Did Nebraska Fans Get Exactly What They Wanted?

Bo Pelini

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

10 years ago, Bo Pelini was an up-and-coming defensive coordinator under then Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Frank Solich. It was 2003 and Husker fans were becoming a bit restless but not as restless as University of Nebraska athletic director Steve Pederson. Peterson let Solich go at the end of the season allowing Pelini the opportunity to take the reins as interim head coach for the first time against the Michigan State Spartans in the 2003 Alamo Bowl where the under Pelini the Huskers were victorious 17–3. In this victory, the passion and fire that Bo Pelini has become so famous for was displayed very prominently.

During the search for the next head coach at Nebraska, Pelini was considered but the job was ultimately awarded to Bill Callahan. Under Callahan’s leadership, Husker Nation saw many changes that they were leery to accept none of which brought the program to the levels of success and popularity last seen in the 1997 season. Also, The Husker faithful did not see passion and pride from their team, two things that are held so dearly to the hearts of the dedicated Nebraska fan base.

When Callahan’s tenure eventually ended at Nebraska, a familiar name resurfaced in the interview process, coach Pelini. Fans were so excited in anticipation of the passion Pelini would bring to the position that they overlooked the fact that he had only been a head coach for one game. Pelini’s coaching resume includes time as a graduate assistant at Iowa, a quarterback’s coach at a high school in his hometown of Youngstown Ohio (his only offensive coaching experience), eight years as a defensive position coach in the NFL, and five years as a college defensive coordinator.

Nebraska fans wanted passion and they got it. College football fans have seen Pelini’s heated conversations with referees. ,his rude demeanor towards sideline reporters, and those veins that bulge out on his neck and forehead when his face turns red on Saturdays. What fans did not see coming was the revelation of some of Pelini’s true feelings that have recently surfaced following the dismal performance in a disappointing loss to the UCLA Bruins this Saturday.

Saturday was meant to be a day for the program in Lincoln to showcase their compassion for a team had recently endured a death of one of their own. The fans and university went above and beyond in displaying class in this sense. The fans and the university also honored one of the greatest players to ever strap on the pads in Lincoln two-time national champion quarterback Tommie Frazier, a man whose record as a starter at Nebraska was 33-and-3. These two outstanding gestures where overshadowed by a coach who displayed a great lack of class.

Pelini and his staff were criticized by Frazier after their loss on Saturday. But as a two-time national champion, a face of the program and a college football analyst and fan, Frazier is well within his right to do so. As are the staff members of the Omaha World Herald including Tom Shatel who has been a mainstay at the paper for a very long time. It has been reported that the foul language filled rant was from an audio tape two years ago, the problem for Pelini is that fans expected the man to be an adult, a clear headed adult, 10 years ago when he was a defensive coordinator and interim head coach. They definitely have expected that of him as head coach since he filled the position in 2008.

The worst part of the audio recording was when Pelini expressed his feelings towards the fans. The fans are what make Nebraska the special program that was evident this Saturday when they honored Nick Pasquale. Pelini stated that the Husker fans could kiss his posterior on his way out. Pelini has since apologized but must remember the fans may not be the football genius that he is but they helped get him the job. Let’s hope this does not affect the coach’s image when he is out recruiting.

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