Bo Pelini Speaks at Big Ten Media Days - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Bo Pelini Speaks at Big Ten Media Days

By Sports
Sports@klkntv.com

Transcript of Coach Pelini's Press Conference is included below.

COACH PELINI: It's great to be back here
in Chicago. It seems like a long time since last
year. A lot of things have happened since then. I
know as a program we're excited about the
upcoming season. The kids have really worked
hard.

We've had a tremendous off-season,
starting way back after the Bowl game in January
and going on through spring practice. And our kids
are excited. They've worked their butts off this
summer and camp's right around the corner.

We like where we are as a football
program right now. I'm proud of our football team.
I'm proud of the kids in it, how they represent our
program and what we've been able to do not only
on the field but more importantly in the classroom
and in the community, and there's a lot of positive
things going on with our program.

And that goes to the character and the
type of young men that we have on our football
team. And I'm proud of all those guys and what
they've done for our football program. And
football-wise we're looking forward to the upcoming
season. We know it's going to be a tremendous
challenge as it always is.

The interesting schedule for us, the way it
sets up, with the extra home game and we're
looking forward to that, because we always feel it's
an advantage playing at home. And so we're
looking forward to all the challenges that are going
to come up.

But first and foremost, we've gotta have a
great fall camp. We've gotta come out and work
hard, and we've gotta improve us. We've gotta
work to get better each and every day.
We're going to get what we earn. We
understand that. We understand that the
challenges are going to be there from the first
week, all right on through, and we're looking
forward to everything that lies ahead.

Seems like a long time since spring
practice. We moved practice up from last year. I
think that really worked for us, but, boy, it seems
like it was a long time ago that we practiced
football. So we're looking forward to getting
together and getting a football team out on the field
and getting ready to go.

It's about going to work now. It's about
getting out there and improving as a football team
and, as they say, trying to find our power line, as
Amy Ramsey would like to say.
But looking forward to it, and would like to
open it up for any questions.

Q. The losses that you guys had last
year were kind of shock-you-to-the-core-type
losses with what you gave up defensively these
kinds of things in these games. You're known
as a defensive coach. What are the things that
you and your staff did this off-season, the soul
searching, the studying, whatever it was, to
improve scheme-wise, whatever it needed to
be, to work on those things that happened in
those games?

COACH PELINI: It's nothing magical. It's
about getting better. It's about tackling better,
executing better.

It's not a scheme thing. It's not a -- at the
end of the day you have to execute. And when
those things happen, they happen for a reason.
We've studied it. We've addressed it. Going to
continue to work and we need to be better, more
consistent than we were last year.

You look at the wins we had and where we
rank nationally in total defense in total wins and
obviously a couple of the losses that we had,
especially ones where we gave up a lot of points
and a lot of yards.
And there's not much -- the room for error
isn't there anymore. Utah was playing the spread
out teams and you play some good football teams
and when some things -- you face some adversity
early on you can't let it turn the other way on you.

Like I said, fundamentally, technique-wise
and execution-wise, we need to be better. We
need to be better consistently because when
you're not, those bad things can happen to you.

Q. Why was Thomas Brown dismissed
from the team?

COACH PELINI: Violation of team rules. I
don't speak in specifics about it. But I wish him
luck at his next school.

Q. Rutgers and Maryland went to the
Big Ten next year, you just made that
transition. What advice would you have for
them as to how to what to do, what to prepare
for going through that transition to the Big
Ten?

COACH PELINI: Everybody's going to
have their different approach on how they're going
to go through to transition. I think the support you
have here with the Big Ten Conference and the
other member institutions and for that matter even
the hospitality of the other coaches, that was
tremendous for us.

And there's always going to be an
adjustment period for teams going through, going
into a conference for the first time. And that's
going to be there. There's no hiding from that.
And it's going to require some extra work
in the off-season. But it's a transition that you just
have to spend a little bit more time familiarizing
yourself with teams that you haven't seen for a
while, coaches you might not have coached
against, and it just adds a little more to your
off-season to try become familiar with it before it's
staring you in the face in a game week.

So the more preparation you're able to do
in the off-season makes that transition that much
easier. But it's still going to be difficult. There's
one thing about seeing things on film and watching
it on your laptop, but there's a whole other thing
going through it, and over time you'll become more
and more familiar and things become a little bit
easier for you.

Plus you have your football players who
are also going through a transition time, and
they're going into stadiums they've never been in.
There's a lot to it. But the better preparation they
can do in the off-season, the better.

Q. How have you already talked to your
team about targeting rules, how will you talk to
them about the new targeting rule, and what, if
any, concerns do you have about the
application of that rule?

COACH PELINI: Well, we talked to them
about it in spring knowing it was coming, right
around the corner. And you look for examples that
you're going to see, different things that came up
during practice and said, hey, that's the time where
you're probably going to get thrown out of the
game.

But the scary thing to me is just what you
said: It's the application part of it. And it's going to
be pretty subjective. And I don't think it's an easy
thing to call. And in my opinion it's going a little bit
overboard right now. And some things I've seen
on TV and different examples that they've shown,
you know, like even as a coach watching it on TV, I
haven't quite agreed with some of the things
they've talked about.

