Category Archives: Husker Nation

Reader’s Response to: Bill Moos, AD at Nebraska

Very thoughtful and insightful comments and perspective as always! But, as Lee Corso famously says, Not So Fast! I would respectively disagree with your “pro Frank and Bo” points. I would politely suggest that you are biased and selectively cherry picking a few positives and overlooking their negatives. To wit I would offer my perspective, which is biased by my own cynical nature! Much of what follows includes many points made by you and we would be in agreement. It’s the Pro Bo and Frank perspective that I would depart into a different perspective. The following of course are only my opinions and do not have verified sources! Two major factors in the decline of Husker football:

  1. Tom Osborne should not have retired. He regretted caving into Frank Solich’s pressure to retire because in a weak moment, Tom said he would retire at 60 and Frank would be head coach. And we all know Tom is a man of his word.
    • This became problematic for several reasons;
      • Tom still had many more years of good coaching left
      • Why should Tom get to pick his successor? Not too many employees get to do that. There may have been other, more qualified and deserving candidates.
      • To add to this possible mistake, Tom insisted to Frank that he keep all of his assistants. Again, what employee ever gets to do that. On any coaching staff there are personality conflicts and tension and many of the carryover staff didn’t respect or like Frank or thought they should have been considered and it created a bad culture and chemistry that Frank attempted to correct with arguable success in his last season.
      • I believe there were some personal issues with coaches that caused some distractions and loss of focus in the year they were blitzed by Colorado 62-36. A sign of the decline of the Big Red Machine.
      • Frank was not a big name coach and recruiting suffered under his leadership.
  2. Harvey Perlman. I agree with your comments here. He single-handedly, in addition to the steps by Tom mentioned above, drove the Big  Red football express into the ditch with his series of unilateral, bonehead decisions.
    • Steve Pederson was hired. No input from anyone.
      • Colossal mistake. He had a big ego and was a micro manager that caused considerable tension in the AD.
      • He and Frank Solich had bad blood between them going back to their days when Pederson was a graduate assistant and Frank an assistant coach. I don’t know any other details, I think Frank was superior to Steve and then when the roles were reversed, Steve was inclined to want to get payback.
      • When the personal issues materialized, Steve was determined to fire Frank as he thought the integrity of the Husker brand on and off the field was being tarnished.
      • Frank is fired and Steve has no coach hired.
      • Bill Callahan hired in desperation.
      • Pederson alienated many boosters and fans with his arrogant, do it my way style. He acted like everything was under control and it wasn’t.
    • Pederson fired.  The big bad witch is dead.
    • In comes the white knight, Tom Osborne. Best decision by Perlman.
      • Osborne fires Callahan. Hard to argue, need to right the ship.
      • Tom hires Bo Pelini over his longtime player and friend Turner Gill!
        • I don’t think there was much input here as well. Pelini was not a hot commodity and the pundits gave it a C grade.
        • Okay, he had 9 win seasons but he was fortunate to have some pretty good talent. A Callahan recruit name Suh wasn’t too bad. And Bo continued the blowout loss pattern in big games that began with Solich. He was 50% against teams with winning records. He had some very lucky close wins against average teams. McNeese State would have beat Nebraska if not for Abdullah saving the day. And the hail Mary win over Northwestern was a huge lucky win.
        • Biggest jerk ever to media and fans. Pelini was a real embarrassment to Nebraska.
        • Pelini cooked his own goose. If he was a good coach than be a good person as well. He was a cult like figure that instilled an “Us against the World” mentality in his players. This is a negative style and relies on him brainwashing his players into thinking he’s their only friend, supporter and advocate. Again, classic Demagoguery 101.
    • Eichorst hired. No input from anyone. Questionable hire on many levels.
      • Pelini fired. I don’t think he handled this too well. Should have fired him the year before after the Iowa game but he created stress on Pelini that probably contributed to his meltdowns at times. Hard to do your job with a boss that doesn’t give you encouragement or support. But, shame on Bo, he wasn’t going to be subordinate to anyone and he certainly wasn’t going to fire any coaches that were under performing.
      • Riley hired. No input from anyone. He was the anti-Bo coach and I think Eichorst thought his long tenure and occasional success at a school like Oregon State would translate to great things at a school like Nebraska. I was neutral on the hire. I wouldn’t have hired him but I wanted to give him a chance and liked his style with regard to the media, Husker tradition and even doing some innovative things with technology and trends.
        • I think he has a great staff with the exception of Cavanaugh and I’m not sure about Langsdorf.
        • Riley/Langsdorf have lost several games due to poor clock management and play calling. Excessive penalties and poor execution. Not something I would expect with such a seasoned coach.
        • Back to Bo, Riley inherited a really poor cupboard of talent. The best players on the team are Riley recruits.
        • Still don’t understand the lack of fire and intensity by the Huskers.

