Sunday, October 07, 2007

It's Time to Pull the Plug on Steve Pederson

A year ago, the Nebraska Touchdown Club sent a magazine to boosters that led off with the following message after last year's Texas game:
"So if you haven't done so already, it's time to send Steve Pederson a thank you note and let him know that you can see now that he was right all along. Thank him for keeping the faith."
That message looks even more out of line now than it did when it first came out. In fact, it now looks incredibly absurd. It's time to acknowledge where we are in year 4 of this NU regime.

Nebraska Football is a mess.

The implosion is already well underway. We've seen five weeks in a row of sub-par performances on the field. Last night we saw a Nebraska football team take the field ill-prepared to play Missouri and were dominated on both sides of the ball. Where do we begin with this?

Kevin Cosgrove? Certainly gets his share of the blame, but this is bigger than him.

Bill Callahan? Needs to accept even more of the blame, but again, this is bigger than him.

Simply put, this starts at the top. The road to recovery must begin with the departure of Steve Pederson, and as soon as possible.

Yes, I know Pederson just received a contract extension. I said at the time all this did was make the inevitable more expensive.

Yes, I know that Steve Pederson didn't miss any tackles, fail to make any blocks. But he hired the men responsible for ensuring that the Husker football program does this. In fact, he just gave them contract extensions, further raising questions about his ability to lead this program.

Last week, Nebraska's associate athletic director for fund-raising, Paul Meyers, announced his resignation, refusing to comment as to the reasons why, prefering to let Steve Pederson explain why. To Meyers' credit, he's trying to not to inflame the situation by announcing his reason for leaving, but it's obvious that he's escaping the sinking ship.

The laundry list of complaints against Steve Pederson from fans, boosters, and former players is too long to be repeated here. Yes, there are trivial things on the list like the tunnel walk. If that were the only complaint against Pederson, it would be easy to dismiss those charges.

After Nebraska's 2003 football season, Pederson fired a football coaching staff that had brought renewed enthusiasm to the team. 2004 saw Nebraska's first losing season since prior to Bob Devaney, prompting Pederson to proclaim that he was "even more excited about the future of Nebraska football." 2005 found the football program still struggling, with the low point being a 40-15 demolition by Kansas. I called for Pederson's resignation at that time as well. Last season, Nebraska talked about "resurgence", yet still wasn't able to reach the level of 2003. And now in 2007, Nebraska football (#36 in the latest Sagarin ratings) finds itself 4-2 after victories over Sagarin #92 Nevada, #46 Wake Forest, #76 Ball State, and #109 Ball State. Blowout losses against #7 USC and #15 Missouri.

Nebraska needs 2 or 3 victories to reach bowl eligibility. Here's the restof the schedule: #51 Oklahoma State, #45 Texas A&M, #26 Texas, #13 Kansas, #27 Kansas State, #29 Colorado. Is there two or three victories left, considering the level of play of the Huskers? That's really hard to say.

Furthermore, Sagarin's ratings now put Nebraska a unquestion fifth of six teams in the Big 12 North, trailing Kansas, Missouri, Kansas State, and Colorado.

Four years ago, Steve Pederson claimed the would not surrender the Big XII to Oklahoma and Texas. The results of Pederson's changes? We've now surrendered to nearly the entire Big XII North.

Many folks want to make immediate changes to the coaching staff, but what does that solve? Who do you find midseason to take over? Coaching staff overhauls simply cannot be done at this time. We are simply going to have to swallow what is coming our way from the rest of the conference. Pressing the panic button won't help.

Firing Steve Pederson is first place to start. It immediately sets the message that things will not be the same. Already I've seen a few comments for Tom Osborne to return as athletic director. I'm not sure Osborne is the answer long term, but with the number of questions that will need to be solved this off-season with the Husker football program, there is nobody else more qualified to make those tough decisions. At the very least, Tom Osborne should be named interim athletic director immediately.

Replacing Pederson with Osborne starts in motion the healing process. Osborne brings credibility back to the athletic department and can soothe the hurt feelings of fans, boosters, and former players. Bringing Osborne in now gives him time to come in and be ready to make the tough decisions we are facing.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pederson bungled this thing from the very beginning. Think back to the coaching search and face it, Callahan was about the only guy saying he "wanted" the job at the time. But he was bad NFL coach Oakland. Yes, he got to the Super Bowl with a team John Gruden assembled for him...and then got de-pants by Gruden's Bucs in that game. Callahan wasn't even smart enough to change the audibles Gruden had been using the previous year. The following year, the Raiders went completely into the tank. You can tell a poorly coached team (at any level) just by watching them. This has been a VERY poorly coached team since Callahan/Cosgrove arrived. While I live in Lincoln, I didn't grow up here and I'm not emotiaonally attached the Huskers...so I find the situation amusing on one hand, but pretty sad on the other.

