We are two days from the Bo Pelini audio being leaked, and I have made clear my opinion on the situation.
We do not yet know if any discipline action will take place, be it suspension, termination, or nothing at all. For now Pelini needs to make sure his team is focused going into Saturdays game against South Dakota State. Many might say that there are distractions because of the media storm that has hit because of the coach’s remarks. They are probably right, but Pelini has no one to blame but himself. He has apologized and is moving on, and preparing his team for their next challenge is part of his turning the page.
This team will take the field in front of a crowd of 91,000 people who all have different views of Pelini and what needs to happen next. Some fans are supportive of Bo and have let the entire fiasco go. Others are angry, wanting the coach gone now. One thing that both sides should do is put aside the debates for sixty minutes of football on Saturday. The players on the sidelines need to know that this fan base is behind them regardless of how they feel about Pelini. People should stay in their seats, even if the Huskers struggle.
At the same time, Bo Pelini has built the “us against the world” mentality that his players have embraced. Hell, the rant from the audio clip came after fans booed and left a game. Then the team mounted the biggest comeback in school history. This week’s controversial Pelini audio could actually spark the Huskers, fuel them to play better and go further then any of his previous teams have. Maybe.
The problem is that this team shouldn’t need fans leaving, a critical media, or controversy to want more. They should be motivated by the fact that they have that “N” on the side of their helmets. They also have a group of passionate fans who do show up for every game and live and die by how the team competes. The Huskers shouldn’t need outside influences to determine the level of motivation and the will to succeed. That, too, is reflective of the head coach.
Fair or not, Pelini’s job could depend on winning a Big Ten Championship this season. His players probably know this, and if they want him to continue patrolling the Huskers sideline, they will have to play out of their minds. The good news for Bo is that the blowout loss to UCLA and audio leak don’t have anything to do with Nebraska’s Big Ten schedule. If he really wants to win back those in the crowd that he has lost, he will have his team ready to play every week, and bring this team, state, and fan base what they have been wanting for the last decade. A conference crown. Winning can make people forget the bad stuff, and winning is Pelini’s only way out of this situation.