Friday, November 02, 2007

Bay Area Husker ENews 11-2-07

Hey Bay Area Husker Fans,

For a brief shining moment we had hopes of returning the favor to Texas (if you remember them beating us in the last minute in Lincoln last year), but alas, we lost another one. The next road game against Kansas won't be any easier either, as they are having a record year for their football program.

The Volleyball team had a hard fought contest with Mizzou last Wednesday night and some of you may have had the chance to watch it on a tape delayed broadcast on CSTV. They pulled it out in the 5th game of the match (see article below).

Lots of rumors floating around out there about the football program, but I won't put anything in these emails until its published. With that said, check out the NY Times article at the end of the email to get a flavor of whats going on back in Lincoln...good read.

Go Big Red (White and Blue),

Watch Sites:

The game this Saturday against Kansas will be televised on Fox Sports Network and is NOT a Pay Per View game. Coverage starts at 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time so set the alarm and put on your Big Red Duds and join the rest of the Husker faithful in cheering on the team. The watch sites will be active and I know Jack's will have their great breakfast menu available for all early risers.

Founders' Day 2008:

Here's a message from our chapter Prez, Dave Pegg:
We have our speaker for Founders Day Sunday February 24th!

Former First District Congressman Doug Bereuter has agreed to be our speaker. Doug spent 25 years in Congress from 1979 to 2004, retired, moved to Alamo, CA and is now president of the Asia Foundation in San Francisco. He attended high school in Utica, NE, graduated from UNL and has masters degrees from Harvard University in city planning and public administration. I'm sure he will be very interesting and can tell us about the Asia Foundation and what it means to the United States. He may even have a comment or two about Congress and Nebraska football.

Please mark that date on your 2008 calendar and we'll plan on seeing you then. Until then, as always, Go Big Red (White and Blue)!!Dave
(details to follow in future emails)


Junior Joe Ganz and the Huskers look to have success against one of the nation's best defenses Saturday at Kansas.

Lincoln – To be successful in Lawrence this weekend against the No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks, the Nebraska football team is going to need good ball control Saturday afternoon as Kansas boasts the one of the nation’s best defenses in 2007. Ranked in the top five nationally in four defensive categories, Kansas has produced the second-best scoring defense (10.25) as a result of the third-ranked turnover margin (1.38) in the nation.

“They’ve been opportunistic,” head coach Bill Callahan said after Wednesday’s practice inside the Hawks Championship Center. “They’ve made a lot of plays off batted balls and got a lot of (interceptions).

“When you get on a roll and you’re playing good defense, there’s energy and guys start feeding off each other.”

Kansas is 8-0 for the first time since 1909, a season in which the Jayhawks defeated the Huskers, 6-0, in Lincoln.

“I give complete respect in everything that they’ve done,” Callahan said. “It’s hard to go 8-0. It’s awfully difficult. There are five undefeated teams in the country right now. It’s hard to do. I think we see how football has balanced out across the board. It’s anybody’s game on Saturday.”

Senior linebacker Bo Ruud and freshman linebacker Blake Lawrence did not practice Wednesday. Callahan said the staff would evaluate the injuries again tomorrow, as well as the position of back-up quarterback behind junior Joe Ganz.

Nebraska will have its final full practice of the week Thursday afternoon prior to its Friday walk-thru. Saturday’s game against No. 8 Kansas will be the Huskers’ fifth against a top-10 opponent in the past two seasons.


Quarterback Joe Ganz closed a “focused, concentrated, detailed” week of preparation, according to coach Bill Callahan, as the Nebraska football team worked on the grass fields for two hours Thursday afternoon in Lincoln.

“He's been living in the office all week,” Callahan said. “He's been around every single minute. He's poured a ton of time into his preparation, so you know it's important to him. He did a heck of a job on the practice field, but that's what happens when you prepare hard off the field. Those are the results that occur when you really focus in on the small details of the game, so I'm proud of him in that respect."

Ganz, a junior preparing for his first career start at Nebraska, has built on the traits he showed as a high-school player at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Illinois. Those traits stood out to Callahan as he watched him on film as he prepared to recruit him.

