Published Wednesday, September 28, 2011 AT 1:24 PM / Updated at 9:38 PM
Bo Buzzkill? What else is new?
Tom Shatel Omaha World-Herald

Our World-Herald team talked about it yesterday at practice. ESPN.com Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg called Bo Pelini “Bo Buzzkill.” Kevin Kugler and Mike’l Severe asked me about it on Unsportsmanlike Conduct.

Do you wish Bo Pelini would acknowledge the history, if not the hype, surrounding Nebraska-Wisconsin?

Why, yes I do. And thanks for asking.

Pelini squashes every attempt to reach out to the boundaries of a football game. The color. The history. The legacy of it all. The fun. Fun? It’s just another game. Over and over.

And yet, if we see a radical new look on defense or offense for NU on Saturday night, is it really just another game?

That’s coachspeak. I get that. But sometimes I wish we’d get more.

Would it hurt anyone to acknowledge the game the way Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema did on Monday? Coach Biels is as intense as they come. Passionate, too. Yet he said he was talking to his players about the history and meaning of the game and Nebraska football. He talked about Barry Alarez, and his history at Nebraska, and with that, it was a tip of the hat to Bob Devaney.

Wouldn’t it be great if Bo Pelini, a Big Ten kid, told his team about the history of the Big Ten and what they were getting into?

Oh, you say, maybe he did? Possibly. But the players we talked to this week have said the coaches are treating it like any other game. So maybe they are, or maybe they’re just saying that.

The point here is, wouldn’t you, Husker Fan, like to hear more of this from your coach? Wouldn’t you like to know that your coach is as into this historic game as you are?

I’ll read the comments below. But I’m sure the majority of Husker fans will say they just want to win, and want their coach to focus on winning. I get that, too.

My guess is that most of the fans who say that secretly wish their coach would get into this aspect of the game. Acknowledge the big picture of it all.

Then again, what else is new? We’ve seen this before haven’t we?

Tom Osborne never acknowledged anything about a game’s importance other than it was the next game on the schedule and one he wanted to win.  If Tom had been at the press conference this week, I can imagine him saying, “I’m sure the fans are excited about this game, but to us, it’s just another game.”

Tom said that a lot in 25 years. At least 255 times. The mega-big Oklahoma games and Orange Bowls spoke for themselves.

Frank Solich was a man of few syllables himself. He wouldn’t have painted the scene for us.

Bill Callahan? I have no idea what he would have said. In fact, I can’t remember a thing he said.

This is the way of Nebraska. The Big Ten scribes might find it unusual. But buzzkill is kind of what Husker coaches do. The swarm of Nebraska media are in charge of the hype. We do that well.

In fact, if we do our jobs this week, and Pelini does his, the weekend should be a hoot.

About Tom Shatel

Tom Shatel is a columnist for The Omaha World-Herald. You can get in touch with Tom on Twitter (@tomshatelOWH), or send him an email at tom.shatel@owh.com.

Comments

  1. Steve says:

    If Bo doesn’t want his players reading into the hype of the game, then as the leader of the team, he can’t feed into it either. What good would it do to tell his team one thing and talk out the other side of his mouth publicly. Like you mentioned, Osborne would have done the same thing (and did), but since Bo is more surly about it, he gets flack for it. I suggest calling T.O. and getting his thoughts about the move to the Big 10 since he spearheaded the deal…I’d guess you’ll get the same “non-answer” answer.

    You can probably reprint this article next week and sub Ohio State for Wisconsin, too, when everyone will want him to expound on his time at OSU, his feelings about playing his old team, etc. I’m not knocking the reporters for wanting him to say more, be more open, tell us his thoughts, but it’s kind of a broken record topic to read about as a fan.

    1. charles White says:

      Everyone can say wht they want about Bo. He knows what this game means and do not believe for one minute the team does not know also. Wht Bo is trying to say and what many people do not like is that beyond the history or the history being made is the fact that we have a game to win and if you focus on all of that stuff you are not focusing on the game at hand. If NU is to have a chance at winning this game the team needs to focus on taking care of business first and then the historic stuff later.

  2. Kelly says:

    Osborne never had to put any emphasis on a particular game, but his players always did and it showed (255 times to be exact). Pelini approaches it the same way as Osborne would, the only difference between the two is Pelini doesn’t have the leaders on the field that display it. Very rare do you see this Husker team “fired up” before, during, and at the end of a game. I feel like his players play w/ no emotion or passion like Huskers of the past.

    1. David says:

      I totally agree. It’s very frustrating. NU has the talent, but they just can’t ever seem to put it together, and lack of leadership is a big part of why they can’t I think. Seems like it, anyway.

    2. Lonnie Larsen says:

      Seems to me that players who respond with or display emotion get 15 yard penalty!

    3. DAVE says:

      Seriously??? Bo’s teams don’t play with passion or emotion???? that is crazy!!! ANYTIME you hear a player talk about playing for Bo Pellini there is refference to a brick wall. “he makes you want to run through a brick wall” “he makes you feel like you can knock down a brick wall with your bare hands”…In fact I think this is why his teams have been better road teams. I think in Memorial Stadium the kids get SO amped up they are a little out of control. If there is a fault with Pelini and his kids emotion it is that they have too much.

      1. Frank says:

        Agreed Dave. The emotion line is crap. Bo’s teams play with plenty of emotion. My god people hold some bizarre notions. Bo is not fun to watch being interviewed, so what. Neither is Bill Belichick. Not saying we can compare them as coaches yet, but does anyone remember Belichick’s stint in Cleveland? It takes time to build championship caliber teams.

