Jump to content
Saunders

1995 Nebraska and the myth of championship recruiting

Recommended Posts

I found this article earlier while searching for a gif of 1995 Nebraska vs Florida game. It's from one of the main SBNation guys.

 

Quote

 

Tom Osborne was the head coach at Nebraska for 25 years, the OC for four years before that, and an assistant for four more years before that. Almost the entirety of the Nebraska Cornhusker football tradition and legacy is built off what he instituted and oversaw there. People today know Nebraska for their dominant run in the 90s, their marginal decline under Frank Solich, and then their total inability to match Osborne’s success with any coach since.

 

Since then the big question regarding Nebraska football has been “what are reasonable expectations for this program?” Osborne was not an average hire for either a P5 program or an elite institution of football excellence, he was an offensive genius who perfected a power/option I-formation offense in the 80s and then managed to upgrade his defense enough to convert that offense into a five year run of domination from 1993-1997. That stretch included three national championships, four conference titles, and only three losses.

I’m not sure there’s ever been a more impressive run by any other college program, if you want to quibble I’m happy to debate it in the comments and open to other suggestions.

Anyways, Nebraska was absurdly excellent but they didn’t arrive there by today’s standards of how greatness is expected to be achieved. In particular they were not the recruiting behemoth that, say Nick Saban’s Alabama has been.

 

http://sportstreatise.com/2018/01/1995-nebraska-and-the-myth-of-championship-recruiting/

 

 

  • Plus1 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a good article. I read somewhere that 1990s Nebraska is perhaps the biggest anomaly in all of sports. A team in a tiny state (by population), with no reasonable recruiting base, becomes a national power that not only wins, but routinely demolishes its opponents, most of whom are better situated vis a vis recruiting centers.  The premise was that, based on other schools and how the college football world works, Nebraska shouldn't have been Nebraska. At best they should be a combination of Kansas, Iowa State and another school, like Wyoming or something. 

 

 

  • Plus1 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Defensively, the recruiting leading up to and during our bull run was full of elite, out of state talent. It wasn't just "installing lighter, faster linebackers," which is the line that is constantly parroted more than any other (albeit still a true statement). It was elite talent as well.

Tenopir and Epley deserve so much of the credit for the offensive side of the ball. But the real ace in the hole was Osborne's almost savant-like ability to develop, coach, and play call that side of the ball. It's nice to see an outside source giving credit there, for sure!

  • Plus1 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, knapplc said:

That's a good article. I read somewhere that 1990s Nebraska is perhaps the biggest anomaly in all of sports. A team in a tiny state (by population), with no reasonable recruiting base, becomes a national power that not only wins, but routinely demolishes its opponents, most of whom are better situated vis a vis recruiting centers.  The premise was that, based on other schools and how the college football world works, Nebraska shouldn't have been Nebraska. At best they should be a combination of Kansas, Iowa State and another school, like Wyoming or something. 

 

 

It'd be hard to argue against that, which makes someone like me nervous that we are now at our "rightful" place, and the 50 years of elite success were a lightning in a bottle flash in the pan anomaly that has now reverted back to the norm.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Landlord said:

It'd be hard to argue against that, which makes someone like me nervous that we are now at our "rightful" place, and the 50 years of elite success were a lightning in a bottle flash in the pan anomaly that has now reverted back to the norm.

 

 

Definitely a concern. Minnesota is a good example of where we were, and where we could be going.

  • Plus1 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Landlord said:

 

 

It'd be hard to argue against that, which makes someone like me nervous that we are now at our "rightful" place, and the 50 years of elite success were a lightning in a bottle flash in the pan anomaly that has now reverted back to the norm.


In the more recent modern era it might be true though that "the player follows the coach." Frost seems to have this kind of quality that's hard to put your finger on but that puts him in this category of coaches that really lure players in on the recruiting trail.

And somewhat related to that, here's something interesting you see from our fan base: People seem to think that we won't ever recruit consistent Top 15 classes, because it is perceived that Osborne typically didn't do this. Maybe Frost is an even better recruiter than Osborne? It's really possible. The 2020 & 2021 classes will be very interesting.

If we recruit Top 15 classes we will obliterate the West, win multiple conference titles over the next 10 years, and see the CFP. But, I'm not saying Top 15 classes are likely. Just speaking to how people seem to subconsciously assume that if Frost has success it will be an exact mirroring of Osborne's style of success. That just doesn't make sense to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, knapplc said:

That's a good article. I read somewhere that 1990s Nebraska is perhaps the biggest anomaly in all of sports. A team in a tiny state (by population), with no reasonable recruiting base, becomes a national power that not only wins, but routinely demolishes its opponents, most of whom are better situated vis a vis recruiting centers.  The premise was that, based on other schools and how the college football world works, Nebraska shouldn't have been Nebraska. At best they should be a combination of Kansas, Iowa State and another school, like Wyoming or something. 

