LINCOLN — Are we having fun yet?
On the day he pledged to put more fun into football, Bo Pelini said the program didn't need Tommie Frazier, an audio tape of Pelini cursing Husker fans in 2011 was released to the world and Pelini's bosses, Harvey Perlman and Shawn Eichorst, were huddling behind short, terse statements.
I don't think this is exactly Pelini's idea of fun.
I heard the audio. I read the comments. No apology is necessary. I've been cursed at by better coaches than Pelini. Worse coaches, too.
Over the years, I've found Bo good to work with one-on-one. Never dull. He's yelled at me over the phone and 10 minutes later was baring his soul to me.
We've had a good working relationship. I assume we still will.
What I don't get is all the unnecessary drama.
Isn't the job tough enough without calling out former legends and the most loyal fans in college football?
Frazier was critical of the coaching staff and called for dismissals late Saturday afternoon on a Twitter post. Frazier has earned the right to voice his opinion about Nebraska football. I have an issue with the timing of it, hours after Touchdown Tommie had been honored on the field by the school. You hold off a day or two on the comments.
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Frazier's comments weren't surprising. He was never an attention hound as a player. But he was never shy about sharing his candor with teammates or media and wasn't afraid of whose feelings he might hurt. Tommie wanted to win.
Pelini should have been prepared for the question about Frazier's comments. He handled it fine, until he got to, “If he feels like that, we don't need him.” Then, Pelini added that until you sit in his chair, “sat and done it,” it's easy to throw stones and criticize, etc.
There's some irony there. Frazier had sat in a head coach's chair, at Doane College, compiling a record of 3-17 in 2005-06 before leaving by what a Doane official called “mutual agreement.”
That doesn't disqualify Frazier from commenting on Nebraska. But you'd think it might have made him sensitive about calling for coaches' jobs.
But when it comes to someone who has “done it,” nobody won or came up bigger in big games than Frazier.
In any case, why would Pelini even go there? Why not just say, “I respect Tommie Frazier's passion for Nebraska football. We're doing the best we can. We hope to make him proud.”
Other coaches would shrug and say, “No comment.”
Don't need him? It's a juvenile comment. It's unnecessary. Pelini needs all the alumni players and fans he can get on his side. Even the ones who don't agree with how he does things but are still rooting for him to figure it out.
And the fans who aren't Bolievers? Pelini always says he doesn't listen, that he doesn't care what people think.
So why go after them for being frustrated after a tough first half against Ohio State — one week after a blowout loss at Wisconsin? Why worry about who's left and who's still there? And why curse the fans in front of an NU athletic official and the play-by-play guy?
Why be so consumed with all that minutes after one of the greatest comebacks in school history? The first Big Ten win.
And why even bring up leaving Nebraska, unless that thought had already crossed his mind?
This is Bo. The same Bo who looked and sounded so adult at Penn State two years ago. You can see and hear that one on tape. Now, you can hear the other Bo, too.
What an ending to a day when Bo brought a bouquet to his weekly press conference. This was a new Bo. Introspective Bo. He talked about soul searching since Saturday, took responsibility, wondered if he was doing the right things.
That's when he said he has been too intense, always pushing his players to perfection and vowed to back off and “make it fun.”
The skeptics will say this was a show, an act of a desperate man. He looked at the film and decided the answer was to have more fun?
The fans still in his corner will say it's worth a try. And some won't care about an audio from two years ago that Bo didn't know was being taped, yet revealed some feelings.
My take is, with all that is going on around their head coach, the players can use all the relief they can get from pressure.
You know what's fun? Winning. Give the players a scheme or plays they can be successful at. Pelini talked about narrowing the focus on offense. Sounds good.
But that was before the Frazier comment, and then the audio tape went viral. And now the focus of this season has narrowed on to the head coach.
Have fun, Bo.
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Warning: Audio contain offensive language.
Video: Bo Pelini's press conference following the 2011 win over the Buckeyes:
Video: Bo Pelini's Monday press conference
Reaction: Social media comments on Pelini's rant