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Retiring Osborne always kept cool under pressure

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Retiring Osborne always kept cool under pressure

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) It was homecoming 1991. Ninth-ranked Nebraska was favored by 35 points over Kansas State, still thought of as a woebegone program at the time and whose best days were still far on the horizon.

A quarterback named Paul Watson was shredding the Huskers' secondary, and the Wildcats led by a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Rob Zatechka, a redshirt freshman who later would play on Nebraska's famed ``Pipeline'' offensive line, remembers pandemonium on the sideline. Teammates were yelling at each other, assistant coaches were yelling at players and other assistants.

Then Zatechka caught sight of head coach Tom Osborne, the picture of calm as he chewed his Big Red gum and spoke through his headset, seemingly removed from the chaos around him.

``I was taken aback by it,'' Zatechka said. ``I thought, `He's not panicking. If he's not panicking, we shouldn't panic, either.'

``Someone asked Osborne why he never cut loose emotionally. I remember Osborne making the point that if the players see you losing emotional control, whether good or bad, they're going to lose emotional control, and that's where you see games spiral out of control.''

Nebraska won 38-31 thanks to a last-minute goal-line stand. More than the result that day, Zatechka remembers Osborne.

``Sometimes if you maintain an outward sense of control over a situation,'' Zatechka said, ``it has an amazing effect on the people around you.''

Osborne will retire as Nebraska's athletic director Jan. 1 and end an association with the university that began in 1962. He turns 76 in February and will stay at the school through July 31 as athletic director emeritus to ease the transition of new athletic director Shawn Eichorst.

Perhaps as much as anything, Osborne's 25-year Hall of Fame coaching career and five-year run as a can-do AD are characterized by his strong and steady leadership, often in difficult circumstances.

``No matter how crazy things were going on around him, you knew Coach was going to be calm,'' said Terry Connealy, who played defensive tackle on the 1994 national championship team. ``We weren't going to get caught up in the emotion of the moment. He's a calming influence. That's what the program needed when he came back as the athletic director, with all the perceived turmoil.''

Chancellor Harvey Perlman asked Osborne to return in 2007 to stabilize an athletic department whose flagship sport was in a free fall under coach Bill Callahan and whose staff was burdened by low morale under Steve Pederson.

Osborne's first acts were to fire Callahan and hire Bo Pelini, who has won no fewer than nine games in his five seasons and led the Huskers to three conference championship games, and mend fences with boosters and former players who felt alienated by Pederson.

In addition to guiding the school's move from the Big 12 to the Big Ten two years ago, Osborne saw through key building projects.

The Student Life Complex, which opened in 2010, houses the academic support arm of the athletic department and has been voted the best facility of its kind in college athletics.

The Hendricks Training Complex, which opened in 2011, is one of the nation's top basketball practice facilities. The men's and women's teams will play in the downtown Pinnacle Bank Arena beginning next fall after four decades in the Devaney Sports Center.

A Memorial Stadium expansion, to be completed for the 2013 season, will increase capacity to more than 90,000.

``In my mind, he took us to a whole new level,'' 1972 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers said. ``He took us to the most prestigious conference, more television time than ever, which will help us in recruiting. And there are more academic dollars for university and more prestige.''

Trev Alberts, an All-America linebacker for the Huskers in the early 1990s and now the Nebraska-Omaha athletic director, said some people might be surprised at how much Osborne accomplished in his five years running the athletic department in Lincoln.

``It goes back to his experience as a coach,'' Alberts said. ``He recognized that if he had gone back with the plan to just be a caretaker, there would have been a significant slide. He loves to solve problems and move forward.''

Osborne, who was born in the south-central Nebraska town of Hastings, leaves the university as one of the most influential figures in the state's history.

Each of the 25 Nebraska football teams Osborne coached won at least nine games, and three of his last four teams won national championships. He left coaching after the 1997 season with a career record of 255-49-3, an .836 winning percentage that ranked fifth all-time among Division I coaches, and 13 conference titles.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

After two years away from coaching, voters in the western Nebraska district elected him to the House of Representatives in 2000, 2002 and 2004. In perhaps the greatest upset in Nebraska political history, Osborne lost to popular incumbent Dave Heineman in the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary.

