Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini attended his second Big 12 Conference Media days as a head coach Monday, and surprisingly, the seat is even hotter in 2009 than it was in 2008.
The Cornhuskers went 9-4 in 2008, a far cry from anything Husker nation could have predicted with former coach Bill Callahan at the helm. However, Bo should know more than anybody that once you have a successful season coaching the Nebraska football team, you’re expected to have a better one.
It’s going to be harder for Pelini considering he is facing a much more difficult schedule than he did in his first season. He has to take NU to Blacksburg, Va. and hope to knock off what should be a Top 5 Virginia Tech team.
Not to mention a visit from Oklahoma to Lincoln along with two road games at Kansas and at Missouri where Nebraska has frankly been smacked around the last couple times they’ve been to each.
With the coals getting a little bit more rosy under his seat, Pelini said there’s not much to worry about.
Things are changing in Lincoln according to the second-year coach, and changing for the better. The culture had a black cloud hanging over its head with Bill Callahan holding the reins. The cloud was so black, one might think it took the blackshirts right off the NU defense.
Pelini let Husker fans know that the black cloud is gone, but in his own way without making it sound as bad.
He said said a major sign that the culture is changing in Lincoln is the way the players carry themselves into each practice. He said players used to show up with a “feeling of dread.”
“They were more looking for the easy way to get out,” Pelini said. “Now they’re looking to get better.”
And they have. The Huskers welcome the return of the preseason Big 12 defensive player of the year Ndamukong Suh for his senior year along with the return of defensive end Barry Turner, who received a medical redshirt last season due to injury.
The offense isn’t looking half bad either for the team predicted to win the Big 12 North crown outright for the first time since 2006. A lot of that can go to the credit of new quarterback Zac Lee. Although he hasn’t been officially named the starter…he’s the starter.
Rimington Trophy watch-list candidate Jacob Hickman, who will be snapping the ball to Lee said the incoming quarterback will be a change from what Joe Ganz brought to the table–at least personality wise.
“Joe was kind of more, ‘Let’s do this. Let’s go,’” Hickman said. “Zac is more, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ He’s kind of goofy. He’s a player’s player. He’ll do what needs to be done – and with a smile on his face.”
There will be more to come from the Big 12 Media Days, but until then, Bo wants everyone to know, things will be just fine in Lincoln–even with a goofy quarterback.