This can only be viewed as a mediocre football program at best...even through the rosiest of Husker-red glasses.

Anonymous said...

Five Steps to Fix the Husker Football Program

1. Fire Steve Pederson and Bill Callahan as soon as possible. Replace Pederson with a lifelong Husker who had some association with the program under Devaney, Osborne, or Solich.

2. Hire a head coach who will emphasize defense and special teams. The team with the better defense and better special teams is going to win most of the time.

3. Hire an offensive coordinator who will install a Florida style or West Virginia style spread option offense. Nebraska needs an offense with a nice blend of finesse and being physical. Husker fans would also appreciate the added emphasis on the running game.

4. Bring back something like the old walk-on program. It doesn't have to be as big, but Nebraskans need something to restore their feeling of connection to the program.

5. Recruit and coach up as many offensive linemen as possible from the state of Nebraska. More than any position, offensive line is about heart, and no one will have more heart and desire to succeed for the team than homegrown Huskers.

Anonymous said...

doomed.............DOOMED I tell you!

tomnebraska said...

It is time to say goodbye steve.
Go get Turner Gill and restore the big red traditions
tomnebraska@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I don't want the Huskers to start over with a new AD, new Head Coach and staff and listen to everyone complain about how "these aren't his recruits, they were Callahan's"....

there's no pleasing the Big Red fans.

It needs more time.

bighuskermav said...

Get bent, anonymous. This experiment has gone on for 4 years and it will never succeed. Next year will only be worse as a new QB is transitioned into this horrible system.

A coaching change isn't going to be easy, but it is inevitable. The sooner we start the process, the sooner it will be over.

As far as the AD is concerned, anyone that thinks Pederson still deserves to be here deserves the pathetic parody that goes by the "Nebraska Cornhuskers" moniker these days. The man has done nothing but divide Husker fans since he got here. Ironically, the tide has started to shift and most are uniting against his depareture at this point.

You can't even claim that Pedey has been responsible for the success of other programs in the athletic department. The baseball program, after rising from the ashes under $Bill Byrne, has been in a steady decline for a couple years now. The volleyball team was an established powerhouse long before this used car salesmen came to town. The jury is still out on Doc Sadler, but the move to bring him in was hardly initiated by Steve Pederson. Barry Collier, an absolute disaster as men's basketball coach, had to voluntarily resign his position before any steps were taken to improve that program.

The only program that Pederson had any visible involvement with is the football program, and it has been a complete disaster from the day he fired Solich in late 2003. The ensuing search for a coach was the biggest circus in school history. Since then, we've had screwup after screwup. The way he backed out of a nationally-televised scheduled game with Houston was spineless. The booster club publishing a newsletter asking for fans to send Steve Pederson a "thank you note" is disgusting. The way Callahan's contract extension was handled (sneaking it in just before the shit was about to hit the fan with the USC game) was ridiculous. Now, it's time for him to pay for this garbage. Enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

Pederson is not the place to start - Neither is Callahan. The offense has shown signs of briallance when the line provides some protection and push. It all starts up front. On the other side of the ball is where we need to focus our attention. Cosgroves defenses have rarely, if ever, been on par with Blackshirt standards, even when at Wisconsin. Elmo has a steady job for the first time in two decades after bouncing around from program to program every single year. How strong can he be in the player development category we so desperately need? The first step is start over with defense. Everyone wants Pelini as a replacement, but that bridge was burned. How about giving John Blake a promotion from D-Line coach at Carolina to Coordinator at NU? Blake has ties everywhere and could easily find assistants with the same personality and traits we all so desire in Pelini.

TB said...

It's funny to see there are still people coming around to what Mike has been saying all along, considering that most of Nebraska has hated Steve Pederson for years. When Sports Illustrated ran that "50 States" thing, Pederson beat out Bill Snyder as "Enemy of the State." Ouch.

bighuskermav said...

Don't you get it? Callahan will *never* succeed here. EVER. It has not happened, and it will never happen. Under Callahan, the best Nebraska can ever hope for is the occasional 8-4 or 9-5 season.

If anyone is foolish enough to think all is well with Pederson and Callahan, then they deserve this mess. Have fun enjoying a few more decades of pediocrity. History will judge you wrong, if the present hasn't already done so.

Christopher said...

A few things regarding the AD situation:
1) He's responsible for more than football. You like Doc Sadler? SP gets as much credit for that as he does for BC.
2) I'm a Creighton alum. We've got TO now. Sorry, you can't have him back.
3) I've said it time and again - those who hate SP most are the ones most anxious to agree with him. Frank went 7-7 and got a year to make changes. If you're not willing to give BC this chance, then you better have been calling for FS's and SP's respective heads in 2002. Were you doing that? Or were you, like SP, more cautious about what such a change would bring?