“When I saw him on film, I remember that he ran extremely well. He’s very mobile and threw the ball exceptionally well. He’s not the tallest guy, but there are a lot of quarterbacks in his size range that are effective, so that didn’t bother me. I thought that he was a competitor. He had a fierce, competitive style about his play. He was tough in terms of running down the field.”

Ganz came to Nebraska and has served as a backup for the past three years and has battled through numerous challenges in preparation for this game.


The Big 12 Conference has announced its television selections for Saturday, Nov. 10, with the Huskers’ home finale against Kansas State set for a national telecast by Versus. Game time for the Big 12 North Division match-up has been set for 9:30 a.m. PST. **Remember that we switch back to Standard Time this weekend (Sunday Nov. 4th).

Versus is available in 70 million homes nationwide and is carrying 19 college football games this season, including five Big 12 Conference games. In Omaha and Lincoln, Versus is available on the digital tiers of Cox and Time Warner, respectively. Versus can be found on Channel 231 on Cox Communications in Omaha and Channel 229 on Time Warner Cable in Lincoln. The network is also available on Direct TV (Channel 603) and DISH (Channel 151). For information on Versus in specific areas, please visit, or check with your local cable provider.

The telecast on Versus will give Nebraska eight television appearances this season, in addition to two additional games that were carried on a pay-per-view basis. Nebraska’s game this Saturday at No. 8 Kansas will be televised by FSN, also beginning at 9:30 a.m. The Huskers’ regular-season finale at Colorado will be televised nationally by ABC.

The game will mark the first time since 2003 the Nebraska-Kansas State match-up has been televised as part of the Big 12’s regular television package. Last year’s Husker win in Manhattan was televised on a pay-per-view basis by FSN.

In addition to Nebraska-Kansas State, other Big 12 games selected for telecast on Nov. 10 are: Texas A&M at Missouri (9:30 a.m., FSN); Texas Tech at Texas (12:30 p.m., ABC); Baylor at Oklahoma (3:30 p.m., FSN); Kansas at Oklahoma State (5 p.m., ABC)...(all times Pacific).


Noting Game Nine...Texas 28, Nebraska 25

►Texas’ three-point victory marked the fifth time in the past seven meetings between the two schools that the outcome has been decided by four points or less. Texas has won all five of those games. The ‘Horns have also won all six regular-season meetings between the schools since the formation of the Big 12 Conference.

►Junior wide receiver Nate Swift caught six passes for 112 yards, including a pair of touchdown catches. The two touchdown receptions give Swift 12 career touchdown catches, incuding three this season. Swift’s 12 career touchdown catches place him in a tie for sixth on the NU career list.

►The 100-yard receiving day was the fourth of Swift’s career and his first since his freshman season in 2005.

►Swift’s six catches moved him into third place on the Nebraska career receptions list with 96 catches, passing Matt Davison’s total of 93 receptions from 1997 to 2000.

►Junior running back Marlon Lucky rushed 24 times for 111 yards, his fourth 100-yard game of 2007 and the seventh of his Husker career. With his 111 yards, Lucky moved his season rushing total to 832 and his career rushing total to 1,689.

►Lucky’s 33-yard run in the second quarter was the second-longest rush by NU this season, bettered only by Lucky’s 41-yard TD run against Iowa State.

►Lucky caught six passes for 41 yards, pushing his season receptions total to 55, tying Johnny Rodgers’ school-record set in 1972. Lucky has 89 career receptions, good for fifth place on the Husker career list.

►Senior wide receiver Frantz Hardy caught a 56-yard pass on the second play of the second half, giving him five career receptions of 50 yards or more, including two this season.

►Nebraska forced a fourth quarter turnover by Texas (interception by Zach Potter), marking the first takeaway by the Husker defense in four games (four vs. Iowa State).

►Redshirt freshman place-kicker Alex Henery connected on a 31-yard field goal early in the second quarter to improve to a perfect 6-of-6 on field goal attempts this season. Henery is also 26-of-26 on extra-point attempts.

►Freshman offensive tackle Jaivorio Burkes played in his first career game and made his first career start. The start by Burkes marks the third straight season that Nebraska has had a true freshman offensive lineman earn a start. In 2005, Matt Slauson started the final three games of the season and a year ago Jacob Hickman earned a start in game 10 against Missouri. Burkes, Hickman and Slauson are the only true freshmen to start on the offensive line since 1972.

