Bo Pelini is entering his sixth season as the head coach of The Nebraska Cornhuskers. Through five seasons, he has been the equivalent of shooting par on the PGA Tour.
The Huskers have had highlights and low points during the Bo Pelini Era of Nebraska Football. He has had a large number of incidents with officials and players. He has been at the helm of several comebacks as well as crushing defeats. For every good, there has been a bad.
Since the end of the 2012 season, Pelini has shown signs of maturity as the head coach of the Huskers. Here are five signs that show he has.
1) Early recruiting seems to be working well for Nebraska:
The 2014 recruiting class is shaping up nicely. Yes, it’s June 18, 2013 and there are nine verbal commits for Nebraska. Pelini has been criticized in years past for not doing a good job in this department, but the coaching staff has made big impressions on several talented recruits. The most impressive grab so far has been QB Zack Darlington out of Apopka High School in Florida. He should help round out a solid Quarterback core of Tommy Armstrong and Johnny Stanton in 2014.
2) He participated in a team “Harlem Shake” video during spring practice:
Some might argue that by looking ridiculous he did not show any maturity, but I disagree. It showed personality that the fan base and media are not used to seeing. He was loose, having fun, and it came across in a positive way. Coach Pelini is usually all business, if not grumpy, from Spring until the final press conference of the season. By showing a little personality he displayed his non angry human side that should be applauded.
3) Pelini Tweets:
While few and far between, Bo Pelini has actually tweeted a few times in the offseason. He tweeted the link to the team’s “Harlem Shake” video, and has since tweeted about Jack Hoffman’s big run in the spring game as well as Tommie Frazier on his induction to the College Football Hall of Fame. For a guy who seems to hate social media, he seems to be opening up just a bit. My guess is basketball coach Tim Miles might be an influence.
4) Permanent Captains:
Through his first five seasons as coach, Pelini selected captains on a game by game basis. While it rewarded players who had a good week in practice or played well in a previous game, it took away the meaning and leadership that accompany the title of captain. Naming permanent captains could help define leadership both on the field and in the locker room. I believe this could make players more accountable for both on and off the field actions and make the team stronger.
5) His assistant coaches are developing:
Just as important as developing college players, it is important that your assistant coaches develop as well. While I would not put Barney Cotton on the list of coaching progress, Tim Beck comes to mind immediately. How quickly he was able to revamp the West Coast Offense of former Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson is a proof that Pelini can make the right decisions when it comes to his coaching staff. Terry Joseph is another example of bringing in a great coach.
While Bo Pelini is not yet the finished product (he won’t be considered that until he brings home a few trophies) he is showing signs of becoming a well rounded head coach.