LINCOLN — Bo Pelini said on his radio show Wednesday night that he has no plans to alter his demeanor on the sideline, a topic that the fifth-year head coach would rather be left alone.
During the hourlong call-in show, Pelini was asked about his fiery in-game outbursts, and if they had any influence on officials, who are calling 6.9 penalties per game on Nebraska (39th-most nationally).
Pelini said there were a couple of times in past seasons when he “lost (his) cool,” but he's made “adjustments” since.
“I've grown into the position,” Pelini said on “Sports Nightly” on the Husker Radio Network Wednesday. “One thing you can't do is you can't completely change who you are.”
Once the topic had been brought up Wednesday night, a couple of Husker fans called in to convey their support of Pelini's style. Pelini said the players appreciate his passion and emotion, too.
“My players and I are close,” he said. “I'd run through a wall for them, and they'd run through a wall for me.”
Lions' special teams are solid, Els says
Nebraska special teams coordinator Ross Els said he doesn't think the statistics paint a complete picture when analyzing Penn State's kicking game.
The Nittany Lions rank 118th nationally in net punting (32.2 yards per punt), 92nd in punt returns (5.8 yards per return), 113th in kickoff returns (17.4) and 72nd in kickoff coverage (22.0). Their kicker, sophomore Sam Ficken, has made just seven of his 14 field goals.
But Els said Penn State units are “sound,” much like Nebraska's units.
“We're not great, we're not dynamic, but we're sound,” Els said. “And I think they're the same way.”
There could be a change at punt returner for the Huskers this week, if certain circumstances play out.
If Ameer Abdullah's workload gets too heavy at I-back Saturday, senior Tim Marlowe would be next in line. But Marlowe's still recovering from a shoulder injury and could be limited. Sophomore Jamal Turner's the No. 3 option, Els said.
Santos to spot Whaley in NU's base defense
Redshirt freshman David Santos should see some game action against Penn State on Saturday behind Alonzo Whaley at weakside linebacker in Nebraska's base defense, according to his position coach.
Santos has contributed significantly over the last few weeks as one of two linebackers within the nickel package. He had 10 tackles against Michigan.
But NU's base defense, featuring three linebackers, has more run responsibilities, which tend to play to Whaley's strengths. And matching up against Penn State's pro-style offense, Nebraska expects to use its base look often. Santos still is expected to see some snaps Saturday.
“Whaley understands his run and pass coverage (roles) better, just because he's been doing it longer,” said Els, who coaches the linebackers. “It just depends on what they're doing to us, how complex is what they're doing.”
Auburn transfer impresses Joseph
Defensive back Jonathan Rose is sitting out his redshirt year after a transfer from Auburn, but he's turned heads with his playmaking skills in practice — enough that secondary coach Terry Joseph said Rose gives Nebraska “a lot of options” in 2013.
“He's a real good player,” Joseph said three times in a row, adding that “there ain't no doubt in my mind” that Rose would be on the field for the Huskers this year if he were eligible.
Rose is a “bigger, faster” version of current Husker nickel Ciante Evans, Joseph said. “He does everything. Got good ball skills, change of direction, he's long, he has instincts.”
Joseph said Nebraska's still willing to look at junior college safeties to help the team immediately replace seniors Daimion Stafford, P.J. Smith and Courtney Osborne next year.
“We're looking for the best available,” Joseph said. “We've got some guys we're evaluating and looking at that we're in the ballpark. We'll see how it finishes off. Obviously losing two senior starting safeties, a juco guy is somebody we probably have to look at. But we got Jonathan Rose in house, too.”
— Jon Nyatawa, Sam McKewon
Camp Foundation honors Osborne
Tom Osborne, the former Nebraska football coach who will retire as the school's athletic director Jan. 1, is the recipient of the Walter Camp Football Foundation “Distinguished American” Award.
The foundation said Wednesday that Osborne will receive the award presented to “an individual who has used his or her talents to attain great success in business, private life or public service and who may have accomplished that which no other has done.”
— The Associated Press
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