Monday, October 31, 2005

Callahan in hot water?

Nebraska coach Bill Callahan probably wouldn't mind if he never had to play Oklahoma again -- and not because he's 0-2 against the Sooners. For the second straight year, it seems that Callahan has gotten himself into hot water after playing OU.

This time it's his actions -- not words about supposed copulating hillbillies in Norman -- that have caused a stir. TV cameras picked up Callahan seemingly making a throat-slashing gesture after arguing with an official following Oklahoma's final touchdown of the game.

During Monday's Big 12 Conference coaches' teleconference, Callahan said that he was frustrated, but denied making a throat-slashing gesture at the offical or anyone else.

However, this smells like one of those issues that could be on the verge of blowing up. Generally speaking, when a member of the media who works on the "news" side of the newsroom makes his or her way into the sports arena, it's not a good thing for a football coach. That's exactly what happened Monday with a female reporter I've never hard on the call before asking Callahan if he thought he was setting a bad example with his alleged throat-slashing gesture.

While making any kind of threatening gestures should be considered inappropriate, this really shouldn't be that big of a deal. Still, I'm guessing there's a good chance that the bunny-hugging liberal media types will get ahold of this and try to portray Callahan's gesture as the decline of society as we know it. Surely it will be suggested that Nebraska's football coach is someone condones violence or something of that tone. Of course, probably not a one of them has ever played football or understand the emotion of the game.

Maybe this will all blow over -- or it will be on SportsCenter by 6 p.m. tonight. I'm guessing the latter.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Monday, October 31, 2005 || 6 comments

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Nebraska-Oklahoma pick

Sure, today's game doesn't stack up with many of the classic NU-OU matchups of the past, but thiscould still be a very entertaining contest. In picking this one, we're focused on three factors:

1. Nebraska's resilient nature. Whatever adversity has come the Huskers' way this season, they've shown a remarkable ability to bounce back.

2. Zac Taylor. A Norman, Okla., native leading the Cornhuskers to victory over his hometown Sooners? Media types are salivating, waiting for this slam-dunk story to come through.

3. Rhett Bomar. Freshmen QBs (even redshirts) don't tend to fare well at Memorial Stadium. Sure, there aren't many of them, but the last one I can remember winning here was Major Applewhite of Texas in 1998.

The pick: Nebraska 20, Oklahoma 14

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Anyone have any favorite NU-OU memories? My personal favorite was the 1978 game when T.O. finally broke through with a win over the Sooners. I still remember bouncing around in an old pickup out in the Sandhills deer hunting and listening to the game on the radio. We called off the hunt to gather around the radio and listen to the final minutes.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Saturday, October 29, 2005 || 1 comments

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tuesdays with Callahan

Nothing earthshaking to report from Tuesday's weekly press conference in Lincoln. Coach Callahan quickly sidestepped a couple of questions asking whether this year's NU-OU game had extra importance to him because of what happened after last year's game -- and really, who could blame him for that?

The new depth chart looked a whole lot like the old depth chart for the Missouri game. Even though Callahan said true freshman Harrison Beck would've been the first one in had Zac Taylor been injured at Missouri, Joe Ganz remains listed as the Huskers' No. 2 quarterback. Clearly, the depth chart is just a piece of paper for media and fan consumption.

Raise your hand if you said in the preseason that Nebraska would favored (by one point) over Oklahoma; (the Sooners are 1-point favorites in some listings). Can't say that I pegged that one. As you recall, OU was a four-TD favorite last year in Norman.

Expect plenty of Zac Taylor features this week -- it's a natural: A Norman native leading the hated Huskers against his hometown Sooners. You can't make this stuff up. If Taylor comes up big and Nebraska wins Saturday, someone should start writing the script for a made-for-TV movie.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Tuesday, October 25, 2005 || 1 comments

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

NU-Missouri pick

Just by looking at the stats and past performances, it's definitely not a stretch to say that Nebraska will come out on top Saturday in its road game at Missouri.

