Pelini Boys Walking Very Fine Line In Lincoln
In the wake of Nebraska’s 9-6 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday and more shenanigans from Bo and Carl Pelini, the Nebraska coaching duo had better watch itself. University chancellor Harvey Perlman has already publicly condemned the Huskers’ head coach for berating the officials and his own players and as we point out, this wasn’t the first embarrassing episode from the Pelinis and it certainly won’t be their last. – Jim Weber
When Bo Pelini was hired as Nebraska’s head coach in December of 2007 and he in turn hired his brother Carl to become the defensive coordinator, Nebraska fans dreamt of becoming the Oklahoma of the Big 12 North.
Just like Bob and Mike Stoops had served as the head coach and defensive coordinator for the Sooners and led Oklahoma to a national title with a lights-out defense, Cornhusker Nation was ready to break out the black shirts on Day One with Bo – the defensive coordinator of reigning national champion LSU – and Carl – Frank Solich’s d-line coach at Ohio University – on board.
They were the two hard-nosed kids from blue-collar Youngstown, OH, (the very same town where the Stoops brothers hail from) that grew up playing tough-as-nails defense – Bo a safety and team captain at Ohio State two decades ago and big brother Carl still good enough to play for two seasons as a Columbia linebacker in the early 1980s.
And they’ve certainly lived up to the billing, turning Nebraska into one of the most dominant defenses in the country over the past three years (it certainly didn’t hurt that they had a player named Ndamukong Suh for the last two). After Saturday, the Huskers are currently ranked ninth in the nation in points against and have given up 12 points total in the last two games combined.
Unfortunately, Nebraska fans have gotten a whole lot more than the bargained for from Bo and Carl, who have routinely embarrassed the school and the fan base by acting like junkyard dogs on the sidelines and after games. At times, they’ve acted the biggest knucklehead duo since the WWF’s Bushwhackers.
It didn’t take long for Nebraska fans to see Bo’s temper in action.
Bo raised some eyebrows his first season in Lincoln when he was seen berating officials and his players during the 2008 campaign, highlighted by being seen calling a player a “f****** moron” during a game against Baylor, grabbing a player’s facemask and picking up two 15-yard penalties himself.
This was Nebraska, where the classiest fans in the country cheer for opponents as they trot onto the field and Tom Osborne was the epitome of class and calm for over three decades. Yes, Bo’s antics were certainly a red flag - but weren’t all college coaches nuts on some level? And it sure was nice to win nine games after the Bill Callahan debacle.
Last season, Carl got in on the act during the Big 12 Championship Game, in which the two had an epic meltdown after the officials put one second back on the clock that allowed Texas to kick the game-winning field goal and head to the national championship game.
The Pelini Boys went ballistic, as big brother Carl was seen screaming from the tunnel to the celebrating Texas Longhorns like a five-year-old kid, “You outta be ashamed to accept that trophy!”
Little brother made it to the locker room without incident but, told there was a conflict in the tunnel, Bo rushed to the scene, apparently ready to go toe-to-toe with a heckling UT fan. Now worked up, he walked back to the locker room and screamed to Nebraska’s assistant athletic director, “Marc, I want to see (Big 12 head of officiating) Walt Anderson in there right (expletive) now!” - then added as he walked into the locker room, “BCS! That’s why they make that call!”
In the end, the officials were proven right, making the Pelini’s unsightly act even more disturbing. It was never made public whether either was punished internally for their actions by Osborne, now the school AD.
That brings us to Saturday, where Bo went bananas on the referees again and chased referee Greg Burks after the game. Honestly, I don’t get the huge uproar about that. Nebraska got hosed on several different occasions and referees are routinely treated like human piñatas in college football. Heck, even JoePa has chased down a referee after a game.
But it’s two other incidents involving the Pelini Boys on Saturday that are extremely troubling.
First, a video over at TexAgs.com has already suggested Carl attacked someone filming the on-field celebration after the game on Saturday. He’s the one in the black hat.
Obviously, Carl is guilty until proven guilty in a matter like this, but you’ll certainly hear more about it as the week goes on. If he in fact did this, it’s obviously inexcusable to put your hands on a fan or camera man, especially when completely unprovoked.
And that brings us to Bo. Forget the stuff with the officials. What’s more disturbing is the way he treated his own quarterback, Taylor Martinez, who was basically playing the game on one leg.
The Nebraska fan site Better Off Red has taken video of the game and transcribed this from Pelini’s lips:
“If you f****** call your dad on the f****** field during a game again it’ll be the last f****** thing you ever do.
Now get your f****** a** [out/down/out of?] here motherf*****.”
Now rumors are swirling that Martinez is quitting the team, although Pelini refuted those to the Omaha World-Herald yesterday.
Again, it’s just speculation, but in this new media landscape full of message boards, blogs and speculation, perception is reality. And in the post-Mike Leach, Mark Mangino, Jim Leavitt college football world, something like that simply won’t be tolerated - especially at Nebraska. Plus, it certainly makes you wonder: If he does that on national TV, what does he say to his players behind closed doors?
The Martinez outburst is the kind of thing that gets parents talking behind the coach’s back and flooding the athletic director with angry letters and voice mails, ones that lead to a coup d’état from mothers and fathers livid with seeing their teenage kids being humiliated by a mad man.
More information will certainly come out in the next couple days as chancellor Perlman decides what action to take with the Pelini Boys but two things are blatantly clear.
#1: The duo is completely out of control and given the fact they continue acting this way despite their past incidents, they certainly won’t change now no matter how long they are forced to sit in the corner for acting like children (here’s a scary thought: If Nebraska suspended Bo, Carl would probably take over the head coaching duties for a day).
#2: Bo is definitely no Tom Osborne. In fact, he looks like the beloved coach of his alma mater, Woody Hayes. And we all remember how his coaching career ended. Let’s all hope it doesn’t come to that, but would anyone really be surprised if it did?