Sunday, November 02, 2008

Change I Still Bo-lieve In

Nebraska fans were certainly guilty of having the "audacity to hope" for an upset last night...but those dreams were quickly dashed last night once Dominqu Franks intercepted Joe Ganz's first pass of the night. (OK...maybe I've seen a few too many political commercials in recent weeks. No matter which way you lean, be sure to vote on Tuesday!) So while we may have hoped for the best, we saw the worst.

But let's put it in perspective: Oklahoma is the #2 scoring offense in the country. If you've followed college football this season, you had to expect the Sooners to put points on the board yesterday. Nobody really has stopped Oklahoma this season. Nebraska needed to play a perfect game to compete...and Nebraska was nowhere near perfect last night.

Maybe it's the disappointment from last night, but some people are guilty of making this loss worse than it actually was. Oklahoma is a pretty damn good team; no way this is worse than Colorado's 62-36 victory or even Texas Tech's 70-10 victory. We knew this was a bad matchup going into the season, and anybody who didn't think this was possible last night is in serious denial. We didn't want it to happen, but it happened.

It goes back to what I said after the Missouri game. I don't know what Rivals was evaluating, but much of the rest of the Big XII now has as good, if not better, talent than the Huskers. That's a problem that simply takes years to resolve. Bo Pelini can't go out to the free agent wire and pick up a free agent, or trade a few prospects to fill the holes. This isn't fantasy football; this is the real thing.

Many people are dumping on Pelini for his sideline demeanor last night. Of course, all that criticism comes from people watching Pelini; I'm not a lipreader, and nobody has provided anything resembling a transcript as to what Pelini is saying. All they see is Pelini yelling into his headset (which apparantly was malfunctioning last night), and make assumptions. And you know what they say about assumptions.

I bring this up because Pelini gave a talk to Louisiana high school coaches a year and a half ago that pretty much counteracts all of the criticism:
“I take this philosophy: There hasn’t been a player ever that has tried to make a mistake out on the field,” Pelini says. “If he made a mistake, he made it for a reason. Well, as a coach, you need to search for that reason — search for a way to get through to that kid. Ultimately, when you coach that way, the players are going to believe in you. And at the end of the day, they’re going to want to run through a wall for you.”

Pelini tells a story from 2003 when he served as Nebraska’s defensive coordinator. A defender made a mistake in practice, and one of the Husker assistant coaches castigated the player. The assistant ranted and raved and even ran from the sideline into the defensive huddle to get in the player’s face.

“I called the assistant coach over to me and said, ‘All that stuff you just did: Was that for you or for the player? Because I heard you yelling at that kid and not one time did you tell him what he did wrong,’” Pelini says. “I told the coach, ‘So, the next time, it’s on you.’”

The key, Pelini says, is “getting kids to understand what they’re doing so they can do it fast.”

“If I get after a kid, (later) I’ll walk up and put my arm around him and say, ‘You’re better than that, right? You know you’re better than that, right?’”
So yeah, the TV shows Pelini yelling, but people are making assumptions about what Pelini is saying. And right now, I bet that most of the people criticizing Pelini are dead wrong about what Pelini is saying out there.


PlusDrew said...

The best solution for Nebraska football right now is 3 years of graduation.

No coach gets it done in year one, and if they do - it's a fluke.

John V said...

Take your politics and shove it. You just lost a reader. I come here for Huskers analysis, not political BS, least of all from you.

Husker Mike said...

Thanks for stopping by.

Bama Joe said...

Ummm...forgive me, but as an Alabama fan, maybe I'm a little slow?

WTF is Ass Clown "john v" talking about? Your publication of the facts concerning Sarpy County's attempt to get the Omaha Royals? I read your blog on a pretty regular basis, and I don't remember seeing anything that I would regard as "politics".

Husker Mike said...

My guess is that John was upset that I used a variant of Barack Obama's campaign slogan as the title of this post, as well as the title of one of Obama's books in the post.