Category Archives: A&M Officiating Debacle?
This is a transcript worth reading if you’re a Nebraska football fan. Husker Head Coach Bo Pelini said all the right things in response to his outbursts at officials during the Texas A&M game Saturday. In a strange way, I’m guessing this latest go-around will only add fuel to a Nebraska fire that was running out of steam.
Will this ‘us-against-the-world’ mentality manifest itself on the field Friday against Colorado? We’ll see.
Whatever Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman and Athletic Director Tom Osborne said to Pelini, it must have struck a cord. Pelini was personable, open to answering all questions and was impressive in taking accountability for his actions.
That’s all you can ask from the head coach, time to focus on Colorado.
Take a read:
Weekly Press Conference
Monday, Nov. 22, 2010
“When I got hired here a couple years ago I was asked to come in here…I really believe my job is to prepare the young men, it’s not to win football games. My job here is to prepare the young men who come into this program for the rest of their life. I make that vow to the kids when I go into their homes when I’m recruiting. I make that vow to the parents. That’s what I’m all about and that means accountability, discipline. I’m a very black and white, direct person, and I feel we’ve done that in the program.
“Our kids are representing this great university with respect and integrity. You don’t see our kids out there getting in trouble on ESPN, doing all those types of things. They are representing the program the right way. I believe myself and the staff is representing this program the right way. I’m a passionate person. During that game the other night I thought there were times when, obviously it’s OK to disagree with a call, it’s the way that you disagree with the call. I believe at times during that game, I got too animated and for that I regret that, and I’m sorry about that.
“It’s interesting, I always believe it’s OK to disagree with a call, (but) it’s not OK to make it personal and at times during that game, probably in my quest to fight for our kids on the football team I let it get personal, and for that once again I say I’m sorry. I regret that.
“I know there is a lot of speculation out there about the exchange I had with Taylor (Martinez). He and I have handled that. First of all, I know there was speculation that it had something to do with his injury – it had nothing to do with his injury. It was an issue totally unrelated to that. We handled it. Once again, I regret that it was on national TV. When I wanted to address the team earlier in the season, and I had all the press out, you guys gave me a lot of havoc over that, but I felt like something needed to be dealt with directly with the team. I did that. I usually do those things behind closed doors. Once again, when I deal with something, I told you I deal with something directly. If there’s an issue with something related to the team, you guys know me, my policy is I don’t talk about what happens in our family. What happens inside stays inside.
“I can say this, the things that are out there speculating over what that was are completely off base. Taylor is with the football team. He and I are on the same page and there are no issues there. We put that behind us. As far as (UNL) Chancellor (Harvey) Perlman and the statement he made yesterday, we’ve spoken – we’re on the same page. I have total respect for him, the administration and the job they have to do. I respect that. Once again, that’s kind of where we are. I’ll open it up for questions.”
On if he met with Chancellor Perlman and if there was anything said about not letting it happen again
“Yeah, absolutely. Believe me, like I said, it won’t happen again.”
On if he understands why Ben Cotton reacted the way he did the other night
“I had no problem with the initial part of what happened with Ben. What I didn’t like is that Ben took his helmet off. He knows better than that. Once again, I dealt with it right there. Ben and I were on the same page. Ben was really upset and that needed to be dealt with right there or else he was going to get himself into a lot of trouble. At that point I’d rather him be upset with me than upset and do something crazy. Believe me, we were on the same page and a few minutes later Ben came back over and apologized for the whole incident. One thing about our players, I promise you they know this, that I got their back. And they understand also that I expect them to have mine. That means to represent this program all the time, no matter what the situation. When I got animated, I didn’t do that as well as I could have the other night, and I’m sorry for that.”
On if he has had time to look at the film and think about changes he needs to make
“I think I just addressed that.”
On if he had any sort of ultimatum from the administration to change his sideline behavior
“No, the administration is behind me 100 percent. They know me as a person. They know what I’m all about. They understand the character and the things that I represent and brought to this program, and they made that known to me. There are no issues between myself and the administration. I’m not perfect because nobody is perfect. You make mistakes. You look back at your actions and you look back at the situations you’ve been put into, you reflect on them both football wise and in all areas, and you make adjustment and move on. You hope that you better yourself through all your experiences, and you don’t make the same mistake twice.”
