Archive for October, 2007

Tuesday’s Talk
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

For the first time since August, Joe Ganz took to the podium at a Tuesday Husker news conference. He’s waited a long time for this.

Keller’s Pain is Ganz’ Gain

He didn’t want to win the job by default, but Joe Ganz will take it any way he can get it. He’s been waiting patiently for the past three years for a chance. He watched as Zac Taylor won the hearts of Husker fans and led the team to a North division title. He looked on as Harrison Beck (supposedly the backup to Ganz at the time) stepped in for a concussed Taylor against Kansas State back in 2005, throwing a pick before leading the Huskers down the field for the game-winning bowl-clinching field goal. He stood by as a fifth-year transfer came on board and took the job in a heated quarterback race. He looked on from the sidelines as Keller struggled with an offense that Joe knew like the back of his hand.

Now, in his fourth year as a Husker, Joe Ganz has a moment to shine.

“I am excited. I am really excited. I have been waiting so long for this opportunity,” said Ganz.

Too Bad it Took This For Ganz to Get in

Two weeks ago, my Big Red Zone extra point commentary centered on Joe Ganz. My thought was, How can a guy not get at least one series in a game that is out of reach? I understand that the coaches wanted to get Sam Keller into a rhythm, but you have to keep your backups sharp, whether you’re talking about a second-string linebacker or a backup quarterback.

Bill Callahan was asked on Tuesday if he wished he had given Ganz more of an opportunity earlier in the season. “The big thing is that I can’t do anything about the past.”

As I’ve always said, I am a Callahan apologist. One major critique I’ve had, however, is his lack of getting backups and younger players experience in games, no matter the position. If you don’t get them into games, added walk-ons at least give you the ability to bang guys in practice with perhaps two offensive and defensive stations going on simultaneously. I know the numbers game is a little more tricky in this day and age of football, but you’ve got to do something to get these guys ready when called upon. Depth is one thing, but experienced depth is something completely different.

I’m not too concerned about Ganz being ready, though. Even Zac Taylor said this week that Ganz knows the offense better than he ever did.

A No Lose Situation

Ganz is stepping into the perfect opportunity. With the Huskers riding a four-game losing streak, Ganz has a chance to pull the team out of a slump and possibly lead them to a bowl game. If Nebraska struggles and continues to lose, nothing will change and no one will blame Ganz.

He has a chance to be a hero.

Sign of the Times

Kansas is 8-0 and ranked #8 in the country.

Nebraska is 4-5 and ranked #119 in the country in rush defense.

Just keep your eyes on the clouds, folks.

Keller Out, Ganz In
Monday, October 29, 2007

Bill Callahan announced Monday morning on the coaches teleconference that quarterback Sam Keller will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Junior Joe Ganz will start Saturday against Kansas.

Mike Keller (Sam’s father) told me it’s a broken collarbone. He said Sam worked hard and “sacrificed a lot for Nebraska and it’s passionate fans.” Mike also said Sam is looking forward to playing in all-star games following January 1st.

After transferring from Arizona State, Keller sat out a full season in order to have one last shot at college football in his senior year. This season couldn’t’ve gone much worse for Keller… it’s an unfortunate end to his collegiate career.

Now with Ganz at the helm, what are your thoughts on the rest of the season?

We saw Ganz lead the offense on Saturday, converting on a 4th-and-10 en route to the team’s final touchdown and 2-point conversion. He said he’d be ready for Kansas if needed. He’d better be.

It’ll be very interested to see how he does. No doubt he’s been waiting for this moment.

Osborne Speaks
Monday, October 29, 2007

Last week, Jon Schuetz had a one-on-one interview with Tom Osborne. The UNL athletic director had been on the job for a week when he sat down with us to talk about a number of things. The main focus of the interview was Husker football.

We had planned on airing a chunk of it during our “Big Red Zone Gameday” Texas postgame coverage, but our show was cut in half by virtue of the game ending late.

There are some interesting comments from Osborne. You need to watch the interview in its entirety.

You can watch the entire interview on our website.

You can react to it here.

Nebraska-Texas Soundoff
Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nebraska played well, but ran out of big plays, as Texas beat the Huskers 28-to-25 in Austin.