►Senior fullback Andy Sand caught two passes for 16 yards. Sand entered the game with just one reception for 15 yards in his career.

►Senior safety Ben Eisenhart collected a career-high six tackles, bettering his five tackles earlier this season against Oklahoma State.

►Junior punter Dan Titchener averaged 42.6 yards on eight punts, and had four punts downed inside the 20-yard line.

►Texas running back Jamaal Charles had 290 yards rushing against the Huskers, the most recorded by an individual against Nebraska in school history. Charles bettered a 247-yard game by Oklahoma’s Billy Sims at Oklahoma on Nov. 24, 1979.



The Nebraska offense began its first day under new leadership on Tuesday, as junior quarterback Joe Ganz took the reins as the Huskers’ new starter following a season-ending injury suffered by senior quarterback Sam Keller against Texas last weekend. Ganz and NU’s first-team offense began to get familiar under beautiful fall weather inside Memorial Stadium, as the Huskers prepare to head to Kansas to take on the No. 8 Jayhawks this Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

“(Joe) did a great job,” Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson said of Ganz’s practice. “He’s always kept his head in what we’re doing.”

Ganz, who will earn the first start of his career against the top-10 Jayhawks, embraced the backup role this season after Keller was named the starter prior to the season-opener against Nevada. Ganz’s attitude in his supporting role didn’t surprise Watson.

“That’s who Joe is,” Watson said. “Joe loves Nebraska, he’s embraced his role. He’s always been a team guy first and he’s always proven it in the ways he’s handled his business here with us.”

Under Ganz’s guidance this weekend, the Husker offense could take on a slightly different look, as Watson explains that Nebraska will want to focus on the first-time starter’s strengths and abilities.

“Joe does some things that Sam doesn’t do as well,” Watson said. “We’ll use those things and play to his strengths.”

The Huskers will have two more full practices before they travel to Lawrence, Kan., on Saturday to take on the undefeated Jayhawks. The game is set for an 9:30 a.m. (PDT) kickoff and will be televised on Fox Sports Net.


Opening Statement
“We’re moving on to Kansas. We’re excited about playing the eighth-ranked team in the country this Saturday. They’re awfully good across the board and should present quite a challenge for our football team.”

On Joe Ganz taking over at quarterback
“We have the utmost confidence in Joe’s abilities and leadership to lead our team and perform at a high level. He’s gotten all the work, training and repetition that he needs to be successful in everything we do. He’s a great game manager and a great field general. He has all the abilities in the world to function effectively, so I’m excited about him on the field. Just going back to the Texas game and watching him play for the very short time he was in the game, I think excites everybody. I think we have a lot of hope when you look at a player of that caliber that can come into the game and do the things he did late in the game.”

On Ganz not getting more experience earlier in the season
“The big thing is that I can’t do anything about the past. I think Joe’s well aware of what our plan was throughout those games. We don’t look back in that respect. We look forward to what he can do for our team. I think that’s the big thing is that he’s been in games before, he’s been trained. He’s practiced. He knows the system. He knows how to execute all the throws and reads. I’m very confident in his abilities. I think it’s been well-documented around here that he can do some other things as well, so we’re excited about it.”

On Ganz’s poise
“He is (very even-keeled). He’s the type of player that has great poise. He’s a tough guy from Chicago. He’s not going to let a lot of things rattle him. I don’t get on him too much, even though he’s a Cubs fan. Being a South Sider and a Cubs fan is a little different for me. I have to try to understand that portion of it, for those of you who know Chicago. He’s just an outstanding kid. He’s waited a long time for this opportunity. I know that he’s going to try to make the most out of every play and every practice rep he gets this week in his preparation.”

On increasing the amount of running by the quarterback
“I think he naturally does that. He’s going to be the type of player that’s going to work the pocket. If he has to, he’ll escape and make plays. I think we saw one scramble of his late in the game against Texas down in the red zone where he made a positive play with his feet. He has that ability. We’ve always had plays in that move him around, so it’s really no secret in that regard. He does have mobility. We try to feature that. He has a lot of other things that he does as well to complement his abilities.”