So, I hate to say it and it’s blasphemy, but Tom Osborne could arguably be the cause of several decisions that contributed to our current situation.

We all care for our Huskers and are passionate about our team. Unfortunately, coaches matter as we’ve seen in other programs that have turned their downtrend around. We’ve had 3 maybe 4 if you include Frank, of coaches that aren’t in the same level as Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne and other name brand coaches like Nick Saban and Urban Meyer. But, “we all stick together, in all kinds of weather, at dear old Nebraska U!”

Best Regards,

Greg

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Former Nebraska assistant Jim Walden says Bill Moos hire ‘not good’ for Mike Riley

Nebraska coach Mike Riley and new Cornhuskers athletic director Bill Moos have mutual respect, but will that save Riley’s job?
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

On one hand, the dots are so damn easy to connect. A couple of old war horses. A pair of Pac-12 veterans. Smiles all around. Mike Riley and Bill Moos, Butch and Sundance.

On the other hand …

“It’s not good for Riley,” Jim Walden, the former Washington State football coach/radio analyst and Nebraska Cornhuskers assistant, told Land of 10 this week. “Absolutely not. Nothing’s good for Riley.

“His team got beat 56-14 [by Ohio State]. They were [crushed] at home for another ballgame … In my opinion, nothing Bill Moos is going to do is going to make it nice for Riley.”

Walden, 79, watched from the Pacific Northwest last Saturday night as the Buckeyes handed Nebraska its worst home loss in a conference tilt since 1949. The coach-turned-radio personality has a foot in both Cornhuskers and Cougars camps: Walden was a graduate assistant in Lincoln under Bob Devaney in 1969 and 1970 and an assistant under Devaney in 1971 and 1972. He joined the Washington State staff as an assistant 1977 and coached Wazzu from 1978 to 1986.

“Scott Frost is going to have to make a decision. It’ll be him or Chip Kelly,” Walden continued. “I’m sorry to be the voice of doom for Mike Riley, which I hate, because I happen to think the world of him.”

And he’s been there, several times over. But 3-4 is 3-4. And 11-10 — Riley’s record in the Big Ten — is 11-10.

When Huskers fans are leaving at halftime, as chunks did on Saturday, Big Red fans have already voted with their feet. And hearts.

“Make no bones about it,” Walden said. “[When] the new A.D. gets the job, one of the requirements of the new job is, ‘When you come here, will you fire the coach?’ And the answer better be, ‘Yes,’ or he’s not going there.”

Riley coached at Oregon State when his new boss was the athletic director at Oregon (1995 to 2007) and Washington State (2010-17). There are mutual friends and mutual respect. But Walden, who’s known Moos for more than three decades, says the Huskers’ newest athletic director won’t shy away from making tough decisions — cold decisions — when the bottom line is at stake.

‘Scott Frost is going to have to make a decision. It’ll be him or Chip Kelly … I’m sorry to be the voice of doom for Mike Riley, which I hate, because I happen to think the world of him.’

— Former Nebraska assistant coach and Washington State football coach Jim Walden on the future of Cornhuskers football

“They’ll expect a guy that’s full of back-patting,” said Walden, who was removed from Cougars football broadcasts by Moos in May 2012 after 11 seasons in the booth. “He’s got a good line of gab. He’s personable … he’s a P.R. guy.

“He’s not Tom Osborne, by any stretch of the imagination. There are parts of him that are more Bob Devaney-ish. But nothing about him is Tom Osborne, period.

“Overall, you’ve got to give him credit. It’s hard to separate the A.D. at Oregon versus the Nike guy [Phil Knight]. I’ll give him credit for everything he got done in Oregon, but it’s kind of hard to separate the two. And he came [to Washington State] and he did some nice things. Jim Sterk, the former athletic director, had already started the plans — he doesn’t get enough credit. But Bill Moos needs to get credit for finishing the job. Albeit that we’re 11 million in debt.