I carry no water for any of these guys. Nor am I delusional enough to enjoy what I'm seeing on the field. But I do follow college football closely enough to know what happens when you go down this path a few too many times (see Alabama, Miami, Notre Dame, et al).

Husker Mike said...

Ah, Christopher...you must have been too busy trying to scalp your NCAA regional tickets to notice my comments to that effect following the USC game.

Steve Pederson does get credit for hiring Sadler, but gets more failing marks for failing to deal with Barry Collier, leaving him dangling and letting the program twist in the wind for six months.

Anonymous said...

First fire Pederson. Second.. Beg, plead and ask Oz real nice to take the AD job on a 2 year interim bases. You will create instant credibility for the entire program. Let Oz with a search committee find BC's replacement. There are to many factors for fans to think they can pick a new coach anymore then SP did! Those two actions would go a long ways to start the process of rebuilding Husker football. Don't hand me the bunk that Oz is to old either. He wanted to be governor only 18 months ago. We need a symbol to restore confidence back in Nebraska athletics. No better person on the face of the earth to make that happen than Oz!

Christopher said...

That CU stuff is news to me. I don't live in Omaha (obviously not a ticket-holder) so I can't say anything about that.

I remember that piece after the USC game. I commented on it a few times, you'll notice. And I think you're right to be calling for consistency, but do remember that Frank wasn't fired after going 7-7. He was given a chance (probably more like a mandate) to shake up the staff and try to improve. That's what I think BC deserves. If he says something like, "If Coz goes, I go," then they'll both be on their way. If he adapts and fails, he'll be gone soon enough. If he adapts and succeeds, won't that be good for everybody?

William said...

I live in Oklahoma and the word here is that Nebraska is getting what they deserved. Oh for the days of Howard Schnelenberger (sp) and John Blake..... when the Huskers beat the Sooners into oblivion. But those days are gone, and never to return if NU keeps the AD they have now. This is not Callahan's fault. NU could have found 10 other "Huskers" who would have taken the job for 1/4 what Callahan makes, and that would have done a better job. But, the lure of the BS NFL crap, and the like bit Husker Nation. It will be ten years before the Huskers are back whethere Callahan stays or goes. The damage is done.

clundst said...

William:
I remember the days when OU was down. It didn't take you guys 10 years to come back, it only took the right coach. Once you had Stoops in place it was only a year or two before you were back on your feet and handing it to Texas. I just hope that Nebraska can find that same diamond in the rough.

(I thought Pelini was that guy.)

clundst said...

My personal jury was out on Callahan, but it was never out on SP. I think the future of the Nebraska football needs to be determined by our new AD. Pederson needs to go and a new, objective look needs to be taken. Perhaps Callahan could be the answer, perhaps not, but Pederson is clearly part of the problem and will never be part of the solution.

Anonymous said...

Send your comments to this e-mail:

spederson2@unl.edu

See if you can unnerve the spineless bastard.

Anonymous said...

Husker Mike,

I'm doing a news story on the team tonight.. and would like to include you if you're interested. Please e-mail me at sheila.brummer@wowt.com.

Thank you,

Sheila Brummer, WOWT Reporter

Anonymous said...

You want Tom? Really, then he fires Billy C? I know people who personally know Tom, and they say he is one of the most arogant men alive.... How come Billy S at Oklahoma can support his team, but Tom can not. Answer that question, and you will find out every thing you need to know about Dr. Tom, he was a great coach, but his time has passed.

Anonymous said...

My friend is a Alabama fan, and we are starting to sound a hell of a lot like them. Were not Alabama have some F 'N' respect and give it some time... I mean really... Roll tide you idiots.

Dakota Husker said...

Things are getting hot in Huskerland!

I agree that Peddy has to go. I also agree that Cally needs to hang up the OC headset and get a coordinator to run that side of the ball. Cos, well Barry is still laughing about that one, payback for his buddy getting axed!

Anonymous said...

Pederson pulled the plug to early on Frank and all his new coaches. They should have been allowed at least one more year to prove what they could do. All I heard when Frank was fired was how badly recruiting had slipped and how we weren't getting the good players. Well 4 years later when we are losing and even worse off, all we hear about is parity and the 85 man scholarship rule. Well some traditional powers are still winning. And now we're not even competing. This has to come down to coaching if there really is parity. I say fire Pederson, Calahan, and Cosgrove and bring in Bo Polini or Monte Kiffin. Both of those coaches have proven records.

lefty said...

Harvey, Steve, Bill you are the weakest link. GOODBYE...

Anonymous said...

BRING BACK PELINI!!

Callahan will never win here.

Anonymous said...