It was the best we’ve seen the Huskers look all year. Will it carry over to the rest of the season?

We hope you enjoyed Husker All-American Jason Peter on our Big Red Zone postgame show. He had a lot of great insights in his debut as an analyst. Don’t be surprised if you see him on our coverage again.

Feel free to post your comments on the game right here.

We may use them in a KETV sportscast.

Huskers Clicking, Then Fading

Nebraska looked like a completely different team. Like I asked Jason Peter during our postgame coverage: ” Where has this team been all season?”

The defensive scheme was fairly sound, while the offense seemed resolved to pound the rock and throw off the run game. That’s the west coast offense. Unfortunately, when the Huskers needed to sustain a drive and get points in the 4th quarter, the NU “O” came up empty.

Some Kudos for Coz

For a defensive coordinator that’s taken a lot of heat, Kevin Cosgrove came up with a sound game plan for defending Colt McCoy. We hadn’t seen this kind of blitz attack since WWII. From the corner, from the backers up the middle… McCoy was surrounded and hounded. But, as Jason Peter said, “You live by the blitz, you die by the blitz.” Jamal Charles made Nebraska pay for its aggressiveness, churning up 216 yards on the ground and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Just when you thought the blackshirts would avoid any negative superlatives, Charles runs for the most yards ever against Nebraska: 290.

A Lost Season

What was unthinkable before the year began is now a painful reality: Nebraska is 4-5 and staring at a losing season. Unless the Huskers take two of their final three games, it’ll be the first losing season since… well… 2004. And they may have to do it without quarterback Sam Keller. The senior signal-caller left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury to what appeared to be his shoulder or collarbone.

Joe Ganz to the rescue?

Responding to Criticism

On my blog, Jonas wrote:

“Yeah. Nebraska lost to Texas!! So lets find out a new way to trash Callahan! You hacks can’t hold a candle to his coaching experience.That’s why you can destroy a man’s career, his family and children in the name of journalism. You and your ilk should be ashamed!! Get a real job!!!”

Someone who goes by the name “anonymous” wrote:

“The Huskers made a great effort today and I think they should be praised, not criticized. The biggest disappointment today wasn’t the Huskers loss to Texas but the bad negative coverage by Matt and Jon. I think they both need a new job.”

First off, if you’re offering me a new job, I’m listening.

I’m not sure where you perceived the negativity. I lauded Coz for his scheme and talked about how well the team played, save for the defensive meltdown in the fourth. Maybe you’re sitting too close to the television? Mamma said it’d make you go blind.

The point being: when did Nebraska fans become content with a loss? Try as we might, it’s very difficult to sugarcoat a four game losing streak.

Tuesday’s Talk
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It was an interesting Husker news conference on Tuesday. Bill Callahan defended his program, while Maurice Purify piled on the fans.

Callahan: “I’ve Done an Excellent Job in Every Area.”
Bill Callahan was asked (as usual) if he is in fact the right person for the job, considering the blowout losses, the firing of his athletic director and his alleged negative comments towards Tom Osborne in a soon-to-be-released book.

“I don’t acknowledge that book. I have been (the man for this job). I’ve done an excellent job in every area. It’s hard for the media to know, but what we’ve done off the field and on the field, I think is well-documented. We’ve done some positive things. We haven’t sustained it this year. We were in a (Big 12) Championship Game, and in a three-year period of time, you come in and implement a whole new offensive system. There’s a lot of work being done. To put together these recruiting classes, I think it bodes well for what we represent and for how hard our staff has worked. There’s no question, I have enough confidence in myself, my staff and my players to know that we can win. We’re going to win. We’re just going through a tough stretch. We’re going through a tough struggle right now, and we’re trying to work our way out of it.”

Behind the scenes, I have no doubt that Callahan and his coaches are working extremely hard in building this program. From recruiting to game-planning to organization as a whole, I believe he cares about this program and the product on the field. But in the words of Steve Pederson, “The end result is what’s important.” And right now, the Huskers are taking a beating on the field. They’ve been outscored 122-34 in the last three games, with two blowout losses coming in front of the home crowd.