        If Pelini ever left the program it would probably be due to the midday sun burning through the microscope that is Nebraska football in this state. My only semi-criticism – more of a comment actually is that these kids play so hard for Pelini that they sometimes worry too much about potential mistakes… due to the Pelini “perfection” guideline. I think the word “perfect” needs a bit of fine tuning with respect to the perfect game being attainable when one plays to the best of their abilities within their abilities and within the scheme.

        I think Pelini and company are addressing this issue as I’ve heard a slight language change in the players regarding perfection. And in regard to Bo treating this as just another game, I think he’s very aware of how many eggs we threw in a Texas hand basket last year. I wouldn’t trade Bo for any coach, but I do miss Marvin Sanders that’s for sure.

  3. David says:

    I agree with you, Tom. In the end it doesn’t matter if we win, but I doubt we will. NU is talented enough to win, but I believe Wisky has a much better coaching staff. Wisky executes and plays consistently. We never know what we’ll get when we tune in to watch the Huskers. It’s frustrating, and it’s on the coaches. That said, yes, I wish Bo was better at communicating like Brett is, I wish he was more colorful, and less of a grump. It wouldn’t kill him to smile once in a while and reveal a story or two or paint a picture? No. He comes across like he is mad at the media and the fans for being so passionate about wanting to win. What’s so wrong about that?

    1. Andrea says:

      We just have to trust Bo. That’s all we can do.

      1. kennie eastwood says:

        I agree the lack of tckleing ability seems to hit all the time at the worst times.The coaches are at fault here..Poor tcckles ought to be punished the same as fumbles!!.I do think the backup quaterback need to get in some time before the worst happens like last year. thank you

    2. Steve says:

      “I wish Bo was better at communicating.” People need to accept he is who he is and isn’t going to change. T.O. wasn’t “colorful” but he was pleasant. I understand the premise of the conversation, but it’s a terribly broken record about his approach with the media that gets awfully old. In August, I commented on an OWH blog that this conversation happens 3 times a year: 1) in the preseason (check), 2) before and/or after a big game (check), and 3) after a loss (hopefully no check).

  4. Joe says:

    Who cares what he says?
    He’s trying to get the players focused on the GAME in the present.
    Not the past, not the future, the here and now.
    Kids get distracted a lot, think that they need to win it for the fans or for the history books. The coaches keep them grounded so they focus on the game and playing to their potential.
    I care that they do THAT.
    Nothing else.

  5. Mark Larson says:

    I’m sure Bo will have plenty to say after NU wins the game. Until that time ….. IT IS just another game on the road to success.

  6. J says:

    History of game blah blah blah, what is this a class at UNL? Why dosen’t Bo show the players a video on the orgins on football and how it all stared? How about how footballs are made? How about when they started wearing helmets? OOOh I know, he should show all his players show the guy was that invented the foward pass and then quiz them on it.

    Hey new flash! BO is a FOOTBALL COACH, Not journalist, NOT AN ESPN TALKING HEAD. He is employed by the state to WIN FOOTBALL GAMES, not give history lessions! Gah, let it go already.

    1. Steve says:

      I wish there was a like button, I would click it for your comment. Totally agree.

      1. Husker Dude says:

        exactly…. I agree with the like button idea. OWH staff, let’s make this happen.

  7. Jack in Omaha says:

    Bo and Tom were clearly riding the fan support Bob Devaney built. Bob used humor and narratives to make even the most boring games high dramma. Bo has the luxury of a sold out stadium to support his surly just another game media persona!
    But it may change as we go forward and Bo has seemed more composed this year perhaps we can hope for more!

    1. Cm husker says:

      Yeah… Bo and Tom are riding the tails of a guy who last coached almost half a century ago. Are you for real?

      Bo is right in his approach and shatel is just trolling… I guess some would rather a slick Rick or pet carrol or saban type was here. I’ll take what we have.

  8. Eddie Lee says:

    Would you like some whine with that cheese, Tom? Bo is not “Biels” (roll eyes icon here) and he is not TO. He’s just Bo. People’s personalities are all different from each other, not better or worse, just different. I get the inkling that Bo would not tolerate the mealy-mouthed attitudes of some that cry and mope about such silliness so the more important journalistic quest would be to find out why this attitude exists. Maybe ask Bo ! Now THAT would be funny!

  9. Jay says:

    Bielema can paint whatever kinds of pictures he wants to about the game. I wouldn’t trade him for Bo in a million years.

    1. Husker Dude says:

      +1

  10. Gibby says:

    Welp… wasn’t our last coach quick to bring up how he knew the history of team and into the hating OU (alleged biggest rival), and in the end it sounded put on and orchestrated? Maybe Bo learned something. Like when to take history and use it to win games such as bringing back option, toss power sweeps from I and the FB trap.

    1. CarlBugeater says:

      That was well put. I don’t think Bo could have busted out history much better than this.

  11. Tom Shatel Tom Shatel says:

    Great stuff so far. Keep ‘em coming.

  12. BigAppleHusker says:

    I think the media is over sensationalizing this game.

  13. Matt Svoboda says:

    Yeah, I get the media’s frustration… At the same time I think Bo not feeding into the hype is simply good leadership. #BOlieve

  14. Matt Svoboda says:

    Honestly, I think this game would be a lot bigger if everyone didnt expect a rematch in 3 months.

