After a tumultuous previous season, Nebraska's Bo Pelini is enjoying the new year. By doing so, the head coach is beginning to win back many fans.
That's not to say that all fans lost faith in Pelini. Instead, the 2013 season just made things a little more uncomfortable around One Memorial Drive. After a leaked audio tape, a hat swing at a referee and a dare to be fired, it was hard to know what the future held for the head coach.
But it's a new year and with it, a new Pelini seems to have surfaced.
For example, in a video released by Nebraska Athletics, Pelini helps a serviceman surprise his wife.
The video is touching. It takes Pelini off of the hot seat and makes him much more real and relatable. Fans love to see these types of things, especially from a coach with a lot of national prominence.
Beyond this surprise, Pelini has also found a new appreciation for Twitter. Since the start of the year, the coach has found several opportunities to share funny thoughts over the social media platform. Those small insights have delighted fans, who have always just wanted a little bit more of a glimpse into the head coach's thoughts and life.
@FauxPelini ok enough is enough... I want my cat back. You've had her long enough!— Bo Pelini (@BoPelini) January 7, 2014
Can I get fined if I comment about basketball officiating?— Bo Pelini (@BoPelini) March 21, 2014
The challenging part for Pelini is that he's always been a private person. He has a very "us against the world" mentality when it comes to coaching his team, which can often translate as cold on the sidelines and in press conferences.
Pelini is also a very passionate human being. This is a good trait to have, but it can also allow for emotional moments like the now-infamous post-Iowa press conference.
But the Pelini who has been recently on display is one who fans like. Beyond that, this Pelini creates positive press and news for the university. So, can he keep it up?
The answer is yes. Pelini has shown over the last few years that he's not as tough as he often tries to be. Instead, he dances to the "Harlem Shake" with players, leaving fans laughing for days.
And then there is the Jack Hoffman run in the 2013 annual spring game.
That was a moment that really showed Pelini's true colors. People are still talking about it almost a year later.
Spring and summer are always good times to let people have a little glimpse behind the scenes. There isn't as much pressure surrounding the team, so funny dances filmed and put on YouTube are simple to do.
However, if Pelini wants to truly win back the fans he lost last season, these types of special moments cannot cease. While a funny tweet or touching video might not fix a loss, those things can definitely help.
At the end of the day, Pelini can no longer be one way during the offseason and another during the season. The relatable Pelini who has currently surfaced needs to find a way to stick around come fall.
No one is asking the head coach to change too much. Instead, fans just want to feel proud of the team, win or lose. If that takes a couple of funny photos, tweets and more, so be it.
In the end, can Nebraska keep all this good press going into the season? Only Pelini, and time, will tell.