Some call me a Callahan apologist. I rarely second-guess his intentions (although I will second-guess his game management). But his statements about doing an “excellent job” are difficult to defend. It’s such a weird statement to make, because people have accused him of running an NFL organization in Lincoln… but if he ever made a statement about doing an “excellent job” while in the midst of a three-game losing streak as an NFL coach, the fans and media would pound him.
While he may be bringing in the recruits, he’s not bringing home the wins. While he did win a north division title last year, the followup has been dreadful. It’s like going out and shooting a 79 on the golf course, and then following it up with a 93. Consistency shows that your success wasn’t a fluke. In this case, the encore has only raised more questions.
Feel free to vote in our Big Red Zone online poll.
Recruiting Taking a Hit
Following the tumultuous couple of weeks in Lincoln, a few Husker prospects have become de-commitments. Running back Jonas Gray, quarterback Blaine Gabbert and linebacker Shaun Mohler have wavered in their once-firm verbal pledges.

This is not a function of the on-field failures, but of the off-field uncertainty. It’s unfortunate considering how much time and effort the coaches put into recruiting these athletes and building the class. Listening to Callahan on Tuesday, he sounds like a guy who’s watching his work unravel before his eyes.

Note: It was a four-minute response to a question about losing recruits.
“Unfortunately, we have (started to lose kids). It’s disappointing because our staff has put in an incredible amount of work into recruiting. I go back to last spring. That whole process starts during last year’s recruiting, when you’re getting names of kids and you’re watching film. You come off the road after signing day and you spend your entire offseason, three days a week, watching film, evaluating prospects, getting prospects to camps, getting prospects to campus, getting families here for unofficial visits. It’s a lot of work to climb into the No. 7 national ranking in terms of recruiting. That’s the disappointment when you don’t have success, you see some of that slip. There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the program. Parents want stability and continuity. That’s why, with the contract extension in September, I think that made everybody feel assured that there was going to be those traits for their sons. (Callahan might have taken a breath right here) With everything up in the air, I think that parents are concerned and looking for other options for their sons. That’s the tough part, because our coaches have worked exceedingly hard in trying to build that. Let’s be honest, it takes time to build that. It takes years to get in a position where you can have a great class. As you look at the landscape of college football, they’re all going to go through a little bit of this and that. Philosophically speaking though, from a recruiting aspect because of the importance of it, it takes time to build. Since we’ve been here, I know where I’ve been in terms of trying to plug gaps and plug holes and having to go to junior college to get players. I understand that, because the expectation is so high, you have to get somebody who can step and play at a very high level. When that doesn’t happen, you see the result. It would be great to come in and say, ‘Let’s build a program from all high school kids’. But that’s not the reality of where we’re at. When I came in, we had to build a program and we had to get stop-gap guys because of certain positions of trying to plug the dyke. We had go out and get players not only for depth purposes, but also for starting purposes, guys who could come in immediately and impact a situation because of the balance of the roster. That’s what you live with. That’s life in college football. There are other programs across that are going through it. I think you see it. I think everybody sees it. It’s not an excuse for lack of performance on the field. I’m just telling you where it’s at. When you don’t have that increased development happen sooner than later, you get stung and it hurts. It really hurts. By and large, the coaches, the job they did, this is the hardest recruiting staff you have ever seen getting kids to camps, getting kids on campus and locking up a class the way they did. That’s what hurts. That’s what’s disappointing. You’re just building your program and you’re at the position where you can get a top class of talent like that and let it slip away, that’s tough. That’s really tough.”
It’s interesting to hear Callahan talk about his 7th-ranked recruiting class. Does he go onto the rivals website and check out the star ratings? He said it takes a program a while to garner a top-7 class. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Nebraska get the consensus #1-rated (or top-5) class back in 2005? A bunch of those players either left the program or didn’t pan out, which dulls fans’ enthusiasm over recruiting rankings. What do the rankings matter if these guys aren’t being developed or aren’t performing?
I’d rather talk about the number “105”… as in, Nebraska’s 105th-ranked defense.
Purify Ticked at the Fans

Tuesday was not without some controversial remarks from the players. Receiver Maurice Purify said he’s angry at some Husker fans for making disparaging remarks about the team during the game.
“I’m upset at the fans… when we’re down by seven or fourteen they come down to the railing and say ‘you suck’… if they support us when we’re winning why can’t they support us when we’re losing?”