    But I do wish Pelini would acknowledge that the 1st game in the Big Ten is a big deal without feeding into the top 10 matchup/Wisconsin hype.

    With that said… I trust Bo. Im expecting to see a hybrid performance of the OSU and Mizzou game last year. Lots of offense, but we will gash them with running like we did Mizzou, the score will look more like OSU, our D will give up too much, but we will pull away in the second half and win by 10. GO BIG RED!

  15. bullWellet42 says:

    Well Tom !! Are ya happy now ? All you reporters like to do is see how much Anti-Bo crap you can stir up. Who are you to constantly criticize him. Have you ever even coached a team let alone a major football team? Compared to him your are just a liitle P-On reporter. You reporters would just stick to reporting FACTS & STATS. The reason Bo does not like reporters is because of articles like this one and the fact that you ask such stupid questions during interviews.

  16. ScottD says:

    Where are Wally Provost and Tom Ash when you need them? They reported with style and grace, didn’t nitpick the 18-22 year olds that played the game, and didn’t over-proselytize every game, press conference, or little comment or facial expression that happened. I actually have newspapers from those days and it’s amazing how much writing styles have changed, and it’s not always for the better. You guys generally do an excellent job reporting on the Huskers – compared to the DM Register Sports pages-which we are stuck with over the border, but Bo is who he is, and it’s working to the point of a 34-12 record with some personal character and accountability tossed in. You want some personality or kindling for a media firestorm-go interview Robin Williams. In Bo I Trust!

  17. Sea says:

    If you don’t like it or Tom then don’t read it. I’m sure everyone would be fine with that.

    Tom’s done a great job for years I look foward to every article and blog post and I know many people feel the same. No need to hear from someone like you with nothing better to do than to try and make fun of someone.

  18. Fittipaldi says:

    I guarantee you will see players “fired up” on Saturday. You have not seen our players act that way yet in the non-con because they probably want to act like they have been there before…. It is not cool to jump around all fired up and crazy when you make a play on a team you SHOULD make plays against… But now that we are into a game against a team where it is an underdog situation for the Huskers, you will see that fire when plays are made. TRUST.

  19. Steve says:

    Mature comment.

  20. B Silly says:

    I think everyone missed the boat on this blog post. Or maybe I did lol Obviously Tom would like Bo to be a little more vocal and expand on his answers a little bit. I was a journalism major and have interviewed high school students who gave better quotes than Bo. I mean it’s there job to keep readers entertained and keep them hooked from first to last graph. I can only imagine how difficult that would covering the biggest sport in the entire state of Nebraska and the most common response from Bo is…”You guys were there what do you think.” Well no one cares what reporters think we want to know what head football coach at Nebraska has to think. Bo knows reporters are only trying to do a job and it wouldn’t kill him to give some answers that can be useful in a story. But I think everyone missed the end of Tom’s story he knows that Bo is Bo, just like T.O. was T.O. and that’s just the way it is. Obviously he’s okay with that because he keeps spitting out articles. Keep up the good work Shatel and tell Bo to do the same. In the end we do love to win! Go Big Red.

    1. Matt says:

      His job isn’t to give quotes. His job is to win games. If he loses games and gives great quotes do you think that will matter to anyone??

      1. B Silly says:

        Not at all. It won’t matter to anyone. But giving quotes is part of his job. Dealing with the media is part of the job of a head coach. I think Bo is a great coach and wouldn’t trade him for anyone. I’m really not sure if the OWH staff would either. All I was saying is that it is PART OF HIS JOB to sit down with the media. I don’t think it would kill him to give some answers because as a fan I know I want to hear what he thinks. You may think Bo doesn’t owe anything to his fans. But you’re right he doesn’t have to and if he chooses not to than he just better keep winning to keep a fan base that has the NCAA for consecutive sell outs happy.

  21. Tom says:

    Coaches job should be to coach.
    Media’s job can be to sell papers, advertizing, and entertain and retain readers.
    These often won’t align real well and will cause tension. Continue to hype the games as you do, but don’t expect the coach to do it for you. The American flag carried by the team came from someone brought in to speak to the team about key values that are more than football. To some extent Bo is building more than football into these kids.

    1. Jim says:

      Amen Tom, very well put. T.O. couldn’t have said it better. I hope the coaches keep on teaching these young men life lessons that will serve them down the road. The game is after all just that.

    2. Judge Wyld says:

      If the kids were being taught key values then wouldn’t they quit the sport and do something useful with their time and energy? Seem like sports people sell a lot of double speak to impressionable kool aid drinkers.

      1. ESV says:

        You mean key values like leadership, teamwork, integrity, honesty, the value of hard work and effort, determination, striving for success, academic excellence, self-improvement along with physical and mental preparation, right Judge W? Don’t belittle what sports bring to the maturation of young people, and don’t overlook what these coaches teach our kids about life and success in general. As a former athlete myself, I can tell you that a LOT of my success as an adult is due to the the lessons taught to me by athletic coaches.

        1. Judge Wyld says:

          Seriously? That is a tired old march step defense of sports. The end justifies the method right? Some people learn values in prison, so yippie let’s all do crime. You need to go deeper to make mature decisions on HOW to achieve a final goal. You missed out on a lot. Most people play sports as a kid and then mature after 8th grade. Some don’t. Should we label those who need special activities after 8th grade as special needs kids?

          1. e4NU says:

            I’m picturing the scrawny kid in high school who got picked on a lot and grew up to be a semi-successful lib. Is this your big chance to show all the dumb people who were involved in athletics how we had it all wrong? Take your self-righteous drivel somewhere else.

