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  • THE "OH NO" IN OHIO

    A loss like Saturday night's was one that wasn't supposed to happen. Not in Year Five of the Bo Pelini Era. In fact, after Nebraska's 33-0 Holiday Bowl win over Mike Stoops' Arizona Wildcats in 2009, Pelini announced to the cheers of Husker fans that Nebraska football was back.

    And why would anyone doubt him? After all, Pelini took a Nebraska team ranked 111th in total defense in 2007 and turned it into the #1 ranked scoring defense in the country. Yes, Husker football seemed to be back.

    That the Huskers lost on the road to a fired up Ohio State Buckeye team hell bent on avenging last year's "Cornhusker Comeback" should come as no huge surprise to the football world. To be sure, the Huskers' recent track record in big games in hostile environments is not stellar. (See last year's blow-out losses at Michigan and Wisconsin and this year's UCLA game.) So a loss Saturday night wasn't out of the question.

    THE WAY
    But it was the way the Huskers lost. 63-38. Really? The loss is a colossal embarrassment to every Husker football fan and to all those great players who for decades have put their blood, sweat and tears into the Cornhusker football program and the state of Nebraska.

    What makes the loss even scarier was Bo Pelini's demeanor in his press conference afterward. Deer in the headlights. He had no answers. And other than "We need to win the rest of the games," he had no solutions. Anyone want to bet the farm on the Huskers going 6-0 the rest of the regular season? For the record, the last Husker team to do so was the 1997 undefeated NC team.

    THE MESSAGE

    Does Pelini need to win out to save his job? No way. But get blown out again the way the Huskers did last weekend and it will be difficult to see him staying. And with two more very mobile quarterbacks (NW's Kain Colter and Michigan's Dennard Robinson) coming up in the next two games, another shelling is not out of the question.

    Make no mistake. This loss has sent a message to the fans, players, coaches and to the football world that "It Ain't Working." Is NU headed for irrelevancy?

    THAT'LL BE THE DAY
    If you think that's not possible, did you ever think you'd see the day that a Nebraska football team was not ranked, but Iowa State was? Or that Ohio University (not OSU) would receive more votes in this week's football poll than unranked Nebraska? Are you kidding me? Yes, Hell has frozen over. And Bo Pelini will win the press' Mr. Congeniality Award this year.

    What can Bo do? What should he do? Bench players? Burn redshirts? Hand out Blackshirts? Appoint team captains? Fire some assistants?

    Does he bench Taylor Martinez? TM isn't why the Huskers lost Saturday, but can you imagine how long Tom Osborne would have kept Martinez as his starting quarterback considering his penchant for fumbles and interceptions?

    Is there time for Bo to make changes? History says yes.

    HISTORY LESSON

    Bob Devaney saved his job by naming Osborne as his OC after two 6-4 seasons in '67 and '68. TO switched to the option game in the early '80s after his teams were losing each year to the Sooners. And in the early '90s, TO switched to a 4-3 defense and recruited speed on the defense to compete with the Florida teams. The rest is history.

    The question is, will Bo Pelini swallow his pride and set aside his stubbornness to make changes? To be sure, in his fifth season, things are getting worse, not better, for the Nebraska football program.

    And no, I'm not advocating Pelini's dismissal -- that would be foolish. But Husker football is the Cash Cow for the entire athletic program. Any threat to its well being needs to be dealt with quickly and forcefully. And new Husker A.D. Shawn Eichorst knows that all too well.

    Sure, the sellout streak will continue this season and there will be a lot of people traveling to Chicago next weekend to see the Huskers take on Northwestern, but how long will Husker fans want to shell out thousands to watch their team get embarrassed?

    OFF THE RADAR
    The off week couldn't have come at a better time. Two weeks to make changes. Two weeks to prepare for another mobile quarterback whose team upset NU in Lincoln last year. And if the Huskers win that one, the following week Dennard Robinson and the Michigan Wolverines come to Lincoln and are going to be licking their chops. Good teams smell the blood in the water. The next two games may define Bo Pelini's college head coaching career -- at least his NU coaching career.

