Published Sunday, September 15, 2013 AT 9:49 PM / Updated at 10:32 PM
Last Call: Husker emails, Tommie Frazier, NFL stuff, etc.
Tom Shatel Omaha World-Herald

Pull up a chair, pal. You look like you could use a double.

1. I don’t count my emails after Nebraska losses. But there are tons. Dozens. More than a hundred? Probably. Whatever. I take each one seriously. I try to answer each one. People spill their guts. They like to vent. I’m here for you.

2. All but one of the good folks I heard from on Sunday (and God love the guy who said he was bouncing back this week) were disgruntled. Lot of theories as to why this or that is happening. Lot of suggestions on what should be done and who it should be done to.

I thought I’d share one of the best emails of the day. It came from Rod Yates, a former Husker split end from 1980-84. He sent me a copy of a recent article about Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly on The story dealt with the secret behind Kelly’s status as an offensive genius.

The story quoted a speech Kelly gave at Nike coaches clinic in 2009 on the zone read play he used at Oregon. Kelly’s message was simplicity. He told the group his offense had only four rushing plays, but his players were drilled to use them in any situation.

Here’s the money quote from the story, written by Tony Manfred:

“If you give your players something to hang your hats on, they will perform. If they can run the offense with any scenario they may face, you will be successful running the ball. If they have all the answers to the problems the defense may give them, they will be good.

“The best way to beat the team you are going to play is to have your team play with conviction. Are there any basketball coaches in here? The one thing I cannot understand about their sport occurs in the clutch stages of the game. With the game tied and five seconds left in the game, the coach calls a time-out. He picks up a whiteboard and draws a play. I do not know how long I would last in Eugene, Ore., if I did that.

“If your players haven’t run that play in a critical situation a thousand times in practice, you will not have a chance to be successful. With our inside zone play, we get so much practice time and so many reps that we can handle all the other scenarios that come about.

“Instead of trying to outscheme your opponent, put your players in an environment where they can be successful because they understand exactly what they have to do.”

Yates’ point was this: This was the same philosophy as Tom Osborne, who had a handful of plays but could run them with an infinite number of tweaks and looks. Yates said, “I’m tired of these coaches who make $3 and $4 million a year and think they need to make everything complex to prove value.”

I don’t know how complicated Bo Pelini’s defense and Tim Beck’s offense are. Pelini will tell anyone who will listen that it’s not complicated. But I also see the Blackshirts looking over to the sidelines for signals occasionally as the offense is lining up.

I think this was directed more at Beck’s offense, which can do a lot of things and is designed to do them fast. That offense hasn’t clicked in three games. I’m sure Beck is looking at making some changes. I wonder if simplification is one of them.

Anyway, I thought this was an interesting take and quotes from the guy that everyone thinks is reinventing football right now.

3. I’ve learned never to be surprised by Tommie Frazier’s candor. The hall of famer has never been shy about speaking his mind and not worried about feelings hurt. That was his calling card as a great Husker quarterback.

But I was stunned to see Frazier’s comments on Twitter last night calling for the defensive staff to be replaced. That’s pretty strong stuff coming from a former player and legend. The timing could have been a lot better. Calling for firings the same day that the school honored you at the game was bad form. I’m not saying Tommie shouldn’t speak his mind; he will. And we will listen. Just not the same day.

4. This social media stuff is something, huh? It makes everyone an analyst. Everyone can play. There are more former Huskers chiming in on social media and radio and TV shows, too. I wonder if Tommie’s comments will open the floodgates on criticism of the staff. As always, I’ll start by tuning in tomorrow morning to Gary Sharp and Damon Benning. One of them is a former Orange Bowl MVP.

5. Nebraska is not ranked in either poll this week. Fitting. Sad. Don’t ever get used to that.

6. I didn’t see the Arizona State-Wisconsin finish but it sounds like the official should have put more time on the clock with all the confusion. And Joel Stave should have handed the ball to an official rather than putting it on the ground.

7. I was expecting KMTV to show the Chiefs-Cowboys game today. I got the Bolts and Eagles instead. I was afraid to watch. Then the stupid Bolts drew me in for another sure heartbreak. Didn’t happen. Bolts 33, Eagles 30. Thank you, KMTV. Wonder how many Chiefs fans in Omaha were trying to find their game.

8. Why wouldn’t a stadium in Seattle have a retractable roof? I don’t mind football in the rain. I prefer it. But when I can’t watch a big game because of a weather delay (lightning), I’m not happy. Not like it never rains in Seattle.

9. See you tomorrow for my 12:30 chat on, right after the weekly Bo Pelini news conference. Any questions?

About Tom Shatel

Tom Shatel is a columnist for The Omaha World-Herald. You can get in touch with Tom on Twitter (@tomshatelOWH), or send him an email at