On if this is still a growing process
“Yeah, it is. Your life is a growing process. You grow every day. You learn every day. You have different experiences, different situations every single day. Like I said before, I walk into a home and I tell parents I’m going to have your kids back, I’m going to fight for them every step of the way. I’m going to be there for your kids. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure your kids have a fair shake and prepare them for the rest of their life in a lot of different ways. I’m going to love them unconditionally. I just need to watch the passion I bring to it, and make sure I do it in the right way.”
On if he talked to Athletic Director Tom Osborne about the issue
“Yeah, I can always talk to Coach Osborne.”
On if Taylor Martinez missed team meetings yesterday
“Yeah, but it had nothing to do with…it was a completely separate issue.”
On what the separate issue was
“Why he wasn’t at team meetings? He was excused from team meetings.”
On if he had a conflict for the Sunday team meeting
“It’s not a team meeting, it’s a team shake out. We don’t meet as a team on Sunday. I don’t know where that came from, but we don’t meet as a team on Sundays.”
On if Martinez has ever missed a Sunday team shake out
“Yeah, there are a number of guys who have missed shake outs. For instance, Alex Henery was excused from a team shake out. The guys are excused from that a lot.”
On if Martinez expressed anger or frustration after Saturday’s game
“No, not at all. He’s frustrated with the injuries and those that have happened, but no, Taylor was just fine. In fact, we communicated and talked for a good 15-20 minutes in the locker room after the game.”
On if the sideline exchange between Martinez and himself was precipitated by Martinez calling his dad during the game
“I’ve already said that I’m not going to get into (it), that stuff is nobody’s business but ours. I can say this; I have heard the things that are being said out there and the speculation as to what that was about and they are way off base.”
On if there was ever a moment where it was up in the air if Martinez was going to be on the team
On if he ever had any doubt that Martinez would be on the team today
“No, it was business as usual yesterday.”
On if he can guarantee that he will be on the team going forward
“Yeah, Taylor is at class right now. I believe he had class at 10:30.”
On if Martinez will play on Friday
“We don’t know. He’s still obviously recovering from some of the injuries.”
On if Martinez is healthy will he play on Friday
On if he can define what a team shake out is
“It’s just a voluntary kind of jog around a little it to get the kinks out, which he couldn’t participate in.”
On if Martinez doesn’t play on Friday, can he use his injury to cover for a suspension
“Taylor Martinez is not suspended. I think you guys know me well enough to know that if somebody was suspended I’d say so.”
On if Martinez broke any team rules
On if Martinez not participating in the shake out was injury related
“He couldn’t have run in the shake out. I think I’ve already said that. He couldn’t participate in the shake out run.”
On if they typically watch film on Sunday
“No. We didn’t watch film yesterday, especially during a short week. It was get them in and get them out as quick as possible. That’s a big work day for the coaches. We don’t spend time with the players. That’s their day off.”
On if he has talked to Martinez’s dad since the game
On if that conversation had anything to with the argument with Martinez on the sideline
“No, I just believe in a situation like this you have to make sure you keep the parents in the loop, because he was getting phone calls that he wasn’t sure (what they) were all about. Casey (Martinez) was confused on some of the inquiries he was getting because they were pretty far off base.”
On if his players are getting a fair shot during games
“I’m not commenting on that. You just trust the integrity of people and you hope that your football team is getting a fair shake. Our team is excited about this weekend, about the game on Friday and all the things that come with it. We’ve moved on past Saturday and we’re excited to go out and play. We have a lot to play for and we’ve moved on.”
On how many plays they sent into the Big 12 office and if they have heard anything back
“We haven’t had any feedback from the Big 12 office about the officiating or anything else. We’ve moved on past there. It’s a short week. It’s time to really get focused on Colorado.”
On if he would give a coach like himself a break if he were an official
“Probably not. Like is said, I thought when you get animated you don’t approach it the right way. Sometimes you do yourself a disservice, and I might have done that the other night. Like I said, I regret it, and I’m sorry about it.”
