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.
"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."
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 out....so 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:
Now...we've heard this before. But under the previous regime...it was merely a slogan that had to be posted on a sign or recited in a video.
"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."
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."
Yes...it'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.