          2. ESV says:

            Now I’m the one asking “seriously?” You’re comparing athletics to crime? I think that’s a pretty big stretch W, and as far as defenses go, what’s true is true. I never said sports was the end-all-be-all of growing up, my point was that the activity can and does provide valuable life lessons. But, you don’t have to believe me… Just ask Dr. Osborne… or better yet, read his book “More Than Winning.” And as far as HOW to achieve a goal is concerned, are you saying that perseverance, hard work and dedication AREN’T part of the equation? You must be one of the lucky ones who had everything handed to you on a silver platter. Most of us had to work for our stations in life… even after the 8th grade.

      2. G says:

        You must have never played any sport before because if you had you would know how it carries over into the rest of your life in a good way.

        1. Judge Wyld says:

          Which people didn’t learn values prior to middle school? Loved sports. Played a lot. Grew up a bit earlier than others I guess. Had several simulaneous paths to values. Church. Parents. Neighborhood. Teachers. A brain. School. Friends. Academics. Sports. Pick several and pick wisely.

  22. Tom Shatel Tom Shatel says:

    Look, I know what fine wine is. I had a clumsy waiter spill it all over my white shirt last Friday in a Denver airport diner. I generally don’t care if Bo Pelini wants to give us a history lesson or not, nor do I expect him, too. I just thought this week would have been a good time for an acknowledgement from him. A lot of Husker fans are fired up about this week, I wondered if they wanted to hear that from their coach, too. Just asking. That’s what this blog is for. You have spoken. And I’m not surprised. Bo should coach, and I’ll do whatever it is I do.

    1. Sea says:

      And don’t stop doing whatever it is you do! There are a lot of us out here that love it! Thanks Tom.

    2. Judge Wyld says:

      Bo is not the fans’ coach. Doesn’t belong to the fans at all. He coaches kids to play a game. He’d be fine without us being his fans and just being the team’s well wishers. Media can give the watchers the facts and let the watchers generate their own hype if it’s warranted. This is simple. Don’t over step your role and don’t tell others to step over the boundaries of their roles.

    3. DenverHusker says:

      Tom, I love your work and you should keep doing what you do. I read every blog.

      Since I couldn’t find a professional way to contact you, I’ll just post this here. Was it really necessary to call out Denverites out to be complete boobs? It’s already hard enough to make it (out of Ogallala) to our ranch with my Colorado plates without hassles. You see how easy it was to leave the name of the city/town out?

    4. Eddie Lee says:

      “A clumsy waiter” ? Now you’re taking over for Dickson and writing comedy? We all know what spilled that wine: The prior 5 glasses of wine! HA! I kill me ! Thank you, thank you! I’m here through Sunday! Tell your friends! Seriously, this subject is divisive like “tastes great-Less filling” or other less-serious subjects like “rasie taxes/cut taxes”…

  23. Butch says:

    You are such a loser. Totally classless comment, you should be ashamed. If you had any level of intellect you could come up with something rather than poking fun, but that evidently is not the case. Go away.

  24. Matt in MN says:

    Tom, this is a very insightful and interesting post. I am with you to a point…you are right about one thing: if the Huskers come out of Madison with a win, I won’t really care that Bo was boring about the hype and history. And perhaps Bo is playing his had better than Bret B, in that maybe by allowing his players to buy into the hype, Coach Bielema is running the risk that his players will be too emotionally charged for the game (for a good comparison, see NU vs Texas 2010–I can’t remember another game where the Huskers bought into the hype (and created hype for that matter) more under Bo…and we all remember how that one turned out. Then again, Barry Switzer spent weeks like this one hyping the you know what to his players and telling them how they were going to shock the world, and then they would come in as an underdog and walk away with the Orange Bowl invite.

    I guess what I am saying is: to each coach his own. I don’t know that there is a right or wrong way to do it. As a fan, I will admit I find a guy like Bielema more interesting during a week like this. And we all get tired of the same old coachspeak…but like you mentioned, T.O. was a master at that…and apparently they wanted to fire him after his fourth year, then they named the field after him and put up a statue of him when he retired…

  25. pistol pete says:

    I have no problem with any thing Bo is doing. He seems to be taking a page out of Tom Osborne’s book. Coach Osborne was always about the process. Always made it clear that the most important game was the next one on the schedule. Just like Bo is doing now. In college football you see great wins followed by head scratching losses all the time. But you almost never saw that with Osborne’s teams. 1978 Missouri after the big win over Oklahoma was the one exception.

    But the point is, we have a huge game next week whether we beat Wisconsin or not. The only way we have a chance to win both is to take them one at a time.

  26. Kurt says:

    Corn devil, you rarely bring anything constructive to a conversation, which is fine. But that is a personal attack and is really just classless. Feel free to pick a different team to follow.

  27. BigTex says:

    I think the staff learned a BIG lesson with the Texas game last year.

    Kids were so jacked up couldn’t do anything right.

    1. Mike says:

      Just made the same comment below, didn’t see you had beaten me to the point. I agree 100%.

  28. Mike says:

    Um, does anybody remember Red Out Around the World? Who remembers the date off the top of their head?

    October 16, 2010 – the final Big 12 regular season game against Texas ever! We had special t-shirts, we had excessive ticket prices, we had an already beaten down Texas coming to Lincoln. We wanted it so badly we dropped the ball.

    Yes, it’s a big game. Yes, this is historic.