Purify was specifically talking about a few fans who came down from the stands on Saturday to berate their football team. I guess some numbnuts felt compelled to vent their frustrations on an up-close-and-personal level.
Freshman safety Anthony West had a similar experience. ” I don’t know what he (a specific fan behind the bench) was saying. I could tell it was bad…. I try not to pay attention to it… it can bring us down if it’s negative.”

Nebraska fans are considered the greatest fans in college football. But ya’ know, it’s easy to root for your team when you’re winning. Through the 90’s this team didn’t lose many games. Husker fans had nothing to boo about, and cheering the opposing teams was/is a nice way of saying, “We appreciate your effort… thanks for coming.” But when things turn sour, all fans are pretty much the same no matter what campus you’re on.
Fans, just like the players, want to win. Especially when they’re so accustomed to it.
At the same time, sometimes the players just have to take it. No one should be subjected to such comments, but fans will be fans, and they can’t all be chastised for the actions of a few.
Onto Texas
Nothing in the past few weeks has indicated that the Husker have any chance in this game. As a 21.5 point underdog, Nebraska will need to do something we haven’t seen them do for a full game in the past month: play well.
Can they do it?

The Greatest Team in Husker Sports History?
Monday, October 22, 2007

They sell-out every home game, their fans stick around until the very end, they’re never on the receiving end of blowout losses, and they’ve got a great shot at running the table.

It’s not that long ago that we would’ve used those descriptions in talking about the Nebraska football team.

Not anymore.

The best team on the UN-L campus is the volleyball squad (and has been for some time now). The run they are on right now is incredible. They’ve swept 17 consecutive matches, with their only dropped game coming back in their second match of the year on August 25th.

They’ve defeated eight ranked teams en route to a perfect 19-0 record, the only remaining unbeaten team in the country.

With apologies to everyone, you could argue that Nebraska is now officially a volleyball school. Who would’ve thunk it that the question would be, “Why can’t we be good at volleyball and football?”

It is time to start thinking about this team’s place in UNL sports history.

The 1995 Nebraska football team is widely considered the greatest college football team of all time. The Big Red never scored fewer than 35 points, and never won by fewer than 14 points. They played four ranked teams and beat them by an average of 31 points. The Husker volleyball team has played eight ranked teams and has dropped only one game.

Assuming the 2007 Nebraska volleyball team goes on to win the national championship, you have to put it in the conversation of the best team in UNL sports history. What they’re doing to opponents is exactly what the 1995 team did on the gridiron: absolutely dominate them.

We always entertain conversations of the greatest athletes of all time regardless of sport.

I think this conversation is not only valid, but quite intriguing.

Your thoughts?

Should Nebraska Pull the Plug Now?
Monday, October 22, 2007

The Huskers are a collective mess in Lincoln. Nebraska has lost three in a row for the second time under head coach Bill Callahan. Aside from the on-the-field struggles, the Huskers must deal with the constant distractions associated with an impending coaching change. Rumors are swirling every day about more changes possibly taking place before season’s end.

The only damage control that this current staff can do is win football games. That hasn’t happened, and it doesn’t look like it will. One more loss will mark the fourth straight; that hasn’t happened since 1961.

Not only do you have current players wondering what will happen to their head coach, but you’ve got members of a top-10 recruiting class re-evaluating their oral commitments to Nebraska.

Interim athletic director Tom Osborne has reiterated there will be no staff changes until the end of the season. My question is this: how long can this go on? How long should it go on? What good does it do a program to lose seven consecutive games to close out the season?

I do not think any major changes will be made before the end of the season. Tom Osborne is a man of his word.

I admire Bill Callahan for hanging in there and sticking by his guys. Leaving now might show that he’s giving up on his players and walking out on them. I don’t see it happening.

But I wonder at this point if it might be best for everyone.

What do you think?

Meanwhile, check out this article written by Jerry Magee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The title: Callahan has a great haircut, terrible team.

