Published Friday, February 3, 2012 AT 10:38 AM / Updated at 10:50 AM
Dirk’s Brunch Bites, Feb. 3
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

It’s Friday! That means 10 big stories in 10 little bites. Marshall Faulk talks about Tom Osborne and an old 49er remembers Bo Pelini. There’s Les Miles and Urban Meyer, Doc Sadler and Connie Yori and, yes, a Super Bowl pick. But first, football’s version of Barnum and Bailey…

So I’m walking through an alley with David Feherty the other day. That’s not the start of a joke, it’s true. En route to a very thorough security check at Super Bowl media day, I find myself just ahead of Feherty.

He’s brainstorming questions for Bill Belichick or Tom Brady — I’m not sure which. Anyway, Feherty says (in his rather famous Irish accent), “Do you think there was there a moment when Tim Tebow realized YOU were God?”

It only got stranger from there. “Reporters” at media day ranged from Hollywood starlets to a guy wearing a 1920s football uniform. From this to this. In one direction, Mark Herzlich was speaking at length about beating cancer. In another direction, a Mexican camera crew challenged Prince Amukamara to an iPad version of Simon Says.

Is this a great country or what?

>> In Indy, I also caught up with Eric Davis, a former all-Pro with the 49ers in the 1990s. Why? Because Davis was in San Francisco when Bo Pelini was getting his start in pro football. Pelini, who spent three years in San Fran, started out holding cards on the sideline, Davis said.

“Tim (McDonald) and I would come in at like 6 o’clock in the morning. Bo started showing up…He was like an assistant to an assistant or something like that.”

Davis remembers how inquisitive Pelini was. Always asking why.

“As he was learning it upstairs from a coach’s perspective, he was also sitting in the classroom with us learning from a player’s perspective. I think that has helped him tremendously.”

>> I also asked Davis about Prince Amukamara, who is featured in today’s World-Herald. Davis elaborated on the challenges of playing corner as a rookie.

“The difference between being a good corner in college and a good corner in the NFL is understanding that guys are always open,” Davis said. “The ball is going to be thrown regardless and you have to make a play. In college at some point, quarterbacks will leave you alone. And you get bad throws. You don’t get that in the NFL. That’s the thing you have to learn. You never, ever get to take a moment off.”

>> How ‘bout Les Miles ripping Gunner Kiel? Kiel originally committed to Indiana, then reneged in favor of LSU, then changed his mind again and enrolled at Notre Dame. Miles addressed the situation Wednesday:

“There was a gentleman from Indiana that thought about coming to the Bayou state,” Miles said. “He did not necessarily have the chest and the ability to lead a program, so you know.”

Something tells me his chest would’ve been just fine had he signed with LSU. Stay classy, Coach.

>> Then there’s Urban Meyer, who’s ruffling feathers in the Big Ten. Meyer fired back at Michigan State and Wisconsin, who complained about his aggressive recruitment of committed prospects.

Said Meyer: “You’re pissed because we went after a committed guy? Guess what, we got 9 guys who better go do it again. Do it a little harder next time.”

>> A few more good recruiting reads. First, Andy Staples goes inside Vanderbilt’s recruiting surge. Then, Stewart Mandel on Meyer’s superhuman salesmanship at Ohio State. Last but not least, Mitch Sherman (a World-Herald alumnus) details how the recruiting battles for assistant coaches can be more intense than the competition for actual prospects.

>> Khiry Cooper, whose baseball career at Nebraska is over, will go down as a cautionary tale for kids wanting to play two sports in college. No, Cooper didn’t hurt his foot because he wanted to play football and baseball. But 3 1/2 years after he turned down the LA Angels, who made him a fifth-round pick, Cooper never came close to his potential in either sport. I feel bad for him. I hope he gets healthy and gives it one more shot.

>> This dunk actually happened in a Division I basketball game. Wow.

>> The Missouri Valley Conference is so top-heavy (Creighton and Wichita State are the only teams with winning league records) it’s hard to say the Bluejays have many tough games left. But Saturday’s road game at Northern Iowa is one of them. If Creighton gets by UNI, it will have only three true road games the rest of the year — Evansville, Southern Illinois and Indiana State. The Jays have the potential to accomplish some big things, but a 9-0 record in conference road games would be high on the list. My gut tells me they get beat Saturday. What say you, Creighton fan?

>> The Big Ten office interviewed fans about the division names — Legends and Leaders — and found that people actually liked them. Huh?

>> Brian Johnson is the new offensive coordinator at Utah. He is 24 years old. Three years ago, he was leading Utah to a perfect season. At this rate, Johnson will break Joe Paterno’s all-time wins record before he accepts a social security check. Johnson has his work cut out, though. The play-callers in the Pac-12 include Chip Kelly, Lane Kiffin, Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez.

