Nebraska chancellor frustrated with petulant Pelini

Sunday, November 21, 2010 | 7:27 p.m. CST
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, right, yells at his players during the third quarter Saturday's game against Texas A&M.

OMAHA, Neb. — Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman isn't happy with coach Bo Pelini's behavior.

Perlman told The Associated Press on Sunday that Pelini's verbal assault of officials during Saturday's game at Texas A&M did not reflect well on the university or the football program.

"I think it was very unfortunate," Perlman said, "and I think it's something we'll have to address with Bo."

The game was televised on ABC, and Perlman said he felt uneasy about the numerous camera shots of Pelini's outbursts. Perlman spoke Sunday morning with athletic director Tom Osborne about Pelini's conduct, and the chancellor said he, Osborne or both would talk to Pelini about his decorum.

Perlman wouldn't speculate on whether disciplinary action would be taken.

"Bo has a lot of passion for his football team," Perlman said, "and there is a strong upside to that. But again, overall, the conduct was unfortunate last night."

Pelini declined to comment Sunday.

The Cornhuskers were penalized 16 times for 145 yards in the 9-6 loss. Pelini was seen yelling at officials after many of the penalties, and he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct early in the fourth quarter.

Pelini also was seen ripping into quarterback Taylor Martinez, who was standing on the sideline after receiving treatment for an aggravation of his right ankle sprain.

After the game, Pelini declined to comment on the reason for his confrontation with Martinez. The redshirt freshman showed no emotion as the coach yelled at him, pointed his left index finger at him and poked him just above the collar. Perlman said he doesn't know why Pelini became unhinged at Martinez.

"There is a part of the culture of intercollegiate athletics that involves coaches talking strongly to players," Perlman said. "That's unfortunate it had to happen on national television. I think that probably occurs in a lot of programs."

According to media reports, Pelini chased after referee Greg Burks before shaking hands with Aggies coach Mike Sherman.

Pelini has a well-earned reputation for being rough on officials, but he seemed to show a higher level of volatility Saturday night. The Huskers needed to win to clinch the Big 12 North title.

Asked whether he or Osborne had spoken with Pelini in the past about toning down his sideline demeanor, Perlman said, "I'm not going to comment on that."

Big 12 spokesman Bob Burda said he didn't know whether the conference would have grounds to take disciplinary action against Pelini.

Messages were left for Osborne on his home and cell phones.


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