Corn Flakes, 13th Edition
Friday, November 30, 2012
CoCo Key Water Resort/Ramada Convention Center - Omaha, NE
NU vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Today’s Big Red Breakfast Speakers Nate – Nebraska Football Recruiting Husker Athletic Director: Tom Osborne
Recruiting News – Nate
Very important time for recruiting, in-home visits started this last week. Of course, recruiting has taken a backseat this week as coaches are focused on the game this week. Esp if they win, this will produce extraordinary amount of momentum. 15 commits from 17 states, well-represented class. What really sticks out is their character and leadership, they are no-nonsense types of guys, you can tell they fit into Bo’s plan. This Sunday will start our in-home visits, if we win, going to a BCS Bowl and the Rose Bowl will really be great to sell to players and their parents. David Neville – has visited NE twice. 6’8”, very interested in us, will be making decision between NU and Wisconsin in the next few days, so a win for us might make a difference here – haha! Lots of coaching changes happening, so lots of prospects may open it back up and take another look at NU. Top prospects: Neville, Hooks from Mississippi DT, Toby Johnson and Ben Bradley JUCO DTs currently at Hutchinson KS; Priest Willis – top player in AZ; we are getting good looks from top players in the country. Terrell Newby – Rich Fisher is on him, best RB in California, true game changer, sprinter on track team. New names will be coming out too. Exciting time to be a Husker fan. We will see 10-12 more jump in within next month or so.
Athletic Director – Tom Osborne – needs no introduction
(Standing O – of course!) Breakfasts started at Johnny’s Café a few years ago, those were good times, a little smaller crowd then. Anyone here who was at Johnny’s? You must be 100 yrs old – hahaha! People ask if I miss coaching, yes I do, I miss the players, but not always – ahaha! Tony Davis played IB for me, was a free spirit, we had a few run-ins. He went hunting with me once. Tony waited in car while I talked to farmer about hunting on his land. Farmer had mule that needed to be put down, asked Tom to do it. Went back to car, told Tony farmer said we couldn’t hunt, farmer sent I was bad coach and Tony was bad player. I said, I’m not going to take this lying down. Rolled down my window, shot the mule. I heard a bang, bang, bang from other side of car. Tony said, coach let’s get out of here, I just got 3 cows…..HAHAHAHA!
So much focus on money today with salaries and facilities. When I go to meetings now, it’s more like a board of directors at a bank rather than about college athletics. I think it’s easy to lose of track of what it’s really all about. TV drives everything. Sometimes you don’t know when kickoff will be until 7 days in advance. Hard to deal with if you live farther away. Used to be that there were only a few games on TV and they were all on Saturday. Now you can watch numerous games many days a week.
Rules are now so complex also. You can only have two colors of ink on your recruiting stationary which is nonsensical. There are working groups who are trying to simplify the rulebook. Every time they do this, the rule book ends up getting bigger by 50%. There are positives. Students have to meet a certain standard, after so many years, students have to be so far along in reaching their degree. Grad rates have improved. Healthcare and nutrition and other amenities are so much better.
Football program as I see it. 2007 we had our 2nd losing season in 4 years, prior to that we had gone 42 yrs without a losing season. This was wearing a little thin . I have seen steady progress since Bo was hired, have won 48 games in 5 yrs under Bo. If you can ave 9-10 wins a year, that is GOOD – people don’t understand that. If you look at Hall of Fame coaching careers, the great majority had winning percentages in the 60’s, a few over 70 but not many. Bo is around 72-73%. So if you have that, make sure you appreciate it. This is a very competitive age, more populated states. Our athletes behave well, they do well academically. People will say that our group is the best behaved team that they have been around. Very cohesive.
Iowa last week – not the most sophisticated offensive show. But the wind chill and the wind, I knew it was going to be a difficult day. When it is windy, very hard to throw the ball, makes you much more one dimensional. You are better off in the snow or the rain. Maher’s ability to kick was good. Defense played really well. We lost a few good players, Steinkuhler, Jackson. Iowa was very motivated, they played hard.
Wisconsin game – my comments are relatively uninformed. I go to practice every day, I still watch game films. However, I can ‘t tell you what plays we should run, who should start, etc. All of the things that you guys know instinctively – hahahaha! Unless you are in the meeting rooms yourself, know the mental states of players, studying those films, you really don’t have the knowledge to make judgments. Wisconsin is very solid, well-coached. O-line has played better throughout the year. RBs very good, 4.9-5 yds per carry. Not real complicated. LBs really good. Will be a headknocker. Both teams are trying to make a statement. I really like our team. Some spots exceptional – RBs and receivers, QB is very good. As a defensive coach, what you hate to face more than anything is a guy who has speed and can turn the corner on anything. His passing has improved. Secondary is good, we lead Big 10 in most categories in pass defense. LBs have gotten good. Depth in D-line is questions. Cam has stepped in there and done a great job. Chase Rome has done well. Randall’s knee is better. E Martin is pretty disruptive guy. He inspired me to run a little bit faster when I ran out on the field last week because I knew he was right behind me – HAAHA! Maher will be very important factor.
