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Review: "Then Osborne Said to Rozier..."

Steve Richardson's "Then Osborne Said to Rozier..." is a compilation of anecdotes and stories compiled from interviews with former Huskers from the Devaney, Osborne, and Solich eras.  Some you may have heard before, such as Devaney's classic line "Excuse me ladies, I was looking for my football team..."  Others you haven't.

And that's the great thing about this book is that it tells the story of how Devaney and Osborne built the Husker program to the pinnacle of success.  It also touches on the Solich years, and how Frank Solich tried to follow that 60-3 run, and how Steve Pederson's "Extreme Makeover:  Husker Edition" was a complete clusterfool from the moment he called Solich into his office on Thanksgiving weekend 2003.

Richardson brings a unique perspective; he is not on the Husker beat like most other authors.  Instead, he's covered Big Eight and Big XII football for papers in Kansas City and Dallas as well as USA Today.  But he called on former players such as Adrian Fiala, Turner Gill, Aaron Taylor, Eric Crouch, and Mike Minter as well as opposing players and coaches such as Oklahoma State's Pat Jones and Oklahoma's Dean Blevins.

It's a fairly comprehensive review, talking about Devaney's initial success, then setbacks in the late 1960's that may have paralleled the downturn of recent years.  The changes that resulted in the 1970 and 1971 championships, and the transition to Osborne.

Probably the most startling quotes in the book came from none other than Steve Pederson in a 1996 interview where he talked about the importance of the walk-on program and how it gave Nebraska a distinct advantage over other programs.  Startling because it was Pederson who led the charge to downsize the walkon program when he took over.

It's not all knocks on Pederson; it also discusses the end of the Solich era and points out a few of Solich's downfalls that contributed to his downfall.  It also points out the facilites lapse as a contributing factor, one of the things Pederson tried to address during his time.

It's a great read for Husker fans.  You may know some of these stories, but others you haven't heard  It also comes with a CD of an interview with Adrian Fiala, which I haven't had a chance to play yet as my laptop's CD/DVD is on the fritz.  But it should be an interesting listen when I get the chance.