OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -One of the assistant coaches still recruiting for Nebraska discovered right away how challenging the task can be without a head coach in place.
Dennis Wagner went to a basketball practice this week to see a prospect who already had pledged to sign with the Huskers. When Wagner walked into the gym, he found recruiters from Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas checking out the player.
``All of a sudden it's like a dead animal on the prairie and the birds are circling,'' Wagner said Friday at a booster breakfast.
After Bill Callahan was fired last week, interim athletic director Tom Osborne - who appointed himself interim head coach - said any assistants who want to be considered for jobs by the next head coach should keep recruiting.
Wagner said five or six assistants have been on the road, with a couple others working in the football office. Only two of the Huskers' nine assistants, defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove and cornerbacks coach Phil Elmassian, are known to have stopped recruiting.
Callahan and his assistants had assembled a class of 22 recruits, with a number of those now wavering on their decisions. Four players who previously pledged to Nebraska have decommitted.
Wagner, the offensive line coach, offered no insight into the coaching search. He said he tells prospects that Osborne has the situation under control and that Nebraska will remain a great place to be regardless of who is hired.
For instance, the academic support staff won't change, Wagner said, and neither will the facilities.
``I wouldn't have come here as a coach, and they shouldn't come as a player, unless they want to be at the University of Nebraska,'' Wagner said. ``In the coaching world, part of the profession is knowing that there is going to be change, whether it's voluntary or involuntary. Players need to choose the school that will allow them to have success over five years.''
Wagner said he can understand why rival recruiters were in that gym this week watching one of the Huskers' pledges practicing basketball. But he said he hasn't heard much negative recruiting by other programs against Nebraska.
``They're trying to get their foot in the door rather than take over,'' Wagner said.
Wagner said he's confident the player he spoke of - NCAA rules bar Wagner from identifying an unsigned recruit - will stick with the Huskers.
``He's chosen Nebraska and has been committed for some time,'' he said. ``He needs to keep in mind that he's already seen those schools that were in the gym, so what's to say it's any different? If he feels comfortable with the new coach, it's a no-brainer for him to stick to his decision.''
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