There is that. And there’s also an ESPN report at the start of the week intimating feelings of “growing friction” between Moos and new Wazzu president Kirk Schultz, and that the two weren’t always on the same page, let alone the same script.

“I do feel bad [for Huskers fans],” Walden said. “When Bo [Pelini] was doing some good things, I couldn’t understand why he was always so sensitive about the crowd.

“But it does bother me, because some of the best years of my life [were in Lincoln]. I thought, ‘Hell, winning’s easy.’ I really did, because when Warren Powers, Monte Kiffin, me, you look at all of us that were there — it’s an adjustment, when you win as many games as we won. Then you find out it’s harder than you think when you’re with someone else.”

‘Mike Riley is in the exact same situation I was in at Iowa State in 1994. And I would give him the same advice I gave myself: “These people deserve better.” ‘

— Former Nebraska assistant coach and Washington State coach Jim Walden

Walden found that out the hard way as the coach at Iowa State, where he was matched up against the Huskers annually from 1987 to 1994, losing seven of eight meetings with his old pal Osborne.

“Mike Riley is in the exact same situation I was in at Iowa State in 1994,” said Walden, who hosts a weekly radio talk show on KGA-AM (1510) in Spokane, Wash. “And I would give him the same advice I gave myself: ‘These people deserve better.’

“And there is one difference in this whole thing — I’d been there eight years, he’s been there, what, three? In some ways, he hasn’t been given enough time. But again, we’re talking about Nebraska.

“When they’ve turned on you and start leaving the stadium and they start doing things that traditionally they’ve ever done … [You tell Nebraska] ‘I’m sorry, but if we can work out an agreement, I’ll step away four weeks from now.’ …

“And that’s what I can tell him. Because it’s a foregone conclusion. They didn’t fire the A.D. at Nebraska so the coach could stay on. They probably fired him because he wouldn’t fire Riley. It’s not rocket science.”

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Bill Moos, AD at Nebraska

As I sit and ponder what has happened at Nebraska and how far Husker Nation has slid and why recent movement in personnel within the Athletic Department give me hope for the future.

We still have what Perlman did with his personal distaste for Bo Pelini, a winner but a difficult man to have a long-term relationship. That was the second occurrence during Perlman tenure that Nebraska terminated a winning coach and put Husker Nation in a downward spiral since Dr. Tom Osborne retired from coaching football creating a situation where any decent coach would be a fool to come to Lincoln. Yet, we have enjoyed Mediocrity from Callahan and now Riley in the time after reaching nine-win seasons under Solich and Pelini.

Perlman also hired an athletic director Shawn Eichorst that did not have a long-term record of running a $100M athletic department and based his decision on Barry Alvarez’s recommendation excluding Dr. Tom and others in Husker Nation. It was obvious that Eichorst was told that he had to remove all vampires from the athletic department per Perlman demand.

Husker Nation was doomed to mediocrity by Perlman by his decisions based on what he thought was best for Husker Nation rather than what was best for Husker Nation.

When Dr. Perlman retired and Dr. Hank Bounds and Dr. Ronnie Green arrived on campus it became apparent that the athletic department was at best letting down Husker Nation with the football program stuck with financial support but on field leadership in the form of coaching.

After two years struggling with mediocre defense that was not improving with recruits that are capable of providing the level of talent to live up to the Blackshirt tradition Mike Riley did the right thing and reached out and hired Bob Diaco with solid credentials as a defensive coordinator at Notre Dame and other schools.

There was the belief that the offense was going to be able to compete with Danny Langsdorf would be able to get his offensive scheme to work regardless of his lifelong record of mediocrity with Riley at Oregon State and the NFL.

The last three years have proven once again that no matter how much money you throw at mediocrity, mediocrity will prevail and settle into place once again. At this point in the 2017 Husker football season, I honestly do not see how the Huskers can win another game this season. The only potential is if Diaco can turn the Blackshirts that have been devastated via injury and win with the Blackshirts.

Please note that I have included Randy York’s comments:

Moos Doesn’t Tolerate Mediocrity, Embraces Entire State

By Randy York

 | 10/16/2017

Bill Moos Named Nebraska’s Athletic Director

Moos Introductory Press Conference Transcript

Bill Moos a ‘Perfect Fit’ to Lead the Huskers 

Take this from a former University of Nebraska at Kearney athletics director who also was an assistant football coach at Missouri and an associate athletics director at Washington State – Bill Moos, Nebraska’s new director of athletics, is the real deal.

