Time for another Big Red Roundtable, featuring all gobs of Nebraska bloggers. This one is about going on the record with our reaction to the 2007 season, the hiring of Bo Pelini, and expectations!
1. The 2007 season finished with a disappointing 5-7 record. Very few people expected this. What went wrong?
I believe that the team set itself up for failure when USC came to town. That game was supposed to be a coming out party for the Huskers to put themselves back on the national stage, and it ended when USC blew truck-sized holes in our defensive line.
The team lost confidence. The offensive line wasn't physical enough to run the ball which lead to three and outs. That lead to Kevin Cosgrove's inability to defend against a spread-based offense being exposed and the defense stopped playing for him.
The year began with a few snowflakes gathering on the side of a mountain and turned into an avalanche that no one could stop. These things happen.
2. Bo Pelini takes over as head coach. Good move or bad?
Good move, Bill Callahan's credibility was unfortunately shot because of the aforementioned problems. Though he was a Husker coach for only a single season, Pelini brought a fire to the team that didn't exist before and the obvious hope is that he can do it again.
3. Nebraska fans were divided after the last coaching change. Do you see fans finally uniting?
Not really. Too many people took sides in the great division and it'll take them all a while to get over it. A lot of that depends on whether or not they choose to enjoy Husker football for what it is - a great joy in our lives - and put aside whatever foolish arguments they've had in the past.
Gee, maybe that could go for just about everything in life. It is the Christmas season. Time to forget, forgive, and move on.
4. How would you like to see Bo Pelini fill out his coaching staff? Anybody or anything in particular you are looking to see?
No. I don't have this need to have this particular guy or that on the staff. Whether or not they served as a former Husker is unimportant to me. Tradition is only important as long as it allows you to be successful while at the same time remembering your roots.
One thing that has to go is Callahan's offense. It was too complex, taking too long to learn and therefore put the coaches in a position where some players couldn't fully run the offense unless they'd been immersed in it. It didn't leave much room for injury or for putting a potential star on the field quickly. I expect that it left with Callahan because of those reasons.
The names don't matter. What matters is that they win most of their games, that they graduate the vast majority of their players, that they recruit good kids and develop them into fine young men.
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?
Osborne said that it would take a while for the program to be turned around. I suppose in most people's eyes that means about eight or nine months. Truth is, it'll be at least a couple years. The good news is that Callahan left us a fair number of good players.
Tom Osborne laid out the expectations when he fired Callahan and talked about how he would have been fired had he lost the 1976 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl:
"Never when I was coaching here, until maybe the last three or four years, did I feel that I could survive a losing season as the head coach."
I hope that Cornhusker fans' expectations aren't too high, otherwise we'll be on this merry-go-round for a very long time.
With the schedule we have next season, it's not unrealistic to expect a bowl game. After that, we'll start to see whether or not the return of Tom Osborne and Bo Pelini is what we've hoped.
Otherwise the darkness will grow and the quest will begin again.