November 22, 2010
Nebraska's Raging Pelinis (Bo at head coach, Carl on the defense) have cranked out more than their share of angry hits from the 'Husker sideline, but their performance in Saturday night's 9-6 loss at Texas A&M was an all-time masterpiece of rage. Bo Pelini was flagged in the fourth quarter for berating officials with a flurry of carefully preserved epithets. Carl Pelini apparently attacked a reporter after the game. At one point in the first half, Bo directed an over-the-top tongue-lashing at his quarterback, Taylor Martinez, a good half-hour after Martinez had left the game with a foot injury.
Whatever he'd done to trigger his coach's familiar fury, Martinez didn't seem deterred: He hobbled gamely (albeit ineffectually) through the second half despite the obvious injury and – despite rampant reports to the contrary on Sunday night – remains on the team Monday morning. But considering all of the above was captured in spittle-flecked detail by various cameras – especially the ones beaming the game to most of the nation on ABC – Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman wasn't so forgiving:
Perlman told The Associated Press on Sunday that Pelini’s verbal assault of officials during Saturday’s game at Texas A&M did not reflect well on the university or the football program.
"I think it was very unfortunate," Perlman said, "and I think it’s something we'll have to address with Bo."
The game was televised on ABC, and Perlman said he felt uneasy about the numerous camera shots of Pelini's outbursts. Perlman spoke Sunday morning with athletic director Tom Osborne about Pelini's conduct, and the chancellor said he, Osborne or both would talk to Pelini about his decorum.
"Bo has a lot of passion for his football team," Perlman said, "and there is a strong upside to that. But again, overall, the conduct was unfortunate last night. [...]
"There is a part of the culture of intercollegiate athletics that involves coaches talking strongly to players. That's unfortunate it had to happen on national television."
To his credit, Bo Pelini refused to discuss the officials after they flagged the Cornhuskers 16 times for 145 yards – including four personal fouls – compared to two penalties for 10 yards against A&M. He held his tongue after officials restored a second to the clock to allow Texas' game-winning field goal in last year's Big 12 Championship Game, too, despite obvious anger in the immediate aftermath. Bo knows restraint. Now it's just a matter of applying it more ... consistently.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.