A ground-breaker for 12 years as athletics director at Oregon, Moos became a pioneer for seven years as A.D. at Washington State and on Sunday, he became a high expectation trendsetter for the University of Nebraska, one of the nation’s top four winning college football programs.

The Huskers, however, have gone almost two decades without winning a conference championship, and that is precisely why new leadership is so vital.

“I knew Bill when we were at Washington State together,” former Kearney A.D. Dick Beechner told me Sunday. “I was an associate athletic director with Bill when we were both under athletic director Sam Jankovich. I’ve known Bill for a long time at WSU and have followed his career not only at Washington State but also at Montana. He did a good job.”

I Know This: Bill Doesn’t Tolerate Mediocrity; He Wants People to Be the Best They Know How

“I’ve always respected Bill, and we’ve always gotten along very well,” Beechner said. “I know this – Bill doesn’t tolerate mediocrity. He wants people to do the best that they know how. He has integrity. He likes people and as I listened to his press conference today on Huskers.com, you can bet Bill will embrace Nebraska and will definitely reach out to the entire state.”

Why does Beechner, who made the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation a prominent gemstone that features Husker legend Tom Osborne, know what others do not know?

With all that said regarding Bill Moos what do we evaluate to understand Moos. He was at Montana as AD and then Oregon during their climb in the BCS and finally at Washington State (Wazzou) improving each and every athletic department along with building strong football programs at each university.

How does his history relate to what Husker Nation needs at this time?

Nebraska has an athletic department budget that exceeds $100M. Moos has moved upward over his career to where his tenure at Oregon had a budget about $40M where he developed sponsors and built booster groups providing long-term support for the Ducks.

He then retired to his ranch in Washington until he and his wife determined that it was best he move back to his passion and he was hired at Wazzou, where he played football and began his career in the athletic department. The last seven years he improved Wazzou’s athletic programs and has hired coaches that fit into Wazzou’s environment and culture. He made a wise decision for Wazzou hire with Mike Leach as their head coach for football. We all know Mike Leach from Texas Tech and his high-powered offense. Mike Leach is a good football coach but honestly is only a step-up from Mike Riley not having an 80%-win coaching career like Husker Nation demands and needs for success.

As we analyze what Husker Football is and how we can rise to the top of B1G football we have to look at what does best in the league and what has to be done to climb back into a Top-10 football program on an annual basis.

Option football has evolved and become what is known now as a spread formation. It is much like what my father played back in the 40s when he played college football in Nebraska. To be successful there has to be a strong running attack that is complemented by passing the football. The QB must be a solid runner as well as a capable passer.

The offensive line must be strong enough and mean enough to push the opposing defense around like Milt Tenopir’s lines did under Dr. Tom’s teams. At that time there was depth enough so that the third string linemen were nearly as talented as the first string. That was a constant development using the walk-on program that was refined over the years under Dr. Tom to the point where Nebraska talent that started dreaming about playing for the Husker Nation while watching the Huskers walked onto the field and battled daily smashing their way onto the field as often as they could to prove themselves and push the scholarship players forcing them to work to maintain their position on the field.

The Walk-ons went out and played smash mouth football as the game is a game of controlled collisions that cannot be finessed by the current coaching methodologies used in Lincoln.

One of the announcers mentioned during Ohio State’s shellacking of the Huskers last week that Urban Meyer told his defensive backs they were not mean enough earlier this season and they needed to get mean. With the Huskers, all the players need to start getting mean so that there are collisions on the field and the Huskers begin to earn some respect again starting first in the B1G and then in the Nation.

During many discussions with former players, alumni, Nebraskans and Husker fans that are not Nebraskans it is clear that the present team is being coached to play football the Husker Way. They are not mean enough to even be able to be on the same football field as the 1997 Husker Football team.

We have slipped downward and have little to look forward to except letting Mike Riley go back to Oregon State and continue his mediocre career there. We need a head coach that can recruit in Texas and California along with developing the talent of the recruits and walk-ons from the proud state of Nebraska.

With Moos comes the opportunity to get back on track to win conference championships and national championships like the fans and the football program has the resources to do.