On his response to embarrassing the state and the program
“Everybody has their opinion. I hope they look at the heart of who you are and what you’ve done, and what you’ve built up over a certain amount of time, and hope that the people are in your corner. In the end that’s what you hope. I bust my butt each and every day for this program and for these kids and the university, and if I embarrassed anybody by what I did, I’m sorry, but that’s as far as I can go. Obviously, I didn’t do it intentionally.”
On if the Big 12 always responds to what they send in to be reviewed
“Oh yeah, the Big 12 always responds. They have a lot to do and there are a lot of football teams. It doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye.”
On what he knows about the incident with Carl Pelini on the field after Saturday’s game
“First of all, that was kind of crazy on that field after the game. I actually almost got run over. Fortunately, I got lit up pretty good by mistake, it was somebody just running onto the field, and fortunately I had security. There was a lot of things going on. There was a player in a group of people trying to get out of it, and Carl saw it and went over to try and pull the player into the locker room. I guess it happened on the way to the locker room, and as he did so apparently he went through the camera to get it, and if something happened to the camera, I know Carl regrets that it happened. That’s what happened and I talked to the player that was involved too.”
On if he has talked to Tom Osborne and Harvey Perlman about the officiating
“Yeah, I know they have communicated with the league office and that happens pretty regularly about many different things. I know that their focus is on representing our program the right way.”
On how he prevents everything from being a distraction moving forward
“It’s not a distraction with our football team. You hope that everything is over and behind you. Our team is ready to play. They’re excited. They were very disappointed the other night and they were mad. We talked about it right after the game, all you can control now is what you can control, and that’s what happens on Friday and it comes down to preparation. You know us, it’s about the process. It starts today. If we put our work in during the week, we’ll be ready to play our best football come Friday. That’s where our focus is right now.”
On what is wrong with the offense
“Well, we didn’t execute very well the other night consistently. We left some plays out on the field. We left some situations out on the field. We need to play better and execute better more consistently. That’s what we’re working at and that’s what needs to happen on Friday.”
On what they need to do to bring back some of the big plays they had earlier in the season
“You just tweak things. You play with confidence and you play fast. I think that will happen. I like our plan that we have right now going forward for this week. Like I said, it’s about attitude; it’s about doing things the right way and playing with fundamentals and technique. Our guys will be ready to play come Friday.”
On how he addressed the penalties with his team
“Well, we really haven’t met as a team yet. We’ll talk about it. Some of it was addressed already. Some of them can definitely get fixed, and we need to fix that aspect of it. Some of them were boneheaded penalties. Some of them were a lack of focus or a lack of concentration. You can’t use crowd noise or anything else as an excuse. You have to go in and execute your football. That means doing things the right way consistently.”
On if Martinez will be a practice today
On if there is any reason he wouldn’t be at practice
“Not that I know of.”
On if Martinez can’t play, will Cody Green be the starter
“Yeah, I would expect Cody Green to be the starter.”
On if Zac Lee is available to play
“We think so. He’s getting better each day. He’s kind of day-to-day right now, but he’s come a long way in a week or so. We obviously haven’t done anything with him in the last couple days.”
On if Lee was available on Saturday if they needed him
“Yes, he was available on Saturday.”
On how impressed he is with what Colorado has been able to do the past two weeks
“I give their coaching staff and their kids a lot of credit. That’s a tough time when there’s a coaching change at the point it was. I think they’ve showed character and they’ve done a nice job of rallying the troops. They played well the past couple weeks.”
On if he puts any credence into the talk that the Big 12 is out to get Nebraska
“No. I don’t know. I never really even thought about that. I can’t even speculate on something like that. That’s pretty far out there.”
On if it’s possible the Big 12 officials have an extra eye on Nebraska
“Yeah, there’s a possibility there.”
On the senior class
“It’s a great senior class we have. All these kids mean a lot to me, but this senior class, we’ve been through a lot. They were here when I got here and a lot of them, almost each and every guy who is going to be playing his last game at home this weekend, has brought a lot to the program. They’ve done a lot. They’ve made big impact around here. It will be tough to see them go. I know it will be highly emotional for them, to play in this stadium for the last time in front of these fans, and our job as football team is to honor those guys by playing our best football and sending them out a winner.”
