The news that Nebraska AD Shaw Eichorst had fired Bo Pelini likely came as a surprise to a team that just got done celebrating a win over Iowa and lifting the Heroes Trophy in the process. After all, their coach got them to the nine-win plateau for the seventh year in a row and he’s one of (if not the) winningest coaches in the country over that span.
Current and former Husker players and even Bo Pelini’s online alter ego took to the Twittersphere to defend their head coach. You know, because Twitter.
Unreal. Bo believed in me and I 100% believed in him. Can't believe this….
— Jordan Westerkamp (@JordanWesty1) November 30, 2014
Biggest mistake you ever made…. Bo was the best coach I've ever had and I'll always appreciate the things you taught me.
— Tommy Armstrong Jr. (@Tommy_Gun4) November 30, 2014
Most wins by any coach in the last seven years in college football… What just happened man
— Sam Foltz (@samfoltz27) November 30, 2014
Those are a few of the tweets blasted out in the moments after the news went out and players gathered their thoughts. Raw emotion is to be expected in a situation like this, especially when you’ve fought week in, and week out for the coach who just got let go. Yet, you know who didn’t take to Twitter to go nuts in an instant reaction? Leader and star running back Ameer Abdullah.
However, for all the pissed off reactions to the choice of the AD, there’s one thing missing from any player who took Twitter — personal accountability. Not once do we see a player saying they are sad that they couldn’t get it done for the head coach they took the time to type out 145 characters for.
There was a group of 85 men who controlled how they played each week and controlled if they won or lost championship opportunities —they just so happened to wear shoulder pads and helmets not sweatshirts and headsets.
At the end of the day, Pelini is only a coach and for all the things he can teach on and off the football field he ultimately can’t play the game. If he could I’m sure he’d have his players in the right positions, making the right decisions and making the fundamental plays that were missed each and every week.
If the players want to blame anyone for failing to live up to expectations that this program has of them, they need to step back from the emotion and start looking inside themselves.
Seven years of nine-win seasons, seven years of four loss seasons too. That’s simply not going to cut it for a program that until it fired Frank Solich was a perennial Top 10 and National Championship contender for much of four decades.
I’m sure there isn’t a player that didn’t want to win those titles or aspire to championships. I’m also sure they gave every possible effort, but I’m dealing in realities.
Reality is, this is a results driven business and the coaches couldn’t prepare the team well enough and the players failed to execute well enough when it really mattered. Coaches can be fired, players not so much at this level.
Everyone that comes to Nebraska knows that winning championships will be how you are ultimately measured, players and coaches alike. Besides, for all the venting about this decision being the “biggest mistake” or “worst decision ever” how about waiting to find out who is coming in to Lincoln, Neb. and seeing what he can do for you.
You, as a player, may love Bo Pelini, and that’s admirable, but he isn’t the only coach in the world. It may be that the next guy in shows you the grass is greener on the other side of the hill.
Just look at hires made at places like Baylor or TCU or Michigan State for that matter. One great hire can change the level your program is competing at, and given the money and facilities that Nebraska has at its disposal, a great recruiting head coach could make you guys a championship program in short order — if you chose to buy in that is.
So, players vent at the AD all you want, but just know that ultimately its your play on the field that got your coach fired. If you didn’t want him fired, then try not giving up 400-plus yards to a running back or 70 points to an opponent in a championship game. Heck, try not getting beat by Minnesota in back-to-back seasons too.
It may sound harsh, but that’s the tough reality of the real world. You want to win titles? Then show up for your coach when it really matters and none of this is even an issue.
And just for the record, sending out words of support on Twitter isn’t showing up when it really matters.