What we have been missing is the coaching staff that can get the job done. Everything is in place to be successful with some hard work and strong football coaching.

With Moos we have hope. Thank you Drs. Brands and Green.

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Husker Basketball Expectations

Husker Basketball

This past 2013-4 men’s basketball season has seen a tremendous change in Nebraska basketball. Coach Tim Miles has turned around a program that has never been a consistent winner into an exciting penetrating basketball team. Miles has tremendous young talent that this year was a growth year for multiple reasons. The team grew together and bonded as only the good teams can and will do. They learned to rely on each other and build on their ability to defend. Defenses do win titles. Every championship caliber team has a great defense.

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Just to give you a bit of understanding where I get my experience and understanding of basketball and how I view the great game of basketball. My father was a basketball coach and started me playing basketball when I was able to walk and bounce a basketball. I remember being on a basketball court bouncing the ball before I started kindergarten in Belgrade, Nebraska where we lived. The first time I played organized basketball was at age eight. I played organized through high school and concentrated on football and track in college. After an injury playing baseball I took a brief three year hiatus in the US Army and returned to college on the GI Bill and worked my way through college in Lincoln, Nebraska officiating football, basketball and softball. From that point I had worked football and basketball for over twenty-five years from the little kid games to college games. Utilizing my engineering education I grew to know and recognize winning strategies for football and basketball and understanding what teams do enabling them to win games and the differences in the mental makeup of winning players and how they behave once they become consistent winners from a non-partisan perspective. I did not care who won and only recognized the difference in the players that won and those that lost. How they behaved and what they did to ensure those victories. In other words, I watched to see what the winners did to become the consistent winners they are. How they behaved when they lost and what they did to ensure that they learned from their mistakes enabling them to take that experience and win their next time in that position.

Now when I see a team compete I watch many behavior patterns to see if the teams are going to compete and what they will do when the “crunch” time happens.

B1G Conference

Recently the only real team that I have watched over the last forty years, Nebraska Cornhuskers joined the B1G Conference. At first I was a bit unsettled by the loss of long-time football antagonist Oklahoma. All my life the Boomer Sooners were a football thorn in my side. It seemed they always won when they did not deserve to win the game and were lucky more than not. It was a lifetime of an opponent that I thought was worthy of my beloved Huskers. Yet when the Big-12 Conference was created the Boomers gave up their games with Nebraska every year in favor of their game with the Texas Tinhorns.

So it was that I knew that the departure from the Big-12 was the best thing from the perceived destruction of the Big-12 Conference by one team that felt they could and did bully their way onto the other conference members. It turned out that the conference commissioner had to go to prevent favoritism that allowed that bully to force its way on everyone else for the conference to heal and now looks to expand into a conference that will occasionally be competitive on the national college scene.

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Meanwhile the B1G Conference knew that to make their basketball teams competitive they would have to play the best teams face-to-face and mature the talent in the conference learning how to first play at the national level and then to grow through the learning curve to win at the national level. When Nebraska joined the B1G Conference in 2011 the conference was playing the Atlantic Coast Conference face-to-face in early season matchups knowing that the teams would benefit from the national level exposure and grow into better basketball teams short-term and long term. Validating this assertion is that last year 2012-3 men’s basketball season the B1G had five teams in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Dance. This year the B1G Conference has three teams in the Elite Eight level playing excellent basketball with all their teams playing like experienced winners at this level.

Back to the Huskers

This past season the Men’s basketball Huskers were picked to finish last in the B1G Conference. The Women’s Basketball team was expected to compete and won their first ever Conference tournament once again going to the NCAA Women’s Dance. Another reason for our Husker Pride to grow and recognize what a solid coach that can teach players to hustle learning to play against national level competition can do for the team. It has taken Connie Yuri a few years but she has worked hard and reached a level where the Lady Huskers compete at that national level annually. The second year men’s BB coach had taken his teams at Colorado State to the NCAA Men’s Dance and was hired by Dr. Tom Osborne to take the men’s BB program to the same level as Yuri has done with the women. Something that Nebraska basketball has never done consistently.

As stated the team was not expected to compete and to well this year. They started the season losing more than they won. Miles changed the line-up and team chemistry was built allowing the team to start winning. They play excellent defense and the B1G Conference scoring leader is one of the best defenders always reaching out and switching and double covering with his teammates. They are a team effort defensively doing excellent work hustling making the effort to learn and get to the next level.

