Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst is a lawyer by trade, and his silence regarding the future of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini — or the performance of his team, for that matter — would seem to indicate he’s waiting for the regular season to end before he makes his closing argument.
Pelini said at his Monday press conference he respected Eichorst’s process. He’s also not fixating on Eichorst’s decision. Whatever it may be. Whenever it may come.
“I’m not coaching to save my job or anything,” Pelini said. “At the end of the day, I want to be here. I want to be here if they want me here. If they don’t, if somebody doesn’t want me here — and I’m not saying Shawn does, doesn’t, whatever — if they don’t want me here, I’ll move on. I’ll go on my way.”
But does Pelini think he’s made a compelling case for future progress under his leadership?
“That’s not for me to decide,” Pelini said. “I can say this: I can look myself in the mirror and feel good about what I’ve done for this program.”
Last Wednesday, Pelini felt it necessary to address a rumor — started on Facebook and fueled by Twitter — that he had already decided to resign. Younger players on the team had questions. Older players told the younger players not to worry, but Pelini said a few of those players asked him to address it in front of the whole team.
“That was most craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” Pelini said. “Somebody decides to go out there, that’s — I don’t even want to give it — it’s not even worth talking about it. That somebody would go down that road. A grown man who’d go down that road. And the way it came out — the way I saw it came out — they ought to be ashamed of themselves. It’s just too bad, in this day and age, that you can’t hold somebody accountable for acting like that and doing something like that.”
In theory, Pelini could reach out to the person who started the rumor on Facebook.
“Is it worth it?” Pelini said. “Consider the source, is the way I say it.”
Players appreciated Pelini addressing the rumor.
“If I see a notice on my house that says you’re about to get evicted, I would like to know for my dad to come tell me what’s going on,” linebacker Michael Rose, Jr. said. “That’s just the way Bo is. He’s not going to let anything linger out there. He’s definitely going to let it be known. That helped us out. We all heard it. We all have social media. It was something going into that Wednesday meeting that was like, ‘I don’t even know.’ He just addressed right at the top. He killed it there.”
Injury update: Quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Jr. (ankle) is questionable and guard Mike Moudy (shoulder) is doubtful for Saturday’s game. Outside of that, all other injured players who aren’t out for the season (four offensive linemen, receiver Jamal Turner, defensive tackle Thad Randle) are in that 50/50 range of whether they’ll play or not.
Pelini said it was the most “beat up team I’ve ever been apart of.”
He chose not, despite several promptings, to declare the season satisfactory for surviving those injuries. Championships are the goal.
“I expect to win them all,” Pelini said. “Our goal will remain, as long I’m a football coach here, to win a conference title and a national title. I’m not into looking for reasons why or anything else…that being said, I like our football team. I think we’ve overcome a lot. I’m proud of this group. It’s not for lack of effort, lack of toughness. Am I happy with being 8-3? No. I’d be lying if I told you I was.”
>>Pelini did not rule out quarterback Taylor Martinez for the bowl game. That’s why NU hasn’t been submitting waivers for Martinez to travel on road trips, because there’s still, however remote, a chance he’ll recover enough from his two-toe injury to play.
Martinez, Pelini said, has had “a helluva career” at Nebraska and wasn’t “as appreciated as he should have been.”
“You guys answer the question,” Pelini replied, implicating reporters who have criticized Martinez for one reason or another.
Video of Monday’s press conference