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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Big Red Roundtable - Bo's Place Edition

Well, we haven't had one of these in a while and a change in coaching staffs seems like a good enough reason, so here we go.

1. The 2007 season finished with a disappointing 5-7 record. Very few people expected this. What went wrong?

The optimist in me would prefer to think about what went right, but that’s a pretty short list. So what went wrong? Pretty much everything. After a quick start against Nevada and a pretty nice road win at Wake, the wheels definitely came off. I think too much attention was given to the USC game by the coaching staff. Then when the outcome played out the way it did, and the head coach mentions how embarrassed he was by the effort the team seemed to turn on him.

Overall, there seemed to be far too many guys playing for themselves and far too few playing for the “N” on their helmets. That had a lot to do with a lack of senior leadership and an environment of ZERO accountability. Miss a tackle…keep your spot. Illegal motion…keep your spot. Lose gap responsibility…keep your spot. Poor performance without consequences begets continued poor performance. Put all of the above together and you have a recipe for disaster. Or a 5-7 finish for Nebraska.

2. Bo Pelini takes over as head coach. Good move or bad?

Considering the current state of the program? Good move. In his first few days on the job, Pelini has already paid more attention to Nebraska’s tradition than the previous coaching staff did in four years. That’s good for a number of reasons, but generally gives all of us some since of ownership of the program. In my opinion, many of us sort of lost that connection during the previous regime.

It’s also obvious that Osborne’s main concerns centered on the defense – thus it should surprise few that we wound up with a defensive guru this time out. Pelini will bring simplicity to the defensive scheming and will free the players up to make plays. That should make next season’s group of Blackshirts extremely excited.

3. Nebraska fans were divided after the last coaching change. Do you see fans finally uniting?

I think Pelini is someone Husker Nation can eventually become united behind. However, as I glance around message boards the division seems to remain. Now everyone is worried that Osborne has too much power and somehow finagled Pelini into hiring the staff that T.O. wanted. While I think Osborne likely had an opinion about the assistant coaches, I see little merit to the overarching argument. The bottom-line is that Husker Nation isn’t ready to be completely satisfied right now. But just like every year when spring practice comes around we’ll be thinking Top 10 finish and many will peg Joe Ganz or Marlon Lucky as possible Heisman contenders. Then by August we’ll be on opposing team’s message boards proclaiming the resurrection of Nebraska breaking out our decade old National Championship leather jackets, and anointing Pelini the second coming of Bob Devaney.

4. How would you like to see Bo Pelini fill out his coaching staff? Anybody or anything in particular you are looking to see?

This is quickly happening before we can even form an opinion. I knew we would see certain guys like Marvin Sanders his brother Carl and I have no problem with that. I’d still like to see us get Bradley Dale Peveto to round out the defensive staff, but that seems unlikely at this point. On the offensive side, it seems clear that Shawn Watson will remain and I can definitely get behind that. He’s definitely a favorite of the players and has put together some nice offenses at Colorado. I’m anxious to see what he puts on the field, and I’m happy we might not need a complete change in terminology. Ron Brown will be a nice addition, and I don’t know how anyone can fault his hire. Barney Cotton seems like a good enough guy, and I suppose can work well with the offensive line. Overall, I’d hoped to see some new blood somewhere in the staff and expected that Pelini might have a young “up and comer” under his sleeve. At this point, I’m happy that the staff will truly understand the essence of Nebraska football, but will admit that I’m not completely overwhelmed by the pending staff.

5. What do you think the expectations are for Bo Pelini? Do you think he needs to win x amount or do x by a certain date?

I don’t think we’re talking about a certain number of wins at this point. I think Osborne spoke for many of us, when he kept harping on the need for the team to be competitive. Pelini will have to ensure that we are “in” each and every game. Beyond that I have to think he gets a little longer thread than Callahan, but I’ve definitely been wrong before.

The Rest of the Responses:
Big Red Network
Husker Mike
Corn Nation
Hi Plains Drifter
Midwest Coast Bias
Husker Guy
Husker Faithful
Big Red Analysis