Most teams around the nation are taking a page out Oregon’s wide-open playbook and instituting fast-paced, no-huddle offenses at their respective programs. Not Nebraska. Whereas Texas A&M brought in Kevin Sumlin and Auburn hired Gus Malzahn to bring such offensive schemes even to the old-school SEC, the Cornhuskers took a guy out of the mighty Southeastern in order to keep their program as physical as ever.
Bo Pelini served as the defensive coordinator at LSU in 2007, the year the Tigers won the national title. He was hired on to lead his own program at Nebraska starting in 2008. As a veritable defensive mastermind, no one expected Pelini to institute some no-huddle jibber-jabber.
He was brought in to teach the Huskers’ vaunted “Blackshirt” defense how to stop high-speed offensive attacks.
In that regard, he has completely failed – but should that be enough to fire him?
A year ago, Pelini’s Huskers entered the Big Ten title game as the overwhelming favorites to stomp Wisconsin and head to the Rose Bowl. Nebraska was sitting at 10-2 at the time, whereas the Badgers had only gotten into the game because Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible for the postseason.
Then the two teams actually played, and 60 minutes later, Bucky had hung a whopping 70 points on Pelini’s precious defense. It has been all downhill since.
Georgia hung 45 points on the Huskers in the Capital One Bowl, but not even the motivation of those two bad, postseason losses were enough to stop the bleeding in 2013.
In fact, it has only gotten worse this fall. The Blackshirts gave up more than 600 yards of total offense to lowly Wyoming in the season-opener, a too-close-for-comfort 37-34 win. Two weeks later, the team hosted UCLA in a game that many believed would provide a good indication of where the two ranked teams were headed in 2013.
What would a 41-21 blowout win for UCLA indicate for Pelini and his team?
The way revered former NU quarterback Tommy Frazier sees it, such a brutal loss in front of the home crowd would indicate that it is time for change. Pelini, however, doesn’t care what Frazier thinks – nor does he care what the fans think, either.
Which is too bad, because the fans are the ones, however indirectly, who pay Pelini’s multi-million dollar salary. If they don’t believe he can get the job done (especially defensively, which is where his expertise is supposed to lie) the administration at least has to listen.
But should they?
Should they listen to Frazier? We don’t know, but perhaps you do. It’s time to settle it.