Monday, December 04, 2006

Callahan Taking the Blame

48 hours after the Big XII Championship Game loss to the Sooners, I still believe that Oklahoma beat the Huskers by outplaying them. Oklahoma's defense is definitely the best I've seen this season, but Nebraska's offense is better than Oklahoma's (as long as Adrian Peterson is on the sideline in a parka). I don't think talent was the issue Saturday night... it was in the execution.

Reading the comments from Bill Callahan today in the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal-Star, I get the feeling that Callahan is thinking the same thing. Personally, I don't think the game plan was so bad as much as the Huskers made critical errors at key points of the game. Most of those errors were forced by the Sooners, but could the Huskers have been better prepared for Saturday night?

A lot of people are focusing on the height of Cortney Grixby at 5' 9" in letting OU's Malcolm Kelly catch 10 passes for 142 yards. Height isn't the entire issue here. I went and looked at the top defense in the NFL, Da Bearsh, and their starting cornerbacks are 6'1" Charles Tillman and 5' 10" Nathan Vasher, backed up by a 5'9" Ricky Manning (who scored on an interception yesterday) and 5'11" Devin Hester. I don't see any giants in the secondary for the Monsters of the Midway.

Did the injury to Zachary Bowman hurt the Big Red on defense this season? No doubt about it. But size isn't the problem here. Recruitniks should remember that Rivals rated Grixby the #5 cornerback (a 4 star player) out of high school.

So what is the problem? I have my ideas, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Nebraska's defense underperformed this season, and I expect there to be changes on defense. The rumor mill has John Blake leaving for North Carolina which would be a major loss for the Huskers. Blake is an excellent recruiter who can sweet talk any recruit (and his mother). Would CozBohl go? Probably not, as the ties between Callahan and CozBohl run deep.

On offense, I'm not sure about coaching changes as much as needing to refine things. My fear is that Callahan could overreact like he did in 2003 in revamping his offense after getting throttled by his mentor, Jon Gruden, and Monte Kiffin in the Super Bowl.

Looking at my logs over the last couple of days, a lot of people have found this blog searching for "Fire Callahan" or "Fire Steve Pederson". While I still agree with the latter, I'm not sure the former is a productive approach for Nebraska at this time. And firing Callahan at this point seems rather silly...after all, he did get Nebraska to the Big XII championship game. That ought to be worth SOMETHING.


AJ said...

I could not disagree with you more. OU's defense is better true, but I think you over-estimate your offense. Granted, Jackson, Taylor and Purify (sometimes) are tough...there is more to it than that.

You guys act like the West Coast Offense is some wild schemed concept that few people know how to defend. It's not. Good defenses beat average offenses every single time.

Good coaches beat bad ones most times as well.

Not saying the Husker offense is HORRIBLE or anything. I just think you overestimate their abilities.

The Hosh said...


I agree with you that ridding ourselves of Bill would be a mistake. That doesn't seem to be on the able and I am glad. He has done some positive things. He got us to the game! However, I completely agree with his assessment of his level of coaching - it was poor. Talent-wise we match up with anyone in the league, but throughout the year we were so terribly inconsistent. We BARELY lose to the #5 team in the nation - Texas and then go get our butts kicked by OSU.
Bill put Zach in situations that are difficult to be successful in for any quarterback, even one of the highest-yardage QBs we have ever had! I think that we have the talent and will have the talent next year, we just need to execute with intensity - that is 100% coaching!

Husker Mike said...

I'm not sure where the disagreement is. I didn't say Nebraska's offense was great...just better than Oklahoma's. The Huskers are better than average in most offensive categories.

And yes... Defense Wins Championships. Most of this season, the CozBohl defense has been lacking, but Saturday night, they came through big time and kept the Huskers in the game.

Is Bill Stoops a better coach than Bill Callahan? At this point, yes. I said so last week, and I said it Saturday night. I'll say it again today.

AJ said...

I don't agree that Nebraska's offense was better than Oklahoma's. Nebraska had field position all night, and did nothing with it. The one time they did score, it was right after a turnover deep in OU territory.

Ahhh well. Agree to disagree.