Nebraska-A&M Blog
Saturday, October 20, 2007

Call it the “Buyout Bowl”, call it a “You’d Better Win or You Might Not Go to a Bowl.”

Whatever the moniker, feel free to share your comments on the game right here.

This is becoming one of the more frequented blogs for Husker reaction. We had 15,000 views this week, making “Schick’s Shtick” the 9th-most visited page on ketv.com.

Let’s keep it going.

Another Letdown

There was a different energy at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Having Tom Osborne in the building as the new AD seemed to energize the crowd, which in turn fed the players some enthusiasm for the game.

Unfortunately, the Husker offense could only muster 14 points, as Nebraska falls 36-to-14 to Texas A&M.

The Huskers are now 4-4 overall (1-3 in conference). More alarming, the Huskers are 3-3 at home in 2007. Who wouldathunkit.

Similar to Last Week, With Better Weather

This loss falls on the shoulders of Bill Callahan and the Husker offense. Nebraska had it clicking at times, but could not maintain a consistent attack. The defense, in my opinion, played well enough for Nebraska to stay in the game, if not win it.

How does this offense only muster 14 points against the Aggies? In the past three games, the Nebraska offense has 34 points, and only two meaningful touchdowns.

Nebraska had a couple of critical 3rd-and-short and 4th-and-short attempts that they failed to convert on, the most troubling coming in the 4th quarter with a 3rd-and-two and Sam Keller rolling out on a pass play. Why not pound it with Castille? Keller lost a yard, getting tackled near the boundary, and the ensuing 4th down play fell incomplete in the endzone.

Defense Played Better, Despite the Scoreboard

In the first half, Kevin Cosgrove’s guys were flying around. Guys finishing tackles? A defense playing with enthusiasm? Blackshirts showing emotion? Who was this team? Unfortunately, the offense could not support the blackshirts, and the defense was unable to sustain in the second half.

We hadn’t seen this defense play as passionately and as consistently all season long as we did in the first half. It looked like something had finally clicked, and that these guys actually take pride in wearing those blackshirt jerseys in practice afterall.

Sidenote: The old Corey McKeon showed up on Saturday. I remember him from 2005. Long time no see. But a 15-yard late hit personal foul (a harmless shove at that) on Stephen McGee in the third quarter was uncharacteristic of a three-year starter. Baffling.

It wasn’t just the offense letting the defense down. Following a nice blackshirt stand, Nate Swift muffed a 2nd quarter punt at the Husker 28-yard-line. A&M scored two plays later to give take a 16-to-7 lead. It was all uphill after that for Nebraska.

A positive: Anthony West showed a lot of ability on the field, creating havoc in the backfield on blitzes and showing some sure-tackling. I was impressed.

Back to that Offense

I didn’t think I would say this at any point this season, but the offense could’ve used some of the defense’s emotion.

Offensively, the biggest disappointment was Sam Keller. You may want to see Happy Feet in the movie theater, but not in your quarterback. The signal-caller looked uncomfortable under center; the normally-accurate passer was erratic at times, skipping passes to open receivers. His decision making was poor. I was shocked he wasn’t benched late in the 4th quarter. Throw Joe Ganz in there and give him some snaps; he’s returning to the program next year. If the preseason competition for the starting job was as close as Bill Callahan said it was, how can you not give Ganz some live action?

Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson was on the sidelines for this game, taking on more of the play-calling responsibilities. While he and Callahan usually share those duties, Callahan was more free to be in-tune with the defense. Whatever the purpose, it seemed to work early on. But in the end, same old same old.

Nebraska had 405 yards of offense, but only 14 points to show for it.

Other offensive notes

Roy Helu showed why he should be on the field more often. The freshman from Danville, California was a blur in the backfield, and undoubtedly earned more playing time.

The first quarter double reverse to Frantz Hardy was the kind of play husker fans have been waiting for all season. Can you remember another gadget play Nebraska has run this year? It’s about time.

Distraction?

It was a crazy week at the University of Nebraska. Might it have been a distraction for this football team? Possibly. Then again, it was hard to tell. We’ve grown accustomed to this type of performance.

