Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bo Pelini: A Special Coach in a Special Place

Amazing how fast a coach can be hired when people know what they are doing. The eight day coaching search ended today with the hiring of Bo Pelini as head football coach at Nebraska. I was driving up I-29 this afternoon listening to the press conference, and I must say I came away even more impressed with Pelini. Ever since Pelini first arrived in Lincoln in 2003, you had the feeling this was a special coach. Many Nebraska fans loved what Pelini was able to accomplish with his players that season, and were sorry to see him go. I get the feeling that the feeling was mutual, as Pelini yesterday told his LSU players that Nebraska was his dream job and today he talked of Nebraska as a special place. Sucking up to the fans? Yes...but not really necessary. Many Husker fans are very happy to have Bo Pelini back in Lincoln.

Myself among them.

A lot has been suggested that this hiring will "heal" the divisions in HuskerNation. I'm not sure if that will be the case or not. I really wonder how fans will react to Pelini's comments about Frank Solich:
"A large reason why I’m standing here today because I want to make sure I give credit where credit is due is Coach Solich. I respect the job that he did. I wouldn’t be standing here today if it wasn’t for Frank Solich giving me the opportunity to come back into college football at such a special place and to be a defensive coordinator. I think people along the way I have forgotten how important he was to the University of Nebraska and what he did over a long period of time. I want to make sure I give credit where credit is due because sometimes I don’t think Frank gets the credit for everything he’s done for this place.”
Over the past five years, Solich has been a divisive figure in Nebraska football. Ostracized by some and martyred by others, many fans have deep feelings for the man. I personally find Pelini's comments refreshing, but I wonder how people who still love to throw rotten eggs at Solich will feel about it. Will they support Pelini like they supported Bill Callahan?

Curiously, in some cases, it might be "yes". They claim that they weren't so much "anti-Solich" or "anti-tradition", but rather "pro-Nebraska". Which is great...except I'm not sure why there was a need to throw dirt on Solich after he was gone. Some of these same fans said that they've had past reservations or criticisms of Pelini as well, but those are all in the past. Since Pelini is now the head coach, everything apparently is all hunkey-dorey.

Excuse me? These fans seem to think that it doesn't matter what people do or have done; if they are wearing the big red N, all is fine with the world. Once they take it off, well, they are lower than dirt. It's kind of a takeoff on "my country, right or wrong." Which raises the question, why would you support something if you know it's wrong? Wrong is wrong. Heck, I felt Tom Osborne was wrong to reinstate Lawrence Phillips in 1995, but I never stopped supporting Osborne or the team.

I'm not sure I understand it, but if all of the Solich-bashers are now on board with the Pelini era, then Steve Pederson's vision of a united Husker Nation might actually become a reality in spite of Pederson himself.


Anonymous said...

I think you're missing the point with Pelini's comments. I didn't read them so much as a ratification of all the things that Solich did in terms of X's and O's or recruiting. Rather, I read it as a reflection of the fact that whether you liked him as a coach or not, Solich at least kept the tradition and esprit de corps intact. That, of course, is not something we can say about the last guy.

Also, by those comments Pelini was thanking Solich for giving him a shot as a coordinator at Nebraska, without which he (Pelini) would not have even had a shot at the job.

In other words, I don't think Bo was saying that he is going to be a carbon copy of Solich's approach to coaching, especially on offense. Rather, while perhaps agreeing to disagree on some things, I think Bo was playing it classy by acknowledging a man who gave him a shot and who kept tradition alive.

Even someone who wasn't in love with Solich as head coach should be able to appreciate that message. I have a feeling we got something good in Bo.

Husker Mike said...

No, Pelini is pointing directly at people like you who don't want to give Solich enough credit for what he accomplished at Nebraska.

I do agree that Pelini isn't going to be a carbon copy of Solich...and he shouldn't be. He needs to be his own coach and do what needs to be done in 2008, not necessarily what needed to be done in 2003 or 2004.

We can't continue to rehash 2003 over and over.

"Bo Big Red!"

Carl said...

I re-watched the Pelini press conference from beginning to end last night on youtube. I was worried about Pelini, I no longer am. I get the same feeling from him that I'm getting from Doc Sadler. He may or may not succeed on the field, but everything else will be just fine, and that's fine by me. Win or lose I'll be proud of my Husker team if they work hard, stay out of trouble and get a good education. The wins and losses are meaningless in the face of those metrics. Callahan's regime was letting me down in the 'work hard' department, and I've heard some whispers about the deemphasis on classwork. Enough that I was worried.

Bo seems to get it. An unnamable blogger who hates the Huskers (who's really a BAD Husker fan in tigger clothing) may not know what the "Nebraska Way" is, but Bo does.

In a round about way, Pederson may have saved Husker football by showing us what it's like to be fans of program that doesn't do it the Husker way.

I hope Pelini lives up to the standards he's set, because I don't know who else possibily could.

Go Big Red!