However, playing at Faurot Field in Columbia might just be the key factor as it seems weird things have been happening there of late when the Huskers and Tigers meet. There was the OT thriller in 1997 and the fourth-quarter collapse in 2003, just to name a couple of surprising contests.

Here's a guess that Mizzou quarterback Brad Smith is going to have a monster game. The Tigers flopped last year in Lincoln and after last Saturday, it seems there's been a bit of buzz about MU backup quarterback Chase Daniel, who led his team back in an OT win over Iowa State. Mr. Daniel's performance might just serve as major motivation for Smith.

Missouri 31, Nebraska 21

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Thursday, October 20, 2005 || 23 comments

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Monday, October 17, 2005

Setting the record straight

Husker fans:

I was caught off guard Monday night when I started receiving several hostile e-mails in regards to my appearance on the Kearney ESPN Radio affiliate Monday morning. The host (Doug Duda) and I had spent most of the segment talking about the Missouri game and the upcoming Baylor contest and I really couldn't recall saying anything that was remotely controversial.

In search of an answer, I headed for the Husker message boards (normally the source of these organized e-mail attacks) and found my answer, or at least one of them. On Huskerpedia.com, a poster started a thread that GROSSLY misrepresented my comments in the radio interview, made in response to the host who asked me a question dealing with the coaching changes of 2003-04 and Nebraska's progress with the new staff.

The most serious untruth was the poster quoted me as saying that I don't like Bill Callahan or Steve Pederson. The fact is, I prefaced a comments about the coaching change by saying that I LIKE Bill and LIKE Steve on both a personal and professional level.

The second thing that was totally out of left field was the message board poster quoted me as saying that Callahan was going to turn Nebraska into Iowa State. Again, not true.

What I actually said was that my concern for Nebraska's long-term success was that Callahan might not be able to consistently recruit the type of athlete he needs in the West Coast offense while regularly having to compete for the same players with schools located in larger areas with warmer weather, such as USC, Miami, etc.

I said that one of the reasons I thought Nebraska had been so successful for so long was that it had an offensive system (the power option game) that was somewhat unique to college football and they knew how to coach it and find players that fit the system. I then said that in the old system, Nebraska might have been better off to get the best players possible that fit and squeeze every last drop of talent out of them – like Iowa State during some of its better seasons.

Anyway, I just wanted to set the record straight. I completely understand when someone disagrees with my columns, blogs or comments and wants to respond. I just want to make sure that if someone is going to rip me, it's going to be for something I actually said and not for what someone thought I said.

Unfortunately, this all plays out that I'm dredging up the past again and gets me tons of e-mail telling me to move on. The fact is, I have barely written about Frank Solich since he was hired at Ohio last December and, if anyone has read my columns in the past year, I think they would agree that I have indeed turned the page.

In fact, one disgusted e-mailer this season even told me to "take off the rose-colored glasses" in regards to a column I wrote about being patient with the NU offense. That's not to say that I haven't been or won't be critical at times, but it has absolutely nothing to do with anything that's happened in the past.

If anyone would take the time to post this on any message board with a thread related to this topic, I'd appreciate it greatly. Thanks.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Monday, October 17, 2005 || 30 comments

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NU-OU on ABC at 11 a.m.

Husker watch parties will get an early start on Oct. 29 ...

Nebraska-Oklahoma Matchup to be Televised by ABC

The Big 12 Conference and ABC Sports have announced that it will televise the Oct. 29 game between Nebraska and Oklahoma at Memorial Stadium on a split-national basis with the telecast beginning at 11 a.m.

The game will represent Nebraska’s third appearance in the season’s first eight games on ABC, with a fourth ABC appearance scheduled for Friday, Nov. 26 at Colorado. Nebraska has also had a pair of games televised nationally by TBS, and this week’s game at Missouri is scheduled for a regional telecast on Fox Sports Net. Nebraska’s games against Maine and Baylor were televised by FSN on a pay-per-view basis.