Fire Perlman, Pedey, BC and entire staff. Oh, and make it illegal for all the idiots at BIGREDBOARD.com to ever post / be associated with anything Husker related. Trainwreck, Harcharger and WildHoss are the biggest buffoons in the entire fan base.........!

Real fans this, real fans that...trolls this and trolls that....!

Peterson and his dominions have been and continue to be out in full force dividing and tearing down HUSKER NATION. It is time to step up.....and heal this program...from the top down.

Fire Perlman, TO for AD and GILL for Head Coach....and I would promise funding would go through the roof and the winning would come back...!

Anonymous said...

I've gone from being embarassed, last week, to furious today. I just watched a press conference with 18-21 y/o's nearly in tears apologizing to a proud state with an impressive fan base. None of these players criticized anyone but themselves. I cannot tolerate these kids taking the brunt of the criticism that is due their superiors. I was in OK City last week watching Husker football with some Oklahomans for the Huskers and predicted that heads would begin rolling after last week's performance. Steve Pederson, Callahan and Cosgrove need to go, NOW!

Anonymous said...

One thing Husker Nation needs to remember is one of the reasons Steve Pederson was hired is that his Daddy was in the State Legislature and on the committee that decides what state organizations get money. And his Daddy was a big supporter of more money for UNL.

Steve P is an arrogant self centered boob that needs to go. His only concern was to make a legacy for himself. I wonder what he thinks now.

HuskerFaninTexas said...

Pelini should have been hired in the first place. But he's not coming back. Neither is Osborne. Who else has passion, leadership, COMPETENCY, and is loved by fans? Turner Gill. Y'all need to wear shirts or something to the game next weekend. Don't leave the stadium though, support those poor kids.

ForeverRed said...

As a life long Husker fan, I've had it with the goings on in Lincoln. Getting rid of Pederson and Callahan sound like a good idea, but are fans patient enough to sit by and watch what the next three or four years could be like? For about a year or so, I've thought that this will get better than a change. After the loss to Oklahoma State, I'm ready for a change. When even the radio commentators sound like they are ready to cry while watching the Nebraska traditions and records get tossed into the wind, I beleive the time has come.

Ryan said...

The anonymous post with the five step plan was pretty close to being on the money. I would amend it in this way.

1. Fire Pearlman. He went out and has defended Pedertard during the indefensible bungling of the Solich firing and replacement. Pearlman is the one who gave Pederson his contract extension and raise. How could you possibly give an extension and a raise when anyone that can count could clearly see that Nebraska's football program had not really shown improvement? This is also the least costly fix and may inspire some real fear down the chain of command. Because ....

2. Fire Pedeson soon thereafter, before the end of the season. He is the real problem. He is the one brought this all on us starting with His suspect decision to fire Solich. His poor timing in doing so. The poor execution he demonstrated in executing his decision.

3. Have Osborne come on as interim A.D.

4. Let him make a decision on whether to keep Callahan and under what circumstances. (Your suggestions about what kind of a coach we might look for and the things the New A.D. might encourage a prospective new coach to do seem quite reasonable and quite "Osborne-like".

But the indispensable link is Pederson. He has got to go because just firing Cosgrove might not be enough and Pederson can't be trusted to bungle another hiring and he would never fire Callahan anyway.

Anonymous said...

As a life-long OU fan, I can honestly say that a strong Nebraska is good for college football and great for the Big 12. You fans have always been a class act. True Sooner fans hung in there through the difficult years. However, the real turn around came even before Bob Stoops. It was hiring Joe Castiglione as AD. He was hired primarily to fix the football situation which he did by firing Blake and hiring Stoops but he has been great for the whole athletic department as well. I remember lots of people were originally disppointed that OU didn't hire former Sooners but neither Castiglione nor Stoops had prior OU connections. So you answer may just as easily come outside of the Husker Nation. You need proven quality people more than anything else.
May God give you the grace as you wait until then...---Middle East Sooner

Joe said...

Husker fans need to stick together in difficult times like this for the sake of these kids. First the chancellor, second Pederson third Callahan and his staff need to go immediately, then bring Osborne to fix the problem hire Solich and Pelene,that will fix the mess.

Restore The Order said...

Na na na na
Na na na na
Na na na na

Goodbye!

Sara said...

Well now...we got what we wanted--SP's resignation. However, only time will tell if it will do any good. It's going to take more than firing the AD to fix Nebraska football. Hopefully we won't look back and realize we wasted $2 million dollars to buy out SP's contract for nothing... In any case, these boys really need the support of Husker Nation right now. They're feeling the hurt way more than we are. So if you go to the game, stay the whole time and don't boo the poor guys--it is, for the most part, not their fault. We've got some really good talent on our squad, but talent without good coaching gets you nowhere.