LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Bill Callahan claims the uncertainty about his future at Nebraska is undercutting his ability to recruit.
The Cornhuskers' coach said Tuesday at his weekly news conference that his program has become hamstrung in the wake of constant speculation about whether he'll be back at Nebraska next year.
A number of recruits who verbally committed to the Huskers have reneged or are wavering, and Callahan said he has had difficulty offering assurances to prospects.
``I can't make any promises,'' he said. ``I can't, because I'm not getting any promises.''
The Huskers are 4-4 after losing three straight games by a combined score of 122-34. Nebraska's ability to become bowl eligible is in doubt with three of its final four regular-season games on the road. The Huskers visit No. 17 Texas on Saturday.
``If you look at the landscape of college football, the powers are all going to go through a little bit of this and that. We've had more of this and that,'' Callahan said.
Callahan said he's confident that, given time, he can win big at Nebraska. For the second consecutive week, he said he's doing an ``excellent'' job managing the program.
He said it should not go unnoticed the Huskers reached the Big 12 championship game two years after he dumped the triple option in favor of the West Coast offense.
``Again, all I would tell you is I have done an excellent job in every area,'' he said. ``It's hard for the media to know. But what we've done off the field and what we did on the field, it's well-documented. We did some positive things. We haven't sustained it this year.''
Callahan said he and his assistants, as well as interim athletic director Tom Osborne, have talked to visiting prospects about ``hanging in there'' with Nebraska.
Callahan said he didn't know the exact number, but several of the 23 recruits who have pledged to sign with Nebraska in February have backed away.
Nebraska took a major hit on the recruiting front this week when star running back Jonas Gray of Southfield, Mich., announced he was de-committing and taking another look at Michigan and LSU. He told the Omaha World-Herald that he feared even if Callahan were retained for next year the coach would be on a ``short leash.''
Others who are reconsidering are quarterback Blaine Gabbert of suburban St. Louis, linebacker Will Compton of Bonne Terre, Mo., and offensive lineman Bryce Givens of Denver.
Even though Callahan has put together touted recruiting classes his first three years, he said, he and his assistants are only now beginning to hit their stride in assembling talent.
Callahan pointed out that his 2008 recruiting class had been ranked as high as No. 7 nationally by one recruiting service.
``You're just building your program and you're right at the position where you can get a top class of talent like that, and then to let it slip away, that's tough. Really tough,'' Callahan said.
Callahan said he thought he had reached a point of stability after signing a contract last month that locked him up at Nebraska through the 2011 season. That contract was signed before last week's firing of athletic director Steve Pederson, who hired Callahan in 2004.
Osborne has said he'll evaluate Callahan through the end of the season. Osborne said the prospect of having to buy out Callahan's contract for more than $3 million will not stop him from firing Callahan, if he sees fit.
``With everything up in the air, parents (of recruits) are concerned, and they're looking for other options for their sons,'' Callahan said.
Callahan said he took over a program in 2004 that needed quick fixes at a number of positions, and he went to junior colleges to find players who could play immediately.
``The expectation is so high that you have to get somebody who can step in right now and play at a very high level,'' he said. ``When that doesn't happen, you see the result.''

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