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.)
“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.”
McKeon implied that the team was worn out from preseason and offseason workouts, telling the Chicago Tribune:
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.
"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."
Both players took shots at Husker fans, which seemed to rankle many Husker supporters. Purify told the Eureka (CA) Reporter:
McKeon went further:
“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.”
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.
"The tradition here is so special and the expectations are really high. The fans love you one minute and hate you the next."
If there was any hate...it 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:
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?
"Everybody's against them; you know, everybody's got the hate on the kids."