Bowl-less in Lincoln?

This may have been Nebraska’s last best chance to get a win this season. At 4-4 overall, the Huskers now must win two of their final four games to qualify for a bowl. It seems impossible. Do you see it?

Bill Callahan may have sealed his fate on Saturday. Getting blown out at home with fans flooding the exits before the final whistle for the second consecutive week? That’s not good for job security.

Nebraska Needs a TO
Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It has been one of the most hectic weeks I’ve ever been a part of. This week ranked up there with the Dana Altman fiasco. But in that case, it was over in three days.

This saga, it appears, will go on for months… and months.

That being said, forgive me for not posting on here for the past few days. To say I’ve been burned out would be like saying the sun is fairly warm.

I’ve been recuperating… and now it’s time to roll out of the rack again and get back to work.

The Doctor is In

With all of the honoring, praising and worshiping of Tom Osborne, I am left with this prevailing thought: How in the heck did this guy not win the primary? Seriously, folks. This guy gets a standing ovation for just waking out of bed, and yet he couldn’t get 51% of the vote? I’m more stunned than ever.

Okay, getting back to the week that was.

First: Pederson’s Firing

I understand it. I get it. It’s not a surprise. It had to happen sooner or later. That being said, the timing couldn’t be much worse. I can’t imagine what the Husker coaching staff and players must be thinking. The coach’s boss is ousted mid-season. Sure, it wasn’t directly because of the football team’s struggles, but let’s be honest: if this team is 7-0 or 6-1, Steve Pederson is still the head of the Husker athletic department.

Not only did it happen mid-season, it happened three months after he was given a five-year contract extension.

Chancellor Harvey Perlman is getting a pass on this because of Husker Nation’s disdain for Steve Pederson. Perlman committed a $2.2 million dollar gaffe, one that would get most business leaders fired, if not reprimanded.

One of the most unconscionable aspects of all of this was that Chancellor Perlman said he only became aware of substantial complaints about Pederson in July or August. Two questions: why and how? Why wasn’t this examined internally before UNL backed up the Brinks truck? How does a Chancellor not know about the low morale of the athletic department when it’s the talk of every local sports radio show in the state? How is the Chancellor the last to know? Whether he knew or not, it is his responsibility to know.

Osborne’s Hiring

It is clear that the athletic department needed new leadership. Like I said, the unfortunate thing about this is the timing. Someone needed to come in who would hold Bill Callahan more accountable for his team’s poor play. Pederson, having hired Callahan and given him an extention in August, was unable to do that. Furthermore, Husker Nation had been splintered ever since Frank Solich’s firing. Fans seemed to unite following the north division title in 2006, but the disaster that is 2007 has re-opened the wound. Doctor Tom is being asked to fix it.

While I support Osborne’s hiring, I hope Husker fans are not being delusional with their expectations. When you see Osborne, you think national championships. You think a return to glory and dominance. I don’t know what kind of magic the 70-year-old Osborne can spin. However, uniting Husker fans across the state and across the country is the first step, and it’s already happening.

That being said, Tom Osborne alone won’t fix football, and he alone won’t bring happiness to Husker fans. Say what you will about who should or should not be in charge, but the only thing that will bring Husker Nation together is a winning football team. If this team is 7-0 or 6-1, we’re not having this discussion.

The Future of Bill Callahan

Bill Callahan once called the Oakland Raiders “the dumbest team in America.” He would have to be the dumbest coach in America to not think his job is in serious jeopardy. He knows his days are numbered, save for an unforeseen turnaround.

Honestly, I feel sympathetic towards Bill Callahan. He’s been an outsider since day one. One could say he was set up to fail. Make no mistake, Callahan has made egregious errors: turning his back on some of the Husker traditions including the walk-on program, ignoring past players and at times bringing embarrassment to the program (see “throat slash” and “f-‘ing hillbillies”).

I’ve always felt that a college head coach should be given five years, especially with a 180-degree flip in culture. At the same time, a coach’s team cannot be regressing in the fourth year of his tenure.