Nebraska-Oklahoma has been a staple of ABC’s college football lineup for many years. This year’s game will mark the 24th Husker-OU game that has been televised by the network. Last year’s matchup in Norman was televised on FSN, but the previous nine meetings between the two schools were all televised by ABC Sports.

Other Big 12 Conference games televised on Oct. 29 will be selected six days in advance of the games. Game times for Nebraska’s games at Kansas on Nov. 5 and at home against Kansas State on Nov. 12 will be determined six to 12 days in advance.

This Saturday's Nebraska-Missouri game will be televised by Fox Sports Net at 11:30 a.m.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Monday, October 17, 2005 || 0 comments

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

A Waco win

A 24-13 victory over Baylor may not rank among the most impressive wins in Nebraska football history, but this group of Cornhuskers will take it. That goes double for coach Bill Callahan, who was 0-4 in conference road games last year, losing by an average of 30 points.

The "road" gets tougher next week when Nebraska has to travel to Missouri. However, the confidence generated Saturday night could be a key factor for the Huskers. Question is: Will it be enough?

Perhaps the most shocking thing about Saturday night's game was that Baylor fans didn't make a better showing. With the Bears coming in 4-1 and off to their best start since 1995, I expected to see a lot better turnout by the fans in Waco. The attendance for 50,000-seat Floyd Casey Stadium was listed at 40,857, but that might have been pushing it. There were huge gaps in the stadium where no one was sitting and Nebraska fans probably accounted for about 20 percent of the turnout.

Everything seemed to be set up to bring out the best in the Bears. Past championship teams were honored, as well as former Baylor linebacker great Mike Singletary, but the lack of fan support killed some of the atmosphere that could've given BU a greater edge. I guess when you grow up in Nebraska, empty seats in a football stadium just seem strange.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Sunday, October 16, 2005 || 0 comments

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Monday Husker nuggets

Just a few items of interest:

--Nebraska may have lost its second starting linebacker of the season as Stewart Bradley suffered a knee injury in last Saturday's loss to Texas Tech. Huskers' coach Bill Callahan said Monday during the Big 12 Conference coaches' call that the injury might indeed be serious, but he was to find out the full extent later today.

--Fox Sports Net has selected the Nebraska-Missouri game for its 11:30 a.m. telecast on Oct. 22. As was previously announced this Saturday's game at Baylor will not be televised.

--Nebraska has opened as a 2 1/2-point favorite over Baylor for Saturday's game in Waco.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Monday, October 10, 2005 || 0 comments

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Texas Tech pick

With all due respect to my colleague (and next door neighbor) Tony Chapman, it seems that Nebraska has been living on the edge lately. Despite the homefield advantage and all the motivation a team could ever ask for, I'm not sure that it will be enough today.

I expect the Blackshirts to play reasonably well, but as NU defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove said, the Red Raiders move the ball on everybody. The logic here is that Nebraska's offense simply won't be able to keep pace.

It's not too difficult to envision a scenario where Nebraska gets a lot of pressure on Tech QB Cody Hodges and scores on defense or special teams and pulls out a win. But that might be asking too much for a team that's already used up plenty of good fortune on the way to a 4-0 start.

The prediction: Texas Tech 35, Nebraska 24

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Saturday, October 08, 2005 || 0 comments

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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Iowa State prediction

It seems some Nebraska fans were surprised to find the Cornhuskers are a 4-point favorite for today's game against Iowa State. Then again, history has shown that Dan McCarney-coached Cyclone teams haven't had much luck hanging with the Huskers at Memorial Stadium. The average score in McCarney's previous five trips: 55-11, Nebraska.

Clearly the 2005 version of the Cyclones is much better than some of the past teams McCarney has brought to Lincoln. However, here's guessing it won't be enough. ISU can still win the North Division, but will fall to the Huskers today 24-10. Look for a minor breakout by the NU offense and the Blackshirts will get much more pressure on Cyclones' QB Bret Meyer.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Saturday, October 01, 2005 || 0 comments

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