clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Debunking Bill Callahan Narratives One Blue Pill At A Time

With the news of Bill Callahan being named playcaller by the Cowboys on Tuesday, Husker fans came out of the woodwork with stuff that, honestly aren't always true.

Not the best, but not as bad as some make him out to be.
Not the best, but not as bad as some make him out to be.
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

On your average June Tuesday afternoon, some noise about the Dallas Cowboys came out that made a fair amount of Nebraska fans have some bad "memories".

Yes, that's Bill Callahan. The same Bill Callahan that "ruined Nebraska football" for Bo Pelini to save from the depths of hallowed College Football hell.

The reaction? About what I expected.

I thought JFK was dead? Anyhow....

I'll be up front and say that I get the angst about Callahan's time in Lincoln. He was hired by someone to turn the program into a different direction and failed bottom line. You can argue that things he did as a Head Coach didn't work and, depending on what your argument is, I won't say much.

But, if you say that he was a bad playcaller and a terrible recruiter? This is where I will go ahead and tell you that it isn't true.

See, the narrative says that Cally brought this terrible West Coast Offense to Lincoln that failed tremendously and never "worked" in Lincoln.

The problem is, however, is that it really did work. And very well.

Lets go back to last season, where in 2012, Nebraska had one of the better offenses under Bo Pelini's tenure, matching what was in Lincoln with Joe Ganz in 2008. Was it one of the better ones in College Football? You can make that statement and say it was the best one in the Big 10 even.

However, take a look at the comparison between Nebraska's 2007 offense with Sam Keller and Joe Ganz, while having another tab open with the 2012 offense featuring Ameer Abdullah, Taylor Martinez and Kenny Bell.

Total offense? Both years were very similar in points per game (33.4 vs 34.8), yards per game (468 vs 460), and first downs per game (24.3 vs 23.6).

2007 had a better passing game (323 ypg vs. 207) while 2012 had the better rushing game (253 ypg vs 174).

The true difference? Defensively, 2007 (38ppg/476ypg) was the walking trainwreck compared to '12 (28ppg/360ypg).

Now, some will say "Surely it can't be that simple", but sometimes it really is.

There were times where both teams were blown out of the water and it makes stats inflate. '07 obviously lost more games and had to fire away more with passing, but you can't say that Bill wasn't a big time playcaller.

As a matter of fact, I believe that it's fair to say this synopsis about Bill Callahan at Nebraska: That if Bill had indeed fired Defensive Coordinator Kevin Cosgrove either before or during the 2007 season, he would have stayed Head Coach and would have been around long enough for Bo to not be in Lincoln as a Head Coach. Think about that for a moment... if Bo doesn't come to Lincoln from Baton Rouge in January 2008, who would be the head coach in Lincoln right now? What would be of the program? That's a lot to consider, but then again, it's interesting to think about.

Saying all this, I could be wrong and Tom Osborne would have still fired Bill in a popularity contest over Bo. However, if Bill showed the want to revamp the defensive side of the ball and brought in another DC that Tom would have recommended (Bo Pelini maybe??), Callahan could have stayed longer in Lincoln. Hell, I would even say that Bill may still be in Lincoln, although I think the odds say he would have left for the NFL by now.

Was Bill a bad coach in Lincoln? Not quite, he did his job on the offensive side of the ball and recruited fairly decent by all accounts. If you think his recruiting wasn't good, go ahead and name all the players on the defensive side of the ball on the 2009 squad that no one could score on that Bo recruited. You'll come up with a pretty short list. Ndamukong Suh? Recruited by Callahan and Dennis Wagner.

Furthermore, no one liked the losses in 2007 or 2012, but people also say that they didn't like playing not to lose, like Bill tended to game plan to. I understand that, and it's not the greatest way to try to beat someone. However, when you look at scores like 70-31 and 63-38, is it the worst thing sometimes?

However, Bill did fail as a Head Coach in Lincoln. The reasons Bill failed in Lincoln are simple; that not only couldn't he fire his friend that he gave a job to, but he also was the punch line of Steve Pederson, a man who felt like he needed to revamp and create a new identity for Nebraska sports and football. It's not Bill's fault Steve fired Frank Solich, neither is it Bill's fault that Steve's pearly whites wrote checks no one's butt could cash with his mouth.

It's also Bill's fault that he couldn't see the issues coming a mile away and have the ability to separate friendships from professional relationships. Could he have won more? Of course he could have. But, lets end the whole "Bill Callahan destroyed Nebraska football" narrative, because while things were bad, there were a lot of decent things about Bill Callahan's time in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Again, I'm not going to tell anyone that they are wrong for the Callahan rage. However, I would just appreciate that one knows why to rage about him instead of saying things that were simply untrue.

To follow the Dallas Cowboys on SBNation, visit Blogging the Boys.