As bad as Bo Pelini’s sideline behavior was late in Friday’s Nebraska-Iowa football game, I still felt his immediate future at Nebraska was safe.
That was before the “chicken****” comment he uttered during the post-game press conference. “His goose is cooked,” I thought at that moment.
A day later we learned that Bo still had a job at NU. How long he keeps it, I suspect, will depend more on his sideline behavior in 2014 than wins and losses.
Count me among the Husker fans who are disappointed with some of his rants. But don’t count me among those who wanted him fired.
I didn’t like it when then-AD Steve Pederson fired Frank Solich 10 years ago. I wrote at the time it was the wrong move and that fans who wanted Solich gone would regret it. A few local Husker fans responded with letters not fit for publication, saying in a colorful tone that NU needed a new coach and would soon be back among the nation’s elite programs.
Call me biased, but I think I won that argument. I sure hope I’m right this time around, too.
We live in an era of college football when rebuilding most NCAA programs takes more time than Pelini has been given. On top of the injuries NU suffered on offense and its youth on defense, consider that NU has had just two years to go after players who are better suited for Big 10 play than the Big 12. There is a difference, albeit a small one. Pelini and staff, I think, are making significant strides in recruiting. Those gains would be set back a few years with a coaching change.
I do like Bo’s fire and passion. And I’m impressed with the support he’s received from his players. And their opinions matter far greater than yours or mine.
All of that said, I do want Pelini’s sideline behavior to change. His passion and fire can be displayed without getting in the face of a referee or one of his assistant coaches.
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Two more thoughts I had Friday afternoon.
1. It saddens me to say this, but I truly can’t blame Pelini for being upset with some of the questions asked by reporters. At halftime Friday, when Pelini was asked what he felt about NU’s two interceptions, I so badly wanted him to say, “We worked on that all week. They happened just the way we wanted. Now we have them overconfident; just where we want them.”
2. For those who follow NCAA men’s basketball like they do Husker football, can you honestly say you haven’t seen some college hoops coaches stomp and fume as much as Pelini but with no consequences? This weekend I saw one coach run out to near mid-court while the game was in progress. The refs didn’t even bother to blow the whistle to stop the game.