Osborne finished his third term in Congress and returned to the university to teach classes in leadership and business ethics before answering Perlman's call to steady the athletic department.

George Darlington, a longtime assistant coach under Osborne, said he knows Osborne was extremely disappointed to lose the gubernatorial race. But had Osborne won, Darlington pointed out, he wouldn't have been the athletic director.

``Who would be in place to have those facilities built?'' Darlington said. ``Steve Pederson, of course, had rubbed so many people wrong that I don't think he could have gotten it to completion. Someone from the outside wouldn't have had the clout.''

Osborne plans to devote more time to the TeamMates program that he and his wife, Nancy, founded in 1991. What started as a small youth mentoring program has grown to 120 communities serving more than 4,000 students in grades 4-12. The program matches a student with an adult volunteer mentor to provide one hour of individual mentoring each week during the school year.

He also will get to enjoy more time with his grandchildren and do the things he and Nancy put off during his years as a coach, congressman and athletic director.

``He'll be as busy as ever,'' Rodgers said. ``It's not like he's going to just go off and fish.''

Quick Links

Fantasy Football QB Rankings 2019 2.1

Fantasy Football QB Rankings 2019 2.1

With the preseason off and running it is finally time for fantasy football leagues to do the same. Andrew Luck's sudden retirement shook up the sports world and will absolutely alter fantasy football drafting strategies.

For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below:

Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End

Quarterback always seems to be the murkiest position during fantasy drafts. There is always that one person that selects Aaron Rodgers, and now this year Patrick Mahomes, WAY too early and throws the remainder of the draft selections out of proportions. The best methodology is to select your quarterback as far back in the draft as possible. The dangers of selecting too early vary, and it's not worth it to blow that high of a pick on a player who puts up comparable stats to someone you can grab much later

TIER 1: Showtime

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
2018 Stats: 5,097 Passing YDs, 50 Passing TD, 12 INT, 272 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB1
Previous Ranking: 1

TIER 2: Elite Starters

2. DeShaun Watson, Houston Texans
2018 Stats: 4,165 Passing YDS, 26 Passing TD, 9 INT, 551 Rushing YDS, 5 Rush TD, 2018 QB4
Previous Ranking: 2

3. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
2017 Stats: 3,296 Passing YDS, 33 Passing TD, 7 INT, 299 Rushing YDS, 2017 QB5
Previous Ranking: 4

4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2018 Stats: 4,442 Passing YDS, 25 Passing TD, 2 INT, 269 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB6
Previous Ranking: 5

TIER 3: Near Elite

5. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
2018 Stats: 3,725 Passing YDS, 26 Passing TD, 14 INT, 131 Rushing YDS, 2018 QB16
Previous Ranking: 6

6. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
2018 Stats: 4,924 Passing YDS, 35 Passing TD, 7 INT, 3 Rushing TD, 2018 QB2
Previous Ranking: 7

7. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
​​​​​​2018 Stats: 3,395 Passing YDS, 24 Passing TD, 13 INT, 488 Rushing YDS, 4 Rushing TD, 2018 QB13
Previous Ranking: 8

8. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
2018 Stats: 3,992 Passing YDS, 32 Passing TD, 5 INT, 22 Rushing YDS, 4 Rushing TD, 2018 QB8
Previous Ranking: 9

TIER 4: Late-round options

9. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
2018 Stats: 3,448 Passing YDS, 35 Passing TD, 7 INT, 376 Rushing YDS, 2018 QB9
Previous Ranking: 10

10. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
​​​​​​2018 Stats: 4,308 Passing YDS, 32 Passing TD, 12 INT, 2018 QB11
Previous Ranking: 11

11. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Previous Ranking:
 12

12. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2018 Stats: 2,992 Passing YDS, 19 Passing TD, 14 INT, 2018 QB21
Previous Ranking: 13

TIER 5: Potential is there

13. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
2018 Stats: 4,688 Passing YDS, 32 Passing TD, 12 INT, 108 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB7
Previous Ranking: 14

14. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
2018 Stats: 5,129 Passing YDS, 34 Passing TD, 15 INT, 98 Rushing YDS, 3 Rushing TD, 2018 QB3
Previous Ranking: 15