 

 

 

If football is your subject, like science, math, english or law is for other students, you go to the school with the most prestigious program. UNL made a pretty big commitment to football from the very beginning of the sport, and starting with Bob Devaney in 1962, went on a remarkable 40 year run. We had a monopoly on our relatively small in-state pool of players, but as a football powerhouse with national TV exposure and NFL scouts built in, you could attract top talent from all over. If Nebraska came calling to a high schooler in New Jersey, Florida, Texas or California, it meant the player had hit the big time. The size of the state itself didn't really matter. The success built on success, and while it's probably a chicken or the egg thing, the losing that started in 2002 built on more losing. Alabama will hit a trough again, just like every other college football powerhouse with a recruiting advantage. 

 

I think some out-of-state recruits come here and really dig the fact that Nebraska football owns the entire state. A little taste of success, and Scott Frost promoting a specific brand of football, and Nebraska can get the talent they need to compete at the highest levels. 

 

Maybe Nebraska and Kansas shouldn't be so different, but Kansas went all in on basketball instead of football, and they're still on an amazing run of recruiting and dominance. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Guy Chamberlin said:

I think some out-of-state recruits come here and really dig the fact that Nebraska football owns the entire state. A little taste of success, and Scott Frost promoting a specific brand of football, and Nebraska can get the talent they need to compete at the highest levels.


When Grant Wistrom & Jason Peter gave their motivational speech a few months ago to the team, that was exactly what Peter said. It was along the lines of, "If you reach success here, you'll be a legend in this state."

It's true, and you can sell it. Frost is really the only possible guy capable of packaging it and selling it just the right way post-Osborne, and that's what's making this whole thing seem almost too good to be true.

  • Plus1 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Undone said:


In the more recent modern era it might be true though that "the player follows the coach." Frost seems to have this kind of quality that's hard to put your finger on but that puts him in this category of coaches that really lure players in on the recruiting trail.

And somewhat related to that, here's something interesting you see from our fan base: People seem to think that we won't ever recruit consistent Top 15 classes, because it is perceived that Osborne typically didn't do this. Maybe Frost is an even better recruiter than Osborne? It's really possible. The 2020 & 2021 classes will be very interesting.

If we recruit Top 15 classes we will obliterate the West, win multiple conference titles over the next 10 years, and see the CFP. But, I'm not saying Top 15 classes are likely. Just speaking to how people seem to subconsciously assume that if Frost has success it will be an exact mirroring of Osborne's style of success. That just doesn't make sense to me.

 

 

 

Kind of a segue related to your first paragraph. Frost manages to sound down home-y and really smart and is also cool at the same time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, knapplc said:

That's a good article. I read somewhere that 1990s Nebraska is perhaps the biggest anomaly in all of sports. A team in a tiny state (by population), with no reasonable recruiting base, becomes a national power that not only wins, but routinely demolishes its opponents, most of whom are better situated vis a vis recruiting centers.  The premise was that, based on other schools and how the college football world works, Nebraska shouldn't have been Nebraska. At best they should be a combination of Kansas, Iowa State and another school, like Wyoming or something. 

 

 

 

Nebraska was/is an anomaly, that is why the national media doesn't get Nebraska football and really never did.  Even when they were really good in the 90's it just didn't make sense. 

 

As Guy Chamberlin says Nebraska has always been all in on football since the beginning of football.  They have really only had 2 sustained bad runs. Basically from 1941-61 and 2002 to the present.  Some would argue that the present run really hasn't been that bad, just not up to Nebraska standards.  

 

As far as the article goes, Nebraska always recruited well during TO's tenure.  Probably not as well as some of the other Blue Bloods. They just did other things in S and C and nutrition that made up for not having quit as good a talent.  I think they can get back to that level under Frost, but it is still going to take a little luck to win it all.  

  • Plus1 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even more important than recruiting in my mind is the head coach. When was the last time someone not name Dabo, Saban or Meyer won a national championship? Those three have won like 10 of the last 13 I think. Devaney and Osborne were once in a lifetime coaches like the three mentioned above. I think the flash in the pan was Nebraska hiring them back to back and not Nebraska's success. If Frost continues to become a once in a lifetime coach, I imagine Nebraska can get back to domination regardless of the blue Chip rule. 

