Blankman over at Midwest Coast Bias is clearly not happy with the changes to Nebraska football over the last month. In fact, it almost seems that we might be swapping roles as I've certainly found fewer things to be "Blasphemous" about lately. Blankman certainly feels that way, though.
I get the feeling that Blankman feels that Osborne's return as athletic director was more of a bloodless coup than a triumphant return. An interesting opinion, though even if you believe Osborne had ulterior motives, it would not have been possible to ascend to the top without the football program's complete implosion in the month of October. Opportunistic perhaps, but Osborne's predecessor dug his own hole.
Blankman also takes his shot at what he considers the "Five Pillars of the Tradition Coalition", which seems to be a constant theme no matter who is talking:
Tom is back and it's wonderful
Blankman takes issue with Osborne's involvement in recruiting, and I'll agree that I'm uncomfortable with that as well. I'm not sure what his other expectations for the athletic director are, except that I get the impression he didn't agree with changing football coaches.
Ramping up the Walk-On Program
Blankman points out that the walk-on program was never dead under Bill Callahan. It wasn't. It was simply curtailed. He points out a Journal-Star article from November about it, which points out that incoming walk-ons went from 30 in 2003 to 12 this season. Is twelve too few walk-on, or are thirty too many? I don't know the answer, but it might in fact be yes. Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle. You want players who want to play for Nebraska...but not so many you can't handle the numbers.
Criticizing Recruiting Services
Well, I've certainly not been shy about condemning recruiting services. It's easy to confuse recruiting with the rankings by these services. Sometimes they get things right... sometimes they don't. But some people take the rankings as gospel, which is where people get into trouble. That's what the message has been.
Talk about recruiting the best players in Nebraska
Nebraska has always depended on a combination of in-state AND out-of-state talent. Look at that 1997 Husker team...nearly half the starters were in-state guys. There are talented players in this state, and for them, "I Play For Nebraska" is not just a slogan or a sign in the locker room.
The Nebraska Way is Back in Force
One of these days, I hope to come up with a definition of the Nebraska Way. It may be like former Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart's definition of pornography: "I know it when I see it." It may be all the little things that, while minor by themselves, make the program something different than what it previously was. Is different a bad thing? Not necessarily. But sometimes change is not for the better, and when you look at the last four years, there are a lot of things that are significantly worse than they were. Those results make any changes look very questionable in the end.