Thursday, August 07, 2014

Haters Keeping Bo Pelini On Their Hot Seat

Earlier this week, Martin Rickman of Sports Illustrated came out with a list of ten coaches on the hot seat in 2014.  And well below Michigan's Brady Hoke, Florida's Will Muschamp, and even Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, Rickman added a few names that didn't make his list, but thought he needed to briefly mention.

And halfway down the list, there's Bo:

Bo Pelini, Nebraska: A revamped offseason image took some of the heat off Pelini, but early struggles could wipe the shine away again.
Probably fair to list him there, despite the fact that Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst has repeatedly defended Pelini strongly. Most importantly, the last one was pretty much unsolicited.  A question about what Bo Pelini was doing different this spring (with all of the cat jokes) solicited the following response:
"He's a good ball coach, a good person, he's serious about his craft and he's very disciplined in his approach. We're lucky to have him at Nebraska."
Eichorst didn't have to go there...but he did. That's why Bo Pelini isn't really on a hot seat anymore. But that hasn't stopped the speculation from the Pelini haters, who seem to turn nearly every third thread into yet another debate on why Bo Pelini is on the hot seat. Never mind that Eichorst has pretty much stomped that talk after last season's Iowa game:
"volume of unfounded speculation and conjecture about our head football coach..."
It's like the instructions on your bottle of shampoo:  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Over and over and over again.

It's fruitless to debate this subject anymore.  Most fans have made up their minds on this. You either buy Pelini's record as a consistent nine or ten game winner...or you don't.  And even if you disagree with Shawn Eichorst, it really doesn't matter.  Eichorst has made his decision, and Pelini is staying.


Now, can Pelini work himself back onto the hot seat?  Absolutely. Heck, even Joe Paterno managed to get himself fired at Penn State. But nothing is on the horizon. Pelini is 1-0 since Eichorst first came out in support of Pelini, and won't lose again for at least three weeks. So why are we still discussing it?

One of the favored reasons for Pelini haters is that recruiting has slipped under his watch. That may - or may not - be true. I'm firmly convinced that  recruiting has an extremely long latency to evaluate...and that process takes years from the initial targeting of a recruit to finally determining how good the player actually is. So how is Pelini doing on the talent acquisition and development front?  Nick Handley from KXSP-AM 590 radio in Omaha found this on today.

Bucky Brooks ranked Nebraska #14 on his list of teams with NFL prospects, naming Randy Gregory, Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell, Corey Cooper, David Santos, and Byerson Cockrell as players to keep an eye on. Who's ranked lower than Nebraska in terms of talent?  #15 Clemson, #16 South Carolina, #17 Texas A&M, #18 Auburn, #19 Oklahoma, and #22 Texas.

Yes, it's one man's opinion...and somewhat premature to say. But it is an indication to feel optimistic about the future, and more importantly, it's a more thoughtful evaluation of Pelini than we get from the critics, who are convinced that if they call him "Pellllini" just one more time, people like me will suddenly see the light.

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