Getting to the next level and staying there is going to be their challenge this off-season. At the end of the season they lost to first Ohio State in the B1G Conference Tournament and then to Baylor in the NCAA Dance mostly due to their lack of tough game experience that is required to play in the “playoff” environment. In other words the teams do step up the competitive level when they get to tournament-time. It is a mental state they reach and to get there they have to learn how to reach that mental game and what to do to stay there mentally and physically.

When the final 3 minutes in the Ohio State game the OSU team that played in the NCAA Dance last year and advanced took control and performed as experienced winners. Our Huskers lost their focus and did not play up to their potential. They let OSU take them out of their game. During the Baylor game it was the Baylor defense that prevented the Huskers from driving the lane that they had done so well all season and took the game away from the Huskers. Both games with playoff experience could have been won. They are very close. They beat Wisconsin in Lincoln playing great Husker basketball. Wisconsin is still playing basketball into the Elite Eight this year along with two other B1G teams.

Our beloved men’s basketball team reached that level and did not win their first ever NCAA Dance game. Let us hope that Coach Miles will be able to coach the team and let them grow to that national competitive level for years to come. The Husker fans have proven they support the team with the season tickets were sold out last season for a team that was expected to finish last and finished fourth. The Wisconsin game was a standing only room crowd and the new Pinnacle Bank Arena was an exciting place to be.

Mike Babcock at Hail Varsity tells his readers that Husker fans should expect more from the Huskers and they should. The team has set our expectations and theirs at a higher level.

Go Big Red!

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Bo Pelini Can Join an Elite List with Bowl Win

Bo Pelini Can Join an Elite List with Bowl Win

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By Randy York

To coincide with the most wonderful time of the year, The N-Sider offers up some interesting little twists that make watching the Nebraska-Georgia Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl more historically relevant and, by its very nature, more fun. Let’s start with a bit of a stunner: In the history of college football, only seven BCS conference coaches have posted at least nine wins in each of their first six seasons as a head coach at that school. The last time something like that happened dates back four decades ago when Tom Osborne won at least nine games from 1973 to the 1978 season and, of course, went on to keep that streak for all 25 of his years as a head coach. Barry Switzer launched his head coaching career at Oklahoma the same year Osborne began at Nebraska. Switzer kept his minimum 9-win streak alive for his first eight years at OU before his Sooner teams finished 7-4-1 in 1981 and 8-4 in both ’82 and ’83. The list of coaches who have launched each of the first six years at a BCS school with at least nine wins includes:

Dr. Henry L. Williams (Minnesota) 1900-05, 65 wins

Dennis Erickson (Miami) 1989-93, 63 wins

Barry Switzer (Oklahoma) 1973-78, 62 wins

Steve Spurrier (Florida) 1990-95, 61 wins

Mack Brown (Texas) 1998-2003, 59 wins

Earl Bruce (Ohio State), 1979-84, 56 wins

Tom Osborne (Nebraska) 1973-78, 55 wins

That’s our trivial pursuit version of something that might expand from a Magnificent Seven to an Elite Eight list on New Year’s Day. If Bo Pelini can lead Nebraska to an upset win over Georgia in their Jacksonville rematch of last year’s Capital One Bowl, he can add his name to the “first six-seasons list” and increase his win total to 57, one more than Bruce and two more than Osborne, the man who hired him.

Osborne and Switzer Shared National Excellence

How rare is it for two coaches like Osborne and Switzer to rank so high on the same list? For three decades, they battled for seasonal supremacy in late November. Let the record show that Osborne lost to Switzer the first five of those six years (‘73-74-75-76-77) until the Huskers upset the top-ranked Sooners, 17-14 in 1978. Years later, Osborne made a substantive observation: “Our fans used to think Oklahoma was the enemy, but they actually made us better,” he said. Osborne and Switzer were longtime rivals who had great respect for each other. They are the only two coaches on the list who started their head coaching careers at that school during those designated years. With a win, Pelini, would be the third to achieve that milestone in his first head coaching stop. Erickson, Spurrier, Brown and Bruce had previously been head coaches at another BCS school.

Williams had previously been a head coach, but not at a BCS school. Big Ten history buffs know that Williams was Minnesota’s head football coach from 1900 to 1921. What some might not know is that Williams Arena, the home for Gopher basketball, is named after the legendary football coach.     

