LINCOLN — Though both talked at Nebraska's Monday press conference, Blackshirts Will Compton and P.J. Smith asked to address the media again Tuesday to refute what they saw as media attacks on coach Bo Pelini's sideline demeanor.
During Nebraska's 32-23 Saturday win over Penn State, ABC/ESPN cameras spotted Pelini and safety Daimion Stafford having an argument about a Nittany Lion touchdown. Pelini and Stafford downplayed the conversation Monday. Compton and Smith doubled down in their defense Tuesday.
“He's a player in a coach's body,” Compton said. “He wants to be out there as bad as we do. People get it mixed up at times on what he does on the sideline and how he acts. Sometimes it's disturbing seeing that and I just want to clarify that. That's not him.
“This culture and everything we're built upon, and the reason you get to write the way you do about certain players of ours, the good things and Rex (Burkhead), all that good stuff — it's because of him. I can't talk enough on what he's about to me personally and us as a team.”
Smith said he read a newspaper article — he wouldn't specify which one — that talked about Pelini's sideline demeanor. Smith called the report “100-percent wrong.”
“That made me upset, as well as Will,” Smith said. “He's our leader. Things go wrong in a game, people get upset, emotions fly, stuff like that, but at the end of the day, he's got control of this team. We respect the hell out of him ... we're a family. We're competitors. We want to win. But he's our leader.”
Compton and Smith agreed that TV cameras don't capture the full context of a conversation Pelini might have with any player or assistant coach. Compton referenced a caller who pressed Pelini on the coach's monthly call-in radio show last week.
“I heard the phone call last week with the fan calling about, talking about how he wouldn't want his kid to come here,” Compton said. “It makes you shake your head. It doesn't faze me when people say it because they don't understand, but he really gets pressed by the issue and I just kind of want to clarify things.
“I don't want people to keep assuming these things and then it just keeps rolling and rolling, and more and more.”
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