Published Tuesday, September 13, 2011 AT 11:43 AM / Updated at 5:49 PM
Fun with Bo: Pelini’s Big Ten Teleconference Recap
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Bo Pelini. Big Ten Tuesday Teleconference. Let the vague answers, evasions and clipped phrases ensue. Count what you think the cliches are and post in the comments section.

Addendum: Are all the questions good? No, they are not. Some are very bad, in fact. I am something of a question snob, I suppose.

On where he’d like to see his team improve most: “I don’t think there’s one area in particular. We just need to get better overall. We’ve been fairly inconsistent in my opinion. We have a long way to go. We have a lot more ahead of us… you’re going to go through growing pains a little bit, but we have to grow up in a hurry.

On whether college football needs a czar: “I don’t know anything about that.”

On Taylor Martinez’s play: “I don’t like the fact that he’s put the ball on the ground a few times. I think he’s done a few good things but there’s a lot more out there for him.”

On Washington: “They’re talented. They can run. They’re well-coached. They execute well in all phases and they’ll be a tough test for us.”

On whether the Holiday Bowl loss is motivation: “You always find ways to get your guys motivated. At the end of the day, I hope we’re motivated by getting better.”

On ideal non-conference schedules: “Challenge your football team to get ready for conference play. Obviously you can’t play four top ten teams every year. But I do think you want to put a product out there on the field — schedule games that are good for your fans. You’d like to play at least three non-conference at home … it’s just hard scheduling. Everybody has their scheduling issues. Obviously, there’s money involved.”

On whether the Wildcat formation is here to stay, or a, uh, running fancy (my question, hooray!): “What it does is it gives a defense another thing to prepare for. You have to make adjustments to it, you have to spend time on it. It has its value. Every team’s going to be a little bit different. Some people use it a lot, some people use it sparingly.”

On Washington defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu: “He did a good job in the bowl game. He’s a big, physical guy. He’s a guy who can cause you problems.”

On whether Washington is a bigger test than Fresno State: “Washington’s a good football team. I’m not saying Fresno’s not.”

About Sam McKewon

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him at And follow him on Twitter at @swmckewonOWH. And call him at 402.219.3790.


  1. Chuck says:

    I think it’s easier, per usual, to spot anything that isn’t just “coach speak” or cliche from Bo. I’m probably one of the few that don’t mind him being unwilling to be out there making bold statements or anything that could end up as bulletin board material for future opponents or national publications, but that’s just me. GBR

    1. fan says:

      I agree. The press try to make something out of nothing. We need to play better, smarter. nuff said.

      1. UltimaRatioRegum says:

        Right. We could instead have a Mike Leach talking weird about pirates and stuff. Or Mike Gundy ranting about his age and manhood. Bo provides us enough embarrassing Youtube moments as it is, so I don’ mind the cautiousness.

  2. ron frost says:

    I totally agree with chuck. But some of these ?’s that they ask Bo just blows me away

    1. FremontGBR says:

      Agreed, Ron. The press is the issue. Bo is a great coach. They want to make mountains out of mole hills.

  3. Joe says:

    I’ll tell you wants cliche…your articles opening with a dig on Pelini.

  4. John says:

    You gotta love this man!

  5. JohnnyFootball says:

    Go Bo-ball

  6. Bill says:

    Look, I have lived in Connecticut for years and every year I hear the same criticism from the local press (Jeff Jacobs for the Hartford Courant is so predictable when writing about UCONN sports). Carm Cozza at Yale, Holtz the Younger, Randy Edsall, and now Paul Pasqualoni all sound like Bo. After hinting that D.J. Shoemate (senior running back and a transfer from USC) would start against Vandy last week (sort of), now says “…Shoemate was 92% and needed a little more time.”. Again, this contrasted with the coach’s previously optimistic assessment that he was close to 100%. Who is being played? He’ll, I remember Paul Deitzel, when he was at South Carolina, (forgive my spelling) sounding much like these guys.

    I will be honest, it is rare for coaches to speak outside cliches and word speak that defines their professional. I think Bo is as open as many other guys I have seen from Devaney to the coach… In fact I like that his emotions run so close to surface–that often tells us as much he says about what he is feeling. I am so glad we have him on our sideline.

  7. Brian Nelson says:

    Sam, I usually love your articles and you have a great writing style and usually a different perspective. This article is not up to your standard and is way off relating to your opening sentences on vague, evasive, cliche reponses from Coach Pelini. I find him more open than most coaches. Your opening comments are beneath you and your ability.

