Saturday, November 30, 2013

Eichorst Slaps Down Unfounded Speculation From Local Media; Continues to Support Bo Pelini

Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst gave Bo Pelini his version of the "1000%" vote of confidence Saturday morning, and also took issue with the speculation that Pelini was even on the hot seat in the first place.
"My approach has always been to not comment publicly about our coaches until their full seasons are complete, as I strongly believe it is unfair and counter to best practices. However, given the volume of unfounded speculation and conjecture about our head football coach, I want to reaffirm what I have said many times since I have arrived at the University of Nebraska -- that I positively respect, appreciate and support our football student-athletes, coaches and staff, as we do everyone in the Husker family. We very much look forward to our upcoming bowl game and Coach Pelini continuing to lead our program in the future."
 Emphasis added for clarity. Except that many of the people driving the speculation aren't giving up their case:

Yep...still at it. Read the last statement again:  "...look forward to upcoming bowl game and Coach Pelini continuing to lead our program in the future."  Bowl game and the future... i.e. beyond.  Some say that since he didn't say 2014 that the future only includes the bowl game.  That's trying to read way, way too much into Eichorst's statement.

Eichorst didn't say 2014 because he didn't want to read any limits as to his support for Pelini as head coach. Lots of recruits on campus right now, and there's no need for anybody to read this as only a one year endorsement. It's open-ended and ongoing.

Eichorst's statement also makes it clear that he would have preferred to wait until after the bowl game, but the "unfounded speculation and conjecture" forced him to respond now. If he wanted to wait, he simply could have indicated that "end of season" meant "after the bowl game" and left himself an opening. He did no such thing.
Let's make it clear:  Pelini is going to be Nebraska's head football coach.  Period.
What I find most curious is that the statement appeared on almost simultaneously to the local media starting to tweet about it's existence. Clearly, the statement was sent to Chicago first and subsequently released to the "Local Media" once BTN was ready to post it.
Note the "Local Media" in this version of the message. That's not my creation; that's how it came from Lincoln.  And it was a nonverbal message to the World-Herald and various sports talk hosts driving the "Pelini Hot Seat" theme that the athletic department is none-too-pleased with the volume of the speculation.

As it is, I'm pleasantly surprised, if not downright shocked, that Pelini is returning. I've felt Pelini has done as good of a job as possible resurrecting the Nebraska defense as well as dealing with the injuries on offense. Eight wins is a very sub-par season for Nebraska, but teams that lose an award-winning quarterback usually struggle. (Did anybody see what Green Bay has become on Thanksgiving?)

I do have to wonder if some of yesterday's meltdowns could have been avoided if Eichorst had given a private message of support earlier this week after Pelini discussed the issues of the "hot seat" narrative.  Certainly, Pelini was on edge and may have felt that he had nothing to lose yesterday. That might explain that fake punt or going for it on fourth down in Nebraska territory in the fourth quarter.

And I suspect Shawn Eichorst might not have wondered the same thing over the last 24 hours.


NU6NCS said...

Blaming the AD for Pelini's meltdown is a little bit of a stretch.

NU6NCS said...

Blaming the AD for Pelini's meltdown is a little bit of a stretch.

I do agree with keeping Bo around for 1 more year, but the reasoning is different.

Keeping him one more year should clear up any doubt whether this coach can take us back to respectability or stay as a mediocre program.

And 8-9 wins is meaningless when the program can barely make the top 25. Not expectations this program should have IMO.

Husker Mike said...

No, Pelini owns that meltdown. The only thing Shawn Eichorst could have possibly done was mitigate the pressure on Pelini. But Pelini is the one who chose to react as he did.