On the team’s confidence in Ganz
“There’s no question in my mind. I look at our players and they’re very supportive of whoever is in that role. You feel that in the course of the week when you’re at practice. You see teammates encourage him and rally around him when he’s getting his turn to run the second unit. Everybody is very supportive of him. I tend to agree that a lot of guys are going to rally around Joe. I’d be disappointed if they didn’t.”

On the team rallying around Ganz
“He is (a guy a team gravitates toward) because he’s been here for four years. He’s earned his spurs and gained the respect of a lot of people around here. By and large, he’s a guy that has really earned his spot and this opportunity. He competed hard with Sam and he was unbelievable in the way that he handled himself in that entire competition. When the announcement came out that Sam was the starter, he handled his role with pure class. I can’t say enough good things about Joey. We’re excited to see him get this opportunity, though it was unfortunate that Sam got hurt and is not with us.”

On Ganz’s place on the team
“He’s a different type of player. He brings a different dimension to the attack. I think, by and large, players are looking at it as an opportunity to rally around a guy that’s a fan favorite and a guy in the locker room that everyone enjoys being around.”

On getting an edge from a changed gameplan because of the different quarterback
“There’s not going to be much variation from the system, aside from what we do. We’re going to add some things, but I don’t think that’s going to shock them or surprise them. They’ve seen a lot of different quarterbacks. I don’t think so, but I can’t speak for (KU defensive coordinator) Bill Young or any of those guys.”

On which quarterback will back up Ganz
“I certainly wouldn’t want to waste Patrick’s (Witt) redshirt, but we have prepared him as the third quarterback throughout the season. We’re going to take a very close look at that. As we look at that closely during the week, both he and Beau Davis will compete for the two-spot. We’ll look at that, examine that and let them compete throughout the week. We’ll have a plan for that for game day. Patrick was the guy who was in the three-hole for this position, so we’re going to continue to groom him and see how he looks this week compared to Beau and make that assessment later in the week and make a decision.”


University of Nebraska Interim Athletic Director Tom Osborne visited the NET studio Tuesday night for an extended interview with Kevin Kugler and Adrian Fiala on Big Red WrapUp.
In the interivew, Osborne discusses the Husker football program, football scheduling and his views on a variety of topics.
Click here to watch the entire NET Interview

NU ARTICLE IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED...(couldn't download it but if you can swing by a news stand or library, check it out)..

If you don"t take Sports Illustrated or haven't already been told their Oct 29th edition devoted a whole page (25) to Nebraska football and some of the activities that contribute to current status.


Nebraska's 94 percent exhausted eligibility graduation rate led the Big 12 Conference for the fifth straight year.

The University of Nebraska is the Big 12 Conference leader in exhausted eligibility rates for the fifth consecutive year, according to federal graduation rates released by the NCAA on Tuesday.

Nebraska boasts an impressive exhausted eligibility rate of 94 percent for the second consecutive year. The exhausted eligibility rate surveys the graduation rate of scholarship student-athletes in 10 incoming freshman classes who complete their eligibility at that university. Nebraska’s exhausted eligibility rate has increased from 87 to 94 percent in the past seven years and improved 22 percentage points since the inception of the exhausted eligibility rate in 1991-92.

The current exhausted eligibility rate includes members of incoming classes from 1991-92 through 2000-2001. During that time period 415 of 443 Nebraska scholarship student-athletes who completed their eligibility earned their undergraduate degree.

Nebraska’s 94 percent exhausted eligibility rate ranks two percentage points higher than Texas Tech, which ranks second in the Big 12 Conference at 92 percent. The national average for exhausted eligibility is 86 percent for Division I schools.

In addition to the exhausted eligibility rates, the NCAA also announced other federal graduation-rate data and overall institutional Graduation/Success Rates (GSR) scores on Thursday. The GSR is the NCAA’s calculation of student-athlete academic success. Earlier this fall, the NCAA released GSR scores and federal graduation rates for individual sports, but did not release the institutional figures at that time.

Nebraska’s highlights from the data released by the NCAA on Tuesday included...

