It's kind of hard to group those players in with the every down players like Lavonte David, Baker Steinkuhler, or Alfonzo Dennard. Does this water down the meaning of the Blackshirt tradition, like Jason Peter tweeted earlier today? I do tend to agree with Peter, but by that same token, I think the Blackshirt tradition has more meaning now that it's not enough to just start on defense. A Blackshirt defense means something. The 2007 Nebraska defense wore black practice jerseys, but could in no way could be compared to the great Nebraska defenses that proudly wore the Blackshirt. The defense has to play at a certain level, and if the defense plays at that certain level, everybody who's part of it gets a Blackshirt.
I get it, I understand it. It is a different way of implementing the tradition, to be sure. And some people can disagree with it. That's fine.
What I don't understand is the allegation that Bo Pelini doesn't care about Nebraska tradition - or the fans. Bo Pelini has made it clear that he cares more about the people inside the program than the people outside of the program. Guess what: I have no problem with that. He's going to stick up for his players first and foremost. When he sticks his neck out of them, they turn around and stick their neck out for him. If there is a former player who disliked playing for Bo Pelini, they haven't made their presence known.
But does Bo "hate" the fans? I don't see it. Does he love the fans? No, but show me a coach that really does? In the end, any coach's popularity is based primarily on his results. If he wins games, he'll be loved. If he loses games, he'll be hated. How you win sometimes doesn't matter; just ask Ohio State fans about Jim Tressel.
|Definitive Proof that Bo Pelini|
hates Husker fans.
If you want to disagree with awarding Blackshirts to nine part-time role players or key substitutes, that's fine. If you want to disagree with holding them back until the defense actually accomplishes something, as opposed to awarding them in August, that's valid criticism as well. But to turn this into something with a greater meaning is simply psychobabble.