TIER 6: Backup Options

15. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

2018 Stats: 3,223 Passing YDS, 24 Passing TD, 12 INT, 421 Rushing YDS, 3 Rushing TD, 2018 QB15
Previous Ranking: 16

16. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
2018 Stats: 4,298 Passing YDS, 30 Passing TD, 10 INT, 123 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 2018 QB12
Previous Ranking: 17

17. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
2018 Stats: 2,074 Passing YDS, 10 Passing TD, 12 INT, 639 Rushing YDS, 8 Rushing TD, 2018 QB21
Previous Ranking: 18

18. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
2018 Stats: 3,885 Passing YDS, 22 Passing TD, 8 INT, 305 Rushing YDS, 6 Rushing TD, 2018 QB10
Previous Ranking: 19

19. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
2018 Stats: 1,201 Passing YDS, 6 Passing TD, 3 INT, 695 Rushing YDS, 5 Rushing TD, 2018 QB28
Previous Ranking: 20

20. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
2018: Tore ACL in Game 3
Previous Ranking: 21

21. Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars
2018 Stats: 1,413 Passing YDS, 7 Passing TD, 4 INT, 2018 QB35
Previous Ranking: 22

22. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
2018 Stats: 4,049 Passing YDS, 19 Passing TD, 10 INT, 2018 QB17
Previous Ranking: 23

23. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
2018 Stats: 4,355 Passing YDS, 29 Passing TD, 11 INT, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB14
Previous Ranking: 24

24. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
2018 Stats: 3,777 Passing YDS, 21 Passing TD, 11 INT, 2018 QB19
Previous Ranking: 25

25. Sam Darnold, New York Jets
2018 Stats:
2,865 Passing YDS, 17 Passing TD, 15 INT, QB26
Previous Ranking: NR

Quick Links

Fantasy Football WR Rankings 2019 2.1

Fantasy Football WR Rankings 2019 2.1

With the preseason off and running it is finally time for fantasy football leagues to do the same.

For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below:

Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End

By far the deepest position in fantasy football, wide receiver is also the hardest to predict. Statistics will yield trends in terms of matchups and volume, but can't account for injuries, whether or not the player is heavily targeted in one game or the next, or if a player in a good situation gets moved to an iffy one (see Golden Tate) or vice versa (see Amari Cooper). Some opt to select their wideouts later than others, but some wideouts (see DeAndre Hopkins) will put up just as good numbers as the best halfbacks that you can't afford to miss on them if you are selecting towards the back end of your draft.

TIER 1: First-round talent

1. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

2018 Stats: 115 Receptions, 1,572 Receiving YDS, 11 Receiving TD, 2018 WR1
Previous Ranking: 1

2. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
2018 Stats: 111 Receptions, 1,386 Receiving YDS, 13 Receiving TD, 2018 WR2
Previous Ranking: 2

3. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
2018 Stats: 125 Receptions, 1,405 Receiving YDS, 9 Receiving TD, 2018 WR6
Previous Ranking: 4

4. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
2018 Stats: 113 Receptions, 1,677 Receiving YDS, 8 Receiving TD, 2018 WR4
Previous Ranking: 5

TIER 2: Borderline WR1's

5. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
2018 Stats: 75 Receptions, 1,005 Receiving YDS, 7 Receiving TD, 2018 WR19
Previous Ranking: 3

6. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
2018 Stats: 87 Receptions, 1,479 Receiving YDS, 12 Receiving TD, 2018 WR3
Previous Ranking: 13

7. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
2018 Stats: 111 Receptions, 1,426 Receiving YDS, 7 Receiving TD, 2018 WR8
Previous Ranking: 8

8. Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
2018 Stats: 106 Passing YDS, 2 Passing TD, 77 Receptions, 1,052 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR15
Previous Ranking: 6

9. Antonio Brown, Oakland Raiders?
2018 Stats: 104 Receptions, 1,297 Receiving YDS, 15 Receiving TD, 2018 WR5
Previous Ranking: 12

10. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
2018 Stats: 97 Receptions, 1,196 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR12
Previous Ranking: 9

11. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
2018 Stats: 113 Receptions, 1,373 Receiving YDS, 9 Receiving TD, 2018 WR7
Previous Ranking: 7

12. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
2018 Stats: 76 Receptions, 1,270 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR14
Previous Ranking: 17

13. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2018 Stats: 86 Receptions, 1,524 Receiving YDS, 8 Receiving TD, 2018 WR9
Previous Ranking: 11

TIER 3: High-end WR2's

14. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

2018 Stats: 40 Receptions, 566 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR50
Previous Ranking: 10

15. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
2018 Stats: 102 Receptions, 1,021 Receiving YDS, 9 Receiving TD, 2018 WR10
Previous Ranking: 16

16. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
2018 Stats: 57 Receptions, 965 Receiving YDS, 10 Receiving TD, 2018 WR16
Previous Ranking: 20

17. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
2018 Stats: 157 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 86 Receptions, 1,219 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR11
Previous Ranking: 15

18. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
2018 Stats: 74 Receptions, 850 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR20
Previous Ranking: 29

TIER 4: On the cusp

19. Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams

2018 Stats: 1 Rushing TD, 80 Receptions, 1,204 Receiving YDS, 5 Receiving TD, 2018 WR13
Previous Ranking: 18

20. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
2018 Stats: 70 Receptions, 1,063 Receiving YDS, 5 Receiving TD, 2018 WR21
Previous Ranking: 19

21. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals
2018 Stats: 46 Receptions, 694 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR43
Previous Ranking: 14

22. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2018 Stats: 59 Receptions, 842 Receiving YDS, 7 Receiving TD, 2018 WR27
Previous Ranking: 21

23. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
2018 Stats: 172 Rushing YDS, 55 Receptions, 788 Receiving YDS, 2 Receiving TD, 2018 WR36
Previous Ranking: 22

24. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
2018 Stats: 76 Receptions, 1,028 Receiving YDS, 7 Receiving TD, 2018 WR17
Previous Ranking: 26

25. Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
2018 Stats: 1 Rushing TD, 43 Receptions, 664 Receiving YDS, 10 Receiving TD, 2018 WR32
Previous Ranking: 39

26. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
2018 Stats: 65 Receptions, 843 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR26
Previous Ranking: 32

TIER 5: Best of the rest and late-round finds

27. Josh Gordon, New England Patriots 

2018 Stats: 41 Receptions, 737 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR47
Previous Ranking: NR

28. Will Fuller V, Houston Texans
2018 Stats: 32 Receptions, 503 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR68 
Previous Ranking
: 23

29. Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns
2018 Stats: 1 Rushing TD, 81 Receptions, 976 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR18
Previous Ranking: 25

30. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
2018 Stats: 65 Receptions, 891 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR28
Previous Ranking: 35

31. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
2018 Stats: 64 Receptions, 821 Receiving YDS, 10 Receiving TD, 2018 WR22
Previous Ranking: 38

32. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
2018 Stats: 55 Receptions, 754 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR39
Previous Ranking: 28

33. Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions
2018 Stats: 35 Receptions, 508 Receiving YDS, 5 Receiving TD, 2018 WR62
Previous Ranking: 27

34. Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs
2018 Stats: 40 Receptions, 519 Receiving YDS, 3 Receiving TD, 2018 WR63
Previous Ranking: 24

35. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
2018 Stats: 1 Passing TD, 69 Receptions, 734 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR25
Previous Ranking: 30

36. Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears
2018 Stats: 33 Receptions, 423 Receiving YDS, 7 Receiving TD, 2018 WR59
Previous Ranking: NR

37. Devin Funchess, Indianapolis Colts
2018 Stats: 44 Receptions, 549 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR58
Previous Ranking: 31

38. Robby Anderson, New York Jets
2018 Stats: 50 Receptions, 752 Receiving YDS, 6 Receiving TD, 2018 WR38
Previous Ranking: 37

39. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
2018 Stats: 1 Rushing TD, 41 Receptions, 774 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR41
Previous Ranking: 40

40. Golden Tate, New York Giants
2018 Stats: 74 Receptions, 795 Receiving YDS, 4 Receiving TD, 2018 WR29
Previous Ranking: 34