    THE GAME
    I won't rehash Saturday's debacle, but I will say a thing about Urban Meyer. As most of you know, I don't care if a team runs up the score on Nebraska. It's NU's duty to make stops. But why on earth did Meyer keep Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde in the game when it was out of reach? Lose Miller on a late game hit and Meyer becomes the dumbest coach in all of football. Why not at least have your QB take a knee and protect your star player? There can be only one answer. Urban was trying to rub it in to a vanquished Husker football team.

    Whatever. Just remember, Urban, what goes around comes around. Husker fans looking for a replacement for the much disliked Barry Switzer need look no further. Meyer is worse. Much worse. At least Switzer would never have done that to a Husker team. He had class. Meyer has none. Remember that one, Husker fans. Do not forget this one. Ever.

    50 AND COUNTING
    Meeting Tom Osborne 1977
    I was in Lexington, Nebraska in the summer of '77. Tom Osborne was in town that night and would be speaking at the local VFW hall.

    I had just moved back from California and missed the last four years of the Devaney Era and the first few years of Osborne's and had never had a chance to hear Osborne speak.

    I knew that Osborne had some huge shoes to fill upon the retirement of Bob Devaney. How was Tom going to do? I couldn't wait to see.

    Not to worry. Tom was glib, self-deprecating and after a few minutes, like his predecessor, had the audience eating out of his hand. I remember that he told a story about Johnny Rodgers. For those of you who aren't old enough to remember, JR was Nebraska's first Heisman winner. He was an amazing athlete who played wingback and was one of the best kick returners in the history of college football.

    "Johnny was never lacking in confidence or ego," Osborne recalled. "One day, I forget which home game it was, but Johnny was injured. And he almost never got hurt. So I rushed onto the field to check on him. Johnny was lying on his back and didn't look too good. So I asked him, 'How're you doing?' and he said "I'm doing okay, but how's the crowd taking it?'"

    Of course the audience loved it. Tom Osborne was his own man and was quickly on the way to his own legacy.

    To contact the writer, e-mail HuskerDan@cox.net



    Comments 14 Comments
    1. FLHusker's Avatar
      FLHusker -
      I have heard a lot of talk about OSU's last TD. While I totally agreee Urban Meyer isn't the most ethical coach in the world and he shouldn't have had his starters in, and all of that. I too was a little miffed when they scored it but when they showed the replay, the defensive line, especially the DE just stood up and gave no effort to try and stop it. The linebacker was out of position like most of the night and the OSU back basically walked into the end zone. What was the kid supposed to do lay down? Laying down is what NE defense did. It was more of a lack of effort on NE part than it was OSU trying to stick one more in.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      If Pelini keeps saying that he could care less (what he means is he couldn't care less) what the fans think, as he did again on his radio show last night, what he is going to eventually find is the fans will have that same attitude toward his continued career prospects at UNL.
    1. davered's Avatar
      davered -
      This whole thing about running up the score is rediculous. First off, "running up the score" is the lamest, most crybaby complaint in all of sports and this is what Nebraska football fans have come to? Crying because an opposing coach ran up the score? Jeesh. OSU got the ball with about 3 minutes left on about the Nebraska 32 and were running the back into the line on every play to end the game...something we have done countless times over the years. The back hit the line and bounced outside like he is supposed to do, and we did not tackle him like we are supposed to do. Crying and complaining about that last td? Look in the mirror. Urban Meyer has less class than Switzer? You've may have some memory loss dude if you were around during the Switzer years.
    1. Husker Dan's Avatar
      Husker Dan -
      Quote Originally Posted by davered View Post
      This whole thing about running up the score is rediculous. First off, "running up the score" is the lamest, most crybaby complaint in all of sports and this is what Nebraska football fans have come to? Crying because an opposing coach ran up the score? Jeesh. OSU got the ball with about 3 minutes left on about the Nebraska 32 and were running the back into the line on every play to end the game...something we have done countless times over the years. The back hit the line and bounced outside like he is supposed to do, and we did not tackle him like we are supposed to do. Crying and complaining about that last td? Look in the mirror. Urban Meyer has less class than Switzer? You've may have some memory loss dude if you were around during the Switzer years.
      Dear Red: You might want to re-read my column. I have always maintained that I have no problem with Husker opponents running up the score on Nebraska. It's the defense's duty to stop them. My point is that why leave your very talented and injury prone quarterback in the game when it was out of reach? Had Braxton Miller been injured late in that game, it could have affected the rest of the Buckeye football season.