  8. matt miiller says:

    Gheesh Sam – didn’t ya know (wink, wink) you can’t criticize God! (its good for web traffic though).

  9. HuskerJ says:

    Bo cliche on UW defensive tackle:

    “he did a good job” – no he stormed through our entire offensive line and sacked our quarterback

    “he can cause you problems” – no he can pick-up your center and throw him like a ragdoll

    My favorite, “they’re well coached” – have you ever heard Bo not say this about another team’s coaching staff?

  10. matt miiller says:

    My favortie Bo-ism “they’re a well-coached football team.” Bet if you look back (maybe Dirk can do this – he’s good at counting) Bo has claimed this, verbatim, about every opponent he has coached against in his 2nd tenure at NU!

    1. Johnny_Nebraska says:

      Well, what would you have the coaches say?

      “Washington, oh they suck, yeah you can still smell that Neuhiesel scent when you
      get in the car with one of those guys. Man, I hope we don’t lose to them! Good
      Lord, if we lose to these guys, I am gonna quit, wonder off into the prairie and have
      the good decency to die alone.

      I mean really, isn’t the biggest cliche the fact that you had a press conference to
      hear what a coach has to say about how his squad is and what he thinks about his
      future opponent after a dissappointing first half against an overmatched opponent
      the previous week?

      For Pete’s Sake, for all this angle on the coaches thoughts and cliche’s tell us, just
      have the docs come in, take his pulse and give us the thumbs up next time.

      Good lord, talk about a needlessly critical article.

      1. matt miiller says:

        i think it would be nice if he rotated the stock phrases a bit – same one every week gets old and seems insincere – by the way johnny your reply is a straw man – bet that didn’t occur to you when you were writing it though!

        1. Johnny_Nebraska says:

          Straw man, huh, you really want to go there?

          Well, ok, let’s explore that one, shall we?

          Well, I tend to disagree with you. I remember there was this one coach in the NFL. I think he coached the Raiders. Anyway, he answered a reporter’s question honestly. He said the following:

          “”We’ve got to be the dumbest team in America in terms of playing the game!” … “I’m highly critical because of the way we give games away — we give ‘em away! Period. It’s embarrassing, and I represent that. And I apologize for that. If that’s the best we can do, it’s a sad product.”

          Gee, I wonder just who that was that said that? Hmmmm.

          Yeah, I will stick with being happy with the canned responses for now. If it’s all the same to you!!!!!!!

  11. BlueJay says:

    Bo is Bo.

  12. Gibby says:

    He is getting better with the pressers IMO. Rather him be a darn good coach than a great interview anyday.

  13. James R. says:

    The real cliche is the press conference, tele or otherwise. The perceived need to even bother when everyone knows what the questions and their answers are in advance. See BULL DURHAM.

    1. UltimaRatioRegum says:

      Sometimes I wish they would just put an old boxy portable cassette recorder on the table in front of Bo’s chair, and just hit play. Bo doesn’t even have to be there. Same questions, same vaguely annoyed cliches as answers. I stopped listening to them last year because you won’t learn anything, and I learned to distrust any comment Bo makes about player or team readiness.

  14. SamIam says:

    Sam is Sam.

  15. jcnyc says:

    On Alameda Ta’amu part 2

    “he did a good job” – he owned our offensive line all night causing sacks, tfl, and fumbles.

    “he can cause you problems” – He was mad he had to miss out on San Diego’s taco tuesday and decided to eat our quarterback instead.

  16. Lamar E. says:

    Anyone notice that Bo says all teams are “well-coached?” Is that really true?

  17. Marv says:

    You could run this same blog (it’s not an article, Brian) 2 years from now after Bo’s honeymoon is completely over and get a completely different response. It’s obvious from the comments that Bo’s approval rating is still way too high to ever question anything he does. Here I thought Sam’s approval rating at the OWH was high…I’d say after this blog he’s dropped a few points.

    That said, I tend to agree with Sam and I believe if those studying from the church of Bo would think about it, they would also agree. Think about all of the great stories Bo could tell:

    Instead of “I hope we’re motivated by getting better.” on whether Holiday Bowl loss is motivation.
    It could be “I recall George Seifert’s speech in the locker room after the disappointing 1993 NFC Championship Game that motivated the ’94 team to a Super Bowl championship……”

    Tell me how hard it was to defend against Tebow in a “wildcat” like offense in ‘07 or how he likens the way Pete Carroll handled the ebbs and flows of Drew Bledsoe at QB to the way he handles Martinez. –Bo’s history is interesting. He could make life so easy for himself and the media and as a fan, it would be great to hear.