    But I would rather Bo and Co. spend 10 minutes more drilling or watching tape with the team than giving them a history lesson. I just want them to win the game.

  29. kevin says:

    We criticized Solich and got Callahan, we criticized Nee and got Collier…. honestly I just want Pelini to win. I like him the way he is, 1) he wins, 2) his players don’t get in trouble, 3) it appears they graduate. I don’t need Pelini to tell me they have a big game, what he does behind the scenes in something we don’t know. What I do know is his a winner. Remember what he took over ( 5-7) Please don’t chase Bo away with stupid criticism. I’m concerned at the end of the year OSU comes calling…. so lets support Bo for being Bo…… WIN !

  30. Matt says:

    God I get sick of this garbage. He is a coach. This is what coaches do. He discussed it during the off season. Do I care if he mentions it now?? NO! His job is to get the team ready to play. Why do you as a journalist feel so entitled that you think he needs to expound on his feelings as they related to NU’s integration into the Big10. It just gets old. Everything involving Bo is negative and it rarely has anything to do with what is going on down on the field. Its about his attitude, the access he grants to the media, and now its about him not being all warm and fuzzy about the B10. At the end of the day he knows one thing. Its all about winning. I don’t care how poetic he is…if he loses no one cares. He isn’t a politician. He isn’t an actor. I for one am glad that he doesn’t get wrapped up into this crap (ala Pete Carroll).

  31. Chad says:

    What a low life.

    1. bob says:

      Tom

      Take a look at Will Muschamp’s interview on College Football LIve yesterday regarding their game against Alabama. Eerily similar response to Bo. Found it interesting considering both of their backgrounds and fiery styles. Probably just the same thing most coaches would say in this media intense world of sports.

  32. Pat says:

    Driving across the state of Missouri today, my wife and I were talking about just this topic. We both feel the problem goes well beyond “buzzkill”. At times Bo has seemed almost disdainful of the Husker Nation. This is a distinctly different attitude than Frank, or Tom, or the Bobfather had. I’m not sure about Callahan… We are loyal Husker fans. I played in the band. We are perennial season ticket holders. Etc. We find Bo very hard to like. We respect him as a coach, but don’t feel connected to him the way we did to past coaches (Callahan excepted).

    1. Steve says:

      Did any of the other coaches live under the microscope and dissection of every action or spoken word? Completely different eras of information and approaches to the game. Devaney glad handed, Osborne was stoic and polite, Solich was quiet and not very colorful (and people complained about that)…it would be interesting to see each of the previous coaches at Nebraska in today’s age of instant gratification and instant information. Fans and the game are not the same, so comparing him to previous coaches is a little unfair. I don’t think he has disdain (in any way) for the fans. I think he gets frustrated when everyone expects them to be the ’95 Huskers every year.

      1. pistol pete says:

        Vry well said Steve!

      2. Pat says:

        If notfor the fans, there wouldn’t be a game. Or a multi-million dollar salary, for that matter. The rest of your argument is a little like begging the question, “which came first, the chicken or the egg.” Its unfair to say that Bo’s attitude is the result of exposure rather than a pre-esisting condition. But that’s just my opinion. As I said previoiusly, I’m a rabid Husker fan. I’m not connected to Bo in any particular way. His demeanor makes that hard for me. Down here in Arkansas we have Bobby Petrino. Bobby, by reputation, isn’t necessarily a really nice guy. But he has a great public (read: camera) persona, and that has taken him quite a way. Speaking of this, maybe all Bo really needs is a course or two in improving his social skills. That can be learned if a person really wants to. GBR.

  33. Jeremy says:

    Tom,

    I agree that it would be nice to get more specifics and less coachspeak from Bo at the pressers. I don’t expect him to give away details of the gameplan, but you can be an intense, focused coach and still talk about each game individually without just spouting “we want to be multiple”, “they’re a good football team”, “it’s about good technique”.

    We get all that, now can you tell us something we don’t know and that isn’t 100% generic? I’m so sick of his press conferences, they’re the most boring, information-free things you could watch. I’ve always backed Bo in every way, but I think acting a little less like a robot during his media time wouldn’t kill him.

  34. e4NU says:

    It’s funny to me that there are people who think that somehow Coach Pelini, or anyone else for that matter, owes a journalist certain types of answers to questions or answers period. Mr. Shatel, if you already know what answers you’re going to get but you keep asking the question over and over expecting a different result what is that the definition of? If the coach is such a ‘buzz kill’ as he’s been labeled then why waste your time? At some point maybe you and the other writers like Steve Sipple should just stay away and see if they beg you to come back.

    I really don’t give a rat’s about Bo’s opinion or knowledge of the history of NU football. The people who pay attention to the program already are well aware of the program’s history and tradition. We don’t need the head coach or any of assistants giving us their own spin on it. It seems like the people who worry most about the coaches or anyone else talking that crap up somehow get a boost to their own ego from it. Some people are accused of living vicariously through their kids. It seems like a lot of folks around here do the same with NU’s football team.

    1. HuskerPhil says:

      Yes, Nebraskans do live vicariously through the team. That’s why we have journalists – to glean whatever information they can. For us. The demand for Husker coverage is ever present. They are just trying to provide a service to the fans by fulfilling that demand. Coaches like Bo make their job harder. So I understand why they would desire a coach to expand beyond coachspeak. If Tom and others didn’t bother to at least try to ask questions, then good luck learning anything about the program. It’s not like Joe Sixpack can walk into Bo’s office and strike up a conversation.

