Dec. 19, 2016
Welcome, Husker Nation, to the Carriker Chronicles, and today I want to talk about three things. Number one, Bo Pelini leading Youngstown State to the FCS National Championship game come Jan 7th. Number two, Im going to tell a story Ive never told publicly before and only a handful of people outside of what happened know about what happened. So Im going to tell that story today. And number three, obviously its disappointing the Nebraska volleyball team lost on Thursday night. This is the first chronicles Ive done since then. But they did have a great season and theres still a happy ending for one particular person I know, as a result of their season and Ill save that for the end of this video.
But first, I want to talk about Bo Pelini. And Ive seen a lot of people, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, heard just a lot of people talking, lot of friends saying Hey, look at what hes doing now. I told you so. We should have kept him. Look how well hes doing. And I hear lots of people saying stuff back. Lotsa argument, lotsa debate badk and forth.
Heres my take, Heres my response to Bo Pelini doing well at Youngstown State: Im not surprised. Hes showing us what we already know about Bo Pelini. Bo Pelini is a good football coach. Keep in mind, he was here for seven years. He won 9, 10 games every single season. Thats nothing to sneeze at. Theres a reason his players got so upset when he was fired from Nebraska. Theres a reason I loved him when he was my defensive coordinator my freshman year. My teammates loved him. There is a reason hes such a good football coach. He knows football. He knows how to coach it. He knows how to relate to young men. He does a good job. This does not surprise me at all.
Now, my other response is simply this. As far as Nebraska – did we make a mistake letting him go? Like I mentioned, he was here for seven years and he won 9, 10 games each and every that he was here. Also, while he was here, we never beat a [nonconference] top ten team, and we never won a championship, conference championship or otherwise. Now, we had the one-second game against Texas where that one second got put back on the clock. We had a game against Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. We were up 17-0 but we never could beat a top ten team or win the championship. And it seemed like every time we got in a big game against a big-time opponent, national stage, things would really, really not go the way we that wed like.
And I understand it happened a couple times this year, but youve gotta give Riley more time. And Riley does have a top ten win over Michigan State his first year and the difference is Rileys been here two years, Pelini had seven years. So when I look at Pelini, good football coach. No doubt about it. When I look at Nebraska, I think of a great, elite college football program. And the bar we have – we havent won a conference title since 99, national title since 97. I understand that. But the bar is here for Nebraska. And were striving to get back to that bar. That bar is never going to be lowered. Pelini got to about here and just couldnt quite get there. So good, but just couldnt quite get all the way there. Now maybe hell do that with Youngstown State, at the FCS level. And I wish him good luck in that national title game, nothing but the best for him, not surprised. Congratulations! Win, lose or draw, I hope he wins the game, I really do. I wish nothing best and congratulations for him not matter what happens. Im not surprised.
But when I think of Pelini, and I think of people saying he should have stayed here and look at what hes doing there, I think of head coaches that Ive had. Whether it be college or NFL and some of them had successes as head coaches, some of them had to quit being a head coach, for lack of a better way to put it, and they had great success as coordinators. Or assistant coaches or otherwise. I think of, uh, one coach I had, Bill Callahan. A guy Ive never spoken of before. But I played for him for three years and were on good terms. Now if you think of him in the NFL, and you talk to GMs and players and coaches in the NFL, theyre going to say nothing but great things about him. And he even took the Raiders to the Super Bowl! Now I know he got fired from the Raiders – thats why he came to Nebraska – but in terms of the NFL he is considered a really good football coach. In fact, when he was at Dallas, he was calling the plays, not Jason Garrett. He was calling them! Thats how much Jerry Jones liked him. Now, when you think of him in terms of what he did at Nebraska, it wasnt exactly sparkling. Nobody is going to argue that it was. Just like nobody is going to argue he cant coach in the NFL. But theres a difference between coaching in the NFL and coaching in college. He is an NFL football coach and thats where he belongs. A good football coach, but just didnt fit in the college game.
I think of a guy like Lane Kiffin, who didnt work out well with the Raiders, you know, USC or Tennessee but had great success at Alabama. I understand – Nick Saban – but hes now the Florida Atlantic coach. Hes going to do really good. Hes a young guy, hes going to build back up, hes going to have great success. I think of a guy like Craig Bohl, who was fired from the defensive coordinator here at Nebraska, goes to North Dakota State, builds a dynasty! They win five straight FCS national championships, goes to Wyoming. And within two or three years of arriving at a really, really struggling program, theyre playing for the Mountain West Conference Championship this year!
