This is part three of our conversation with Tim Beck, Nebraska's offensive coordinator.
CN: What are your thoughts about the movement that got started at Northwestern, specifically, about the unionization movement among some of the athletes?
TB: I don't know. I don't look. I haven't followed any of that. I just know if something like that were to take place, then there's other issues. Can you fire the guy? You know what I mean? If they become a union, he plays and drops three passes, can you fire him? Get rid of his scholarship and give it to somebody else? You know what I mean?
Cause that's what unions, the guy doesn't perform at his job, you can fire him. You just create other issues, I think, and that's just one of them.
I don't know where this thing's gonna go. I still think eventually, probably what the NCAA is gonna do is provide assistance to being a student. We pay for these guys as student-athletes and we bring ‘em and again, their time is pretty full and committed.
Saturday on a bye week, if the guy wants to take his girlfriend to a movie, well he can't get a job, he has money, how does he do that? I think providing some beneficial money to those guys will eventually be, and I don't know how much, or how it comes out, but I betcha towards the end, at some point, something like that will come out.
CN: It was interesting because when the Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled I had (club volleyball) practice that night and many of the coaches at that club are former collegiate athletes. Almost all of them played volleyball, but roundly, every single one of them said, "No." its ridiculous and you're getting school paid for. But I do think, from my point of view as a teacher, you look at it and you wonder if we're doing the best for these kids. If we're going to say these kids are student-athletes; are we giving them every opportunity to be a student sometimes? Are we giving them chances to do the things that students do?
TB: Right, right, and that's, I think the argument. And that's why I think this whole union thing has even materialized because of the student aspect that's getting lost where.... I mean, think about it, guys are allowed to workout in the summer. Now the NCAA passed that us as football coaches. We have never been allowed to work out our players. Only the strength guy can do it in the summer. Where, like, volleyball, or basketball, or wrestling can have three at a time, or more than three at a time. So, we've never been able to do those types of things ever till this year. So there's even more time in the summer.
That's awesome, but again you are taking away from a kid being a kid in the summer. It's going to the pool. It's hanging out and that's what I did as a kid in the summer, I mean, you do other things, and they're taking away-. I think that's why this union idea, you know, has even come to attention is guys who say, "Hey listen, we want to be students, too."
CN: I don't know if you've read what Eric Crouch came out and said yesterday, the 15 years without a conference title is unacceptable at Nebraska. My question about that is more, how big of a ripple, how big of an effect within the program do things like what Eric said, and what Tommie Frazier said last year, how big of a ripple do those have among the coaching staff?
TB: Everybody's entitled to their opinion. Me personally, where I think it matters most is the people that really know. 15 years ago there wasn't even cell phones in every car or with every kid. The landscape has changed so much in the world, not just college football, in the world, it's hard to say, it's hard to make, in my opinion, it's hard to make general statements like that. It's very general.
Do we want to win a championship? Yeah, as bad as anyone else. Were there opportunities, in our six years, were there opportunities where maybe we could have did some things different or maybe we had better chances? Yeah, probably, there probably was, but it wasn't, so now what?
All we can do is keep trying and keep moving forward and keep doing the best you can in recruiting and the best you can in game planning and the best you can for the kids and just do the best.
I'm not a big media follower.
My favorite quote of all time is Bobby Bowden. - "There's only six inches from a halo to a noose."
One minute you're the hero and one minute they wanna hang you. I could be a feel good guy after I call a great game and we score a lot of points and win and listen to everyone say what a great job I did and then when we don't I could read it and say they hate me, but I don't need that. I hear it from my wife. (Laughs)
CN: How has the basketball program's newfound success and notoriety affected how things work in the football program? Or has it at all?
TB: I think it's awesome. I think it's awesome. I love Tim and what those guys do over there. I think it helps. I think it helps bringing recruits to games. I think it helps when you're in January and you're on the road recruiting and they're talking about Nebraska. When I was at Kansas, when I was the recruiter at Kansas, boy it sure helped to go in to Texas when they're talking about University of Kansas basketball everywhere.
It just gets your name. It doesn't matter why you're in the newspaper, or why you're on ESPN, it's the fact that they're talking about your program and the publicity. And I think the women's sports, what they've done, the volleyball program, the women's basketball program, soccer, all of ‘em. They're awesome I think it's great.
At this point, I made the first mention of Cobby. It turns out, trying to describe Cobby to someone who's not familiar is... difficult.
Back on task
CN: This question is born from working with your daughter as a volleyball coach, and working as a teacher. When there is speculation about the coaching staff's job status with the University as there was a fair bit last year, do your kids see that, and what effect does that have on them?
(Note: Tim Beck's kids are 17 and 14 years old.)
