Our Big Red Cobcast interview this week featured one of the most well-liked coaches in the history in Nebraska football - offensive line coach Milt Tenopir. Tenopir was offensive line coach under Tom Osborne and Frank Solich, and was the creator of the "Pipeline", the great offensive lines in those eras.
There are probably a fair number of you who don't listen to the podcasts, so we're going to try to do a better job of transcribing them, especially when our guests are dropping as many gems as Tenopir did in this one.
We learn that Tenopir is still fighting leukemia, but doing much better. His favorite beer is Coors Light, although you shouldn't hold that against him. I promise I won't.
He points out two interesting statistics about two of the greater offensive lines in Nebraska football history. In the '94 season they allowed zero sacks, and in '95 they were never called for holding the entire year (is that even possible any more?).
He is complimentary of Warren Sapp, but states that "he didn't hurt them much in that game."
Tenopir had a lot to say about about Mike Riley and his staff:
"Went to a lot of their practices, got to see every one of these coaches coach. They're just a whole bunch of good teachers. Everyone worries about their ages, and some of them are older and all that bullcrap. To me that's a bunch of malarkey. Those guys have been around the block. The maturity of their staff really sticks out...
I think at half times you want to see changes made which we didn't see the last several years. We weren't any better the second half than we were the first half and I think a lot of that is because that staff was young and hadn't been through the trenches enough... just like our guys, everybody thought we were getting too old then we came back and won a bunch of games in the 90s.
This staff is impressive. Coach Riley is as much like Coach Osborne as anyone I've ever been around in the way he handles himself, the way he handles his coaches, and the way he practices. He's not a guy that jumps in there and sticks his nose in the coaches business, he observes the whole package and I think coaches appreciate that."
There's a whole lot in that, and I particularly enjoy his comments about age and the maturity of this coaching staff.
He continued along the concept of Riley not being a "guy that jumps in there" and compared him to Bo Pelini. Tenopir state that Pelini dictated to everyone what he wanted on the defense and that...
"in the end, he probably dictated to the offensive coordinator because his defense wasn't very good and he didn't want them on the field so he didn't let the offense turn it loose like they did in the bowl game."
He does say he loves "Pelini to death, but that's just the way it goes sometimes".
Tenopir feels that the offensive line will be much better because "they are getting technique football thrown at them" for a longer period of time each practice. He went on to say that Barney Cotton and John Garrison didn't feel they had that option because of the way practices were structured under Bo Pelini.
I'm not going to try to spell out how Tenopir pronounces "Harbaugh", you'll have to listen to the podcast. In fact, there's plenty more in there, including plenty of comments about recruiting, Bill Callahan, and of course, his offensive lines in the 90s.