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Let’s do this.

1. You’ve perhaps heard of the Peter Principle.

As defined by Merriam-Webster, it means this: In a hierarchy, employees tend to rise to the level of their incompetence.

Shawn Eichorst was zapped by the Peter Principle at Nebraska. He really had no business leading a Power-5 athletic department. That became increasingly evident as his six-year tenure progressed. You saw evidence, for instance, in Nebraska’s average Big Ten finish across all sports, which ranked in the bottom half of the conference during each of the past four years.

The Huskers were fifth the year Eichorst arrived on campus. Then came the decline.

Yes, that particular data point is a shared responsibility. But a leader sets the tone.

Then there was Eichorst’s hiring of football coach Mike Riley. The Riley era was, in short, an epic failure during which the level of incompetence became startling at times.

The hiring of defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, and almost everything that accompanied it, was a glaring example.

Say no more.

Which brings us to Thursday’s news that Texas hired Eichorst as executive senior associate athletics director for internal affairs.

That seems perfect. A much more suitable fit. Eichorst in a secondary role makes more sense -- working behind the scenes, writing policy, being a bureaucrat. He likes a tidy ship and will help Texas in that regard. He gave it a go as leader of two major athletic departments (also Miami). He put his heart into it. But his positive energy felt contrived at times, as if he were compensating for shortcomings.

You heard one of his shortcomings after last season’s home football loss to Northern Illinois, when he appeared in the media area (for the first time after a game) because he said it showed strong leadership.

Good leaders don’t have to tell you when they’re being good leaders.

In his role at Texas, Eichorst won’t have to lead much. He’ll fade into the campus woodwork and still make a nice living in a powerful athletic department. It's a good landing spot.

In a sense, it’s all too predictable.

The Peter Principle strikes again.

2. I don’t necessarily regard graduate transfer cornerback Nick Watkins’ decision to play for Houston as an “L” for Nebraska.

In the past few days, it seems Watkins, a nine-game starter last season at Notre Dame, became secondary (no pun intended) in the Huskers’ plans. According to ESPN, Watkins had scheduled a visit to Lincoln. But I’m told a visit had never been set.

Is Nebraska finished looking at grad- or junior-college transfer cornerbacks/defensive backs? I don't think so.

But I’m not convinced the Huskers ever made Watkins a primary target. Many folks believed all along the graduate of Dallas Bishop Dunne would wind up in Texas.

3. Ever wonder what Nebraska’s summer football workouts are like?

Says sophomore outside linebacker Collin Miller: "It’s high intensity, just non-stop going, music blasting, weight coaches screaming and hollering, everyone's clapping, it's all-for-one -- just a big family atmosphere.

“We’re just pushing each other because we know it all starts in the weight room."

I posted Miller’s comments on Twitter. Among the responses:

Point taken.

4. A bit more on the subject of Husker summer workouts …

Just got off the phone with Luke Gifford, the senior outside linebacker. He is full-go for the summer regimen after spending the first six months of the Scott Frost era rehabbing a hip injury that sidelined him for the last five games of 2017.

“I’m doing everything,” Gifford said. “Lifting, running, all of it.”

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Lincoln Southeast graduate started each of the first seven games last season, recording 39 tackles -- including five for losses. I’m guessing Gifford, junior Tyrin Ferguson and sophomore transfer Breon Dixon ultimately will be the team’s top players at the two OLB positions in 2018, but there is plenty of competition.

“I mean, this is Nebraska. There should be competition, right?” Gifford said. “You look at Ohio State and Alabama and all those type of places, nobody’s spot is ever safe. That’s the way it should be.”

Gifford wants badly to have a full season of good health. He’s really had only one such season at NU -- 2016 as a third-year sophomore.

“But I really didn’t play much that year -- special teams here and there,” he said.

He could be a critical Blackshirt this year.

5. This is a big weekend in Lincoln for the sport of wrestling.

Any time 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs competes anywhere near Lincoln, it’s worth noting.

The former Nebraska great will take on Isaiah Martinez Saturday night in what’s billed as the Final X competition at the Devaney Sports Center.

A berth on the U.S. men’s freestyle World Team at 74 kg is at stake.

Action is set to begin at 6 p.m.

Nebraska wrestling coach Mark Manning says look for Martinez, a two-time NCAA champion at Illinois (2017, 2018), to try to maul Burroughs. That’s Martinez’s style: Attack, attack, attack. Look for the 29-year-old Burroughs to respond with his typical calm, savvy and extreme competitiveness and athleticism.

His vast experience is helpful, Burroughs said.

“I’m not too old, yet,” he said earlier this week on “Early Break” (93.7 FM). “Just watching the NBA Finals, Steph Curry, LeBron James, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant -- all those guys are my age or older and no one considers them old.”

Of course, Burroughs’ ultimate aim is winning Olympic gold again in 2020 in Tokyo.

What a magnificent ambassador for the sport.

6. Random: Shouldn't wristbands still be a thing?

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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