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Pitching with Pritch PDF Print E-mail

Bo has backing?

By Larry Pritchett
Past PCHS activities director

Last week right in this column I said that I thought Coach Bo Pelini maybe had done his best coaching since he became head coach on a full-time basis and I thought it would be not in the best interest of the program to fire him.
The Huskers still had a chance to win 10 games this season, had a chance to get into a decent Bowl Game and when you look at all the injuries, etc., for the year and still had those opportunities things had gone pretty well.
I also thought that Coach Pelini had some areas that he really needed to work on to make his life a little easier. I realize that Pelini and the University of Nebraska Athletic Department really don’t care what I think. But even coaching at the high school level for a few years, you learn some things outside of X’s and O’s that help you.
What a difference less than a week can make in what opportunities still exist. They still have a chance to win nine games but that doesn’t even come close to 10 wins in this situation.
Now the bowl game might be early in December. Continued employment for the coaching staff again became a question.
After the game there was lots of talk that Bo would go and wanted to go. The game was a disaster in a lot of areas.
We are 12 games in and it appears that the discipline it takes not to jump off sides, or break assignments on offense and defense are still causing problems. Special teams, especially punt returns, were non-performing units.
Westercamp had no help and he made a mental error on one, but I think it is still within the rules to block the punting team’s players so that your punt returner has an opportunity to return the punt.
I won’t question the fake punt. Again, they don’t care what I think. They tried it and it didn’t work. Bo said they missed a block and he was right. They missed the very first block that is needed for the punter to get to the outside, play blown up.
I think the officials blew the pass interference call. I am pretty sure Bo did also, but I don’t think that was the time to try and have the last word. If they want it, I have learned, and sometimes the hard way, that just like my wife, officials always have the last word. Whether it is “whatever” or the flag where the sound is silent, it usually is always the last.
Coach Pelini, as I think I mentioned last week, doesn’t even try at times to be politically correct. It is not in his DNA. His response to the reporter that caught him going off the field at half time was what every coach thinks when someone asks as stupid a question as was asked to Bo. Something like “What did you think of the interceptions in the first half?’ I am not sure that was the correct wording, but as a coach you want to answer him just like Bo did, but most coaches go right to “coachspeak” and get off the field. Coaches like Bo, Bob Knight, and others respond with just what they feel.
The rpess conference after the game was total Bo and totally out of place. Again coaches would like to answer sometimes just like Bo did but you don’t do it. You don’t curse, you don’t bring the other coach into it, you again go into “coachspeak” and get out of the press conference ASAP.
I don’t know if a coach should be the “face” of a University but many times he is, so he needs to conduct himself in a manner that is fitting of that situation.
Saturday, Coach Pelini got an official backing from the athletic director of the university. Shawn Eichorst said Pelini is the man. I don’t know if it was a ringing endorsement, but Pelini did apologize for his behavior after the game. Sometimes those endorsements have a shelf life and that shelf life is very short.
I will repeat what I think and I know not everyone agrees with this–but don’t get real bent out of shape over it. If you don’t agree with me, it is okay, I really don’t care. I won’t lose any sleep over it. This is just an opinion about a football program.
At this time I think it would NOT be in the best interest to get rid of Coach Pelini. I think he might need to rethink his staff and maybe make some adjustments. I don’t think he will because he is outstandingly loyal to his staff. I also just have a gut feeling that Mr. Eichorst might have some other stipulations behind the endorsement.
Bowl game, recruiting and getting ready for next year. Hopefully, next year will be filled with better results and less drama. You could be Alabama and let a team run a missed field goal back 109 yards for the winning touchdown as time runs out. I really hated that!
It was a busy weekend, not a great weekend for Nebraska sports. The Huskers lost in football, girls basketball, volleyball to Penn State after leading 23-10 in the last two sets, and Creighton lost in a tournament in California.
We did get to see our family, two future point guards Calen and Kyler, and the Husker men’s basketball team defeat Northern Illinois. Great Thanksgiving weekend.