  • Plus1 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We also used to run a scheme that was different than what everyone else ran so it gave us an edge. You had a specific recruiting plan on offense and it wasnt always the highest rated guy. It was the best guy that fit the role you wanted to fill. I think Frost's system is the same. You may not need the highest rated guy- you just need a guy rated pretty good but with elite speed/athleticism. Thats why I love his scheme- it doesnt require the best of the best. 

 

Thats why in my mind Callahan and Riley would have never worked. To run Pro Style we needed the best of the best at every spot. 

 

Also I agree with a few of the above posts. Saying we should be like Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa State doesnt make sense because the difference is our continual dedication, support of the football program. Those other teams were not willing to pay $$$ to keep up with the times. We have so I think we will always have a chance to get back to a sustained level of success. 

 

ITS ALL ABOUT THE COACH. And I think we have the coach- now keep providing the $$$ and resources and we will get to where we want to be. 

  • Plus1 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wasnt the narrative in the early 90's that our offense was outdated and couldnt win the big games in the new modern football? You had to pass the ball like Miami, Florida State etc? 

Then the mid 90's happened. 

 

My only point for bringing that up is it seems to be a consistent theme throughout sports that as soon as everyone starts saying something like its fact, shortly after it is proven to be false. 

 

Nebraska cant play on grass so florida is going to win. Florida has too much speed. 

Mid season the heisman was already done- Tua won mid season. 

Mid season- 05 USC is the best team in history

This alabama and 2 years ago alabama were going to be the best teams ever. Then they lost to clemson.

the big 10 is dead. All the talent is in the south. Then michigan, ohio state and penn state made good coaching hires. purdue on the uptick, nebraska on the uptick. 

its cold in nebraska- you cant recruit there- they will never get back to the top- I think we look back in 5-10 years and laugh about that narrative.

 

Didnt one betting site start paying out the people who picked alabama to win the natty like almost a month ago because they said its over.

  • Plus1 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Huskers93-97 said:

as soon as everyone starts saying something like its fact, shortly after it is proven to be false. 

 

2 minutes ago, Huskers93-97 said:

its cold in nebraska- you cant recruit there- they will never get back to the top- I think we look back in 5-10 years and laugh about that narrative.

 

 

 

Then why wasn't this proven false when people said it 15 years ago :( you said it would happen as soon as they said it and it didn't. Don't lie to me like this :(

  • Plus1 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Landlord said:

 

 

 

 

Then why wasn't this proven false when people said it 15 years ago :( you said it would happen as soon as they said it and it didn't. Don't lie to me like this :(

Patience young grasshopper. The right pieces have to be in place- we had a bad administration and BAD coaching hires that have kept us down. The reason we have stayed down is not because we are some doomed program that just got lucky for a few years, flash in the pan. We are in the top 5 for all time wins- so I dont know why everyone thinks we got lucky on 2 hires and had success for like 35 years under devaney and osborne. Those 2 coaches would have only gotten us like 350 of the near 900 wins we have.

  • Plus1 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Landlord said:

 

 

 

 

Then why wasn't this proven false when people said it 15 years ago :( you said it would happen as soon as they said it and it didn't. Don't lie to me like this :(


ROFL, +1.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, knapplc said:

That's a good article. I read somewhere that 1990s Nebraska is perhaps the biggest anomaly in all of sports. 

 

 

 

One of my biggest (sports) fears is that this is true. We'll find out in 4-5 years, I suppose!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, B.B. Hemingway said:

 

One of my biggest (sports) fears is that this is true. We'll find out in 4-5 years, I suppose!

We reached national championship level in the 70s. Then again in the 80s- I understand they didn’t win one but were right there and capable. Then again in the 90s. Plus other decades of great success and wins that led us to nearly 900 all time wins- good enough for top 5 all time. I don’t know why it’s an anomaly. Other than the fact it doesn’t fit people’s narrative or agenda

  • Plus1 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Dagerow said:

Recruiting is important, but it’s not as important as a good coach.  

 

 

No, it's not. But it's real darn close.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, B.B. Hemingway said:

 

 

No, it's not. But it's real darn close.

 

 

idk i mean

 

2010 Auburn somehow won a National Championship and I can tell you it wasn't because of Gene Chizik

  • Plus1 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Landlord said:

 

 

idk i mean

 

2010 Auburn somehow won a National Championship and I can tell you it wasn't because of Gene Chizik

 

You show Coach Chizik some respect!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Landlord said:

 

 

idk i mean

 

2010 Auburn somehow won a National Championship and I can tell you it wasn't because of Gene Chizik

 

Well, good consistent recruiting is one thing, but stumbling upon a once-in-a-lifetime transcendent player for one year is something else. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you have to have both to win a national championship. You cannot win without great talent and you cannot win without great coaching. In most cases anyway. 