Questions from the Crowd
1. I would never take Eric hunting, I would never put a weapon in Eric’s hands. We are pretty good friends and I want to keep it that way.
2. Thank you for all you have done – applause, applause!!! Two times when people say nice things about you: when you retire and when you die. At least I can enjoy this right now, I probably wont enjoy the other very much – ha! I’ve done the best I can. Walk-on program is alive and well. Tried to restore the culture. Fans are behind us again, more unified. I like what Tim Miles is doing in basketball. Pepin and Cook are as good as there is.
3. Fine line. Bob Devaney never came down and told me what to do, but he was always receptive if I wanted to bounce something off him. I don’t try to manager our team, but I talk to Bo at least once a week. He understands that I’ve been there before, I’ve had people write letters to Voice from The Grandstand which fortunately doesn’t exist anymore – hahaha!
4. What was your best year coaching? Best years were really when I had good players – hahaha! Made me a lot smarter coach. 94-95 we were undefeated, I thought I was pretty good coach, then most players went to NFL and I realized, that it wasn’t good coaching, it was good players.
5. Conference realignment – a little disconcerting. Gratified by the way fans have accepted move to Big 10. A bit of a battlefield decision. 6 teams were talking about going to Pac 12. Big 10 represented stability, overall I think a good move. Emphasis on money, TV drives this. Jim Delaney will be doing a new TV contract, so he is looking at the number of TV sets out there. Rutgers represents New York market, Maryland represents DC and Virginia areas. Lots of TV sets involved here. Could go to 16 teams at some point in Big 10. Long term rivalries are disrupted. Don’t know how Big 10 will realign. I would hope that they start over and do it more along geographical distribution. Travel gets expensive. Eventually it should stop. With 4-5 16-team leagues, people will be happy and that’s it.
6. When I first started, I had each unit come to my office. Asked them what I could do for them, I listened, took notes, tried to act on things that made sense. Wrote mission statement together, 225 people. Core values that were important to them, voted on 5 core values that all agreed on. Sent out over email for comment. I try to remind them regularly what it is, what it means. People have to be themselves, they can’t try to be like me. I am interested in direction of things. Generally things are going the right direction now. There are a lot of things that you guys don’t see on the sideline. As long as coach that has players that respect him and like to play for him, that’s a big deal. I don’t try to make anybody in my image. Integrity is #1. I don’t know of a coach we have right now that would bend the rules or lie or try to deceive a player.
Go Big Red! Go Huskers! BeatWisconsin!
Win that Big 10 Championship…….!!!!!!
"I'm a firm believer in the theory that people only do their best at things they truly enjoy. It is difficult to excel at something you don't enjoy." – Jack Nicklaus
I think that was a typo. It was 15 commits from 10 states. They're still looking to add around 10 more guys to this class.
Coach Osborne was gracious, humble, and entertaining. The stories and jokes were great. He told a story about how he used to golf with Devaney quite a bit back in the day. After a while, someone (I think he said John Melton) noticed that the two weren't playing golf together anymore and asked why. Osborne asked Melton if he'd like to play golf with someone who tees up balls in the rough, takes "gimme" putts, and cheats on his scorecard. Melton said he would not want to play with someone like that, and Osborne said, "Well, neither did Bob!"
It was a great time. I'm typically not much of an autograph seeker, and Osborne mentioned in his books in the past that he never really understood the fascination with autographs. However, I felt that the opportunities were going to become rarer as time goes on, so I went to the back of the room, bought a mini-helmet from the Lawlor's table, and asked Osborne to sign it before he went on stage. There was a crowd of folks around him seeking autographs, and I was the next-to-last person he signed for before the "show" started.
Just a really good time. I wish I had been around for these when they first started many, many years ago.
I'll be 62 in a couple of weeks. Even at this age, Tom Osborne is a role model for me.
I just turned 62 in September, an I feel the same as you.
I wrote him an email when he first announced retirement. I said we have grown older together, and I will miss him. I, also, said that I didn't always agree with him, but that all-in-all, it seemed to work out OK.
I can't remember when I was 62 (okay, I have to think about it a bit). I have followed Coach for over 40 years now and don't know how his leaving will affect me yet. I know I will miss seeing him. Wish him the very best.