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November 15, 2004

Football is taken seriously in the Big 12

This earlier post referenced Kansas Coach Mark Mangino's comments after Saturday's controversial ending to the Texas-Kansas game in which Coach Mangino alleged that the officials were favoring UT to preserve the Horns' stature for a lucrative Bowl Championship Series Bowl game.

Well, it turns out that Lawrence, Kansas was not the only place where passions were bubbling out of control in Big 12 country this past Saturday. This article from Husker.com indicates that Darren DeLeone, a 6'4", 315 lbs. offensive tackle hauled off and whacked a member of of the Oklahoma spirit before Saturday's Nebraska-OU game in Norman:

During pregame warmups, an incident allegedly occurred involving Nebraska offensive lineman Darren DeLone and a member of the Ruf/Neks, an Oklahoma sideline spirit group.

According to Sunday's editions of The Oklahoman, Adam Merritt, a Ruf/Nek, was transported from Owen Field on a medical cart and taken to Norman (Okla.) Regional Hospital after having several teeth knocked out and suffering facial lacerations in what witnesses described as an assault by the 6-foot-4, 315-pound DeLone.

Merritt was treated and released before the game ended.

DeLone was not arrested and was allowed to leave the stadium with the team, according to The Oklahoman.

The Nebraska athletic department Sunday released a prepared statement saying it was "aware of a collision that occurred on the field of play during the official pregame warmup period."

The one-paragraph statement ? which doesn't identify DeLone or any other Husker player ? said several members of the Nebraska football team, including two coaches, "witnessed the collision and immediately summoned a member of Nebraska's medical staff to assist. Players and coaches spoke with officials immediately following the game."

The Nebraska athletic department and football team "are sorry the accident happened and wish the young man a quick and full recovery," the statement said.

However, there might just be more to the story than the Nebraska officials are letting on:

According to The Oklahoman, witnesses in the Sooner student section at Owen Field and on the sideline said DeLone head-butted Merritt in the face with his helmet and shoved him into the 3-foot brick wall.

Well, I guess that could be construed as a "collision."

But that was only the "before game" incident. After the game, Nebraska coach Bill Callahan came unhinged as he was leaving the field and began yelling obscenities at several boistrous OU fans. The AP wire story on the incident relates the following:

While acknowledging he used a poor choice of words in a profane outburst directed at Oklahoma fans Saturday, Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said he was upset because a group of hecklers were allowed so close to his players during warmups and oranges were thrown onto the field late in the game.

As he walked toward the Nebraska locker room after a 30-3 loss, Callahan looked into the stands and called OU fans "[expletive] hillbillies."

"I'm an emotional guy, and I'm a competitive coach, and on the field I stick up for my players," Callahan said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. "I don't think any team should be subjected to the type of treatment we were subjected to in that particular contest."

Callahan also said he could not comment on what Nebraska called a
"collision" between a player and an Oklahoma student fan incident because the coach did not see it.

Welcome to the Big 12, Coach Callahan.

Posted by Tom at November 15, 2004 2:39 PM |

Comments

More here:

http://www.newsok.com/article/1362360/?template=sports/ou

Nebraska may have gotten stomped on the field by guys their own size, but man oh man that Husker line sure got physical with the yell squad!

OU fans aren't exactly known for being overly rude (a number of folks on CoogFans suggested they really enjoyed their trip to Norman earlier this year -- except of course for the game), but who knows when it comes to John Blake and the Nebraska crew. :)

Posted by: kevin whited at November 15, 2004 3:07 PM

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