Nov. 15, 2004 wire reports

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said his profane outburst directed at Oklahoma fans was prompted by a group of student hecklers who were allowed to get close to his players during warmups and fans throwing oranges on the field.


As he walked toward the Nebraska locker room after a 30-3 loss Saturday night, Callahan looked into the stands and called Sooners fans "hillbillies," while using an expletive.

"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."

Some of Callahan's complaints were directed at The Ruf/Neks, an Oklahoma student spirit group that positions itself near one of the end zones. The students shoot pop guns and heckle opposing teams. Callahan said it's a dangerous environment because of the proximity of the students to the opposing players.

University of Oklahoma police were investigating an incident involving a member of The Ruf/Neks and a Nebraska player. The Oklahoma student was sent to the hospital with injuries to his face after what Nebraska officials called a collision with a player.

The oranges were tossed because Oklahoma has hopes of playing for the national championship in the Orange Bowl.

Callahan said he snapped as he walked off the field.

"I probably could have used a better choice of words, but I am distressed when people are shooting off guns and throwing fruit at our players," Callahan said. "I just have a hard time with that. It's a part of the game, I guess. I'm trying to learn this the best I can. But I think it's out of control."

The Associated Press News Service

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