>> Nebraska fans love a winner. Which is why the bandwagon will start filling up — just like 2010 — for Connie Yori’s team, which scored a huge win Thursday night at Purdue. Meanwhile, Doc Sadler’s team continued its topsy-turvy conference season Thursday night at Northwestern. The last seven Nebraska games went like this: loss, win, loss, win, loss, win, loss. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Husker women out-draw the Husker men at the Devaney Center in February.

>> In Tuesday’s Bites, I wrote that Marshall Faulk was close to choosing Nebraska coming out of high school. Twenty years ago, Faulk, a New Orleans native, raved about NU in published reports. I spoke to him in Indianapolis this week and asked him about Nebraska. How close was it?

Faulk: “I wasn’t close at all. It was cold.”

But you visited, right?

Faulk: “Yeah.”

But you said you loved it.

Faulk: “No, I didn’t love it, it was cold.”

They wanted to make you a defensive back, right?

Faulk: “Tom Osborne told me his vision for me was at defensive back. So I shook his hand and said, thanks for sharing your thoughts with me, Coach.”

On one hand, it’s nice to know Nebraska didn’t miss on Marshall Faulk because he didn’t get to play running back. On the other hand, it underscores the obstacle Nebraska faces with so many kids from the Sun Belt. Northern prospects will happily go south. A lot of southern kids won’t even consider going north.

>> Finally, my Super Bowl pick. Brady and Belichick are tough to beat, but the Giants are a deeper team. More important, just like four years ago, the Giants have the best pass rush in football — and Brady struggles against pressure. If the New England defense was stronger, I would take the Pats. But it’s not.

Giants 34, Patriots 31

>> Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.

About Dirk Chatelain

Dirk Chatelain is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and general assignments. You can follow Dirk on Twitter (@dirkchatelain) or email him at dchatelain@owh.com

Comments

  1. Ken says:

    Creighton will win at UNI. Period.

    1. Corn Julio says:

      CU loses to UNI and their BB game, but win the rest.

  2. Pat says:

    I’m a huge Creighton fan, and I’ve been expecting the team to lose tomorrow, even with how well they are playing. UNI almost beat Creighton at the Link last month, and they will be tough to beat in Cedar Falls.

    I also think it would benefit the team to lose once before St. Louis, it would be good to get their minds right heading into the tournament. Look how well they responded after their last loss (in December). It wouldn’t be a bad thing to lose the game tomorrow. Just beat Wichita next weekend and they’re fine.

  3. Erik says:

    Lame excuse about the cold weather. More than likely if a player goes to the NFL he’ll go to a cold weather place. If not, you’re bound to play at a cold weather place.

    1. Colorado Springer says:

      Tell that to a teenage boy who thinks he’s God. The recruiting process is a corrupt sickening thing. I remember one time Coach Osborne was told by a recruit that if he would be at his house at a certain time, that he would sign with Nebraska. After a grueling flight, Coach got there just in time to see the recruit sign with Texas. He didn’t have very nice things to say about the boy after that. The media has turned this into a circus. High School Seniors are not known for their judgement and people like ESPN are making them think that they are Gods.

      1. Mack Brown UT. says:

        Us here in Austin like ESPN. We feel the network is fair an unbiased

      2. NUCORNDEVIL says:

        Reality

  4. Brad says:

    A lose is never a good thing. Jays will win on Saturday and enter the top 10 and lose to Evansville just like the 02-03 team :)

  5. Chaz59 says:

    Call the Husker men’s season what you want…I call it ugly. Doc has one more year (IMHO) or he’ll be looking for employment elsewhere. His record isn’t any better than Collier’s was; he just has more personality as a coach. He and his staff haven’t demonstrated that they can recruit. Not one difference making player has come here since Doc has been coach.

    1. TheGov21 says:

      Agree with what you said.

      I have a feeling that Doc will rework his coaching staff. I could see him bringing in somebody that is considered a recruiter. But with next year’s class already set, it probably won’t make a different till the next year. Maybe it will be Erick Strickland who wants to get into coaching. But hopefully it’s somebody with ties to the Big 10 states.

    2. bob jones says:

      The world Herald article on the game talked about how strange it was for Doc to pack the defense inside and challenge Northwestern to beat NU with 3′s, kind of like forcing Nebraska to beat you with their running game back in T.O.’s heyday, doesn’t make much sense to me.

      1. David Anderson says:

        Only saw the last 6 minutes of the first half and all of the second half. When Nebraska let the kids shoot on offense, we at least seemed competitve against Northwestern, but at the end of the first half, we didn’t look to be competitive with anyone. If we wait for a new coach until 2013, it will be 2015 at the earliest for us to be competitive in the B1G.

    3. Tony says:

      Doc has hardly anybody, in terms of players, coming back next year.

    4. Mack Brown UT. says:

      I can recruit

  6. USMC RETIRED says:

    When is Bo going to let SUH loose on the Georgia kid. NKEDMICHE???? Probably will be one of THE TOP recruits for 2013!!! Some are calling him a combination of LT and Reggie White!!!

  7. Brian says:

    Faulk went to San Diego State, looks like about 50 schools wanted him as a defensive back and one wanted him as a running back

    1. Jason P says:

      Yeah … and the one was right.