TB: Everything that happens has an effect on them both. When we lost to Wisconsin, bad, my daughter didn't want to go to school on Monday. I had to force her to go to school because she knew she was gonna get razzed and picked on. So, it's not just that, it's everything.
They know when we win, it's a good week. When we lose, it's a bad week. (Laughs)
I've had to have a talk with her and my son about this is where you're at. You're in a place that you're publicly looked at constantly, and people are going to say things about your dad that aren't true and I think that the best thing.
My wife, the same thing. I've told her not to get on the blogs and follow and do those types of things because all it does is make her mad. We're not allowed to comment on any of them anyway. It becomes really hard when you can't defend yourself and it's a nameless, faceless person calling you names or saying things about you or doing whatever.
It's different, and I try to explain to them, what matters is the people that matter. If my boss was saying those things about me, I'd have issues. Then it would hurt me. If my college was saying that about me, I'd have issues.
But a random guy who's just voicing his opinion because his favorite team lost, I do that. I watch the game, and then I get mad about what a stupid call that was, whatever, we all do that. I don't blog about it, but I (chuckles) but I say it, so it does, it affects them and it- it's sad.
CN: Do you try to shield them from it?
TB: I don't. It's hard.
CN: In the age of social media...
TB: In the position that I am in and the school that I am in, it's hard to do that. We're not in a big city where you can kinda get lost like a- Columbus, say. So, they're gonna see it, it's gonna happen, so I'd rather educate them about it than shield ‘em from it.
CN: If there's one misconception about yourself you'd like to clear up for Husker Nation, what would that be? Or more than one, frankly.
TB: Well, probably one. I know I look mean all the time, but I'm really not. (Laughs)
CN: I've noticed!
TB: I'm really an easy-going good dude, but I've just... I've moved around a lot, I don't have a lot of what I would consider really, really close friends. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances and stuff like that, but I am. I'm really easy-going. I'm fun. I'm not unapproachable. Where people think that I am, I'm not, I'm not that way. I know I look that way. I just- I've got a jacked up look, I don't know.
CN: I can confirm that. That you are very approachable. In fact, the word that comes to mind has been affable as I've been chatting with you and I'm not even sure if that's the right context for that word, but...
TB: And I am. This whole thing is being the offensive coordinator at Nebraska is very humbling and it's a position I hold with high regard, but I am just a guy and I like chicken wings and I like being outside. I like, ya know, I like going to the pool, and I like beaches and I'm like every other person that's probably out there. I like watching sports. I love my kids and my family. I mean, I like having fun. So I'm like every other person that's out there. It's just that I, I come across a certain way. Once you get to know me, I'm not that way at all.
CN: Are you following the World Cup at all?
TB: A little bit, yeah. I watched the USA game. If I get a chance to kind of watch the game. The College World Series, the World Cup, or you know whatever's on. Sometimes I'll flip through.
CN: Who would play Bo Pelini in the biopic after he wins five straight National Championships?
TB: So they make a movie about Bo Pelini, and you want to know who would play him, right?
CN: Yeah, what actor would you cast for him?
TB: *Long Silence* I don't know, that's a good one. I have to think about that one, that'd be a hard one to.....
CN: You know, it's not a question one expects.
TB: I know.
CN: I've been looking at that question for a while and I don't know how I'd answer it.
TB: Yeah, it's kinda tough. Is it look or is it attitude or is it both, you know what I mean? I mean what, what is it? Is it the perception of him as a coach? Is it the real person? You know what I mean? There's a lot of things that would go in to answering that question, so.
CN: I will tell you, being in Sioux Falls during the Spring Game when Bo brought the cat out, you should have seen us all on Twitter at the same time going, "What just happened?"
TB: Yeah, that was funny.
CN: Do you, among the coaching staff, and I know Bo has started interacting more with Faux Pelini, but do you guys see those parody accounts and then things like Tunnel Walk of Shame, do you pay those any attention, or just sometimes in passing you see it and get a laugh out of it?
TB: Again, I don't, but I'm not a big media follower, so I don't. But, you'll hear guys that do follow the media say, "Hey, did you see this one?" and usually we get a kick out of it. Usually they're pretty funny. Don't matter who they're against, me or whatever, even myself. There'll be something out there that's funny on something I'll look at it and like oh my gosh, that's hilarious.
My wife will hear about it from somebody else's wife, "Did you see this or that?" from friends of hers. So they coerce her into looking it up and she sees it, you know and she'll say, "Oh my gosh, you should see this. This is hilarious." So it's stuff like that, ya know.
We've known Bo. Bo's always kinda been like that, I mean, as far as a good, funny, good person, sharp-witted. Things he does. It's just he's allowing the media, I think, a little more access to be able to see the real side of him so they don't just make judgement based on twelve Saturdays or whatever, you know. Get a chance to see what the guy's really like.