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3-point stance: Revisiting Tom Osborne's handling of Lawrence Phillips

1. When Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne reinstated tailback Lawrence Phillips from a multi-game suspension in 1995 after Phillips had attacked his girlfriend, many writers (including me) protested with self-righteous fervor. The reinstatement seemed facile, especially as the Huskers drove to repeat as national champions. Osborne never wavered. He took the step because he thought football was the only chance that Phillips had to escape his demons. It didn’t work. Phillips flushed himself out of the NFL and landed in prison, where he died this week at 40. The more we learned about Phillips, the more I understood why Osborne didn’t take the easy way out.

2. Todd Berry had been in line to be the president of the American Football Coaches Association. Instead, he’s going to run it. Berry, fired at Louisiana-Monroe at midseason, replaces Grant Teaff, who has run the AFCA for 22 years. Berry went 57-102 in 14 seasons as a head coach at Illinois State, Army, and the past six seasons with the Warhawks. Does that mean he was a bad coach? It means he was unsuccessful. Neither Army nor Louisiana-Monroe has gotten any traction in a long time. Berry is the last Army coach to beat Navy (2001). He’s got that going for him.

3. The 24 coaching changes since the beginning of the 2015 season are split evenly between the Power 5 and the Group of 5. The ACC and the American each lost four coaches. If you’re looking for coaching stability, head west of the Mississippi. The Big 12, Mountain West and Pac-12 each had only one vacancy. What’s unusual is the loss of so many coaching icons: Frank Beamer, Steve Spurrier, Dennis Franchione and George O’Leary retired and took home 852 wins' worth of coaching experience.