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Big 10 Countdown 69: Offensive Coordinator Tom Osborne

A young Tom Osborne.
A young Tom Osborne.

Bob Devaney to the Miami Herald in 1995:

"Tom Osborne saved my job. I turned the offense over to Tom and he installed the I-back option attack. After that we won back-to-back championships."

In every dynasty, there is a seminal moment or event that is the launching pad for that team or organization's run of success. Indiana hires Bobby Knight away from Army. Dallas trades Herschel Walker to the Vikings for a pile of draft picks. The Red Wings draft Steve Yzerman. MLB suspends George Steinbrenner from baseball operations for two and a half years. You get the picture.

Devaney's promotion of Osborne to offensive coordinator was such an event as it effectively ended up shaping Nebraska football for the next 29 years. Not only did the hire pay immediate dividends for the team, it also paved the way for Devaney to name him as his successor following the 1972 season.

The effects were immediate:

1967 - NU 6-4 - averages 12.7 points per game - shut out once - no bowl game

1968 - NU 6-4 - averages 15.5 ppg - shut out twice including 47-0 by OU - no bowl game

Osborne become offensive coordinator

1969 - NU 9-2 - averages 23.1 ppg - def. OU 44-14 - def. Georgia 45-6 in Sun Bowl

1970 - NU 11-0-1  - averages 35.5 ppg - Big 8 and National Champs

1971 - 1997 - Laser show.

Any questions?