      1. ESV says:

        HuskerPhil has it right… it’s not the journalists who want the tidbits… it’s us! They’re only asking the questions that we would ask ourselves if given the chance. Yes, Bo’s job is to coach, and Tom’s job is to ask the coach questions. Let Tom do his job for cryin’ out loud!

  35. Ragman says:

    You guys don’t remember Broderick Thomas do you? Now that was a kid that say plenty before after and during games.

  36. Husker_Mort says:

    Tom — I appreciate the open call for responses. A few thoughts if you’ll humor them:

    1. HCBP has never been much for press conferences, but apparently is one of the best game-day motivators that have roamed the sidelines according to what his former players have told the likes of beat reporters. His video/reading passage/quotes the night before the game and in the lockers of the players could be a far more effective place to reflect on this historic chapter of the Husker program than in the pregame sports pages that his players will never see.

    2. To those seeking emotive field generals, it seems Bo’s M.O. is to identify high quality athletes that bring a lunch box mentality to the stadium. One of the greatest to ever play the game celebrated every highlight reel run by handing the ball to the line judge. It worked for Barry Sanders and it works for players like Rex as well.

    Thanks for considering.

  37. David says:

    People sometimes forget that about Osborne- that he wasn’t much for sentiment while he was coaching, and it wasn’t until he was winning NCs that he loosened up a little bit. He wasn’t always the warm, grandfatherly figure we see now.

    I support Bo Pelini 100%. He’s a gifted football strategist and tactician, and the players seem to like him. On top of that, the players are doing well in school and staying out of trouble. He’s relatively new to the head-coaching gig so he’s still feeling his way through the team management aspects of coaching.

    Having said all that, I do like Bielema’s approach. I like that he acknowledged the historical significance of this game with his team. And I think he did it the right way: talk about it on Sunday, let it be a motivator, and then get to work. You don’t want the players to be distracted by it, but you do want them to enjoy the college experience. I mean, they’re playing in the game- they of anybody deserve to know why it’s such a big deal. The Husker players have all- all who have been asked and answered anyway- said they pay attention to the hype and know it’s a big game, and all say they are excited about it. Seems like whether Pelini wants to get into the historical significance or not, his players have anyway. Why not help them channel it into motivation?

    Anyway, I support Bo, Carl, Barney, T-Magic, BK and the whole team(…and Niles Paul). Haters gonna hate. Go Big Red! Blackout Madison!

  38. Mike says:

    Couldn’t care less, seems to me the only people that complain about Bo are the sportswriters. Never hear it mentioned anywhere else.

    1. Mac says:

      Agreed. If Bo Pelini was as emotional and reactionary as the local media, we would have an awful team.

      1. ESV says:

        Yes, “emotional” and “reactionary” are definitely two words that don’t describe Bo.

        Wait a minute… then again…

  39. HuskerzRed says:

    GUARANTEE: If Pelini “reached out to the boundaries of a football game. The color. The history. The legacy of it all. The fun.” this week and NU lost. The same media members whining about him not doing it, would be the first to CRITICIZE him for it. IMO Pelini does give interesting answers when asked interesting questions and gets quickly annoyed when asked the same idiotic questions over and over. Media members, instead of whining about BO’s answers, do your jobs better and come up with questions that challenge BO.

  40. Spaceman_Spiff says:

    agree with Bo. just a game. focus on the process.

  41. ron frost says:

    Wow I think u make to much out pf nothing just like your buddy Sam

  42. Husker Du says:

    Bo is Bo. But in year 4 he needs to win a big one. Bo has not proven anything yet. Here’s hoping we get one saturday!!! I like Bo, but coaches are judged on winning games, not how they speak to the media. TIME FOR A BIG WIN!!!!!

  43. ed says:

    Did anyone see Bo’s interview 2 Saturday’s ago on BTN. It was done on Big 10 media day. HE DID address the state’s consumption of NU football and its history and he spoke highly of it.

    Bo did not like the b 12. Can you blame him? I think that’s one reason he seems more comfortable this year.

    Before the game of the Century, I don’t remember the coaching staff or the players talking to anyone let alone the media about the game. The one doing the talking was Don Bryant, the sports information officer. These are different times.

    Get a grip people. If you and your wife don’t like Bo, that’s your Constitutional right. So what. We’re not impressed. Deal with it.

    I remember a lot of people complaining about TO, then, they got really worried when he was considering leaving in the late 70′s. A lot of that was really accelerated by the media types because just before the season, the media in NE would have everyone thinking NU was going to win the national championship. Then when they tripped, everyone was blaming TO for blowing it, or he could never win the big one. Their were even jokes about that, which I will not repeat. They complained about his “boring” media presence then,too. I remember at games, people were yelling at him in the stands.

    Fine. But, who do you want as coach? You want to change coaches more often than you change your underwear. How will NU do then?

    Sorry Tom Shatel, but Bo is not going to kiss your rear end. Deal with it.

    1. John says:

      Read Sports Illustrated from the week before the game. Lots of players talked to them.

  44. ed says:

    Ricky Neuheisal (AKA Skippy) is also really great with the press.

    1. Frank says:

      Actually I was hoping to get Turner Gill back up here, well because I have a pottymouth. And while he would only encourage my bad behavior by losing game after game, he’d correct our players language while simultaneously edifying all of us on the tremendous historical prospective of Nebraska’s move to the B1G.

  45. paul stavropoulos says:

    maybe the hype is in the game itself after all “without the oppositon there is no game” the real BIG RED wins by three, who is henerey?