  • The Nebraska football team continues to set the pace in the Big 12 in graduation rates. The Huskers’ four-class graduation rate (1997-98 through 2000-01 entering classes) was a Big 12-leading 77 percent. The 77 percent rate was eight percentage points higher than Kansas State, which ranked second in the Big 12 Conference.
  • As previously announced this month, the Husker football team posted a GSR score of 83 percent, second in the Big 12 behind Baylor’s 84 percent mark.
  • Nebraska had an institutional GSR score of 77 percent.

The federal graduation rates for both one and four classes allow a student a six-year window to earn their degree from the time they enter their institution.

VOLLEYBALL TEAM FIGHTS HARD TO BEAT MIZZOU 3-2 (first loss of a game in Lincoln this year)...

Lincoln – Sarah Pavan totaled four of her match-high 22 kills in a game five, lifting No. 2 Nebraska to a 30-19, 32-34, 30-11, 24-30, 15-10 victory over a game Missouri squad Wednesday night at the NU Coliseum.

Pavan recorded her third double-double of the year with 22 kills on .347 hitting and 14 digs, and came up big in game five with four kills, including each of the final two points, and four digs. Her effort helped the Huskers extend their home winning streak to 67 matches and bounce back from their first loss of the year last Wednesday.

Pavan was one of five Huskers with at least 10 kills, as Nebraska improved to 20-1 on the season and 12-1 in the Big 12. Jordan Larson totaled 17 kills and 16 digs for her ninth double-double of the year, becoming the 19th Husker to reach the 1,000-plateau.

Four Huskers finished with double-doubles, including Houghtelling (14 kills, 22 digs) and Rachel Holloway (64 assists, 13 digs), while Stalls totaled 10 kills and four blocks, including a pair of solo stuffs. NU’s middle blockers combined for 24 kills, including a career-high 14 from Kori Cooper on .385 hitting.

Rachel Schwartz also enjoyed a career night, totaling 21 digs in helping NU post an 88-85 advantage in digs and limit the Tigers to .161 hitting, well under the .228 clip they hit in the first matchup two weeks ago.

Nebraska Coach John Cook was disappointed with the inconsistency the Huskers showed Wednesday, as the Huskers could not find a consistent level of play for most of the night. NU committed a season-high 14 service errors and combined for 14 hitting errors in the two games it lost.

“It was very frustrating,” Cook said. “That’s not how we play, and how we’ve played most of the year, we’ve been really good with most of those things. It’s frustrating, but it’s Halloween. Weird things happen on Halloween.”

“I thought we came out and played a great first game, and then we went complacent,” Cook said. Then Missouri got the momentum, and we started breaking down everywhere. Then we came out and played a great game three like we did at Colorado last year – blow them up in game three. Then I think we thought ‘it’s over.’ So we ended up at game five.”



Lincoln-The Husker soccer team returns home to conclude its regular season against Iowa State on Friday at 4 p.m. at the Nebraska Soccer Field.

Nebraska (5-10-3, 1-8-0 Big 12) endured two losses last weekend. The Huskers doubled the Jayhawks' shot total, 22-10, in Lawrence last Friday, but Kansas came away with the 3-1 win. On Sunday, NU struck first with a Shay Powell goal in the 28th minute, but could not seal the deal again as Missouri won 3-1 in Columbia.

NU will look to finish the regular season on a positive note against Iowa State this Friday. The Huskers have a chance to put the Cyclones in a tough position. ISU has clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championships, but currently sits tied with Oklahoma State for eighth place. A Cyclone loss could force them into a first-round matchup against No. 3 Texas A&M in the conference tournament.

A Husker win will also allow NU to finish with a winning record at home this season, as Nebraska is currently 4-3-2 at the Nebraska Soccer Field.


Columbia, Mo. – The Nebraska soccer team battled No. 16 Missouri to a 1-1 halftime tie, but the Tigers prevailed in the second half to win 3-1 over the Huskers on Sunday in Columbia, Mo.

The Huskers drew first blood for the second time in three games as sophomore forward Shay Powell scored in the 28th minute in a tight first half. Nebraska (5-10-3, 1-8-0 Big 12) amassed 11 shots in the game, including three on goal, while Missouri (11-5-0, 6-3-0 Big 12) had 18 shots, nine of which were on goal. Nebraska committed 10 fouls to the Tigers’ 12.

