Monday night, Davie's father Damon referenced this on Twitter.
For all those who have never played college athletics: When the coach stops paying attention to you, that's when you need to be concerned.Whenever this subject is brought up, the criticism focuses on Pelini's mannerisms. It certainly doesn't bring up what he's actually saying, because while ESPN's cameras can zoom into Pelini (and even dedicate a camera to focus on Pelini during a broadcast), their microphones can't pick up what he's saying.
— Damon J. Davie (@sixsixman) November 18, 2014
So what is Pelini saying? Good question. I don't know. But I do know what Pelini has said in the past about these sideline conversations. This dates back to 2007 when he was still at LSU, talking to Louisiana high school coaches.
“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.”We've heard Pelini's former players talk about being willing to "run through a wall" before, so I remain convinced that's what Pelini is doing in these sideline confrontations. That being said, Pelini and his staff are still having difficulty "getting kids to understand what they're doing" because we see all of these mistakes manifest itself during games. I don't believe it's the manner Pelini corrects people on the field or the sideline that's the issue.
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?’”
And I don't believe that Damon Davie believes that either.
Oh, and for what it's worth, Pelini's not the only coach who yells at players.
Can you imagine the outrage if Pelini hit one of his players on the sideline?