OF THE NATIVES
This week's firing of Steve Pederson is a triumph for the decency and
honesty that for decades have made up the cornerstone of Husker football.
When he returned to Nebraska in 2003 to take over for Bill Byrne, Steve
Pederson had everything going for him. He was a native Nebraskan who
grew up with Husker football. He once was a part of Osborne's staff.
He left Nebraska to gain the experience he would need to lead an athletic
program like Nebraska's. After stints at Tennessee, Ohio State and Pittsburgh,
it was time for the Native Son to return to his dream job-to be the
Athletic Director at his beloved alma mater. At the time of his hiring,
Steve Pederson was the right man for the job. He was a perfect fit.
He knew the history and tradition of Husker football and could help
lead the Husker football program back to dominance.
I have applauded many of his decisions, but not necessarily the way
he did them. He made tough decisions regarding the firing of Frank Solich.
Pederson could have chosen the easy way. Keep the status quo, don't
rock the boat, don't create enemies. He hired Bill Callahan who brought
with him an entirely different style of football. With Callahan, Steve
Pederson was going to restore the Husker football program to its glory
But something happened along the way. Steve's management style changed.
I don't know how it happened or why it happened. But Pederson became
a tyrant, creating a managing style rooted in fear and intimidation.
I wish Steve Pederson no ill will. I wish him the best. He did some
great things for the athletic program during his four plus years at
Nebraska. It's a shame that it all had to end this way. But like most
people, Nebraska fans don't tolerate bullies and never will.
With Monday's news of Pederson's dismissal , a local radio station in
Omaha played "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead". To be sure, there
is joy in Mudville. Capt. Queeg is no more. And to top it off, the venerable
Tom Osborne is back, to help right the ship.
I'll admit, when I saw Coach Tom addressing the crowd that had gathered
Tuesday to witness this historic moment in Husker football, I got a
little verklempt. To be sure, Chancellor Perlman's decision to bring
Osborne into the athletic department during this time of turmoil is
a good one. Understandably, Tom could have chosen not to get involved.
Tom could let others figure out how to solve this mess. These are tough
times. Osborne brings to the department what has been lacking the past
four years-honesty, decency, integrity, class and yes, confidence-confidence
that Tom Osborne will be the savior of the Husker football program.
Husker fans who think miracles are going to happen by this weekend are
apt to be disappointed. Please give Coach time to work through things.
Give the guy a break. Stay with the program. Don't boo the players or
coaches. Be classy. Be supportive and most of all, be patient.
Husker fans, while elated that Osborne is back in command, are still
faced with a football program that is in total disarray. It pains me
to write this. It pains me to see our once proud football team struggle
against weaker opponents. I've met most of the Husker coaches and find
them to be the classiest and sharpest bunch I've ever seen. I hope and
pray things will turn around and they will continue to coach at Nebraska.
But in a "just win, baby" atmosphere in which we live, being
classy might not be good enough.
How this program, led by most of the same coaches and most of the same
players can be transformed from contenders last year, to pretenders
this year is baffling. It is stunning to see this program fall so fast
and so hard.
THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE
I sat at the game Saturday and witness something I'd never seen before
at Memorial Stadium. At the half, there was stunned silence-a silence
that was deafening. Is this the nadir of Husker football? Have we hit
rock bottom, or will things get even worse?
People are calling for the head of Kevin Cosgrove this year while last
year his defense, although burned at home against Kansas (Huskers won
in OT), had good schemes against Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri (win) and
Auburn. Nebraska didn't lose those games because of poor defense or
poor tackling. During the latter part of 2006, teams had a tough time
scoring on Coz's defenses.
NO OFFENSE, PLEASE
So is Cosgrove dumber this year than last? I mean, what in the name
of Dana X. Bible is going on? How did the Husker defense collapse this
year? And what about the much heralded offense? Keller and Company have
put up a total of 20 points in the last two games against defenses ranked
in the 90s. It's mind-boggling.
Be careful if you think the coaching staff should be fired. We'll go
through another 4-6 years of rebuilding in the process. That's about
a decade of turmoil. I don't think Husker Pride Worldwide wants to endure
What to do? We can all look to Tom Osborne. He may need another "Miracle
In Missouri" to pull this one out. Stay tuned, Husker fans. And
be patient. This may be a very, very bumpy ride.
If you'd like to give Husker Dan a piece
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