NU outshot the Tigers 7-5 in the first half as the Huskers capitalized on senior Jessie Bruch’s physical advantage. Bruch collected a goal kick in the 28th minute and found Powell along the outside edge of the box. Powell connected on a high shot to beat MU goalkeeper Tasha Dittamore for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.


Lawrence, Kan. -The Nebraska soccer team had the offense but Kansas found the back of the net on Friday in Lawrence as the Jayhawks defeated the Huskers 3-1 at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.

The Huskers (5-9-3, 1-7-0 Big 12) doubled the Jayhawks’ shot total as NU had 22 shots, including 11 on goal, while KU (5-9-4, 3-2-3 Big 12) amassed just 10 shots, only six of which were on goal. NU outshot the Jayhawks 12-3 in the second half and recorded four corner kicks in the half. The Huskers had five total corners to KU’s four, while both teams had 10 fouls.

Sophomore midfielder Savannah Allen scored the Huskers’ lone goal in the 87th minute. Allen put a curving ball on goal from a corner kick that carried before a Kansas player misplayed the ball and put in net. The goal ended a 294-minute shutout streak for KU, dating back to Oct.14.


* Ganz Becomes NU's Starting Quarterback

Bush nominates former North Dakota governor as Agriculture secretary
By Keith Koffler and Jerry Hagstrom, CongressDaily

President Bush on Wednesday tapped former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer to serve as Agriculture secretary.

"Ed Schafer's the right choice to fill this post," Bush said during an appearance with Schafer at the White House. "He was a leader on agricultural issues during his eight years as governor of North Dakota," Bush added, saying Schafer had worked to expand trade between the state and China, to spur North Dakota's biofuels industry and to increase economic opportunities in rural areas.

Schafer was elected governor in 1992, serving two four-year terms and becoming the first Republican to be re-elected governor in that state. In 2002, he helped found Extend America, a wireless communications company based in North Dakota. Schafer will succeed Mike Johanns, who resigned in September to run for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel in Nebraska.

Full story:


NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE (thanks to Tim and Dave for sending this along)...

October 26, 2007
Restoring Nebraska to the Way It Was

LINCOLN, Neb., Oct. 25 — Quarterback Eric Crouch won the Heisman Trophy in 2001 while leading the Nebraska Cornhuskers to the Bowl Championship Series title game.

But upon returning to the campus as an alumnus, Crouch said he and other former players never felt welcome around Steve Pederson, who took over as the university’s athletic director in 2002 and had the job until he was fired last week.

“You couldn’t even get through the gate in the parking lot,” Crouch said in an interview this week at his home near Omaha. “You could never talk to Steve in person. You had to get on his list. People in Nebraska are good, old-fashioned people who want to see you face-to-face.”

That changed when Pederson was replaced by Tom Osborne, 70, who retired as the football coach 10 years ago after a quarter century and went on to serve three terms in Congress.

Even in a season filled with upheaval, Pederson’s dismissal, Osborne’s interim appointment and the sudden jeopardy of Coach Bill Callahan are developments as dramatic as the swoon of the Cornhuskers. They have lost three consecutive games by wide margins and will take a 4-4 record to Texas (6-2) Saturday.

The tumult here demonstrates how quickly fortunes can change even at a traditional football power in a state that venerates the sport, and it illustrates how morale can sour when an athletic department adopts the managerial dynamics of big business.

Shortly after Osborne was brought in by Nebraska’s chancellor, Harvey Perlman, he sent an e-mail message inviting former players to games and to his office. Osborne spoke in person and by telephone with Crouch, and ordered pictures of former stars put up on a wall.

Osborne brings gravitas. He works in a building named after him and his wife, Nancy. In front is a statue of Osborne as a coach, talking to a player. In the lobby is a bust of Osborne near a large photograph of him and his wife.

Osborne won two national titles at Nebraska and shared another. He said he was reaching out to former players because they “felt a little bit isolated and alienated” from the athletic department.

“That whole thread was broken,” he said in an interview in his office. His hope, he added, was that the former players would spread this message around the state and the national football community: “We’re going to be O.K. — and that’s really important.”

