Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just What is it With Barney Cotton?

As the speculation over the possibility of Ted Gilmore leaving for Wyoming continues, speculation is also heating up over the future of offensive coordinator Shawn Watson. It would make sense that both coaches might be looking to move on; they were originally hired by Bill Callahan and may view their position at Nebraska to be merely a transition thing. (Though it should be remembered that both men aren't just placeholders, but also coordinators.) If either or both men get head coaching jobs, obviously they'd move on.

Which raises the question: who would replace them? In the case of offensive coordinator, there's already one man on the staff who has experience at three different 1-A schools. And that prospect seems to scare the bejeebers out of some people.

Ask some fans about Barney Cotton and you get some strong reactions. Can't recruit. Can't coach. Can't call a game. Yadda, yadda, yadda. He just rubs some people the wrong way.

Maybe some of those people were disappointed in the offense's performance in 2003. They expected Cotton to throw the ball more, and were disappointed when, if anything, Nebraska ran the ball more. That raises the question: just what kind of offense would you have run with Jammal Lord at quarterback?

Some Iowa State fans weren't big fans of Cotton either. In Cotton's three seasons, the Cyclones passing attack rated 8th, 2nd, and 6th in the conference. Scoring, they were 11th , 5th, and 11th. Total offense, they were 10th, 6th, and 9th. While not exactly dominant, those numbers were generally better than Nebraska's those seasons.

I do know that Bo Pelini thinks enough about Barney Cotton to make him associate head coach with the Huskers, and got Cotton an interview with LSU in 2007. Whatever concerns some fans have about Barney Cotton apparently aren't shared by Pelini.

And frankly, that trumps whatever scuttlebutt folks dredge up on Cotton.

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