As the panic ebbs and flows following Saturday's debacle, let's keep in mind a few things about maturity. First, let me emphasize that I don't equate maturity with age or experience (see: Gundy, Mike). Instead, maturity is a sense of wisdom, thoughtfulness, and confidence (as opposed to braggadocio) that allows one to calmly assess a difficult situation (see: Osborne, Tom). One of the reasons why TO remains near-and-dear to Husker fans' hearts is that he handled everything with what we call a "down-to-earth" attitude. With that in mind, let's turn to how we might evaluate maturity surrounding this difficult time in Huskerville.
Fans: raising concerns based upon one game, or even a couple of games, smacks of panic rather than maturity. At the same time, when those concerns are raised in the context of an ongoing issue (or set of issues), that's mature analysis--and that's also mostly what I see on this site.
Coaches: when the head coach calls out the media to trumpet his defensive coaching abilities one week, and then says, "I don't know," when asked why his defense falls apart the next week, neither response is thoughtful and wise. If you're playing for this man and you hear either comment, what do you think? I can't imagine the response does much for team dynamics. When the offensive coordinator starts calling slow-developing, long pass plays when his team falls behind, do the players smell panic or confidence? I'm pretty sure the defense smells blood.
Players: when the team leader (and quarterbacks are always team leaders, whether they want to be or not), dismisses a dismal loss as not really important, that's not a thoughtful or wise response. Every game is important to fans; shouldn't the games be even more important to those who play them?
We don't know what goes on behind closed doors, but I'm more impressed with the maturity of recent public pronouncements of most fans than I am of those coming from the leaders of the Husker football program. What those leaders say and do next will be even more revealing. I truly hope they find some maturity because I never want to see anyone representing my university fail.
From my perspective, a mature response is to recognize what works, what doesn't, and what changes need to be made--even if egos get bruised in the process. Those who don't like what happens can quit like Tyler Moore or decide to re-dedicate themselves like Phillip Dillard.
Consider how different the history of Husker football would be if the chronologically immature Tommie Frazier didn't replace the senior Mike Grant nearly halfway through the season, if the younger Turner Gill did not replace Mark Mauer/Nate Mason during the fourth game of the season, if Tom Osborne didn't see the wisdom of trying something new in both cases, if Steve Pederson's ego didn't get in the way of his decision-making, etc.
I'm crossing my fingers that I see a mature Husker football program emerge in the next two weeks.