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.