I suppose you could make an argument that they don't if things weren't going so hot under the previous one. But there's still a lot of angst and anticipation for any fan of any program going through that kind of transition right now.
It wouldn't be a huge leap to say that amongst the most eager are Husker fans, who still have eyes toward the glorious past when thinking about the future. Now, they just want to know who the next head man is going to be.
They aren't alone.
Nebraska currently has 21 commits. Of those, Scout.com lists four of them as soft verbals. Not surprising considering the situation. There's no reason not to expect a lot of wandering eyes from commits who developed relationships with coaches who may at some point soon, not be there any longer.
But one is gone, and for Omaha Westside running back Collins Okafor, that in and of itself was a little tough. "Yeah, I was a little upset Callahan was gone," Okafor said. "I liked him. But with new faces could come new opportunities."
Okafor is like that: Casual in how he approaches things, mentally, not getting too high or too low, staying pretty even keel throughout. That's the intention anyway. But he looks at the situation at Nebraska and just like anyone else, he wonders what is going to happen.
What he assumes, like many, is that whatever happens there are going to be a few new faces to get to know. That's fine, but like Sean Fisher, Jon Levorson and any other commit or even recruit of Nebraska, the sooner those faces arrive, the better. "The relationship part is huge. The facilities, stadium, tradition and people, they are all going to be there, but it's the coaches who you really get to know.
"The sooner this thing gets done, the sooner I get a chance to meet and know the coaches who come in."
On the offensive side, there is a lot of speculation as to just who could be brought in. But there's probably more surrounding who might get to stay. While Bill Callahan and his eight-pound playbook are gone, Shawn Watson, someone who learned a lot of what he knows about the "West Coast" offense under Callahan, is still there. And based on how the offense did this season, along with Watson's reputation with his players, he could still be there when everything is said and done.
Okafor likes that, because it's one less coach he has to get to know from scratch. But as for the offense, he's partial and impartial at the same time. "I'm a fan of the good old I-formation. That's what kind of back I think I am," Collins said. "But if they want to run the option, I'll run the option. If they want to run the spread, I'll run the spread. Whatever they want to run, that's what I am going to do."
When there are so many questions surrounding the program, most people just want answers. Of course, those are in short supply at this particular point. The search for a Head Coach continues, and for commits and recruits, they are just onlookers, wondering and even hoping for the best.
Even a call from Tom Osborne himself, which Collins received last night, didn't pan out in any concrete answers about the future. But for Okafor, he didn't ask too many questions. "I guess I could have asked all the questions I wanted, but whatever questions I have, those are probably best suited for the next head coach," he said. "They are the ones who will be able to answer the questions which are really important to me."
With that being said, Okafor talked positively about the conversation with Nebraska's interim A.D., stating that it was more about Osborne reassuring him, letting him know that things were progressing along. And one thing that growing up in Nebraska does for this Westside senior is knowing when this particular person says that, he's got a pretty good idea of what it means.
"This is a man who has coached through the worst and he has coached through the best. He's seen it all," Okafor said of Osborne. "He knows football up, down, backwards, forwards and sideways. There isn't anyone out there who is more right for this job than him. I know that he knows what he's doing. And I know if I have a question, he'll have the answers."
It seems to be a pretty consistent theme, not just with recruits and commits nowadays, but it's something you have heard about Osborne over his entire career. Whatever "It" is, the former Husker head coach has it, and in abundance. Kids especially seem to relate to him or perhaps it's the other way around. But there's a comfort level which they seem to find with him, almost instantly after meeting him or in Okafor's case, talking to him on the phone.
In recent days there has been some speculation as to Okafor wavering, perhaps now thinking that he'd test the waters where things are a little more stable and he has a better idea of what's going on. I didn't ask Collins about that speculation specifically, but maybe in his own way of addressing it, he squashed it nonetheless:
"I know where I belong," he said. "That's at Nebraska ."