So its one of those things where maybe Pelini goes to the FCS, does really well. Its a different level, a different mindset, its a different location, maybe a better fit. And maybe he stays there, builds a dynasty. Maybe he builds back up like a Bohl, or like a Kiffins probably going to do. The fit here at Nebraska, over the 7 years, I dont think we made a mistake letting him go, wish him nothing but the best. And, I havent talked to him in a while. Id love to talk to him when I get a chance. But I wish him nothing but the best and Im frankly not surprised hes doing so well.
Now the story I wanted to share. It came to my mind because of Minnesota boycotting the Holiday Bowl. And, you know theres the whole sexual assault case, everybodys getting suspended, things of that nature. But it made me think of 2003, my redshirt freshman year. They fired Solich. Wed just gone 9-3, they fired Solich. A lot of players were mad. And Pelini was going to be the interim coach for that bowl game, the Alamo Bowl against Michigan State. Now we called a players-only meeting. I remember Pelini, he didnt know where he was going to be in two months. He said Ill back whatever you guys want to do. And we had a players-only meeting. And I dont know if this ever went public. I dont believe it ever did. And if it did ... okay, it did. But I never paid attention to the media when I played. I didnt want to hear good or bad. If it was bad I didnt want to be dragged down. If it was good, I didnt want the head to get big. So I never paid attention. I dont think this was ever released. I believe it was private. And the only reason Im saying it now is cuz all the coaches are gone. Pelinis gone, everybody affiliated with this meeting is gone. Players, there were players only. Everyones gone, so nothing bad is gonna happen. Plus, we ended playing the bowl game, so whats it matter?
We had a players-only meeting, a lot of players mad Solich was fired. I mean, I understand how these players felt when Pelini was fired. I committed to Solich, he sat in my living room, he recruited me. I understand. And these seniors, these captains, these leaders on the team were upset. And it looked – there was quite an eerie feeling in that meeting for quite a while – it looked like we werent going to play in the bowl game. We were really close to not going to that bowl game! Now Ill never forget, a certain freshman who is the smartest person Ive ever met in my life. Hes literally 4.0 undergrad, 4.0 grad, hes an orthopedic surgeon now, very smart. And very not timid when it comes to expressing his opinion. As a freshman – now Im very outspoken now – but as a freshman, I hadnt started. I mean I had played well in a few games, but I never wanted to be the smartest guy in the room. Smartest guys in the room tend to have all the answers but not always. Id rather show wisdom, know when to talk, know when you have the answer, know when you dont. So as a freshman I was listening. And Ill never forget that freshman stood up, berated the entire team. Berated – said exactly what I was thinking and said we should play the bowl game. At the end of it the seniors told him to sit down and shut up, freshman. Which kinda made me chuckle even though I agreed with him.
And ultimately we ended up playing in the bowl game. Once we decided to play we came out like a ball of fire. We beat Michigan state 17-3 and shut down their high-powered offense. Held them to a field goal the entire game. But I just wanted to share that story Id never shared before and in my opinion, college football players, you dont decide what bowl game you play in, you dont decide on a head coach. If you want him to stay, play better. But you dont decide when he gets fired. What you do is you put on the hat, you put on the pads, you put on the helmet, and you hit somebody in the mouth. Thats what you do as a college football player. But I just thought Id share that story. That players only meeting, almost didnt play in the bowl game, ended up playing, ended up with a really good victory.
Now, the Nebraska volleyball team. Disappointing loss, as we know. Great season, final four back to back, again. When we were watching Penn State play Nebraska. Nebraskas down two sets to nothing. Theyre one point away from their season being over, they need four straight points or five, or whatever it was, and they get it! And they come back and win it. There was a certain little girl who was watching that game with me! Now this girl, shes by far the tallest kid in her class, and just between you and me shes also the fastest (I think she gets all this from her mom). But she decided – she already loves Nebraska – she decided she loves volleyball. And Ill never forget, I was about five when I had my dream of playing football for the University of Nebraska. Now Addison – come here Addy – come on. Addison is five years old and she told me that she wants to – what do you want to do?
Addison: Play volleyball.
Adam: Play volleyball? Where do you want to play at?
Her five year old dream is to play at the University of Nebraska and play volleyball. And hopefully Coach Cook is still there but obviously weve got some time, weve got some work to do. But shes got a dad who might help her just a smidge. So you never know when you might see her on the volleyball court. But whether that ever happens or not, youve got a fan for life, Husker volleyball!
And be sure to tune in on Wednesday as well, because I had someone ask me: If you had one Christmas wish for the Huskers, whether it be the football program, the university as a whole – your one Christmas wish, what would it be? So Im going to talk about that on Wednesday. Also, my wife is going to join me. We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary and in my opinion this is going to be the most special Carriker Chronicles ever. Because shes joining me for the first time ever for a very good reason so tune in on Wednesday. So until Wednesday, Husker Nation, GO BIG RED, and always remember (Addy speaking): TO THROW THE BONES!!!