  46. Colorado Springer says:

    I feel that Coach Pelini is trying to maintain a level of optimum performance. Coach Tom O. was always talking about this. If you get really high, the next week you have a corresponding low. Can you imagine how important the visit of Ohio State to Lincoln would be if it weren’t for this “Big” game. In the schedule we have, we can’t afford any down weeks. Every week will be a big game, with every team feeling that it has to make its best effort against the Huskers. We are the gold standard. We get everybody’s “A” game. So preparation has to be consistent at a maintainable level.

    1. Alex says:

      You hit the nail on the head.

  47. ESV says:

    Well, I guess I have to defend Tom just a bit here, because it seems like a lot of you decided to take your angst at the media out on one of the better sports writers in the country. (And I’ve read a lot of them.) See, Tom writes an opinion column and follows that format in his blogs. He’s entitled to his opinion, just like the rest of us are. Personally, I would love to see Bo in a press conference after a game appear as if he were interested in sharing his thoughts with the fans instead of looking like he hates every human in the room. If the ONLY thing that matters is winning, we’ve all missed the boat, because according to the inscriptions on the Stadium we all love to visit on these wonderful fall days, that ain’t what it’s all about. Am I saying that Bo should fill us full of shinola and corn oil? Heck no… I like his intensity and what he brings to the staff, but on occasion I do wish he’d open up and appear as if he enjoyed his job a little as well. He probably won’t, and I can live with that too. Most of the respondents on this thread are acting like Tom actually ATTACKED the coach… it’s easy to see that it isn’t the media who’s being overly emotional and reactionary… it’s you silly people who apparently hate reporters… while reading the sports section on line. (Things that make you go “hrrrm.”) You go Mr. Shatel… you’re doing just fine, and keep up the great writing!

    1. Boliever in San Diego says:

      I believe most of the Omaha/Lincoln/Grand Island reporters who cover Husker sports share a lot with us, the fans of Husker football. Let’s not throw rocks at Tom or Sam because they are trying to do the jobs that we want them to do — report on the team from meaningful perspectives.

      Is Bo’s job to win football games? Heck yes! And he does a pretty good job of that. However, as the CEO of Nebraska Football (and a state employee), he needs to do more than just win football games. He’s paid handsomely by the University of Nebraska, which is a public institution largely run with your tax dollars. In my humble opinion, part of his job should be to represent the University well off the field. In our professions jobs, I’m sure many of us get evaluated on a lot more than just how well we do our specific tasks — for example, our attitude, our teamwork across the organization, our general helpfulness, etc., all play a role in that final grade. Shouldn’t a coach getting paid millions of dollars a year have at least the same accountability? Good Day.

  48. Eric says:

    Bo hasn’t won a game like the one he will coach on Saturday as a head coach. He hasn’t been to the Rose Bowl like Wisconsin or won 11 games. Maybe when he does these things he will talk a bit more because he will understand what it takes to walk the walk.

  49. Cheer leaders is an art and a physical activity which involves tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers, and stunting to direct spectators of events to cheer on sports teams at games or to participate in competitions.

  50. Melvin says:

    The fact that he’s Mr. Nice Guy to the BTN and treats the local NE media like dirt tells you all you need to know. So do the continued fumbles and game management & substitution gaffes.

  51. CarlBugeater says:

    I think Bo does his best talking on the field. The fact that he brought back some of the old school -Hit ‘em in the mouth- plays says PLENTY to me. He doesn’t care if we win by 1 or by 40, unlike some of our primadonna fans and media, he just wants a win for the kids. Bo would ‘run through a brick wall’ for those kids.
    Sure, theres sometimes I wish he would be a little more colorful at the PCs, but hey, isn’t the guy pretty colorful ON THE FIELD? Get used to it, or go yell Hook em Horns, cuz this is the new OLD ERA of Cornhusker Football.
    Tom, nice piece. I understand where your at right now, biggest game of the year, tryin to keep fresh stuff for the Rabid Husker Legion, but let’s try to be a little more ‘Pro Bo’.

  52. capnamerca says:

    The coach has a job, and the press has a job. The coach does his job well, but the press wants him to do part of their job too. They are constantly baiting him trying to get him into the hype. The reporters are so up and down emotionally that I’m glad Bo is stupid enough to join in on all the hype.

    Every time I see Bo in video or listen to him on the radio, my first thought is “I like this guy and what he stands for”. The first thing that comes to mind when I read an article like this is “These idiots are at it again, trying to incite the public against the coach.” I don’t remember the press treating Dr. Tom this way. And I don’t know why Pelini tolerates the extremely dumb questions they ask. If it were me, many times, I would just say “next question please”. I mean come on, what’s with a question like “How disappointing was this loss”?

    Can they get any dumber?

    1. capnamerca says:

      Meant to say “Bo is not stupid enough to join in on all the hype.”

  53. Alex says:

    Let the Badgers psyche themselves out. This will all go to their heads. BO KNOWS! Tom, the Huskers are well-aware of the history of the program. It’s unavoidable. Bo can’t waste his time hyping up the game. The players need to focus on executing. They were oh so close to winning the Big XII twice, I’m guessing the Pelinis have not changed the pre-game approach much——don’t fix what isn’t broken! Bielema is a pretender from Iowa and Kansas State!

