LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -Tom Osborne said he enjoyed seeing his players from the unbeaten 1997 Nebraska team on Saturday.
The game against Oklahoma State? Not so much.
``I feel bad for the players and coaches,'' the coaching icon said after the Cornhuskers' 45-14 loss. ``I'm sorry it didn't work out better today.''
Osborne, 70, retired after winning a share of the '97 national championship. He went on to serve in Congress, and now he teaches at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and does consulting work with local college athletic departments.
Osborne won 60 of his final 63 games and national championships three of his last four years. He had an .836 winning percentage in his 25 seasons (255-49-3).
His hand-picked successor, Frank Solich, was fired by athletic director Steve Pederson after going 58-19 in six seasons. Under Bill Callahan, the Huskers are 26-18 in four seasons.
Fans complain that much of what Osborne built up has been torn down by the Callahan regime. Nebraska has lost no fewer than four games in a season since 2003 - the year Solich was fired.
Osborne is staying above the fray. He said he isn't qualified to talk about the state of the program because he isn't around the team every day.
``It isn't going to help anyone to comment,'' Osborne said. ``We had a good time this weekend, and it was great to see those guys. We tried to offer our support to the team.''
Osborne addressed the current Huskers at a team meeting Friday. He declined to go into detail about his speech.
``That was between me and the team,'' Osborne said. ``I talked about things that were important to the '97 team, some things that might have relevance to today.''
Quarterback Sam Keller said Osborne talked about the makeup of Nebraska's greatest teams, about their moxie and guts and how they didn't accept losing.
``We're striving each day to be like that,'' Keller said. ``To have coach Osborne come in and kind of weigh that out... the talk he gave us was very special. We took it to heart. We're trying so hard to play well and be successful for each other, for the program, for the guys on the '97 team who were here.''
Before Friday, Osborne said, he had never been invited to talk to a Callahan team. After Nebraska suffered its worst home loss since 1958, Osborne doesn't know if he'll be invited back.
``I must have done a poor job,'' Osborne said.
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