    1. Husker Dude says:

      Your right Marv… I think we should fire Pelini because his personality during interviews isn’t up to your (or any of the media’s) standards. Screw the next coach’s football skills. What we need is a coach who can give reporters interesting tidbits, wax poetic about Timoty J. Tebow, and write beautiful husker haiku for the ravenouse fans out there. Can’t wait til we get that real coach…

  18. Frank says:

    When I coached BCS football in my dreams I was painfully frank, fielding the casual “How would you characterize your opponent this week” with “Have you been to Disney World lately… seen that dorky mouse with the big ears… well that’s their head coach. Their quarterback? Are you kiddin’ me? I mean the guy dances around like Snow White behind what can only be an offensive line full of athletically challenged dwarfs. Oh, I can’t say dwarfs? Oh, well then lets just call them cavorting little people.”

    Needless to say my dream job ended when I woke up and realized that I sucked as a coach – even in my dreams.

    1. kevin says:

      Frank Thank You that’s classic. I laughed as I read it. I mean really what do they want Bo to say with the stupid repeat questions each week. Bo what do you think of coach x, ” Well they are one of the worst coach teams in the country. I often look at video and wonder what the F ? ” On Taylor Martinez play, ” you know I’ve told that SOB to stop carrying ther ball like aloaf of bread. We try to correct the way he throws the ball, but apparently his to dumb to figure it out. ” On if Football needs a Czar, ” What the Hel* is a czar ! “…. We should fire Bo cause he can’t give a good press conference.

  19. Eddie Lee says:

    Sam, I have to agree with some of the comments about your opening on this post. Cliche questions beget cliche answers. You media-types (itinerant is the adjective used by S. Clements) ask poorly phrased and ill-thought out questions and expect Everett Dirksen replies…or maybe you’re after M. Tyson responses ! Either way it’s obvious you (all) should get used to disappointment as Bo is either going to scowl at you or give you some single-syllabic grunt answer and then ignore your waving hand the rest of the PC ! From the example questions you featured, the answers about what one would expect from just about any coach or leader anyway. This tidbit you’ve offered up is also evidence of the reality that we all “just need to get better overall” in whatever vocation we pursue. You’re still doing a good job, and I count myself as a fan, but strive to improve. I will do the same, brother, I will do the same !

    1. HuskerDave says:

      Yeah, can’t a reporter have thought of a question BEFORE sticking a mic in a coach’s face? Wee see it all the time. Coach is ready for questions, and nobody has any, until some bloviated talking head from the TV station asks “What were your feelings about the loss today,” or “Would you prefer fewer fumbles?” Nope, we want more of ‘em. Here’s your sign!

  20. Steve says:

    Rex says he has not spent anytime in practice running the wildcat. I find that depressing. We do need to make teams prepare for more than what we have showed so far. Hopefully there is more and they can execute it in a game.

  21. Justin says:

    You’re a question snob? Are you one of the people in the press conference room on Mondays? I don’t think I’ve ever heard one good question come out of those press conferences. You guys all just get bullied by Pelini.

  22. CarlBugeater says:

    Bo is good. Until we start with the five and six win seasons, Bo’s Vauge answers are super. Looks to me like he dont wanna let the cat out the bag before the real season begins. Bo is good.

  23. Gibby says:

    I think Bo has improved in the pressers personally. I’ll take a darn good coach progressing the program over a great interviewer any day.

  24. rickenaz says:

    I don’t know if we will be mistake free. That would be great but I think it will be a couple weeks more before were getting smoothed out. In the mean time, I think that Washington had better have their helmets screwed on tight this week. There are some hungry Huskers that have something to prove to themselves and coaches. We should be hitting it hard this Saturday. I look for Kinney to catch everything that even smells like a football and Taylor is going to be so carefull with the ball that I predict that on long passes, he is going to run down the field and hand the ball off to the receivers. Funny thing is that he is the only quarterback in history that is actually capable of doing that! Seriously though, Several weeks ago I said that Abdulla will be the return guy and he is. Last week I said he would return one against Fresno and he did…. Ok, Ok, It was just dumb luck on my behalf. Also a few months ago I was asking for Milt Tenopir’s aid with our new O-line and I read that he came in and pitched in his 2 cents. So now I’m going to be bold and say that we are done with goof ball football and this week marks the rise of the 2011 B1G championship Nebraska Huskers football team. Why not?? Were young but well coached and talented. Were not banged up very much so guys are getting reps and smoothng things out. We have some leadership players in various spots and our kicking game is sound. Guys, I think it’s going to happen……