      I've criticized our own coaches in the past for doing the same thing with Taylor Martinez and will condemn any team that needlessly endangers a student athlete so late in a game. And for the record, I go back (gasp!) even before Barry Switzer!

      Thanks for writing. I enjoyed your comments.
      Husker Dan
    1. Husker39211's Avatar
      Husker39211 -
      Husker Dan, the funny thing is, I had the same reaction you did to davered's comment.....before I even read your response. People read or listen to something but they only hear what they want to hear. Your point was right on! I live in Mississippi and was born and raised here so I know all too well about the SEC and all of its former and current coaches. You are absolutely 1000% correct in saying that it was extremely STUPID to have two players, one being your starting QB, that you are going to rely on heavily the rest of the season, in the game with one minute left. Run whatever play you want to but in that situation, to have those two still in the game, the only logical conclusion is the one you drew. I didn't like Urban Meyer when he was at Florida and he hasn't done anything since arriving at OSU that makes me think he's any less of a DB than I did before!
    1. davered's Avatar
      davered -
      Dan...I re-read my last post and the tone was way too negative and combative. Sorry. The ruts and "Barry Switzer had class" stuff bugged me. About the ruts... you can't say you have no problem with it and then say stuff like "what goes around comes around" and "Meyer is worse, much worse" and "Do not forget this one. Ever." You clearly do have a problem with it. And this wasn't even running up the score. The last two OSU possessions totaled I think 8 plays...all inside runs (though some bounced outside after they started). Osborne's teams used to do this all the time and still late TDs would happen. Your take that he was "trying to rub it in to a vanquished Husker team" ( again pretty clear you have a problem with it) was incorrect. You just seem to be mad because he and his players didn't stop playing. And your take that "Barry Switzer had class" is laughable and blows up your credibility. I remember once he beat us and we only got 3 points by kicking a meaningless long field goal late in the game and afterwards BS kept chirping about how it should have been a shutout and "Nebraska knows it was really a shutout." One of many examples. No Dan, the bootlegger's boy had no class whatsoever. And Urban Meyer appears to me to be an outstanding coach and individual. And a very hard guy. It's not a good idea for us to say an opposing coach has no class. We have Bo Pelini. Glass houses and stones and all that.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      TO leaving is not good news at all for Pelini. TO would never fire Pelini, and Pelini knows that. Different story now. The core issue surrounding NU football is not scheme, play calling, etc. Everything comes down to recruiting, pure and simple. Pelini can't do it at the highest level, and neither can his staff. "We just didn't make plays" = we're unable to make plays. "We just didn't execute" = we can't execute. Of course Bo didn't forget how to coach defense -- he just ran out of Callahan's recruits. TMart starts and Bo defends him no matter what because he's the best they've got. TMart never sees the field as a QB for a champ level team. In fact, nearly all of the starters on both sides of the ball wouldn't even letter on a top level team. NU is too slow, too weak, and apparently challenged intellectually (QB? Scheme too difficult?), but no reporter will EVER ask that question because a) it would be telling an entire group of college kids trying their hardest that they stink, and b) it would be calling Pelini out as a failed head coach. He has D Coordinator accepting head coaching pay. He's only put half of a team on the field for 5 years - either the offense or the defense stinks on his watch. Sometimes both.
    1. Tbear's Avatar
      Tbear -
      I think the last TD s/b a motivator for our team and glad they didn't take the knee. If I was Bo I would replay it to the team to remind them how it feels to be humilinated on National TV (not that they probably need reminding). Let's hope something wakes them up..
    1. Skytown J's Avatar
      Skytown J -
