Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini Expresses Regret, Apologizes for Sideline Behavior
But his emotions got the best of him during Saturday's 9-6 loss at Texas A&M and for that he apologized Monday. Pelini, whose 16th-ranked Cornhuskers (9-2, 5-2) are fighting to hang on to first place in the Big 12 North, was seen on the sideline shouting and poking the chest of redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez. He also constantly jawed at the officials after nearly every time his team was penalized, even running down official Greg Burks at the end of the game to express his frustration in animated form.
"I probably got too animated at times," Pelini said during Monday's Big 12 coaches conference call. "I apologize for it."
What probably got Pelini's attention more than anything was Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Pearlman expressing disappointment in Pelini's actions to the media Sunday. Pearlman apparently contacted athletic director Tom Osborne on Sunday to discuss Pelini's sideline outbursts and both planned to talk with the head coach soon.
"I think it was very unfortunate," Perlman said in an Associated Press story, "and I think it's something we'll have to address with Bo."
Perhaps the most alarming incident came during the second quarter when Pelini dressed down Martinez after the quarterback had just received treatment after re-injuring right ankle. Pelini poked his finger in Martinez's chest and yelled in his face as the cameras rolled.
There have been rumors that Martinez has either left the team or is considering quitting after an impressive freshman campaign. Pelini denied that there was any kind of rift with Martinez or that his quarterback has left the team.
"There is no truth to any of those reports," Pelini said. "There is no issue with him and the football team. I'm not quite sure where all of that stuff came from."
Still Pelini expressed regret for the episode that was captured during the game with the score tied 3-3. There was speculation Pelini's anger was somehow aimed at the injury Martinez suffered. That much Pelini denied.
"It was not related at all to his injury. It was something completely separate," Pelini said to FanHouse. "My policy is we always deal with things directly. Obviously I regret that I got caught on national TV, but there was something I felt needed to be addressed. I addressed it. Taylor and I are on the same page about it. When it was over, it was over. There are no issues going forward. I think people are trying to make too much out of it."
Pelini declined to get into specifics of why he was angry with Martinez .
"What happens in house stays in house," said Pelini, who also said Martinez is considered day-to-day at this point for Friday's game against Colorado due to ankle injury. "It was something completely unrelated to the injury or anything else. It was dealt with and we move forward. It's not an issue."
What does seem to be an issue for Pelini is the excessive number of penalties his team is receiving. The Cornhuskers were flagged 16 times for 145 yards, which was huge in a three-point loss. Pelini was hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the fourth quarter.
There is little secret of the internal war the Cornhuskers have going with the Big 12 conference members following the school's decision last summer to end its membership and join the Big Ten next year.
The belief is that the Big 12 wants no part of its defending champion playing in another conference next season. The Cornhuskers need to beat Colorado this week to clinch the Big 12 North and punch its ticket to next month's Big 12 Championship Game.
Pelini seems to believe his team has received few favorable calls this season.
Still, Pearlman was not pleased with how his coach handled the calls in disagreement on Saturday. Pelini seemed to get that point Monday.
"It's the Chancellor and I obviously have a lot of respect for the job he has to do," Pelini said. "You obviously don't agree with every call that is made in a game, but there is a way to deal with it. I probably got too animated at times. I regret that. I apologize for it.
"I understand where Chancellor Pearlman is coming from, but he has to ... I have the administration's full support. That hasn't changed. You just got to make sure you do things ... If you are going to disagree, it's one thing about how you disagree. I could have done better the other night."