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No. 1 IS THE PUBLIC ENEMY
Dan Jenkins
September 11, 1972
Everybody guns for Nebraska, which goes after its third straight national football championship. But there isn't a coach in the country who would not like to be confronted with Bob Devaney's problem
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September 11, 1972

No. 1 Is The Public Enemy

Everybody guns for Nebraska, which goes after its third straight national football championship. But there isn't a coach in the country who would not like to be confronted with Bob Devaney's problem

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7. With no one returning to the squad but a second-string center and a defensive back who's had three knee operations, preseason polls make the team No. 1 again.

8. The new artificial turf turns purple and curls up around the edges.

9. The chancellor who backed the head coach during his 6-4 years retires.

As the saying goes, a lot of these problems are good ones to have, because they mean that you're winning. How to handle success on a big scale is a problem that only a few major-college coaches have had to deal with. And no one has ever figured out the best way to do it, from Walter Camp to Bob Devaney (see cover), who happens to be the man with the problem currently.

Among the modern elite who had to contemplate the dilemma before Devaney, if their thoughts add up to any kind of advice at all, it's this: stay humble, stay loose and keep a sense of humor.

Says Texas' Darrell Royal, who has had three national champions: "The real problem with being No. 1 is that if you're not careful you'll get to believing all those nice things being said about you. You'd better be the same when you're 6-4 as when you're 10-0.

"The worst pressure comes from losing. Winning takes care of itself. It builds confidence. You can say on one hand that when you're winning, everybody's out to get you. That may be true, but I also think the team with confidence can psych somebody into losing, into thinking they're not good enough to win.

"But everybody's got to lose eventually. The town tough can get all the room he wants walking down the street—until somebody puts a scab on his nose.

"It's harder to keep your confidence up when you're losing than it is to keep from being impressed with yourself when you're winning. I insist it's a lot easier when you're winning. You've got morale and the backing and excitement are there. So's the advice. Everyone wants to help you coach a Chris Gilbert, a Steve Worster or a Jerry Sisemore. But nobody wants to help you coach that old boy who's slow and not very well coordinated.

"As for superstitions, I agree with Duffy Daugherty. It sure is bad luck not to have good players."

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