By Randy York
There’s an old movie line from a high-ranking soldier who said there are two kinds of people in this world: Those who stand up and face the music, and those who run for cover. Speaking Wednesday at a fall Husker Athletic Fund Luncheon inside Memorial Stadium, Bo Pelini proved he was on the right side of the equation despite the disappointment he experienced last Saturday night at Ohio State, his alma mater.
In a 12-minute speech, Nebraska’s fifth-year head football coach showed his true grit. He acknowledged problems he believes are solvable and expressed confidence in his team. He displayed heart-felt respect for Nebraska overall and for Husker fans in particular.
He was his usual direct, straight-forward, steely-eyed determined self, yet somehow different before, during and after fielding a few questions from Nebraska donors. Those fans must have heard what they wanted to hear because most on the crowded West Stadium third floor gave Pelini a standing ovation. It was textbook Pelini with a twist. Those who love his resolve saw every angle of his decisive nature. But they also saw his more compassionate, empathetic and optimistic side … all at the same time.
We’ve selected three Pelini quotes that resonated with us:
1) "In my heart and in my mind, I still believe we can win the Big Ten Championship."
2) "As bad as you guys feel about Saturday, I promise you that I feel 100 times worse."
3) "I feel a responsibility to you all, and last Saturday wasn’t it. It’s time for me to get that rectified and get this thing going in the direction that you all expect it to go in and should expect it to go in."
Before introducing Pelini, Husker Sports Network play-by-play man Greg Sharpe praised last weekend’s Ohio State atmosphere but added that it “pales in comparison” to Nebraska’s Tunnel Walk entrance and the Huskers’ overall game day atmosphere.
Big Red Fans Give Bo a Standing O
Pelini may have been an Ohio State Buckeye captain, but the last statements he made at the luncheon sparked the spontaneous standing ovation.
Nebraska’s head coach related how he “walked away thinking about the atmosphere, the fans and all the things that come into play, and just how fortunate I am to be in the position I’m in and the responsibility that I’m in,” Pelini said, “because it (Ohio State) pales in comparison to what we have here, and the resources we have, and you all are the people that make that possible for me and for our football team. I appreciate it.”
And every Big Red fan in the room had to appreciate Pelini, who pointed his thumb at his own chest when he described what has to be fixed to make a successful six-game stretch run over the last half of the regular season.
Immediately after Nebraska’s loss at Ohio State, Pelini told his players, his coaches and members of the media that the Huskers need to run the table to achieve their goal of winning a Big Ten championship. We all know that in sports, and in life, believe is the biggest part of achieve, and make no mistake. Bo Pelini believes he can do it, and he plans to prove it as a coach and a team and with a lot of help from the most loyal fan base in college football.
Let’s Get Ready to Rummbbblllle!
Boiling it down, Northwestern is the first day of the rest of Nebraska’s 2012 football life.
So get ready to rumble.
Bo’s using this extra week to get his team and himself ready.
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