  54. Huskerdan says:

    I think Bo is playing it right to keep the hype very low key. A few comments by the players (Yoshi, Taylor) indictae that they know that this is a big game. Bo may also know that this is not his best team yet, and maybe they are a year away from where he wants them to be big dogs of the Big 10. Cut them some slack, particularly if they lose Saturday. There is still a lot of football to be played, and some tough games to come. Bo’s process has played out mostly for the best (except for the swoon last year late)….so let’s just sit back and watch, and see what happens. REMEMBER a few years back, when we all prayed we could get 6 wins to be Bowl eligible? Are those dark days that far in the past?

  55. Oklahoma Jim says:

    Tom, I can remember when Switzer was at OU and Osborne at NU and I always wished that Tom would show the passion on the sideline that Barry did. Now with Bo on the sideline, sometimes I wish that he would not show so much passion. I guess it is just one of those things that they say “be careful what you wish for, you may get it”. Keep up the excellant writing.

  56. e4NU says:

    As is usually the case people who say the coaches owe everyone their time always forget where the money comes from. Yes NU is a public institution but no tax dollars support athletics. The money comes from private sources so I believe that gives the program a little more latitude to keep things private. Unfortunately in our TMZ society too many people think they have a right to know everyone else’s business whether it’s people’s private lives or the inner-workings of their favorite sports team. If you want more inside information, colorful explanations, and self-aggrandizing comments about the program get out your check book and pony up the cash at a level that will get you the access you think you deserve. Like I said before in this thread, if you don’t like what you’re getting just stay away and don’t read any of the material provided since you know it’s always going to be the same story.

  57. Steve says:

    Personally I think this article and in particular this joke of a “reporter” should be removed from the World Herald.
    If everyone listens to this clown we should just forfeit the game now because per the Tom Shatel, Nebraska is overrated, our Offense is bad, our Defense is bad, our QB is no good and now our Coach won’t tell them anything.
    The last time I checked Nebraska is 4-0, we are averaging nearly 43 points per game and over 400 yards per game versus 22 points per game and 349 yard per game given up.
    All of the fair weather reporters/fans need to shut up, get behind your team and your coach and quit your complaining!!!
    Shatel have you ever thought that maybe your ignorant articles may be why Bo won’t tell you anything, go eat another donut and let the guys who know what their doing do their jobs!!!

  58. John says:

    After reading all of the comments above, why does the World Hearld even cover Nebraska football? Why does the Bo even have press conferences? It seems that most of the state doesn’t care what he has to say (as long as he wins) and after reading the comments on Omaha.com for the last few years, I know even more of the people in the state don’t care what you have to say. Like everyone else, I want Bo and his team to win. But the press and fans are not the enemy. We all want the same thing: Husker wins.

  59. Ryan says:

    Bill would have said something to the effect of, “it’s a bit too complicated for you to understand, husker fan.”

  60. Biff says:

    The position of head football coach at the University of Nebraska requires more than just coaching. He is a public figure and a representative of the school. The contract for the jobs states this. The almost $3 million the job pays (with incentives) also deserves the best that can be given.

    Bo Pelini seems to be a good coach, not great just yet but shows potential. That being said he could use a couple courses in Public Relations and Communications. He doesn’t have to be anyone but himself. He doesn’t have to do a song and dance but he could provide some insight into what is going one.

    From what I’ve seen of Bo Pelini’s public persona he can use some work.

  61. B Silly says:

    Finds it funny that no one cares what the OWH reporters have to think. Don’t care what Bo has to think. They simply want wins. Understandable…I want wins too. But as a fan I want to know about my team. There was a great article about Abdullah last week. I enjoy knowing that kind of stuff. If you don’t care what the reports think and just want Bo to win. Why are you wasting your time commenting on this story. Journalists have a job to do. They aren’t going to stop asking questions. But you don’t care so don’t read it. Watch the game. Hope for a win and wait for next week so you can do it again.

    1. e4NU says:

      I think the reason some people read a story like this and give their thoughts is because the media is a relentless nuisance. Someone earlier said we all want the same thing, Husker wins. I disagree, the media wants a story and the more chaotic and sexy the story can be the better. Any quote, any mis-speak or mistake made by a coach is immediately thrown back in their face and if their really lucky the coach will blow a gasket and really give them some entertainment ala Mike Gundy. Within seconds it’s out on Twitter or Facebook and everyone is off to the races.

      I don’t want to see Bo goaded into something like that and I’ll bet that’s why he makes sure he’s very guarded with the media. They know he has a temper and they’re hoping if they keep throwing enough grenades eventually one will set off the explosion. I find it to be pretty naive thinking to believe that anyone in the media does anything with good intentions. They have editors or bosses to answer to and need to make sales.

  62. Rob says:

    I just want a win. I could care less about the hoopla. How can a game have historical significance if it has yet to be played? Play the game first, then write about the significance later. This is the first conference game and that is the only significance I’d like Bo to attribute to this game. Go out and win, who cares about the hoopla.

  63. tmk says:

    Wow, you may or may not agree with Tom’s position, but those of you who are vehemently criticizing him for even writing this story are truly insane. I don’t always agree with him, but Tom is a great writer who present interesting, fair views on NU football (and other things), and Omaha is really lucky to have him. I live in Denver and will take him all day long over the constantly self-promoting Woody Paige. I just don’t understand the fans who think anything remotely critical of Bo or the team should be censored. The stuff in the OWH is so tame compared to almost any other city. Chill out and enjoy the great journalists you get to read.

  64. ESV says:

    Well Pelini fanatics… look at your savior’s defense fall to pieces on the big stage yet one more time. Sickening.