TO CHEW ON
A couple of years ago, my brother John, who is a rancher in Knox County, Nebraska attended a grazing conference in Grand Island. The featured speaker was then U.S. Congressman Tom Osborne. After the conference ended, people filed out of the room leaving Tom Osborne, standing by himself, all alone.
The idea of the legendary Husker coach standing all alone at an event in Nebraska seems astonishing-particularly in view of the fact that Osborne was expected to enter "06 the race for governor of the state of Nebraska.
Imagine that. No one came up to him to talk about football-you know, Tommie, Brook, "Going For Two", the three national championships, the "Phantom Clip" in the '94 Orange Bowl or the extended playing field at Penn State in '82. No one sought his autograph or asked him about the new Husker staff or even asked him about grazing options. How could that possible be?
And as we all learned last year, Tom's bid for the governor ended in the primary when he lost to the eventual winner, Dave Heineman. Tom Osborne losing? On his home turf? The great and powerful Oz, losing? What in the name of Bob Devaney was going on here?
In the God Works In Strange And Mysterious Ways Department, Husker fans have to wonder what would have happened had Tom won. Think about that for a minute.
Had he won, Tom would have been governor this October when Harvey Perlman axed Steve Pederson. Harvey and the University were in dire need of an athletic director. Had Tom Osborne been Gov. Tom Osborne, he would not have been able to have jumped in to save the day for the Husker football program.
Ask yourself, who would you rather have righting the ship at this time than Tom Osborne? Who would Husker fans have trusted? A Harvard MBA as an interim A.D.? Who else on the planet-check that-who in the universe was more qualified than Tom to lead us through these rough times?
THANKS FOR LOSING
This may be the only time I will ever say this, but thanks for losing, Coach. Never will I think of Gov. Dave Heineman the same way. Had Tom Osborne won, Husker Pride Worldwide would be in a huge mess today.
With the firing of Steve Pederson, the hiring of Tom Osborne as A.D., the hiring of Bo Pelini as the new Husker head coach, Bo's decision to be his own defensive coordinator and Bo's keeping Shawn Watson and Ted Gilmore as assistant coaches, Husker fans couldn't have asked for more this Christmas.
When it looked as though it was certain that Bill Callahan was going to be fired, some friends asked me who I thought would be a good fit to be the next Husker head coach. I was strongly for Shawn Watson remaining as Offensive Coordinator and to appoint Bo Pelini as the Defensive Coordinator. But, I rationed, there would be no way Bo would leave LSU for another assistant's job. I also feared that an entire new coaching staff would set the program back another 4 or 5 years. I also was afraid that we might be throwing the baby out with the bath water if the entire offensive staff were to be dismissed.
So Tom Osborne, in his infinite wisdom, knew what he was doing. Tom didn't want to hire a new coach who would want to bring all his assistants with him.
Tom decided that Bo was the best candidate for the job. Although he spent less than a year at Nebraska, Pelini knows, loves and understands the Husker football program as well as anyone. (I'll write later about Turner Gill.) He also understands how special it is to have Tom Osborne mentoring him in his first season as a head coach.
Although at the time of this writing, it's not official, it appears Bo is bringing back some former Husker assistants. Barney Cotton will be the O-line coach.; Ron Brown-tight ends coach, Marv Sanders will likely be the secondary coach. It's not sure who will coach the D-line, running backs, special teams, but there seems to be a nucleus of a good coaching staff.
Tom Osborne can not be thanked enough. Coming out of retirement after 10 years is nothing short of amazing. In '97, Tom went out on top of his profession. His legacy had already been engraved. It is at considerable risk to his legacy that Osborne has come back to help his University one more time.
If Bo doesn't pan out, Tom's legacy may be tainted forever. "He was a great coach, but he really messed up as an athletic director." It's like going for two at Miami in the '84 Orange Bowl. He gambled. The Huskers lost the game, the national championship but in doing so, managed to gain the respect of the college football world. Will Tom Osborne be able protect his legacy one more time?
We should all give Tom Osborne all the thanks and admiration we can muster. Johnny Rodgers once said, "The secret of walking on water is knowing where the rocks are." I think Tom knows exactly where all the rocks are.
BIG RED BETTY
Betty Walker, a long time Husker fan who grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska and who has lived for many years in Lincoln, California received some very bad news this past week. She may have only months to live. If you would like to send her words of love and encouragement, you may participate in an "Email Shower". She would love hearing from Husker fans. Betty is a class act. Maybe the Good Lord has another miracle he can perform.
Betty's email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
HUSKER DAN'S ARMY UPDATE
Greetings Husker Dan:
My name is SFC Dean Johns. I am currently serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I am the Platoon Sergeant for 3rd Plt / 116th Military Police Company. I have read what you have done for soldiers previously here in Iraq. I am in a tough situation and I was wondering if you might be able to help. I was wondering if you provide recordings of any of the past season's games that was successful. I am surrounded by SEC bandwagon fans who cannot appreciate a real football team or can appreciate the fact that I believe in only one team and not whoever is at the top of the Polls (wishing for playoff system). That would lift our moral and provide some good holiday spirits for my soldiers, in a time when things are quit frankly a tough situation on both ends.
