When people were contemplating the potential coaching search before Thanksgiving, the consensus opinion was that this would go much faster than the previous football coaching search. (How could it not?) Several former players expected that it would be over within a couple of weeks. Yesterday, it was moving at lightning speed with rumors that a selection was imminent. (One report even said it was already over.) But Tom Osborne returned yesterday saying the search was not over and that nobody had been offered the job.
Today at the players meeting (that was rumored to be to announce the next coach), Osborne did make an announcement that he was going out recruiting himself Thursday and Friday. Obviously, this means that the coaching search will likely not be completed this week. Not a huge surprise, what with Bo Pelini and rumored candidate Paul Johnson of Navy having big games to focus on this Saturday. The search has probably gone as far as it can this week.
I have mixed feelings about Osborne going out to visit recruits. On one hand, it's a good idea to confirm and reinforce Nebraska's commitment to these players. No doubt other schools are contacting these players and trying to take advantage of the uncertainty at Nebraska.
But on the other hand, it makes you wonder if Osborne isn't secretly looking to jump back into the coaching game. There were reports in the late 1990's that when Osborne was consulting with the University of Houston over their football program, Osborne ended up seriously considering taking the head coaching job there. Last month, Osborne joked that if he tried to coach again, his wife Nancy would shoot him. And while I'm sure that Osborne knows that at age 70, his coaching days are behind him, Osborne's jumping back in the saddle might be a little disconcerting to the coaches on his short list.
That being said, Osborne talking to recruits and their families might be a great idea at this time to help solidify a situation that has to be disconcerting to high school athletes confused by what is going on at Nebraska. Hopefully Osborne remembers how Bob Devaney let him run the football program, and plans to treat the next coach similarly.