Nebraska Cornhuskers' Emotions: Relax, Coach Bo Pelini, It's Going to be Alright
Any Nebraska fan will tell you that the loss to Texas Tech was emotionally draining.
If it was emotional for fans, it must have been exponentially emotional for the coaches. Bo Pelini exhibited this well in his postgame press conference. Maybe too well.
Some things Nebraska fans have known, and in most cases embraced, about the Huskers' head coach are that he is an intense perfectionist that wears his emotions on his sleeve during the game and after.
Last season, Pelini even got flagged a few times for unsportsmanlike conduct while arguing with officials.
This season, we've seen less of Pelini's sideline antics. He has been more reserved and less emotional, but he's still emotional when he feels he needs to be.
In fact, during a very winnable game against Virginia Tech, Pelini was caught chucking his head-set over players' heads after the blown coverage that had ended up costing them the game.
It was an understandable emotional reaction to gut-wrenching play.
When asked about the play by a reporter after the game, Bo Pelini said what has become his catch phrase of disappointment this season, "You saw the play, what do you think?"
If I could yell in my typing it might give you a better picture.
This wasn't the first time Pelini reacted this way while being interviewed, in fact, it probably won't be the last time.
Fans don't see much wrong with it. After all, it's a refreshing departure from the former coach's reaction to losses.
Bill Callahan epitomized the political side of coaching. He said only what would paint him, his coaching staff, and even the media in a positive light. He didn't want to ruffle any feathers.
As a result, Callahan overlooked a lot of issues. He supported an obviously failing defense and pretended that everything was okay during the 5-7 season that eventually had him shown the door.
Bo Pelini is the exact opposite. He cranks up the volume and doesn't filter his responses.
In fact, after the Texas Tech game, some reporters had the audacity to do their jobs and ask some tough questions to a head coach that just saw his team lose in a very mediocre performance.
Was the effort there today?
Will the defense have blackshirts tomorrow?
Can you comment on the officiating?
These questions were promptly answered in a full array of language, emotion, and annoyance.
In anger as much as disappointment, Bo Pelini sternly said, "What do you think?" in regard to the effort, obviously angered at the stupidity of the question he was just asked.
To the second question Pelini gave a longer, even more aggravated answer. He said things like, "Get over it," and "We were wearing red and white. And we got our butts kicked."
When asked about the officiating Pelini stared down the reporter and promptly said, "I can't comment on the officiating. Next question."
It's true, any comment he had made about the crew might have been damning to his staff and the program. But the question remains: Does he really need to be so abrasive?
I'm as big a fan of Bo Pelini fan as the next guy. And honestly I could care less if he laid into every reporter that asked questions like: "Does the defense still get the blackshirts after a loss?"
That's a question you ask on Tuesday's press conference, not immediately after the game. I think though, that Bo should start to learn to shrug those questions off, even if he just refuses to answer.
The coaching staff is obviously on edge. The offense isn't working, there is a quarterback controversy, and the offensive line looks like it forgot how to work together to protect the quarterback.
Even normally eloquent Shawn Watson bit into the reporters a tad this week when asked about the offense. He answered with a snap:
"Did you play?" (Watson)
"Did I Play?" (Reporter)
"Yeah, did you play?" (Watson)
"Not at this level no." (Reporter)
"If you did, you would understand what I am talking about." (Watson)
The jab was obvious to all who listened.
And even more obvious? The tension. Nebraska is searching desperately for play-makers at every position.
That includes the offensive line, a back-up running back, wide receivers, and the starting quarterback.
The end of this search? Not in sight.
While I support this coaching staff, I have to admit that the paranoia is getting a little old.
From Pelini's tirades to Watson's jabs this coaching staff feels that the media is out to get them. They don't realize that the media is paid to get them to react. To get an answer for a story. It's nothing personal, it's just the business and any coach that comes to Nebraska should know that.
Do I wish Bo Pelini would sugar coat things and become stoic? Not by any stretch of the imagination, but maybe taking a breath before he answers will help his public image.
It's time for the media and the coaching staff to take a collective breath. It's time to realize that it was just one game. That's right, one game. Winning cures all wrongs, or at least most wrongs.
If Nebraska wins the next two games and puts on a good showing against Oklahoma, maybe even stealing the game, then all is well in Lincoln. 7-2 wouldn't look half bad.
Everyone needs to realize that one game does not a season make. I think Bo, and Shawn, and even the media needs to—at the risk of being cliche—take a chill pill.
We knew there would be growing pains, and to be honest Nebraska is exactly where most realistic fans thought they would be half way through the season at season's beginning: 4-2.
Somehow though, Nebraska fans had talked themselves into an 11-1 season and possible National Title berth. But reality has set in and Husker fans, media, and coaches need to relax.
We are who we thought we were. It's up to the coaches to get us better. And all the emotion really isn't helping things.
Bo Pelini is known for his stance on not getting too high or too low. Now is the time to exemplify this to the utmost. And I believe he will.
To me, both sides, the media and the coaches, need to realize that both are doing their best to do what they get paid to do. Coach and report.
I like the aggression, I like the intensity, and I like the emotion. But let's not get carried away. There is always room for tact in any profession.
I think ultimitely, Nebraska will be fine, and so will the coaches. Dust it off and move on. That's what I will be doing.
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