The fifth-year head coach was caught on camera as he was scolding one of his players for pointing at him after Penn State scored a second quarter touchdown. It was thought to be a miscommunication of plays.
Pelini downplayed the incident, saying that himself and safety Daimion Stafford forgave each other during halftime.
“The only thing you can criticize Daimion Stafford for was wanting to win so bad,” Pelini said. “He was upset. He should be upset. We gave up a touchdown.”
Pelini described Stafford as an intense and emotional leader that means a lot to the team. His will to win and frustration with the miscommunication with defensive playcalling on a 10-yard touchdown pass by Penn State’s Matt McGloin caused the safety to lash out, pointing and yelling at Pelini.
“I love the guy. He’s an emotional leader,” Pelini said. “Let me tell you, it’s an emotional game. That stuff happens. That’s not the first time that’s ever happened. That happens on the practice field. It’s no big deal to me.”
This is not even the first incident to happen between Pelini and one of his players on the sidelines this season. On Oct. 20 against Northwestern, cameras caught cornerback Antonio Bell and Pelini going at it after the coach pulled Bell from the game after he was called for a penalty.
Bell had to be held back by teammates during the confrontation and was dismissed from the team the following week, but Pelini said it was not because of what happened on the sideline.
Pelini has been criticized for his erratic behavior and attitude towards his players, but one thing is for sure– he will never change.
“People are going to try to focus on the negatives of my personality and whatever else,” he said. “I believe in who I am and I’m not changing. I couldn’t change if I tried. I’m a passionate guy, I love what I do, I love my players. We have a great relationship.”
Get used to it people, what you see is what you get.