Monday, December 05, 2005

Put some Metamucil in your Kool-Aid, Harold

Crotchety old Harold W. Andersen, the retired publisher of the Omaha Daily Newspaper saw an opening with the Colorado victory to take on the critics and the media for overbearing negativity. And while Andersen is correct that the tone of many articles about the Huskers is negative, he forgets the main reason why they are negative: The Huskers underachieved for most of Bill Callahan's first 21 games as head coach.

The first mistake that Andersen made was equating criticism with calling for his firing. Yes, there are people calling for a coaching change: and come to mind. But that isn't any sort of strong majority at this time. I've criticized Callahan several times, but I don't think it's time to fire him.

His most serious error was to blame LeKevin Smith for the Texas Tech loss, and "not the coach or athletic director". Oh, so LeKevin Smith called the "bend and break" defense for the first 20 minutes of the Texas Tech game that spotted the Raiders a 21-0 lead? What about that 3-man line that was so effective in allowing Brad Smith to rack up almost 500 yards of offense?

And his final error was in blaming the 2003 staff for the number of freshmen and sophomores who are playing now. First of all, thanks to the 85 scholarship limit, many teams are playing freshmen and sophomores. Oklahoma, for example, is playing more freshmen and sophomores than Nebraska.

My opinion is that there were some recruiting problems at Nebraska; problems that were solved at the start of 2003. That was too late for the 2003 class, but the 2004 recruiting class under the new staff was looking promising. One recruitnik says that Rivals had them around #14 before the firing rumors started scuttling that staff. In any event, the 2003 staff never got a chance to prove themselves.

As for the number of freshman and sophomores playing, don't be so quick to credit Callahan; of the 8 freshman and sophomores who started against Colorado, the majority were recruited by Frank Solich: Corey McKeon, Bo Ruud, J.B. Phillips, Chris Patrick, Nate Swift, and Terrence Nunn were Solich committments.

Now, did Bill Callahan recruit a lot of quality players? Sure looks that way. Were there some problems in recruiting before 2003? Yep, and that was taken care of in 2002.

Looks like Harold's arguments lack a lot of substance... Just like many of the kool-aid drinkers out there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe that your editorial puts a pulse on a portion of the unrest.

The segment of people that I would closely associate myself with, are the ones that believe that we didn't give Cotton, and Bo and others adequate time to fix a problem that was being addressed. Was recruiting a problem? you bet it was, and Frank fired guys that he had worked closely with for over twenty years in order to fix that problem.

The A.D. gave Frank's new staff one year, which they did perform, but not to the level of sastifaction of one man. The problem with the A.D. lies in the consistency of his statements. I'll give you a for instance, my brother wrote a letter to the A.D. outlining much of what I have tried to communicate here. The letter back from the A.D. focused on backing the team and having faith, and there will be tough times during change, and more used car salesman talk. Why is it deemed used car salesman talk, because if he really believed it, he would have modeled it with the new coaches that Frank brought in. So now we have an A.D. asking for time and consideration, when he himself was unwilling to extend the same.

Pederson would have been better off telling us that he was childish and still held a grudge against Frank, and fired him for personal reasons, at least that would have been the truth. (Slick Steve is how he is referenced in our family). I don't know what has been worse, the A.D. not saying a word for 13 days after the Kansas loss, or spouting his mouth after the Colorado game, or chickening out of the Houston game, or READERS CHOICE.

Callahan can stay for two more years, fire the cornerback coach, defensive coordinator, A.D., bring back the pride of Nebraska (walk-on program), and get rid of Lil' Red and the Italian Herbie. (Anyone who has any history of the program and state knows why Herbie is a Northern European.)