Callahan apologizes for coaching job against Sooners
Monday, December 4th 2006, 5:34 pm
News On 6
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Nebraska's Bill Callahan on Monday apologized to Cornhuskers fans for his coaching performance in the Big 12 championship game.
But Callahan wouldn't specify areas where he fell short in the 21-7 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday.
"I was disappointed in everything I did," Callahan told reporters on a conference call. "I could have done a better job. I just didn't do enough. As I go through the week, I'm taking inventory of where we've got to get better, what changes we have to make. If we have to change some things, I'm going to change them. I'm looking at it really hard."
The third-year coach wouldn't elaborate on whether the changes would involve staff, personnel or schemes, but he said he would do what it takes to make sure Nebraska competes at a championship level.
The Cornhuskers (9-4) outgained the Sooners but committed 5 turnovers.
It was Nebraska's first appearance in the Big 12 title game since 1999.
"Our fans waited a long time for that, and I apologize to them," Callahan said. "I'm really, really upset with that performance. It all falls on my shoulders. I'm pretty aggravated, to say the least."
In the 2nd half, the Huskers came away with no points after starting drives at the Oklahoma 45, Nebraska 47, 28, 49, 43 and Oklahoma 49.
Callahan, whose team was averaging almost 180 yards rushing entering the game, abandoned the run after falling behind 14-0. He called 20 straight pass plays at one point.
Quarterback Zac Taylor, intercepted 3 times after getting picked off just 4 times in the first 12 games, said Callahan shouldn't be faulted for the loss.
"That's nice of him to do that," Taylor said, "but we've seen the film and we know what happened. You have to put the blame on the players, but he's a classy guy and great coach. So, naturally, he's going to take the blame for it even when we know we made mistakes we shouldn't have made."
Linebacker Stewart Bradley also backed up Callahan.
"The players are responsible," he said, "because we're the ones on the field."
The #22 Huskers will play 10th-ranked Auburn in the Cotton Bowl on January 1st. The Tigers tied LSU for 2nd place in the Southeastern Conference's West Division behind Arkansas.
Arkansas and Georgia are the only teams to beat Auburn. The Tigers defeated two Bowl Series Championship teams: #2 Florida, which will play Ohio State in the BCS national championship game, and #4 LSU.
Callahan said he and his players always look forward to playing the best competition.
"That's the mark of Nebraska, the standard of Nebraska, to play the very best teams in the country," he said. "If you're going to be great, you've got to beat them all. I would love to see it someday where we can play one through 11 or one through 12, right through the poll, and see how we match up."
On the injury front, Callahan said, running back Brandon Jackson should be able to play against Auburn after breaking his hand against Oklahoma. Jackson carried 13 times for 70 yards against the Sooners.