      Switzer was arrogant as hell and addicted to gloating, but regarding the issue of class, you may wish to check in with Jerry Pettibone on that one. I watched Bo's postgame talk and the impression I got was that he was frustrated that the defense made so many fundamental mistakes throughout the game, (mistakes that they've been making all season), and he was also P.O.'ed because they quit on the bugeyes final possession leading to the last score. Shoot, I could've scored on that one. Yes, payback is a you-know-what, but the way this program looks, it'll be a long time before they serve it up to Meyer.
    1. Rlfrerichs's Avatar
      Rlfrerichs -
      "Its not my job to stop my offense--its your job to stop my offense"
      Bobby Bowden ca 1996
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Dan your comments are spot on. I think alot of the so called Big Red faithful often forget about those early Osborne years (70's). Can you imagine what would have been said about Osborne if the internet technology was available back then? As far as all the talk about running up the score, you hit it on the head about what goes around comes around, just imaging what would be said if they took a knee and we decided to blow threw and then there QB gets injured (for those who watch the NFL,week 2, Giants vs Bucs) there was some complaints about the end of that game. As for Bo, time will tell. I know in todays world of win NOW fans cannot fathom time, but there is something to be said about stability, besides I do not think NU will ever be able to get a Nick Saben$$$$$ guy. Five years ago Husker Nation wanted to bring back some of the Cornhusker culture and a new direction for there football program. And one for the road IT IS A TEAM SPORT and I have always supported my Huskers threw thick and thin and even in the deepest of enemy territories (still stuck in KS).
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      I kind of thought Ohio State was a little dirty. A lot of personal fouls at times gave the Huskers another 5 yards!
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Bo can't recruit, and neither can his staff. NU has many starters who wouldn't even letter on champ level teams. "We didn't execute" or "We didn't make plays" is coach speak for "We are unable to execute or make plays because the talent level is so far below top caliber." Since when did NU become a training ground for rookie coaches and coordinators?
    1. Husker39211's Avatar
      Husker39211 -
      Quote Originally Posted by davered View Post
      Dan...I re-read my last post and the tone was way too negative and combative. Sorry. The ruts and "Barry Switzer had class" stuff bugged me. About the ruts... you can't say you have no problem with it and then say stuff like "what goes around comes around" and "Meyer is worse, much worse" and "Do not forget this one. Ever." You clearly do have a problem with it. And this wasn't even running up the score. The last two OSU possessions totaled I think 8 plays...all inside runs (though some bounced outside after they started). Osborne's teams used to do this all the time and still late TDs would happen. Your take that he was "trying to rub it in to a vanquished Husker team" ( again pretty clear you have a problem with it) was incorrect. You just seem to be mad because he and his players didn't stop playing. And your take that "Barry Switzer had class" is laughable and blows up your credibility. I remember once he beat us and we only got 3 points by kicking a meaningless long field goal late in the game and afterwards BS kept chirping about how it should have been a shutout and "Nebraska knows it was really a shutout." One of many examples. No Dan, the bootlegger's boy had no class whatsoever. And Urban Meyer appears to me to be an outstanding coach and individual. And a very hard guy. It's not a good idea for us to say an opposing coach has no class. We have Bo Pelini. Glass houses and stones and all that.

      Dear davered: Are you on drugs or are you just retarded? First you apologize for having a negative tone in your first post and being way too combative. You were fine until this line..."Your take that he was "trying to rub it in to a vanquished Husker team" ( again pretty clear you have a problem with it) was incorrect. You just seem to be mad because he and his players didn't stop playing. And your take that "Barry Switzer had class" is laughable and blows up your credibility." Nice job apologizing by attacking the persons credibility immediately afterward. I hope you are not married! If so, how do you make apologies to your wife? Honey I'm sorry, I reacted out of raw emotion to your comments, howver, you are still wrong and a classless Bitch! Nice!
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