Bill Callahan should move as many things out of his office in Lincoln as soon as possible, so as not to have to do too much work come the end of the season. With the firing of Nebraska AD Steve Pederson, Callahan’s ass is on notice and likely out the door once the Huskers play their minor bowl game towards the end of December. (The most likely candidate to be replaced for a bowl game is Karl Dorrell, whose seat is probably the third hottest behind Callahan and Houston Nutt in Arkansas.)
Orson at EDSBS has effectively encapsulated why Callahan is fucked right in the ear already despite signing a contract extension after last season, and Brooks has noted why Pederson got the ax so easily. Pederson, and any other big-time AD needs to know better when trying to lure the next great college coach from the pros — and bringing in Al Davis’ table scraps was a recipe for failure from the get-go. Callahan’s mediocrity as the Raiders coach is obscured by two basic things:
- He was left with a Super Bowl caliber roster by Jon Gruden, who then proceeded to whoop his ass in said championship game with Tampa Bay. Callahan’s inability to manage both sides of the ball became apparent only after that AFC championship season.
- Callahan’s successor after his firing was the one coach who could make a mediocrity from the Old Boy Coaching Network look like a genius: Norval Eugene Turner.
Since he is/was a coach for both the Raiders and the Huskers, I’ve been lucky to have nothing but derision for Callahan, who overthinks his offensive play-calling to an extreme and never paid anything resembling attention to the defensive side of the ball, which made Husker die-hards (and when in a state with no pro sports landscape, everyone is a Husker die-hard) tear their hair out, especially when Frank Solich came off a 10-3 season to a pink slip from Pederson.
Orson noted the lesson of change in the above link — Callahan (and by extension, Chan Gailey and Dave Wannstedt) did not change his system at all in order to fit the unique landscape that is college football, which is what Pete Carroll had to do to survive (it is also why Carroll would probably be a better coach if he ever returned to the NFL; he knows how to adjust now.) You cannot dictate your system that worked in an inherently conservative league to one where your opposition is cooking up crazy offensive schemes to get the most out of the talent being spread around. Callahan will lose his job due to this, and should have last year.