In Tom You Trust
I will start by saying this, I’m not going to sit here and say Tom Osborne is evil, or even a bad person. Tom Osborne appears to be a quality guy, who has done a lot of good non-football things in this state, including the outstanding Teammates mentoring program, which believe it or not, is something I am very familiar with. He’s a perfect fit for the rest of you…conservative, plain, boring, vanilla and inconspicuous. He was also a damn good football coach in his day.
But underneath it all, despite his good intentions, I’ve always gotten the impression that Tom Osborne is all about Tom Osborne. I don’t question his loyalty or love of his state…I truly believe he thinks he is doing what is best for his community and the people who surround him. I'm not about to question any of that.
But in some of the things he has done over the years, including his latest venture as NU “Athletic Director” I get the sense that Tom likes nothing more than to wear the white hat and come riding in to save the day one final time before he’s whisked back to the mountaintop…or prairie top..or Hastings. Whatever.
Hey, don't get pissed at me. How else can you explain his plethora of horrible decisions over the years..all of which appear to be subtlety designed to make himself look better in the long run? How can you explain a rollout pass against Miami in the Orange Bowl, when all he had to do was pick up 3 measly yards? (NU averaged 450+ yards rushing that year). Is Tom that much of a gunslinger that he needed to trick Miami into thinking it was a run? I’m guessing no, because if Gill completes that pass, Osborne is not only a hero, he would have used a trick play to do it..and yes…a pass in 1983 for you was a trick play. Double the win..double the praise.
How can you explain the fact that in the early 90’s, Osborne was getting blasted by you impatient freaks for not “winning the big games”. So what did Tom do? Tom put his morals aside, and recruited some of the biggest thugs ever to waltz into an American college. Now granted, I can see the argument that he was trying to “give those kids a chance at life” yadda yadda yadda. But it didn’t hurt that Lawrence Phillips was an absolute beast at running back now did it? Would Christian Peter have been kicked off the team for shoving his hands down Miss Nebraska’s pants…if he were a 6’2, 210lb freshman?
Failed Governor runs, sponsoring hard-hitting and important bills in congress like protecting college kids from agents…Tom has made his bed in the past, and now must live with his critics, especially when thrust back into the spotlight. You can’t make mistakes like selling your soul for National titles, and then expect everybody to forget about them.
Fast forward to 2007, where Dr. Tom is set for his swan song as savior of your football program. Osborne could have very easily deflected pressure and responsibility from the day he was re-hired by getting others involved, but instead chose to go about things alone. (Coaching “firm”? Yeah right) He could have used forward vision and thinking by looking outside the Husker “family” for a coach. Instead, he is apparently going to choose between the fans’ top two choices. Hell, why not have an election?
If Tom REALLY wanted what was best for you, do you think he’d be looking at an unproven defensive coordinator who’s own fans hate him and a MAC coach who won all of 5 games last year? If Tom Osborne has that much pull, wouldn’t you think he would be waltzing into the national coaching frenzy and offer up ungodly money to guys like Mike Bellotti, Ty Willingham or hell, even Pete Carroll. Jeez, go after Urban Meyer again if you’re that confident.
Instead of playing the safe route and looking at established mid-level coaches, Tom it appears has..naturally.. decided to go with whatever you want. I know I’m a tinge biased, but if you think you’ve gravitated toward mediocrity now…what happens if Pelini does turn out to be a horrible recruiter on top of being a childish hothead? What if Turner Gill simply is overwhelmed by the weight of ALL of your expectations being placed on his shoulders, just as they were on that stupid-ass rollout play on New Year’s day in 84?
If I were you..and thank God I’m not…I’d be a bit hesitant to throw 4 years and perhaps the entire future of my program in Osborne’s hands. He’s already done that twice by lobbying for Solich and Pederson, and look where that got you.
Time will tell if Dr. Tom is successful in his job as savior to all that ills you. Bo Pelini could in fact turn out to be the greatest college football coach of the modern era. Turner Gill could emerge as the hottest young coach in the game, who revolutionizes the game with his experience and youthful enthusiasm.
But the key here is not whether or not Tom Osborne does what’s right for you and your most prized possession. No, history has told me that his Hugo Chavez-esque act of appointing himself interim head coach leads me to believe that Tom is right back where he wants to be, hoping you will love him even more than you did yesterday…for all the wrong reasons.
I personally have the utmost confidence that the odds will play out against you, and the hole you find yourself in today will only get bigger, wider and deeper. And when Tom finally decides to bow out, who will be left to save you?
Seems to me like it’s far too big of a risk, being made by a guy who despite all of his outstanding qualities, has a track record of making bad decisions, at the very least...with the best of intentions.
Time will tell.