In an appearance with John Gaskins of 1230 KWSN in Sioux Falls today, former Nebraska Cornhuskers Head Coach/Athletic Director Tom Osborne was asked a few questions about the past and current state of the Nebraska Football program.
Gaskins, who used to be the program director/drivetime host of 93.7 The Ticket in Lincoln, was used to talking to Tom through the phone. Osborne was in the Sioux Falls area yesterday for a Agriculture Field Day. Of course, he has stayed busy with both fishing and the Teammates mentoring program, now 25 years going strong.
Gaskins and his radio partner Craig Mattick asked TO a fair amount of questions, but they did also fire off some fair questions on his thoughts of the Nebraska program.
While I tried to listen and type at the same time, I didn’t get a full 100% transcription of the interview. You can listen to the podcast of the interview right here.
Osborne on the death of Brook Berringer and how it correlates to Sam Foltz’s death:
....Like any tragedy, you pretty much put one foot in front of the other and try to move on. Brook was a person of faith & character. Even though his life was short... he made a tremendous impact on who he was & the whole state of Nebraska...
.. You cannot overcome death, so you just see them through the whole process. In one point, the players want to be together, to remember Brook. Same is true for Sam... a walk-on guy, who came up the hard way, to become the best punter in the Big Ten... earned respect not only for his ability but for the person that were. In both cases, you can say that they both left their mark, made an impact and stood for the right things.
Osborne on the biggest difference of CFB today than the 90’s:
It’s not a night/day difference, but the amount of money due to contracts have increased significantly. There’s more of a emphasis on going to professional athletics. Players are less patient, will transfer quicker, especially in Basketball but more Football.
The money has affected things like Cost of Attendance. In the 90’s there was talk radio & social media, and the influences & scrutuny has increased. The Playoffs are a welcome addition and working well.
Osborne on what’s changed for Nebraska Football:
... went through a time where the program won a lot over a 42 year time frame. People get used to winning but they don’t get used to losing. People get impatient very quickly, and the population of Nebraska is sparse, so you have to develop your local players. It’s not as easy as it appears. Hopefully things will improve, nothing goes on forever.
Osborne on looking back of the hiring and how Bo Pelini’s time ended.
At that time, we were a poor defensive team, Bo had been in Lincoln in ‘03, had done very well. Former players and co-workers were high on him. Was the best defensive mind I knew when I interviewed him. Bo was very volatile, I did not factor in some of the volatility. Do your homework and do the best you can. Very few schools have won as he did in the Big Ten, he did have a excellent athletic record and behaved well. He certainly at times abrasive with the fans and press. You can not do that & survive in a job like that.
Osborne on whether he would have hired him again with what he knew.
It’s like calling a football play. You take the info with what you have and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. You don’t have hindsight, it is what it is. You do the best you can, but sometimes it doesn’t work out like you hoped. His tenure was marked by controversy, but a lot of things he did accomplish that he deserves credit for. He did make mistakes, but he didn’t cheat. His behavior was unseemly but not egregious in assaulting players.
Osborne on comparing Mike Riley’s methods to TO’s:
I try not to comment when coaches are here.. Mike is a experienced coach, been over 30 years. Has a philosophy, had lunch with him but have not spent time with him. Whatever I’ve seen with Mike has been from a distance. I certainly hope he does well. This will be a important season for him. In year two, the transition time is now over, it all changes very quickly.
Osborne on the move from the Big 12 to the B1G & wanting to go back to the B12:
Certainly hadn’t heard that from the program. We were between a rock and a hard place. When we made the move, the southern half of the B12 were going to the Pac 12. We knew Missouri & Colorado were leaving. It looked like we would be one of the last schools standing and we didn’t want to be in that position. The Big Ten reached out and it worked geographically. We decided to join the Big Ten & not many people have looked back. I haven’t heard talk from any level on going back to the B12. Things are better now than it was about 5 years ago.