It's been a common request by reporters over the past few seasons to ask Big Ten coaches to acknowledge the SEC's recent successes and to analyze the perceived gap between the two conferences.
Pelini was ready for the question Thursday.
“Are you talking about Alabama? Or are you talking about the SEC?” Pelini said.
It was an SEC question. Is the Big Ten closer to the standard set by that league down south?
“I guarantee that there are a lot of teams in the SEC that aren't Alabama that wish they were Nebraska, and wish they were Michigan, and wish they were Ohio State,” Pelini said, his voice intensifying. “Don't talk to me about the SEC. Let's compare specific programs. The whole SEC isn't Alabama, isn't LSU, isn't Georgia. Every year's different.”
Four SEC teams have combined to win the last seven national championships. Alabama's won three of the last four.
But ultimately, this appeared to be Pelini's main point: “Everybody wants to lump the whole SEC into one category. Let's not go there.”
2014 class in a 'good spot'
Nebraska's 2014 recruiting class, at 11 known members, is half full at this moment, Pelini said.
He said it's a “good spot” for the Huskers at this point in the recruiting cycle. High school seniors can begin taking official visits when their classes begin. A quiet period for college coaches starts Aug. 1.
“I thought the push that we've had this summer has been big for us,” Pelini said.
Pelini wants 10 O-linemen
Could Nebraska play as many as 10 offensive linemen in a game? Pelini thinks that's a realistic goal.
It will depend on a few uncertainties — how young players develop at guard and how quickly junior college transfers Chongo Kondolo and Matt Finnin adjust.
The Huskers will know more in a month.
“If we had two full lines, that's what you'd really like to have,” Pelini said. “That's not out of the question.”
Freshmen could play now
It sounds like true freshman running backs Adam Taylor and Terrell Newby will have every chance to earn a role in Nebraska's offense this fall.
Pelini acknowledged that they each have potential to play right away, though he indicated that Taylor and Newby will still have to prove they're ready during preseason camp. Pelini said he's not opposed to allowing both freshmen to skip redshirt years.
“It's up to them, if they develop, what type of work they put in,” Pelini said. “I think physically, they could both play.”
He'd like to have two reserves in the rotation to split carries and game reps with projected starter Ameer Abdullah and current No. 2 I-back Imani Cross.
Adjusting to new A.D.
Pelini said he's enjoyed working with his new boss, Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst.
“Shawn's easy to deal with,” Pelini said. “He's got a lot on his plate right now, with what he's got to do. It's all been positive.”
Eichorst took over in January for legendary coach Tom Osborne, who hired Pelini in 2008.
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