|Nebraska, Texas A&M try to put distractions to the side|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 18 October 2007 09:30|
M coming to play Nebraska on Saturday, it might as well read: ``Not The Victory But the Distraction.''
At Nebraska this week, athletic director Steve Pederson was fired, Cornhusker coaching legend Tom Osborne was named to replace him temporarily, and the heat on coach Bill Callahan was cranked up another degree or two.
M, meanwhile, is coming off a 35-7 loss at Texas Tech, which followed the administration's figurative spanking of coach Dennis Franchione for putting out a secretive for-pay newsletter to boosters. Franchione's job status, like Callahan's, is in jeopardy.
Callahan said he's trying to stick to his game week routine, but it's not easy.
``We're all human,'' he said. ``The guys on the staff, they have families and children, and they hear things and see things. It's not very comfortable. If your job is in the position where people were talking about you every day, it's not a real good feeling.''
Coaches from both teams say their task is to keep their players' minds on what happens on the field.
``The thing I try to implore on them is, 'Don't let someone else steal your season,' because that's what happens,'' Aggies defensive coordinator Gary Darnell said. ``Don't let somebody sitting out there, watching, seeing, writing, talking, steal your season, because you're not going to get another one.''
M game starts the most important five-game stretch of Callahan's four seasons at Nebraska. Pederson hired Callahan and provided unwavering support. Osborne said he would make no decision on Callahan until after the last game.
Nebraska (4-3, 1-2 Big 12) has been outscored 86-20 in its last two games. Osborne, in an interview this week, bemoaned the Huskers' lack of competitiveness in the 45-14 loss to Oklahoma State last Saturday.
After playing the Aggies, Nebraska has three straight games against opponents now ranked in the Top 25 - visits to Texas and Kansas and a home game with Kansas State. The Huskers finish with improving Colorado.
Callahan senses the pressure: ``It's looking at you right in the eye. I don't dismiss it. I try to keep it on the peripheral and try to focus in on the job at hand. It is hard.''
M (5-2, 2-1) has been awful in its two road games, getting outscored 69-24 by Miami and Texas Tech. But the Aggies are catching the Huskers when they are vulnerable, and a win would let them keep pace with Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State in the Big 12 South.
``We're both coming off losses, so there's a lot of incentive for both of us to win,'' Aggies defensive end Chris Harrington said. ``That's college football. If you're not winning, then you're going to have critics and there are going to be consequences.''
Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller said he and his teammates can't let themselves worry about Pederson's firing or the situation with Callahan.
``We as players have a very simple job. That's to go out and play and practice hard and go to school,'' Keller said. ``This change, it really is a decision that's made so far above us that we try not to let it affect our thinking.''