As in a tough year of being away from home and having to catch bits and pieces of one of the toughest seasons our husker nation have endured. I myself is from just down the road to Lincoln (Syracuse); and my unit is across the southern border of NE (Fort Riley, KS) deep in enemy territory of Manhattan, so you can just imagine the jabs some of us get from the KU/KSU bandwagon fans I think they was cheering for KSU this year KU. Myself along with a few others are some of the best husker fans you will find. And it doesn't matter what time of year it is Big Red is who we support. I had one of the officers in my unit asked me which NFL team I support and my reply was the Huskers. Talk about a dumbfounded look I received. It would be great for any support you might be able to provide my soldiers. Will be looking forward towards your commentaries. You can reach me at email@example.com or my mailing address is listed below. I thank you for time sir, and GO BIG RED!!!
SFC Dean L. Johns
3rd Plt 116th MP CO
COB Q-WEST, 09351
PAVELKA! PAVELKA! PAVELKA!
My last column, I invited all those who want Kent Pavelka to be the next PBP man for Husker football to send me your comments. I received many letters (see the following sampling). The overwhelming number of messages were pro-Pavelka.
If you would like to direct your wishes to those who actually make the decision, you may write Dave Witty, General Manager at Husker Sports Network at:
And to contact Tom Osborne at UNL, you may send your messages to Tom's assistant at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Husker Dan
Kent Pavelka for sure! He was my favorite and would get my vote.
Dear Husker Dan:
I've listened to Big Red Football for 65 years and we've had some great announcers. Kent was one of those that made you feel like you were there and his excitement when the Huskers scored just spilled out over the airwaves. The announcers the last few years have been pretty blah. They report the game but the old passion just doesn't seem to be there. Yes, please, lets have Kent back! Let's make listening to the radio broadcasts the treat they once were.
A loyal Husker fan though I've lived in Colorado, California and Arizona. There IS no place like Nebraska. Thanks for anything you can do. And thanks for your comments. I enjoy them.
Dr. Jeanne H.
Bring back Kent Pavelka! We loved Kent as the PBO announcer. It seems that the downward spiral of Husker football began when he was no longer calling the games. Coincidence? We don't think so. Please put us on the list of Yes votes!
Keith and Pam K.
Newman Grove, NE
Dear Husker Dan:
Please work your magic and use your mojo. Bring back Kent Pavelka.
Cedar Rapids, IA
I grew up listening to Lyell and Kent every Saturday game day and I was totally appalled when KFAB lost the broadcast rights to the games. Since we can not have Lyell back, Kent is the next best thing. Kent Pavelka and Husker football go together like Oreos and milk. Can't have one without the other!!!!!!!!!!!!
I second Matt S.' request for a return to PAVELKA! PAVELKA! PAVELKA! He is a class act from the past who put excitement into Nebraska football. I still have tapes of his Orange Bowl announcing as Cory Schlesinger galloped into the end zone against the hated Hurricanes. First Tom returns, now it's Kent's turn. RETURN TO GLORY HUSKERS!
I vote for Kent "touchdown! touchdown! touchdown!" Pavelka.
Joe Colorado Springs, CO (former Nebraskan)
I believe Kent is part of Husker tradition and would like to see him back.
Gene in York, NE
I'm all for bringing Kent back as the PBP guy for Nebraska football. His voice makes me flash back to the Nebraska powerhouse teams of the 90's, which is always a good thing... He certainly has a passion for the
Cornhusker football, and it reflects well in his commentary.
P.S. I'd vote to keep Adrian and Matt as color commentators, as I think they are both EXCELLENT.
Thanks, and GBR!
Being stuck here in the hinterlands of Southern California, I can't simply turn on the radio to listen to the Huskers. However, I can turn on the Internet Radio, and I gotta tell yea, I'd love to hear Kent calling the games again.
Woodland Hills, CA
Please bring back Kent. As a UNL alum living is Dallas, we NEED him back on the air. There were a lot of KP nay-sayers back in that day. That was prior to us having to endure Warren Swain and, bless his heart, Jim Rose. We need KP to resume his all too familiar position as the golden voice of the 'Skers. Plus-it can only help our karma on the field as well.
I miss hearing Kent Pavelka call the NU games. He got more worked up than me, which I found quite interesting. If I felt low during a game, Kent could always get my blood pumping red again. Did he get too pumped up? I suppose if it is possible to get too pumped up for a NU game, he would epitomize the saying, but I don't think I ever got too pumped up for a Nebraska game.
I agree that it is time to bring back Kent Pavelka. He never should have been let go in the first place and as we are restoring Husker Nation, it is time to bring back the true professional and the Truce Voice of the Huskers, Kent Pavelka!
Bill Lincoln, NE
THERE WAS A HUSKER GAME IN BOULDER
The only thing there is to say about the Huskers' second half collapse at Colorado is, thank goodness this season has come to a merciful end. I have to think that Joe Ganz's rib injury just before the fist half ended, led to his passes sailing on him in the second half. Joe hasn't said anything publicly on the matter, but he just wasn't the same player in the second half. Heal up, Joey. We need you for next year!