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A Coach Has to Know His Limitations

In more startling news from the mainstream sports media, Nebraska coach Bill Callahan is said to have "put a premium on physical play during a scrimmage on Wednesday."  

Coach Callahan evidently bragged that the I-backs were "pounded . . . pretty good today."  Explaining his offensive philosophy for the 2006 Cornhuskers, Coach Callahan said:  "We are trying to build that mindset of running the football and building upon the physicality of our offensive line and our backs."  

Hold the phone, there, Bill.  You've decided to introduce an offensive attack at Nebraska that stresses physical toughness, winning the battle at the line of scrimmage, and running the football?  Gosh, how do you think a radical shift like that will go over in Lincoln?  

Bill Callahan, shown here running the Oakland Raiders into the ground before being given the opportunity to run the Nebraska Cornhuskers into the ground.

Oh, no, wait, hang on a minute . . . that was precisely the approach that defined the Big Red Machine throughout the Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne eras, during which the 'Huskers posted a 356-69-5 record, never had a losing season, won nine or more games for 29 straight years, and made it into postseason play 34 times in a 36-season span.  

Even during Frank Solich's tumultuous six-year tenure, Nebraska won at least nine games five times, attended two B.C.S. bowl games, and never remained home for the holidays, all out of sheer muscle memory.  

Then along came Bill Callahan with his N.F.L. credentials and his affinity for the West Coast offense.  Just like that, the Cornhuskers junked the I-formation, jettisoned the option attack that had served them so well every year of my lifetime, took up the pro football washout's sleek chic offensive approach . . . and promptly went 5-6, including a home loss to Southern Miss and a 70-10 shellacking by Texas Tech in Lubbock.  

If Nebraska was going to go with a malcontent named Callahan who rejected conventional methods, there were better options available.

So now Coach Callahan is trying to build the mindset of running of the football and building upon the physicality of Nebraska's offensive linemen and backs?  Well, that's just swell, Bill.  Congratulations on only taking two seasons to figure out what the rest of us knew to be true based upon literally every Cornhusker football game any of us had ever watched before your arrival in Lincoln.  

A Nebraska coach has decided to play a physical game and run the ball.  Film at eleven.  

Go 'Dawgs!