Someone Who Knows About Tough Losses Sees a Top 10 Defense Emerging
Even though last Saturday's 16-15 loss at Virginia Tech was the toughest Bo Pelini has ever experienced, Nebraska's second-year head football coach showed remarkable resolve at this week's press conference.
Pelini was passionate, optimistic and determined to "move on" to Saturday night's 300th sellout game against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Perhaps part of Pelini's confidence is based on the reaction he received from his athletic director, Tom Osborne, who is, after all, someone who knows about tough losses and can see the positives that result from great effort.
Earlier this week, for HuskersNside, a premium site on Huskers.com, Osborne spent 20 minutes talking about a variety of topics and offered his own take on what he saw in Blacksburg, Va.
Osborne was "very proud" of Nebraska's effort. "We played a good team and played well enough to win. We just didn't win," Osborne said. "Probably more times than not, we would have won that game."
Still, in athletics, "the thing you're called to do is do the very best you can," Osborne said, adding that he thought the Huskers did just that.
The man who wrote a book about "More Than Winning" could see interesting parallels in his own three toughest losses - a one-point loss to Miami in a national championship game, a two-point loss to Florida State in another national championship game and a three-point loss at Penn State, a team that edged a 12-1 Nebraska team out of yet another national title.
"Some of the biggest losses we've ever had were games where I walked off the field very proud of our effort," Osborne said, indicating that he felt a similar emotion after watching a gallant defensive effort fall short in the final minute at Virginia Tech.
Osborne said a Nebraska defense that ranked 112th in the country two years ago looked to him like a Top 10 defense this year, and the Blackshirts have a chance to be "even better than that."
Osborne also said that all of Nebraska's pre-season goals remain intact and noted that there isn't "a team on our schedule we aren't capable of beating."
To hear the full interview with Osborne, join HuskersNside.
In addition to full-game replays and guest analysis from Osborne and others, premium subscribers this week can enjoy a full rebroadcast of second-ranked Nebraska's 200th consecutive sellout game - a 24-7 win over a previously unbeaten, third-ranked Colorado team on Oct. 29, 1994.
The Buffs had a Heisman Trophy winner in Raashan Salaam, a quarterback named Kordell Stewart and a team that many believed was capable of winning the national championship.
Blood clots had sidelined Frazier for that game, and Nebraska's backup quarterback, the late Brook Berringer, had to wear a flak jacket to protect a collapsed lung.
The 1994 Colorado game is available for purchase on Huskers.com. Also available on the 15th anniversary of Osborne's first national championship team is the 1994 Championship Season DVD Box Set, which includes 13 games in their entirety with the radio play-by-play, plus the corresponding Tom Osborne Show player interviews and special segments after each game.