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Husker dud may cost jobs on coaching staff

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 1, 2002


LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska's players expect some changes on the coaching staff after the Cornhuskers finished with their worst record since 1961.

Nebraska lost 28-13 at home to Colorado on Friday, capping a frustrating regular season. The Cornhuskers went 7-6, their worst record since 3-6-1 more than four decades ago.

Whatever bowl the Cornhuskers get invited to, they will have to win to extend their streak of winning seasons to 34.

The struggles have put the entire staff under scrutiny, and coach Frank Solich said he would meet with his nine assistants during the weekend. A team meeting is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Much of the speculation is about the fate of defensive coordinator Craig Bohl and whether Solich will continue as both coach and offensive coordinator.

Bohl, in his third year as coordinator and eighth on the staff, has been second-guessed virtually all season. The Huskers entered the game ranked 46th or lower nationally in each of the major defensive statistical categories. They gave up an average of 35 points in losses to the four opponents that ranked in the AP Top 25.

Bohl said Saturday afternoon that he had not spoken with Solich about his status and didn't know when he would.

Solich is one of 12 Division I-A head coaches who also are their teams' offensive coordinators. The Huskers offense has been criticized this season for being one-dimensional and lacking the physical power of past squads.

Also in limbo are the futures of three longtime staff members, secondary coach George Darlington, offensive line coach Milt Tenopir and assistant line coach Dan Young. They have a combined 79 years on staff.

Darlington repeatedly has said that he doesn't plan to retire. Tenopir has hinted in recent weeks that he wants to continue coaching. Young said he's undecided.

"It's tough looking where we're at this year compared to years past," free safety Philip Bland said.

The Huskers will accept a bowl invitation for an NCAA-record 34th straight year, probably to the Dec. 27 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.

But Nebraska's streak of nine-win seasons will end at 33. Its 3-5 Big 12 record is its worst in conference play since 1968.

* * *

COLORADO ST.: Jeff Babcock kicked his team-record 23rd field goal this season.

PITT: The announced crowd of 66,731 was the second-largest in school history, topped by the 68,918 for Fordham at Pitt Stadium in 1938. It was the largest in Heinz Field's two-year history. ... The much-maligned Heinz turf, resodded for the third time this season last week, held up well.

SO. MISS: Senior running back Derrick Nix is 12 yards shy of becoming the school's career rushing leader. He trails Ben Gary, who had 3,595 from 1974 to 1977. The Golden Eagles finished their regular season but are bowl eligible. ... Linebacker and Butkus Award finalist Rod Davis will petition the NFL to find out where he might be drafted if he skips his senior season.

TENNESSEE: Athletic director Doug Dickey was honored at halftime. He is retiring this spring after more than 20 years as a coach and administrator at the school. ... Quarterback Casey Clausen passed Andy Kelly for second to Peyton Manning in career passing yards with 6,597.

TCU: Running back Lonta Hobbs set school freshman records with 287 yards in a game, 952 yards in a season and 10 touchdowns in a season.

VIRGINIA: Receiver Heath Miller set an ACC record with his ninth TD catch of the season.

VA. TECH: Lee Suggs extended his Division I mark to 25 straight games with a touchdown on a 4-yard scoring run.

WAKE FOREST: A 78-yard pass from Cory Randolph to Jax Landfried was the longest non-scoring play in school history.

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