Monday, May 12, 2008

When Bo Pelini Talks, Husker Fans Listen

With the new "Saban Rule" keeping head coaches away from the recruiting trail, Bo Pelini has a little time this spring to spend on the rubber chicken circuit. And in two speaking engagements in Columbus (the real one in Nebraska, not Ohio!) and in Omaha, Pelini is scoring with fans who listen to what he has to say. Jim Mancuso, who organized the Omaha event, pretty much summed up Pelini in comments to the Omaha World-Herald:
"I've talked to a number of people and the consensus was that he is a real guy. He's a normal Joe like the rest of the people that were in there. It's pretty obvious he's not a polished speaker, and that's probably what makes it better. Ninety percent of the people in that gymnasium aren't polished speakers, either.

"I think that really touches home with these people: He's one of us. Not arrogant or cocky or anything he could be or should be. That goes a long way, especially in the Midwest."
Of course, the fact that he hasn't lost a game as head coach yet means his honeymoon with fans is still ongoing. Much of the focus to date has been on Pelini's defense of former head coach Frank Solich. It obviously made Omaha World-Herald columnist and flip-flopper Tom Shatel uncomfortable, as the last four years have done absolutely nothing to bolster the notion that Frank Solich needed to be fired. But by that same token...what's done is done. Solich is at Ohio University, and isn't coming back... except hopefully to get recognized for the job he did as a player and coach.

Blankman had an interesting take on Pelini's comments in Columbus (the real one in Nebraska, remember?), where he mentioned that the "tunnel gates" would be soon be coming down. Now, I've thought the gates were kind of clumsy...especially when the guards didn't realize that the team was ready to come getting rid of them isn't a big deal to me. Is it a de-Pedey-ification of the stadium? You could look at it that way, or simply a realization that they simply get in the way. The claims that removing the gates somehow dishonors six greats from the pre-Osborne era is somewhat disenguous considering that the man who put the gates up also took down the pictures of Nebraska's all-Americans and Hall-of-Famers and put them in storage.

But the statement that caught my eye was Pelini's statement that Husker players will play with a renewed sense of determination:
"I'll tell you one thing: When we take the field you're going to see a team that's out there playing with passion. That's what it's all about. They're going to play hard, with great effort and passion, because they're not playing at the University of Nebraska, they're playing for the University of Nebraska and the people across this state."
Now...we've heard this before. But under the previous was merely a slogan that had to be posted on a sign or recited in a video.

Let's be honest... last year's team didn't play very hard the last couple of months of the season. So why believe it now? Simple. Bo Pelini has walked this walk before, whether it was 2003 Nebraska or his LSU defenses. Conversely, the previous regime also had a track record with the "dumbest team in America."'s all talk right now. That's all we've got in May. But I've got to believe that Nebraska's effort has to be better in 2008...and that's a great first step for this program to make on it's way back from the depths of the Error.


Anonymous said...

Husker Mike,
Been reading your blog for awhile and truly beleive you have a clear and intelligent perspective on sports in Nebraska and truly appreciate what you have to say. I spend too much time arguing with that hypocrite AJ and don't spend enough time supporting blogs that truly mean something to me such as yours. I want to say I'll be posting more often here in the future and look forward to what comes whether good or bad. True fans weather the good and the bad and Nebraska fans have been truly tested. Most failed the test but you and many others quietly passed with no recognition. With that said you ever make it down to NOLA the Balcony Bar on Magazine is where to be. Myself and the bartender from Crofton represent the very few proud Husker fans in Louisiana and we welcome all Nebraskans with open arms. Go Big Red and keep writing.

Husker Fan in NOLA.

Husker Mike said...

One thing to keep in mind about AJ is that he's trying to get a reaction out of you. You're not going to convert him, and chances are that he's going to make you look like a fool if you get into an argument with him.

Thanks for the kind words. Some folks will disagree about the "clear and intelligent perspective" though...

Anonymous said...

Unless Solich is going to ride to the fifty yard line at half-time in a clown car then he doesn't deserve any sort of recognition as a head coach. He was bad with the offense, he was bad with the defense, and our talent level completely eroded under him. Hell, he had to get rid of nearly an entire staff of "true" Husker assistants just because things were falling apart in so many areas.

If anything, Solich owes Husker fans an apology for using a friend to get him a job he didn't deserve and then throwing other long-time assistants under the bus to save himself.

Husker Mike said...

If Solich owes Husker fans an apology...then what do Steve Pederson and Bill Callahan owe us?