This past week, Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald finally got an interview with Steve Pederson. Once again, I'd love to post a link to it, but the World-Herald no longer publishes Shatel's columns online. So, I'll paraphrase a bit.
First question was the state of fundraising. Current total is $31 million pledged, of which $24 million has been received. Compare that with the $15 million pledged in the first month. Pederson claims that he didn't announce the total previously because "you generally (don't) boast about how you're doing." Except that Pederson did announce they had raised $15 million at the end of 2003, and that they had raised $20 million in the spring of 2004. I guess that's like Pederson's policy about not commenting about coaches before their season is over.
Speaking of which, he flip-flopped on that policy once again in discussing baseball, saying that "we have the right guy coaching. Mike (Anderson) is tremendous on all fronts. I feel like we have a nucleus of a good baseball team. Sometimes you just don't play as well." Hmmm... all sorts of possibities with that statement, but let's not go there. In any event, Pederson isn't going to be firing Mike Anderson anytime in the near future.
Last month, I suggested that Pederson come clean once and for all about Houston Nutt, but once again, he denies the whole case, saying that the idea that Houston Nutt was offered the head coaching job was "ridiculous." Pederson prefaced his remarks by calling the whole Nutt case a "source of irritation" which is very true on both sides of the divide.
Pederson did admit that he would have done a few things differently in the coaching search, namely not trying to do it in secret, thus letting the rumor mill run amok, plus also by stating a timeframe instead of saying the coaching search would begin immediately. Pe.derson also wouldn't go into details over his dealings with Tom Osborne over the coaching change, other than to say that "I respect his opinion."
Pederson went on to say that that while Osborne has a "standing offer to be here anytime he wants", he also respects Osborne's decision to not look over the shoulder at Solich and now Bill Callahan, much like Bob Devaney didn't look over Osborne's shoulder after leaving coaching. Which is an interesting observation...though remember, Devaney was still involved with Nebraska for over 20 years after he stepped down as coach. I still believe that there has to be an opportunity for Tom Osborne inside the athletic department.
Suffice it to say, while it was good for Pederson to finally open up to someone other than Jim Rose...you do have to wonder just how much he actually opened up. But hey...it's a start.