Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mo Purify & Corey McKeon Speak About 2007

A lot is being made about comments made this week by Maurice Purify and Corey McKeon in their local papers about the 2007 season. Purify certainly raised eyebrows by defending former coach Bill Callahan:
“He’s a good coach, and he knows his stuff. It’s not really fair. It wasn’t the coach’s fault we were losing. We weren’t doing anything different last year when we went 9-4. It was just the little things — players not making plays when we needed them.”
Little things? Well, it depends on your definition of "little." Personally, I don't consider giving up 76 points to Kansas a "little thing." I don't consider failing to score a touchdown in six quarters against Missouri and Oklahoma State to be a "little thing." (Or just four touchdowns in three weeks against Missouri, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M.)

McKeon implied that the team was worn out from preseason and offseason workouts, telling the Chicago Tribune:
"They changed the defense on us this year and we maybe got overworked a little in the spring and summer. Everyone had a lot invested in this season and as we started to falter, guys kind of caved in a little."
Isn't the purpose of off-season conditioning to improve conditioning and endurance? If you are looking for an explanation why strength and conditioning coach Dave Kennedy resigned this week, this might be as good as anything that's been rumored or speculated.

Both players took shots at Husker fans, which seemed to rankle many Husker supporters. Purify told the Eureka (CA) Reporter:
“It’s crazy out there. They expect a lot. Every game there are 90,000 people there to watch you play, and thousands of fans line up after the games to get your autograph. But the only thing they care about is winning. That’s it.”
McKeon went further:
"The tradition here is so special and the expectations are really high. The fans love you one minute and hate you the next."
Are expectations high at Nebraska? Unquestionably yes. But the implication that all Husker fans only care about winning or "hate" players isn't true at all. Are there some fans that feel that way? Certainly. But 80,000 plus showed up and cheered at those home games in October and November when the season was spiraling out of control to depths that hadn't been seen since Bob Devaney first came to Lincoln. That's not hate.

If there was any was directed at the administrators and coaches that misled these players, not the players. But then again, that distinction may have been lost when the coaching staff tried to deflect the blame and criticism from themselves onto the players themselves.

I'm surprised nobody else had ever reported on Bill Callahan's comments on his radio show (listen about 2:10:30 into the archived broadcast) prior to the Kansas State game. In the process of discussing the aftermath of the prior week's 76-39 annihilation by Kansas, he talked about how the coaches were putting their arms around the players and supporting them, consoling them, and telling the players:
"Everybody's against them; you know, everybody's got the hate on the kids."
No, Bill. As the football team regressed week after week this season, Callahan refused to accept responsibility, telling fans he was doing an "excellent job in every area". So it shouldn't be a surprise that he tried to push the criticism from fans onto the players. The problem with that is that there younger players that will be returning next season with an energized staff. How quickly can Bo Pelini and his staff undo the damage that Callahan has done?


AJ said...

Disagree my friend.

Maybe not all...but a majority of fans turned on players (McKeon especially) throughout the season. How else do you explain the "all American" hype at the beginning of the season...and by week 6, Kevin Kuglar and other media outlets are talking about how bad he sucks?

It may or may not be intentional...but as an outsider, trust went on.

Denying it won't make it any less true.

Husker Mike said...

Depends on the definition of "hate" is...and maybe I have a different one than others.

What I heard from most fans was that McKeon wasn't playing well this season. Many felt that Phillip Dillard should have been starting instead.

Is that hate? Not by my definition. Maybe for others it is, though.

Anonymous said...

NU fan in Texas. I have held in check my comments about this situation but enough is enough. Purify is just trying to make book with Calaclown in the false hope that it will help his chances in the NFL. I also have to question Puify on his evulation of the season with the meltdown that was the 07 season. Correct me if I'm wrong but was Purify on the field when Kansas laid the smack down on the "d"? God Lord son take some responsiblity for your play and the rest of the team and stop trying to blame the fans for the pressure. If you want to take it to the next level you will have even more rabid fans on your butt for a poor effort that lacked intensity and hussle. If you did not want in the kitchen they you probably should have gone to another school.