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Archive for October, 2007

I hate being right all the time

So at the start of the season, Nebraska was predicted to be on the cusp of a breakout year.  But I wasn’t buying into the optimism.  Just before the first game, I wrote of my beloved Huskers, “I’m not even sure we go to a bowl game this year.”

Turns out that was an optimistic assessment.  They’re even worse than I thought they’d be.  Heck, I had the Ball State game picked as a gimme, and we barely escaped it with a one-point win.

Nebraska has become a slow-motion train wreck.  Our defense is utterly inept, getting gouged for huge chunks of yardage on the ground and in the air.  And our offense can’t run the ball, even against some of the weakest defenses in the country (witness the Missouri game last week).  Sam Keller has a live arm, sure, but throws too many interceptions, and can’t be expected to carry the entire team on his back, anyway.

And the scariest part is I don’t think they’ve hit bottom yet.  Hell, they’re still above .500 on the season.  That will change next week. 

NU fans, if you’re out there, I hope you enjoyed the Iowa State victory.  Looks like it will be the last one of the year.  This team has quit, I think.  They ran into some adversity, and rather than fighting back, sat in the corner and pouted.

And please, apologists, spare me any talk of parity.  If parity in the college game were truly the issue with Nebraska, we would at least be competitive in these games.  There’s no way you can convince me that the athletic talent of Missouri and Oklahoma State is four to five touchdowns better than ours.  They’re good teams, yes, but they’re not that good. 

We are, however, that bad.  And for that, I blame our clueless coaches.

I used to defend Defensive Coordinator Kevin Cosgrove.  That changed after the USC game.  But even after that debacle, I still felt that at least Bill Callahan had done a pretty good job recruiting for and installing a West Coast offense.  After today’s meltdown, however, I think it’s clear that the entire coaching staff has to go.  A clean sweep must be made.  I’m not saying that firing Frank Solich was a mistake.  I’m just saying that Callahan, despite improved recruiting, has not been an upgrade.

Some pundits talk about the difficulties he faced in “changing the culture” around here.  That’s a crock.  I personally don’t care what offensive scheme you run, and neither do most NU fans.  We only loved the option because it won football games and national championships.  So run whatever offense you like.  But dammit, get your players to execute. 

This coaching crew just ain’t gettin’ it done.  Run the bums out on a rail, say I.  And don’t wait until the end of the season.  This one is already lost.  Buy out Callahan’s recently-extended contract (and let’s send a big thank you to Athletic Director Steve Pederson for that boneheaded move) and get an early jump on the coaches that will become available.  We have the facilities.  We have the fan base.  We even have the talent.  What we lack is the coaching.

And while we’re at it, let’s start playing the younger guys now.  The seniors have had their shot, and they’ve blown it.  Get the rookies some feel for the game, so that they’re ready for it next season.

Nebraska, rapidly approaching the nadir.  I can’t bear to watch.

Progress Report, in which an author mumbles and stories whimper

Finished my quick-fix rewrite of “Ashes, Ashes” and sent it off to TOTU.  Eric Heideman had suggested I cut the piece by 200-300 words.  I cut 500–with relative ease, I might add.  That I wrote this story [mumble] years ago might have a little something to do with that, as might the fact that I’ve already done [mumble] drafts.  Safe to say I have some distance on it.

One might reasonably ask why I bother.  Well, I still believe in it, for one thing.  And I’m bone stubborn, for another.  I’m sure many people see me as doggedly determined, even driven.  But the truth of the matter is that giving up just doesn’t occur to me . . . most of the time, anyway.  There are a handful of stories and a novel I’ve pretty much consigned to the fabled trunk.  (I don’t actually have a “trunk,” just folders I don’t take out of the desk drawer anymore, and a box of stuff in my closet.)  But every now and again, even they whimper softly to me.

I also finally finished my read-through of Petra.  I have to say that I really like my ending.  I had forgotten some cool stuff I’d thrown in there.  Now I must embark on the actual rewrite . . . and I must admit a little trepidation.  One of the major fixes I need to work on will hit me right away, in chapter one.  No running start for me; I get to begin at a wall.  It would be so easy, so tempting, to dither and delay, to busy myself with getting mss in the mail (and believe me, there’s a lot of that to do), but no.  I will not fear.  Fear is the mind-killer.  Fear is the little-death that brings–

Oops.  Sorry.  Geek moment.  I’m sure you understand.

Write Club update:  Baen’s Universe bounced “The Multiplicity Has Arrived” with a tier one rejection.  Response time, five days.

And I’m gone.

Progress Report, in which I get starry-eyed

Finished the first draft of the Halloween story.  Here’s the groovy graphic to make it official:

It’s too long, I think.  I’ve got about an hour to trim what I can before I submit it.  I actually could take another day or two, as the deadline’s been extended, but other projects beckon, and the year is running out.

Don’t know if the story’s worth a damn or not.  Regular readers of these updates know that I’ve had a mighty struggle with this one.  And you know what that means–absolutely nothing.  But the read-through I’ve done so far isn’t as bad as I feared it might be.  In any event, I’ll know soon enough.

I had hoped to be well ensconced in the Petra rewrite by this time, but you know how that one goes.  And now the rewrite will be delayed another day or two.  Turns out that Tales of the Unanticipated has reopened.  Earlier this year, Eric Heideman had given me some detailed suggestions for a rewrite of “Ashes, Ashes,” indicating a willingness to look at another draft.  His ideas seem like easy fixes, so I’m going to work on that first.

Then I’ll turn my attention to Petra.  Seriously.  I mean it this time.

If I finish the rewrite by the end of the year–which seems quite reasonable–I should be very pleased.  But a pie-in-the-sky part of me wants to leave enough time in December to do some more new fiction.  That would make the end of November a stretch goal for Petra

This might be a tad starry-eyed of me.  I have a trip to Portland coming up at the end of the month, and November has that Thanksgiving thing going on–the start of the silly season, and schedule disruptions galore.  So we’ll see.

No updates for Write Club.

Excuse me while I put on my boogie shoes . . .