So, now what?

Nebraska Head Coach, Bill Callahan, has stated that the firing of athletic director Steve Pederson and the hiring of Tom Osborne is a bit of a distraction. Maybe not the actions directly, but as a result the change has some people wondering what changes could be next and what to make of recruiting. Nothing is certain, but at least one thing should happen.

A question that comes along with the losses of a football program is 'What do to the recruits think about this'? I am always interested to know, but I am not interested in creating a story where one doesn't exist.

There is no choice now.

The timing of the replacement of Steve Pederson is a little interesting. The replacement of Pederson with three-time, national champion coach at Nebraska, Tom Osborne, is even more interesting.

What makes the change so interesting is the seemingly pending changes with the football coaches that seem sure to follow. While Tom Osborne has said when, nothing until the end of the season, the question has moved to who?

The Nebraska staff started out on the recruiting trail really back in September of 2006 with the commitment of Baker Steinkuhler. The latest commitment only a week ago with Brandon Thompson has raised the total number of commits to 23.

The sheer number and quality of the commitments is carrying a team ranking by Scout.com at #8. The strengths of the class are in the linebacker postion which has a national rating of #2, offensive line of #3 and quarterback of #4.

The problem now is retention. Recruiting is set around some pretty set things and one fluid thing. The set things are location, education, facilities, tradition and so on. The one fluid consideration? The coaches.

The coaches become a bridge and add personality to the surroundings of a program. It's sometime enough for a parent to say O.K. to one staff over another because of comfort.

Regardless of why a recruit committed; a coach, the head coach or a combination of the entire coaching staff and other employees were at least some part of the reason why someone commits to a school.

So it's obvious what happens when the commitment has to think about not playing for the coach that he committed to. The recruit begins to doubt or question their decision based on the other merits and wants to know who the replacement will be.

The problem for Nebraska right now is that speculation is running wild. Stories have ranged from the staff being entirely replaced to not being touched at all. Either way it's speculation and this story is not about spreading more rumors.

What this story is about is what to expect over the coming months for the fans in terms of recruiting and by the commitments. Already, stories are ranging from just a player or two visiting their home-state school to taking all of their official visits to some of the nations' best programs.

The thing is, this should not only be expected, but the next level could be and should be decommitments. The thing is, with a program in flux, nothing is certain. Other programs, just like Nebraska was, are filling up and Nebraska's current commitments need security too.

What needs to happen, is a little honesty and a lot of communication. Given what we know now, and what we don't know, the commitments have been pretty patient and calm. While some will take visits, they are standing pat on their commitments to Nebraska still.

The reason why the recruits seem calm is because there have been three losses, a change in the A.D. and a number of rumors dealing with the coaches. Their patience tells you that they are at least interested in the fate of the program and, more importantly, the staff they committed to.

The question is what to do next? The staff is going to need some help. They can't sell the future as them being part of it right now. The one that can is Tom Osborne. Osborne, as the interim A.D., must reach out to try and salvage as much as this class as he wants or can.

Some calm is needed in a sea filled with doubt. Osborne needs to be that beacon. That new face of the program is the same one it was from 1972 to 1997.

While Osborne hasn't been part of the college football world for 10 years, he is still recognizable by face and name. One recruit's father told Big Red Report that if Tom Osborne were to reach out to them that it would be a very important gesture.

There can't be a lot that can be sold by this staff except for their honesty and patience. Where this staff and the new A.D. need to link up is over recruiting, and fast.

Some of this is "salvageable". There are reasons to still be interested in Nebraska as a recruit and reason to want to stay involved. Nebraska will need to start this "reaching out" and start to include at least the person that will help guide the football program past this year.


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