I can relate to the circus that comes with a storied program’s coaching change.
It is hard enough to accept changes of any sort and especially hard if you think no change is warranted. I would like to commit sociological cardinal sin by drawing a comparison that will lead to a generalization.
Nebraska Nation was thrown upside down when we canned Frank Solich back in 2003 after a 9-win season. Then we welcomed the tornado known as Bill Callahan who was unwilling to adapt to the “Nebraska Way” and tried to install his “own system” to no avail. Last year we welcomed “The Savior” known as Bo Pelini with a HUGE emphasis on DEFENSE.. Instead of installing his own system he consulted with Dr. Tom and brought back the “Nebraska Way” as best he could.
The main point I initially wanted to make was that it is much harder to accept a change when the perception of the program is still a positive, winning one. In my comparison this is the firing of Solich and Shanahan. In both cases, these firings were unexpected but ultimately necessary. Nebraska is definitely back on the right track with Pelini at the helm.
In the spirit of optimism, I think the hiring of McDaniels is exactly what Denver needed in order to avoid a “Callahan Era” in Denver. Two examples shine brightly.
The first is the emphasis on Defense. Both Pelini and McDaniels have made establishing a hard-working defense a priority. There was another post I saw on MHR that showed the records of QB’s records when the opponent scores more than 30 points – enough said. With the offenses Nebraska and Denver have had recently I always say, “if we can just keep them under 30 we have a damned good chance of winning.” The Orange Crush is coming back!
The second example is that despite what a lot posts seem to think, I do not think McDaniels is trying to change the culture in Dove Valley. There is and always has been a “Bronco Way” that is and has been the envy of many other professional programs. (Being optimistic again) I think McDaniels knows this. Do you think Bowlen would let him forget it? He retained Dennison and Turner – the staples of Denver’s running attack and zone blocking. Despite my personal opinion of Nolan as a coach, McDaniels did bring in a DC that has been part of the “Denver Way” in the past. Just as Pelini consulted with Osborne, I hope McDaniels is taking every advantage to pick the brains of those who know the “Bronco Way”. It appears so.
I ended up writing more than I anticipated, so thanks for reading. Opinions are welcomed – do you think the reaction of the fans has anything to do with the perception of a winning or losing program? After Callahan, Nebraska needed a Savior. Does Denver really want things to get worse before they get better so they can have a “Savior” too?
Here’s an optimistic hint: McDaniels might be Denver’s “Savior”. We just don’t know it yet!