Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Cotton Stuck in our Craw

The reaction from Husker fans seems to be fast and especially furious over the Cotton Bowl game. I'm getting lots of hits from people Googling "Fire Bill Callahan"... even though I've never called for his firing. (His boss is another matter entirely...) More has been said in the last 36 hours than was said in the 4 weeks prior to the game, which makes me wonder if the reason for the silence and seeming lack of interest before the game was more anxiety and uncertainty about the direction of the program.

I see the point...and don't see the point at the same point. Looking at this game, it was definitely a winnable game. Auburn Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp really came off condescending towards Callahan's offense in today's Birmingham News:
"I told the kids going into the game that if we just get through these 12 to 15 plays, we'll be fine. He's going to show all of his motions, all of his shifts, and after that it's over. All these West Coast guys are programmed."
Of course, Nebraska got off to a hot start, and dominated the first half. Muschamp saw what Nebraska did, made the necessary adjustments, and shut down the Husker offense in the 2nd half. However, Callahan's offense didn't really adjust to Auburn's adjustments, thus resulting in all of the scorn coming Callahan's way.

Here's Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated in his blog:
You know, I’ve tried to be patient and give the guy a fair shake considering the unique circumstances of his hiring and transformation of the program. And obviously he deserves credit for leading Nebraska to its first division title in seven years. But it’s become painfully obvious over the course of the season that Callahan is one questionable game-manager -- and never was that more abundant than the final six minutes of Monday’s Cotton Bowl.
How about the Dallas Morning News?
Callahan has demonstrated an affinity for overthinking the college game, and he did it again Monday.
Or Tom Shatel?

This morning, Auburn remains in the top 10. And the Huskers likely will drop out of the rankings.

They're close. But the closer they get, the further away it looks.

Shatel is onto something. 9-5 looks disappointing today, but you have to remember what people expected. 9-3 and a Big XII North title looked like improvement in July, and that's what it is. There was only one embarassing, inexplicable loss on the road this season, down from 2 last season. The teams we lost to in 2006 are definitely better than the teams we lost to in 2005.

Next season the talent excuse disappears, as there really won't be many players left in Lincoln that weren't recruited by this staff. But Callahan's knack towards mismanaging the game continues to haunt him. That's what's fueling the angst.

We're heading into year 4. The time for excuses is now over. Some fans wanted to claim victory in "hey we weren't embarassed at USC"; others said "if only" after Texas. It's now time to start seeing results.

1 comment:

AJ said...

Outstanding post as usual my friend.

The bad news for you guys is two things: 1) Keller is going to have the entire weight of the world on his shoulders. He blows one game, and people will be all over him and his coach.

2) Your schedule is brutal. Wake, USC and Texas are very very very difficult games. Trips to Missouri, Kansas and Colorado are no gimmies. Hell, even Nevada isn't that bad.

Should be an interesting off-season.