That being said, Callahan sometimes gets a bad shake. His every word is examined inside and out for possible anti-Nebraska connotations, while every little thing he does is taken in the most negative way possible. Even the shirt he wears to the Tuesday news conference is dissected. A creamy beige sweater was the article of choice this past week, taken by many as a protest against the Husker brass. “No red? He hates Nebraska!” Are we serious, people? “He never says the phrase ‘Tom Osborne’! He must hate Tom Osborne!” Come on.

After Wednesday’s practice, a reporter asked him if he was nervous with Coach Osborne watching practice. He responded by saying he’d coached in the Super Bowl before and had conducted practices with Bill Walsh and John Madden in attendance. Some media took that as a guy trying to flaunt his ego. I took it as a guy trying to convey that this isn’t his first pony show.

I give Callahan the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his intentions. But I agree that you can’t give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his on-the-field product.

Assuming there is a new head coach at year’s end, how patient will you be with the next guy? If he has Husker ties, will that make you more forgiving of his team’s performance? If he’s more welcoming of past players, will that help you look past a struggling football team?

Final Thought

Let me leave you with this: wouldn’t it be something if Callahan and company finish the season 5-0? Tom Osborne would be faced with making the same decision his predecessor made four years ago. Fire another 9-3 coach? Wow.

Of course, it’s highly unlikely.

But why not make it interesting?

In summation: it’s okay to embrace the past. Just don’t live in it.

Pederson Fired
Monday, October 15, 2007

Athletic director Steve Pederson is out at the University of Nebraska.

KETV was the only station at the chancellor’s office in Lincoln as Pederson arrived, then left roughly seven minutes later. KETV was the first to report that Steve Pederson had been fired as the athletic director.
If you’ve been monitoring this blog, you know we’ve been keeping you up-to-date since this morning.

Here is the official statement from the university:
Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 15, 2007 — University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman today announced he has asked UNL Athletic Director Steve Pederson to step down from the post he has held since January 2003. Perlman said he believes Pederson is no longer positioned to move the Athletic Department forward.
“We are of course disappointed about the progress in our football program. Steve has done many positive things for Husker athletics during his tenure but I think only new leadership can objectively assess the state of our program and make the decisions necessary to move us forward,” Perlman said.
Pederson’s contract was renewed for five years at the end of July.
“You make the best decision you can with the information you have,” Perlman said. Since then, Perlman says he has noted a decline in morale in the Athletic Department, and growing concern about retention of key personnel.
Perlman said he will immediately initiate conversations to identify an interim athletic director with full authority to assess the state of the Athletic Department and its athletic programs and to make any decision necessary to advance those programs. He also indicated his intention to consult with a national search consultant to begin the process for selection of a new permanent athletic director.
“It is not clear how long such a process will take or its precise form. It is important it be done expeditiously but thoughtfully,” Perlman said.
“The selection of Steve Pederson in 2003 as athletic director was widely thought to be the only clear choice because of his experience, his roots and his knowledge of our traditions. I know Steve made the decisions he thought best for the interests of the program and the university. I am disappointed that I had to come to this decision.”
————————
At roughly 5:57pm, Steve Pederson released this statement through the university:
The University of Nebraska has been an incredibly special place to my family and me for more than three decades. Whether it was during my time as a Nebraska student, staff member or athletic director, I have always been tremendously proud to call myself a Cornhusker.
Being Nebraska’s athletic director was not merely a job for me. I viewed it as an honor and important duty to serve the Nebraska tradition of academic and athletic excellence. During the last five years we have enjoyed many successes and also faced a number of difficult challenges. In the midst of both, we always made our decisions based on what was in the very best interests of our university and its outstanding student-athletes.
On and off the field, we worked passionately and tirelessly to not just win, but win the right way. We can take great pride in the fact that Nebraska still sets the national standard when it comes to producing Academic All-Americans. We have been able to build state-of-the-art facilities like the North Stadium project, but in a financially responsible way. And we have hired new coaches and staff members who are dedicated to success on the field, in the classroom and in the lives of our student-athletes well after their last game has been played.
I would like to thank the great friends and supporters of Nebraska who have been loyal to us the whole way through. Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank our student-athletes, coaches and staff. It has been an honor to work with you and I wish you only the very best.

Click on “comments” below and fire away.