It is important in part because some high school recruits are rescinding their commitments to Nebraska because of the uncertainty regarding Callahan, who was hired by Pederson in 2003 to replace Frank Solich, Osborne’s former assistant and successor.

Solich was fired by Pederson after a 10-3 season. At the time, Pederson said, “I refuse to let the program gravitate into mediocrity.” Callahan, so far, is 26-19.

Callahan replaced the college-style option attack of Osborne and Solich with a West Coast offense favoring the pass. In his previous job, Callahan took the Oakland Raiders to the Super Bowl.

Osborne said he would not return to coaching and that Callahan might be back next season. But he made no promises.

This week, Callahan said he wanted to stay. “I’ve done an excellent job in every area,” he said. Referring to recruiting, he said: “I can’t make any promises. I’m not getting any promises.”

Shortly before Pederson was fired, he signed Callahan to a new five-year contract. Shortly before that, Pederson also signed a new five-year contract. He will be paid $2.2 million as a severance fee.

When asked whether he would get a fair chance to return, Callahan said: “I would hope so. That’s my assumption.”

In his weekly news conference Tuesday, Callahan faced polite but pointed questions. Local reporters asked if he might change quarterbacks and if it was wise to use redshirt players this weekend instead of saving them for an extra year of eligibility. And why, they asked, was Callahan wearing a black shirt instead of the university color, red?

On a public television station, Steve Warren, a former defensive tackle who played for Osborne and Solich, criticized the current defense. It gives up an average of 457.4 yards a game and has allowed an average of nearly 43 points in the four defeats.

“Nobody respects us in the country,” Warren said on “Big Red Wrapup.” “That’s really hard to take. It’s hard to believe we’re at this point.”

Before practice Tuesday, the senior cornerback Zack Bowman said local criticism, articles and rumors were seeping into the team’s psyche.

“Next thing you know, you’ve got guys questioning guys, and guys questioning coaches and stuff,” Bowman said. “That’s where your team starts to break down.”

Some of those articles are published and attributed to primary sources. One is in a book coming out next month called “The Nebraska Way,” by a Nebraska student journalist named Jonathan Crowl.

It reports that Callahan complained early in his tenure that Osborne was a “crusty, old” man who was trying to run Nebraska’s football program from Washington. The source is a former trainer, Doak Ostergard, whom Callahan fired last spring.

“I don’t acknowledge any of that,” Callahan said in an interview. But did he ever say those things about Osborne? “I’m not going to acknowledge that,” he repeated.

Pederson declined to be interviewed for this article. Through a university spokesman, he reissued a statement that said, in part, “We have enjoyed many successes and also faced a number of difficult challenges.”

One of them began three months ago when Pederson hired a consultant who tried to change the athletic department’s culture with blunt demands and performance reviews. The consultant, William J. DeLeo, was a retired executive for Duquesne Light Holdings Inc., an energy holding company in Pittsburgh, where Pederson had been the athletic director at Pitt. After DeLeo arrived in August, he and Pederson instituted the Operational Excellence Initiative.

Two months later came the resignation of Paul Meyers, the associate athletic director for fund-raising. His departure, one of several, got the attention of Perlman, the chancellor.

“That was a signal something was wrong,” Perlman said. “I knew how committed he was. I needed to take a harder look.”

This week, Osborne contacted Meyers to discuss a possible return.

The athletic department’s annual budget is $66.7 million, most of it generated by football revenue and donations. A call to DeLeo’s home requesting comment was not returned.

Perlman said Pederson was not fired strictly because of football results. But, he added, “I’m not trying to totally delink the two.”

Perlman said having football “in disarray” encouraged people to tell him of unhappiness in the athletic department. After listening to their complaints, he said he decided that Pederson lacked credibility and support to deal with football problems.

Among the issues: a fight at practice between two players that left one with facial bruises, and the removal two weeks ago of the traditional Blackshirts worn by defensive players at practice to honor their valor.

“We took them off until we play up to our standards,” said linebacker Bo Ruud, a Lincoln native whose brother, father, two uncles and great-grandfather also played for Nebraska.

Todd Peterson, a junior wide receiver from Grand Island, Neb., said: “It’s tough when you don’t win. I know it’s college, but it’s business at the same time. There’s a lot of money involved. We’re feeling pressure.”

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