If Pelini joins Switzer and Osborne as history-makers in their respective first six seasons, he also would become the first BCS conference coach in college football history to take over a losing team and lead it to at least nine wins for each of his first six seasons. Pelini’s win total in comparative charts does not reflect his serving as Nebraska’s interim head coach when the Huskers beat Michigan State, 19-3, in the 2003 Alamo Bowl. The NCAA, however, recognizes Pelini’s Alamo Bowl win over the Spartans, giving the Youngstown, Ohio, native a 3-3 overall bowl game record as a head coach.

Bo Ranks 10th Among Active Division I Coaches

We finish this blog sharing the list of active college football Division I coaches who have the most wins since 2008, the year that Pelini first became an NCAA head coach. Here’s the elite company he’s in:

1) Nick Saban, Alabama, 72

2) Chris Peterson, Boise State, 68

3) Bob Stoops, Oklahoma, 62

4) Gary Patterson, TCU, 58

5) Les Miles, LSU, 60

6-7) Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State, 59

6-7) Brian Kelly, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, 59

8) Urban Meyer, Florida, Ohio State, 58

9) Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech, 57

10) Bo Pelini, Nebraska, 56

Numbers don’t lie. They frame historical perspective. Hope you enjoyed this little history lesson. It heightens my interest in the bowl rematch. How about yours?

Send a comment to ryork@huskers.com (Include city, state)

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Husker Football – FYI

Nebraska Football: Ultimate List of Bo Pelini’s Pros and Cons

BY PATRICK RUNGE  FEATURED COLUMNIST) ON NOVEMBER 30, 2013

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Eric Francis/Getty Images

After Nebraska’s loss to Iowa on Friday, Nebraska football fans were left to wonder whether the third Heroes Game was the last one with Bo Pelini in charge. Saturday morning, Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst ended that speculation with a statement of support, saying Pelini would be leading the Nebraska football program into the future.

But that uncertainty, which started after the Deadspin rant, gained momentum after Nebraska’s loss to Minnesota, and built to a fever pitch after the Iowa loss, has made Nebraska fans take a hard and critical look at their head coach. The first thing to do when taking such a look is make a list of pros and cons, so let’s take a look at what that list would look like for Pelini.

The Pros

He Wins

In his six years in charge at Nebraska, Pelini has never won fewer than nine games (although that string is not yet confirmed for 2013). In a state where there is precious little native football talent, and through the upheaval of a conference change, Pelini has kept Nebraska winning games and going to bowls every year—something that couldn’t be said of his two predecessors.

He’s Loyal

Once someone has earned Pelini’s trust, and become part of his circle, Pelini repays that trust with immense loyalty. He has stuck with coaches and staff even when under pressure, and many times that loyalty has been repaid with great performances.

He’s Passionate

Eric Francis/Getty Images

No one will ever criticize Pelini of being indifferent. He cares intensely about winning, and he transmits that passion to his teams. While his players may suffer in other areas, there is never a danger of a Pelini-coached team quitting.

He Runs a Clean Program

You can look at places like Penn State, USC, Miami, and Ohio State to see the kind of devastation NCAA rules violations can bring to a program. During Pelini’s tenure, there hasn’t been even a sniff of a scandal. His players (for the most part) stay out of trouble, and Nebraska fans have not had to worry about the NCAA knocking on doors in Lincoln.

His Players Support Him

Not everyone who played for Pelini loves him, of course, but take a look at some of the Twitter reactions of former players defending him when it seemed his job was in jeopardy (as compiled by the Omaha World-Herald)

In order to have a chance to win, a coach needs to have his players buy in to what he is teaching. Clearly, that’s not a problem for Pelini.

The Cons

His Teams Have Fallen Short

Eric Francis/Getty Images

At Nebraska, the minimum standard for success is to win a conference championship, something NU has failed to do since 1999. In Pelini’s six years in charge, he has played for three conference titles—and lost all three. This season, in arguably his clearest path to a title game, Pelini’s squad finished the season 8-4 with three conference losses.

He’s Undisciplined

Pelini’s sideline rants are now things of legend. But what is also now legend is a history of Pelini’s teams making mistakes that cost them games. Turnovers and penalties have become hallmarks of a Pelini-coached team, and those mistakes have cost Nebraska dearly.

