Give Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini credit. He’s not afraid to tackle sensitive subjects. It was one thing when he said the tradition and facilities at Nebraska didn’t really matter to him (rather it was the people).
But as he’s traveled around the state making speeches, he’s not shy about saying Frank Solich didn’t deserve to be fired.
Considering how divisive the issue of Frank Solich’s dismissal has been for Husker fans over the last four years, that’s not exactly playing it safe. But that’s not to call Pelini foolish either. In a number of ways his outspoken defense of Solich makes good sense.
Setting an Example
Bo Pelini’s made no secret about the fact that he wants to change the culture of his program. What had been described as almost a Machiavellian atmosphere under Steve Pederson and Bill Callahan made the Husker program seem almost soulless. By going out of his way for the sake of loyalty, he sets a fine example for his players and staff.
Ironically, Pelini’s loyalty to Solich might very well have come into question had he become Frank’s immediate successor at Nebraska. However, circumstances have played out in a way that it likely won’t be an issue for Pelini. Still, it doesn’t hurt to establish that you were in no way glad to see Frank lose his job.
Pelini’s honeymoon won’t last forever (probably not even past this season’s visit to Norman) so it’s a good idea to properly kill any speculation about Pelini wanting Solich’s job while Frank still had it before any starts.
Who’s the Boss
We know Tom Osborne loves Frank Solich. So by honoring Frank, Bo honors Tom. It’s certainly not a bad way to get on the bosses’ good side. Osborne would probably love to defend Frank but likely also knows it’s probably best not go there (considering he’d then have to answer for why he didn’t re-hire Solich). Pelini doing it for him, is something Osborne likely appreciates.
Pelini won’t win any prizes as PR man of the year, but his willingness to talk about the elephant in the room is refreshing. Hopefully, he won’t be made to regret it later.