--Winson Wolfe (Harvey Keitel), Pulp Fiction, 1994
Tom Shatel of the Omaha World Herald is the most recognizable sports columnist in Nebraska. Why, I have no idea, and it's beeen going on for almost 20 years now. All you really need to know about Shatel comes from two days back in late November, 2003:
- Saturday, November 29, 2003: The day after Frank Solich gets a nice win at Boulder against Colorado (did I mention about them losing to Montana State 19-10 yesterday...at HOME?), Shatel's column raved about how Solich and his staff have earned the right to continue progessing, the team was ranked and the program was headed in the right direction.
- Sunday, November 30, 2003: The day after Solich was unexpectedly shit-canned by Stevie P, in one of the biggest flip-flops in recent sports journalism memory, Shatel defends the firing, saying it was absolutely the right move to make.
In other words, don't expect Shatel to really offer any true opinion on the state of Nebraska football. For the record, he also immediately said, "I like this hire" about Billy C, before the press conference announcing his hiring, before Callahan announced that the WCO was coming with him to Husker Football.
Which brings us all to Shatel's column in this morning's World Herald. He basically said that after this ONE game, all of Billy C's critics should be silenced, this WCO is a thing of glory and at times it looked like Zac Taylor "looked as if he was playing Xbox."
Wasn't this the way it was supposed to go against an opening game opponent like Louisiana Tech, at home?
He also went just a wee bit overboard on how great Matt Herian looked (and I'm not talking about the mustache). Shatel said Herian "looked as good as ever." Huh? Yes, Herian was wide open on his three catches, but on two he looked timid and slow coming off that major injury, which is to be expected.
And we wonder why Husker Nation acts the way they do sometimes. Shatel is nothing more than a PR director for the program, afraid to ruffle anyone's feathers for fear that somebody could confront him at the Tuesday afternoon press conference. If this guy is supposed to be a COLUMNIST -- let alone the biggest one in the state -- shouldn't be expect some substantial opinions. I guess we should all just be pretty used to it, especially after Shatel spent two weeks in June, where he literally wrote 14 columns about nothing but what a great experience the College World Series is.
Hell even Taylor himself, quoted in Shatel's column, said "It won't be this way every game."
But Shatel couldn't resist: "Who in the Big XII North can stop this offense?" I don't know about this year Tom, but last year the powerhouses from Kansas and Missouri seemed to find a way.
I just wish these columnists wouldn't be so afraid to go out on a limb and offer up some true opinions on what they could see beyond their rose colored glasses. Granted, there's not much negative you can say when you any game against anybody by the score of 49-10.
But let's not forget the immortal words of Winston Wolfe, the man who's job it was to solve problems. And until we see what this WCO can do against the USC's and Texas' or even the Okie State's of the world, we can't be too sure that Billy C do the same as Mr. Wolfe. We'll know more on September 16th if the man can solve problems.
If not, hell, he'll be in California. He can always call in the Wolfe.