He’s Inexperienced

Prior to taking the job at Nebraska, Pelini’s head coaching experience consisted of one game—the bowl game he was put in charge of after Frank Solich was fired. As a result,Pelini has been learning on the job, and Nebraska has suffered all the bumps in the road as a result.

He’s Loyal

Yes, loyalty in general is a good thing. But when loyalty is put above performance, particularly in decisions regarding hiring or retaining assistant coaches, loyalty can blind. Instead of assembling a staff with experience to help Pelini make up for his own deficiencies, Pelini has hired from within his own coaching tree. While that does help in terms of continuity of vision, it also creates an echo chamber and prevents Pelini from benefiting from an outside and more experienced perception.

He Has Contempt for the Fans

So, did Shawn Eichorst make the right call by keeping Pelini?
  • Yes, he’s the right man for the job?

    71.0%

  • No, Nebraska needs a new head coach.

    29.0%

    Total votes: 1,031

  • Everyone has heard the Deadspin rant, of course, and knows what Pelini said about the fans after they left early from the 2011 Ohio State game. But it’s more than just the Deadspin rant. Think about what Pelini said after the Iowa loss on Friday. Amidst all the cursing and the excuse-making, at no point (at least that I heard) was there an acknowledgment that the fans had just seen Nebraska give two winnable games—and a chance to play in a conference title game—away on the back of a minus-eight turnover margin.

    Couple that with Pelini’s well-publicized dalliances with other schools, and it’s not unfair to conclude that Nebraska fans (at least Pelini’s supporters) are way more into Pelini than he is into them.

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    Filed under Blackshirts, Bo Pelini, Husker Nation, Offensive Signs

    Husker Fans–How Loyal are They?

    As I have observed this season I have seen one of the best football coaches that has graced Tom and Nancy Osborne Field and Memorial Stadium at the level of Coaching Legends of the likes of Dana Bible, Bob Devaney and Dr. Tom Osborne lambasted for his 2013 team for not winning enough football games.

    The following is a prime example of a Husker fan that thinks they are in the know and have sources solidly within the Nebraska Athletic Department or so they claim. These same “Loyal Husker Fans” are quick to vocalize loudly. We have seen a video this year by an individual showing how Bo Pelini spoke poorly of the Husker Fans.

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    This posting was a prime example of cowardice and attacking someone that has respect of the majority of fans that are not rumor mongering. The lack of respect shown by those two Internet posters indicate one simple element: lack of respect for themselves and the coaches comprising the Nebraska Football Program that is one of the top BCS Football Programs in the country.

    Writing in “More Than Winning” about why he almost left Nebraska for the Colorado job after his sixth season as NU head coach:
    Osborne explains that he had started to realize that “…no matter how good the record was overall, there would be a lot of pressure to get a different coach. Lots of fans did not feel this way, but I think there were many in Nebraska who did, and they were vocal enough that they made things uncomfortable.”
    “Certainly our record had not been viewed with great enthusiasm by the fans, and I think all of us were tempted to go somewhere where winning eight or nine games in a year would be appreciated to a greater degree.”
    He then expounded upon what he had come to understand about the vocal critics:
    “It’s occurred to me often that many problems in athletics, “perhaps most problems” result from people having an inappropriate understanding of athletics. The problem with some fans, for example, is they get their sense of worth, or lack of it, from the athletic team they support. They often have inadequate feelings about themselves, so if the team wins, the fans win. If the team loses, the fans lose and they begin to feel worse about themselves.”

    Nebraska Football coaches are hard-working people that work with young men that are vulnerable and hoping to learn valuable life lessons at the same University I attended and learned valuable life lessons enabling them to go out and contribute to the country and make their parents, Nebraska Football coaches and Nebraska proud.  Something that the current coaching staff is doing a very good job accomplishing.

    What the majority of the respectable and truly loyal Huskers Fans need to do is to not give any credence to the cowards posting and attacking for their lack of adequacy. If my child were to post this type of tripe I would demand the immediate withdrawal of such posting or claim and require an apology from that child just as my father would have done if I were to lower my standards to the level the above two cowards have. Those two cowards need to be held accountable for their inappropriate behavior. Where are their parents?  Why have they not done what any responsible parent should do?

    This is a teachable moment.  Did you teach your children how to react to this inappropriate act?

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    Filed under Blackshirts, Bo Pelini, Husker Nation, Offensive Signs