There is alot of teams who recruit great every year and have average coaching and never approach the playoff. Also teams who have great coaching but for whatever reason they are not a great recruiter so never make it past 10 or 11 wins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jimmy Johnson compared his coaching days at Miami vs the NFL. He said for how many good kids they had in the area at that time he only needed to coach 2 games a year. They were just head and shoulders better than everyone else. NFL you have to show up and coach all 16 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎1‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 12:21 PM, knapplc said:

That's a good article. I read somewhere that 1990s Nebraska is perhaps the biggest anomaly in all of sports. A team in a tiny state (by population), with no reasonable recruiting base, becomes a national power that not only wins, but routinely demolishes its opponents, most of whom are better situated vis a vis recruiting centers.  The premise was that, based on other schools and how the college football world works, Nebraska shouldn't have been Nebraska. At best they should be a combination of Kansas, Iowa State and another school, like Wyoming or something. 

 

 

 

I would say Devaney's run in the late 60's to early 70's was more of an anomaly than TO's run in the 90s primarily because of the information, video, etc. of recruits available to the coaches at the time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think you can really argue about the run considering ND's, under Frank Leahy, was also supported by an abundance of talent that went beyond what TO had.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/9/2019 at 11:31 AM, Huskers93-97 said:

I think you have to have both to win a national championship. You cannot win without great talent and you cannot win without great coaching. In most cases anyway. 

There is alot of teams who recruit great every year and have average coaching and never approach the playoff. Also teams who have great coaching but for whatever reason they are not a great recruiter so never make it past 10 or 11 wins.

 

Alabama probably has more talent right now than any program in history. They lost the title game because even they can’t survive so much coaching turnover. As a staff, Clemson was simply better prepared and that mattered in the big plays. 

 

One of the real problems I have with recruiting rankings, as they’re currently done, is they lack context. Some positions are way more important than others. QB is number 1, but after that defensive players are far more important than offensive players. Offenses can fit schemes to players, defenses always have to react in some sense. Numerous offenses, both run heavy and pass heavy, have been developed and very succesfully used to overcome talent deficiencies. No one has a scheme that replaces a defensive tackle if the opponent wants to run inside. Defensive football is so often about creating numerical advantages through talent. 

 

As someone pointed out, those Nebraska teams could be mostly homegrown on offense, but those defenses were the product of scouring the country for talent.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/13/2019 at 4:03 AM, brophog said:

 

Alabama probably has more talent right now than any program in history. They lost the title game because even they can’t survive so much coaching turnover. As a staff, Clemson was simply better prepared and that mattered in the big plays. 


More or less. I'd say Alabama lost because they for some reason went away from the run game in the second quarter for absolutely no reason.

As far as how the OP does or doesn't apply to our current situation with Frost, what I see from our fan base is the assumption that we will never get Top 10-15 classes. That may not be the case, and we'll just have to wait and see how it plays out. 

Frost is currently showing that his first three classes will most likely beat Bo's averages. That's a start. Getting classes in the #15-#20 range with a QB like Martinez will have us dominating the West and competing for conference titles. That puts you back on the national stage. At that point, recruiting could potentially go up from there when we are perceived as being "back" from the national college football panorama standpoint.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Undone said:


More or less. I'd say Alabama lost because they for some reason went away from the run game in the second quarter for absolutely no reason.

As far as how the OP does or doesn't apply to our current situation with Frost, what I see from our fan base is the assumption that we will never get Top 10-15 classes. That may not be the case, and we'll just have to wait and see how it plays out. 

Frost is currently showing that his first three classes will most likely beat Bo's averages. That's a start. Getting classes in the #15-#20 range with a QB like Martinez will have us dominating the West and competing for conference titles. That puts you back on the national stage. At that point, recruiting could potentially go up from there when we are perceived as being "back" from the national college football panorama standpoint.

 

 

 

I think we will never average top 10. If Frost is as successful as I think he’ll be, we might have a top 10 class here and there. It’s possible we could average top 10-15 if we win a conference championship or 2 and make a playoff appearance.

 

I think and hope Frost will be better than Dantonio or Franklin. Dantonio’s been to a playoff and Franklin’s won the conference. MSU doesn’t get top classes (they are always below us) and PSU always has higher classes than Nebraska but (without looking) I don’t think they’re top 10 every year. And PSU is in a better location as far as distance to and # of recruits. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×