  8. Lifer says:

    “Nebraska fans love a winner.” This just in Dirk. Everyone loves a winner! Four years of college, you just got your driver’s license, and you bought your first razor last week and with all that, that is all the wisdom you have to offer. You should spend less time congratulating yourself on your wit and wisdom and spend more time reading Barfknect and Shatel to see what true talent is all about.

    1. Z Fan says:

      Ouch! I don’t like or hate Dirk. He offers a perspective. You can take it or leave it.

      I’d like to see you, Lifer, to try to serve up the bites 4-5 times a week.

      BTW…snow sucks.

      GBR

  9. Big Beef says:

    At least Dirk has some rasberries, unlike Sip and Sap at LSJ, Bo’s whipping boy

    1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

      truth…..Sipple would rather be reporting on dog, or fashion shows, to Sipple, football is a mysterious realm of enchanting secrets cast down from the mythodical court of clerics.

      1. Bigfred says:

        Lame comment.

  10. realhskrfn says:

    Off topic, has anyone seen the video of jared afalava. He looks like an absolute stud at linebacker. Why isn’t he getting anymore hype. I know everyone looks like a stud on a highlight reel but seriously this guy looks good.

    1. Bigfred says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Almost looks like they speed up the tape at point of contact. He’s fun to watch.

    2. A Fan says:

      I hear he has some academic qualification issues to address. I hope I’m wrong.

  11. Mentally Red says:

    I have no doubt that Bo and his staff work very hard on recruiting. And I know that NU has some inherent geographic limitations. But there is one thing left that could put us over the top in recruiting: WINNING.

    Until we prove that we can win championships (at least in our Division), then we will be stuck in the tier of recruiting that is one notch from the top. Will will always be on the wrong side of #10.

    We can’t expect past glory to carry the day. To an 18 year old, a National Championship in 1995 doesn’t mean much more than one in 1905. What they care about is your record last year.

    This means that Bo needs to be continually looking at his staff, his methods, and even his own way of behaving. Never stop scheming to find ways to improve. Continual quality improvement…this is his job as CEO.

    1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

      It took Osborne 20 years to realize this, how long do you think its going to take this neanderthal……40?

      1. Bigfred says:

        Lame comment. It would probably be a safe bet that neanderthal makes more money next year than you do in your lifetime. Crazy? Yes. True? Judging from these posts of yours, very likely. Tired of posters that just b*tch 24/7.

        1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

          im tired of poster who swallow

          1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

            ‘posters’

        2. A Fan says:

          Who gives a shxt about how much money Pelini makes over some poster? That has a lot to do with Nebraska being recruited by Michigan and Ohio State. It has a lot to do with getting blasted on the road against Wisconsin and Michigan.

          May be if you’d open your eyes and just admit things aren’t that rosy… the folks you label “negative” would tone it down. My bet… you’ll continue to sing amens every time Nebraska gets drilled by 4 touchdowns. Or loses a game we’re supposed to win.

          1. A Fan says:

            Make that “out recruited by… “

  12. Big Beef says:

    Next fall when Nebraska goes 7-5, the heat will grow on Bo. He may be way over his head.

    1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

      Im thinking for Pelini to go 7-5 Jamrog is going to have to schedule Omaha Central in that open date.
      We lose our Center and two other starting Linemen with very little experience replacing them.
      Defense is a complete unknown with Dennard and LaVonte gone, there are zero indicators anyone will come close to their play. Remember we thot Dennard, Crick, and LaVonte were going to be the strength of this team, shut teams down, we had expectations and hope.
      Taylor healthy, running roughshod in an easier offense. New faster RB’s and WR’s to compliment T-Melt and Rex, somehow Beck cant figure out how to get 4.2 speed the ball.
      Its one inexperienced excuse after the other year in and year out, read Shatel’s article, Pelini admits he cant figure it out, and tries to blame it on FaceSpace and Twitter…………..his eyes are too close together.

    2. A Fan says:

      The next couple years are going to be telling.

      I bought the Pelini hype in 2008. I’m much more hesitant about his skills now. Yes, we are better than we were under Callahan (but that’s hardly a good measuring stick). Are we much better than we were in 2003 (the last year of Solich)? I don’t know. There are so many areas on the football team that need to be addressed, it’s disturbing. Here’s my list:

      - zero depth at QB
      - mental mistakes at critical points in games
      - team that’s not tough enough to overcome any mistakes
      - over reliance on Burkhead at IB
      - hit and miss offensive line play
      - excuses instead of solutions
      - recruiting woes
      - we don’t have one WR who stretches the field consistently

      That these issues hang around the team’s neck 4 years into Pelini’s career as head coach is odd. I can’t shake the feeling that we’re stuck. That 9, may be 10, wins is as good as it gets from here on out. I hope I’m wrong.

  13. Mel says:

    Just read Shatel’s last article. Pelini will never get us there. He is what he is….