Bo Shows Commitment to Long-Term
Since Bo Pelini returned to Nebraska, he's led his team to five straight seasons of nine wins or more with three division titles. That's led to annual speculation about other teams that might lure him away. Pelini has been one who plays things close to the vest, so it's never been obvious whether he'd like to coach in Lincoln for the next ten or twenty years or if the right opportunity might cause him to leave a lot sooner. His decision at a critical juncture this season, demonstrates his concern for the long-term interests of Nebraska football.
You might be able to dig up a public comment from Bo stating that he wants to remain in Lincoln, but in this day and age it's hard to put too much stock in that. Gary Andersen had a number of his Utah State players convinced that he wouldn't leave. He left. The same could be said about Bobby Petrino at Louisville and a great number of other coaches in college and pro football.
It's not like Bo has always been an open book either. Particularly when it comes to injuries.
"Hey coach, how's Taylor Martinez's ankle?"
"Then why's he wearing an inflatable boot?"
"He'll be fine. Next question."
But actions can speak louder than words. Against Iowa, the Huskers lost Baker Steinkuhler. By moving Cameron Meredith over from end to tackle, he essentially had to downgrade two positions on the defensive line. That was particularly evident against Wisconsin. It seems entirely likely that the coaching staff knew they could use some help on the d-line going into the Big Ten championship game. Two standout true freshman were available. Defensive tackle Vincent Valentine and end Greg McMullen had been redshirting. Bo had a choice then. Do I burn the redshirts to enhance my chance of victory now, or keep them on the bench to maximize their potential four seasons from now?
Bo made the long-term choice. That's a choice you don't make if you expect to be gone in three years. If Bo was looking at Nebraska as a stepping stone, he'd probably put his 2012 resume ahead of the quality of the 2016 team. Not to mention the overall wellbeing of Valentine and McMullen. NU didn't have that when Bill Callahan squandered redshirt opportunities for guys like Niles Paul.
We may not always get to know what Bo really thinks, but his actions tell us that he's not going to sell out the long term interests of Nebraska football or his players for a quick-fix boost. For that Husker fans should be grateful.