during the July before his senior year.
“I sat down with my dad this week to talk about my decision,” Cole said when he committed to Iowa. “He got one point through. He asked that if anybody else from around the country offer me, would I pick them over Iowa. I told him that I wouldn’t.
“We looked at each other and the decision was made. He told me to go ahead so it’s out of the way before the season.”
The Fishers hail from Omaha Millard North High as do former Ferentz-Era Hawkeyes Seth Olson, Adam Shada and Jeff Tarpinian. Coach Fred Petito has churned out Division I talent in the Heartland.
Sean played linebacker for Petito while Cole lurked at safety. Cole said his brother has helped him with his transition in college football. He said he began playing on the second level about a year ago.
"It's a rough transition," Cole said. "When you go from safety to dropping down in the box with 300-pound offensive linemen, it's a big change.
"I've talked to him a few times this season because I was still getting used to the position. I ask him in certain situations what he did that seemed to work out."