Saturday, October 20, 2007

Class Act returns to Nebraska 10-20-07

My dear sister in law lives near Omaha, Nebraska with her family, and through that connection I became a Nebraska fan in the 1990's. I'd followed the Cornhuskers ever since I saw them play in the what I and many others consider the greatest college football game ever played, the Thanksgiving, 1971 classic in which Nebraska beat Oklahoma 35-31. I was actually rooting for the Sooners in that game because I was a fan of Oklahoma running back Greg Pruitt and quarterback Jack Mildren. However I remember being impressed with Nebraska great Johnny Rodgers play that day, along with the defense of Nebraska lineman Rich Glover.

My favorite memory from watching the Huskers in the 90's and rooting for them along with my wife's dear sister and her family is the Fiesta Bowl in which the 1995 Nebraska team dominated Steve Spurrier and Florida by a score of 62 - 24, and trust me, the game wasn't really even that close.

Lately though, the Huskers have fallen on hard times. I quit rooting for them when Head Coach Frank Solich was fired after going 9 - 3 in 2003. I remember that their new coach Bill Callahan didn't impress me when he took over, not so much because he wanted to change to a more modern offense, but because he seemed arrogant and dismissive of some of the people and traditions that had paved the way for Nebraska's previous success. I remember something in particular about his doing away with a time honored walk on program for Nebraksa high schoolers who didn't earn scholarships. As time went on it appeared that many die hard true Nebraska fans (not just an outside observer like myself) didn't care much for Callahan either.

Fast forward to today, Nebraska has fired Athletic Director Steve Pederson, former coach Tom Osborne has been hired as an interim AD, and Callahan's job is probably toast come the end of this season. Jason King has an excellent article on the return of class act Osborne (whom I rooted for in his unsuccessful run for Nebraska Governor back in 2006) and the scandalous way that Callahan and Pederson treated former players over the last few years. Since taking over Osborne has said all the right things and taken steps to restore the dignity and class of the Huskers public relations and football program. I wish him and the football team well, but I won't really be rooting for them again until they get a new coach.

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