On what is on the line this week
“Well, it’s obvious what’s on the line. If we win, we keep playing. It’s to win the Big 12 North. I think our guys fully understand that. Every week, when you play in a conference like this, every week is big. Because of what’s at stake, you don’t play any different. You don’t approach it any differently. You hope you play the same way all the time. It’s the next step, and it’s an important step. You have to go out and earn it. That’s what’s lying ahead of us. That’s the challenge that’s lying ahead of our football team right now.”
Was it really a conspiracy?
Well, if you believe officials had it out for Nebraska Saturday night at Texas A&M, there is plenty of evidence to support that.
NU was penalized 16 times for 145 yards. A&M, just two penalties for 10 yards, propelling the Aggies to a 9-6 win.
Is A&M really this disciplined? Is Nebraska really THIS self-destructive? I’d say no and yes.
The first thing that jumps out about this game is that it clearly wasn’t evenly called by officials. In fact, there were times when the zebras were blatantly targeting the Huskers.
Heck, for that matter officials haven’t been even-handed with Nebraska all season long. NU has been penalized 86 times for 797 yards, while the opponents have been flagged far less — 48 times for 420 yards.
Cases in point: Late in the game Nebraska safety Courtney Osborne was called for a personal foul for a hit on A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, on what was a crucial third down play that saw the Nebraska defense hold. Osborne clearly made a clean hit that wasn’t even late — shoulders squared, head up, square in the chest as Tannehill released the ball.
Second, earlier in the game Nebraska linebacker Eric Martin was called for two personal-foul penalties on special teams.
OK, may be just a coincidence here, but Martin was suspended earlier this season for a supposed helmet-to-helmet hit against Oklahoma State. And if you remember, Osborne drilled Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert on what was a perfectly legal hit. Following that game Tiger Head Coach Gary Pinkel said that maybe conference officials should review the Osborne hit — which it never did.
Were officials in College Station specially targeting Osborne and Martin? We’ll never know.
The 2010 season has been a dramatic sway against Nebraska from officials, no doubt.
Yet it would seem to be over-simplistic to say officials are out to get NU because of the move to the Big Ten, or for any other reason.
I think it’s more likely that Nebraska really is its own worst enemy, especially since Bo Pelini has taken over the reigns. Let’s be honest, Pelini has brought the return of physical play by Nebraska on both sides of the ball — balls to the wall, every play for four quarters.
Unfortunately, this team has taken on the personality of its coach in a bad way.
Pelini was all over the officials, in fact looking downright out of control at times. There were more F-bombs dropped by Pelini in one game than maybe his entire career at Nebraska, combined. Pelini spent most of the game jawing at officials, in fact drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the game.
Did officials at A&M focus squarely on Nebraska? Sure looks that way, and in fact there are games like this all the time when one side gets called for more than its share of penalties. Conspiracy? Probably not.
While Pelini has brought a lot back to this program, his players are undisciplined and commit their share of stupid mistakes.
This has been the case since day one.
Football has to be played with focused anger, but Pelini’s Nebraska has been borderline dumb.
Statistics don’t lie.
Before Pelini’s arrival in 2008 there was little penalty disparity between Nebraska and its opponents.
From 2000 to 2007, Nebraska opponents averaged 83 penalties for 647 yards per season, compared to 79 penalties for 656 yards for NU.
Since 2000 Nebraska has been flagged for more penalties than its opponents on what will be six seasons including 2010 — three of those by Pelini-coached teams. In 2008 and 2009 Nebraska piled up more than 800 yards in penalties, the two highest totals since 2000. Unless NU doesn’t commit a single penalty the rest of the way in 2010, the Huskers will again eclipse 800 yards.
That reflects a serious lack of discipline more than bad officials.
Following the loss Saturday Pelini again indicated that officials were horrible, without actually saying it. He was ticked and actually tracked down one of the officials for a little chat following the game.
The Omaha World Herald declared this morning that the 12th man at Texas A&M in this game was the officials, http://dld.bz/72vD. Don’t just cater to the readers here, let’s be honest.
Pelini has to let off the officials. It’s no wonder Nebraska couldn’t buy a break all night — the coach was in a fit of rage all game long. If the coach is poised and cool under pressure his team will respond that way. Unfortunately Pelini wasted a great defensive performance by the Blackshirts with his sideline antics.
You gotta love the football intelligence Pelini brings to the game, but now it’s time to look in the mirror.