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Monday, September 26, 2005
Callahan: Not much difference between pro, college

Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. -- Fourteen games into his job at Nebraska, coach Bill Callahan insists there isn't much difference between the college and pro game.

"People make a bigger deal out of that than I would expect," he said Monday. "As a ball coach, I'm being honest with you. You have to be able to adapt. It's not that hard. If you asked Steve Spurrier, he'd tell you the same thing. ... It's just coaching football."

The numbers, however, show Callahan has struggled to make the transition from Super Bowl coach with the Oakland Raiders to caretaker of one of the top programs in college football history.

Callahan was touted as an offensive guru when Nebraska hired him 10 days after the Oakland Raiders fired him following the 2003 season.

But, so far, the West Coast offense has foundered in the Midwest. The Huskers were 81st in the nation in passing and 69th in total offense during last year's 5-6 campaign.

Nebraska is off to a 3-0 start, thanks to a defense that has more touchdowns (four) than the offense (three).

The Huskers, coming off a bye week, go into Saturday's Big 12 opener against Iowa State 108th in passing and 107th in total offense.

"All I know is the players are getting confidence from working hard and improving and focusing on techniques we need to get better at," he said. "But how do you know until you're up against competition?"

Callahan said it's too early to tell how good Nebraska's offense can be this season.

"I've seen offenses struggle throughout the year and then come on late," he said.

Case in point: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' team that routed his Raiders 48-21 in the Super Bowl after the 2002 season.

"The Bucs, my God, their offense sputtered along at the beginning when Jon [Gruden] went down there, and all of a sudden they exploded," Callahan said. "That's the message to our kids. You can cite so many examples of offenses throughout the years. Some offenses start hot and get rolling, and others peter out at the end."