But I understand where it's coming from.
It's about the safety of the players, and we're all for
that. We just have to make sure that we're not
messing with the integrity of the game or the sport
and how it's supposed to be played.

Q. What are your thoughts on your
offense? I would think you have to be pretty
excited about what you bring back and the
possibilities on that side of the ball.

COACH PELINI: Yeah, I really like our
offense. It's coming back, and obviously it starts
with the quarterback position, having a four-year
starter at quarterback and some really dynamic
weapons around them.

I think we have the opportunity to have
probably the best offensive line on paper,
potentially, that we've had since I've been here, not
only the starters but some of the backups and the
depth that we have really across the board.

If we can get a couple young kids,
incoming guys, that can come in and provide us
with some extra depth at a couple of positions, it's
a pretty potent -- potentially a very potent offense.

And I feel really good about it.
I feel good about where our guys are
scheme-wise and their knowledge of Coach Beck's
(Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck) offense and
what he wants to do. And I'm looking forward to
our offense. I think they have -- I wouldn't trade
our offense for anybody. I really like what we're doing.

Q. Just opening with Illinois for five
straight years in Big Ten play, just what's that
like?

COACH PELINI: Well, actually until you
said that, I wasn't even aware of that. But I knew
they were our opener this year. And that's all I'm
concerned with right now. And we have a lot of
respect for the Illinois program.

Obviously coming from the Big Ten and I
played Illinois a lot over the years, from my playing
days and understanding the type of tradition they
have and the type of potential they have. Coach
Beckman and his staff are doing a good job and
getting things going in the right direction, and we
know it will be a challenge for us right off the bat to
start Big ten play.

Q. The Big Ten's going to the
nine-game schedule in a few years. The
excitement of that is you're in a different
division than Ohio State and your alma mater
and Michigan State and other schools when
this happens, but going to nine games you'll be
able to play those schools maybe a little bit
more regularly, which I think the fans were
looking forward to. Just your thoughts about
going to the nine-game schedule?

COACH PELINI: It's going to be a little bit
different in that probably the biggest -- it creates
some different scheduling issues as far as games
we might have had scheduled or planning on
scheduling for the future.

But having the five and four format as far
as in your division and out of your division, home
games and not home games, it changes some of
the dynamics. But I think it will be good.
It was inevitable that's where it was
heading with the nine conference games, with the
expansion of the conference, and I think it will be a
good thing in the end. It will be a little bit of --
obviously you're down to three out-of-conference
games which changes your dynamics a little bit,
but I think in time most of the conferences,
especially the ones that are expanding past 10, 11
teams, you know, 12 and up, are going to start
going to nine conference games.
That's going to I think be pretty uniform
throughout college football in short order.

Q. With so much inexperience in the
front seven, as a defensive coach, are there
unique challenges, any challenges in particular
to get those guys ready to play the level of
football you expect?

COACH PELINI: Well, there's challenges
in every situation. Everyone's a little bit different
each year. And we're going to have some
inexperience. But we have some experienced
guys kind of mixed through there.

And I think it's going to be a great
competition. We might be fairly inexperienced,
especially to start off the year, you know.
But I think our depth is going to be there.
And there's going to be great competition, which I
think is -- and we're athletic. It's going to be an
athletic group and a talented group and I'll take
that any day of the week.

It's just going to require a lot of hard work
on our part as coaches, our players' parts, and I
like the potential of the group. I like the way we
finished spring. I like the development we've had.
And I'm excited about the incoming guys that are
going to add to the mix. And we're doing a couple
different things to add to what we've been doing
defensively.

I think we're going to be a little bit more
multiple even than we have been even though
we're going to be younger. And so I'm looking forward to it. And I
really like the potential of our group.

Q. The question is in regard to Taylor.
And we saw a pretty dramatic change from a
mechanics standpoint from 11 to 12. And I
know he has a coach in California that he's
been working with. My question to you is your
level of comfort with having external coaches
coaching Taylor or any other player and
whether the specialization of some of these
coaches is an area that you're going to move to
in the future.

COACH PELINI: Taylor is being coached
by Coach Beck. He's the one who -- believe me,
Taylor works with -- he has his coach at home that
helps him on his breaks, but he's at the university
most of the year and Coach Beck does a great job
with them.

It's nice to have some reinforcement, some
guys that he works with, you know, away from
when he's in Lincoln and when he's at home. And
Taylor's made great strides. I think he had a
tremendous year last year.

And I expect him -- there's still a lot of
room for improvement there. He's not even close
to what his potential is. And I look forward to what
he's going to bring to the table this year.
He had an improved spring. And being a
great quarterback comes back to not just the talent
thing, it's not just the fundamentals and the
technique issues, but it comes down to
decision-making and efficiency at the quarterback
position and making the offense work for you, and I
think he's understanding that.

I think he grew in that area last year and
there's still a lot more room for growth. And like
you said, he made some big changes in his
throwing motion and really his footwork and
shoulder angle.

Once he got that corrected, he has the arm
strength. He can make any throw there is. And he
has tremendous talent. He just needed to refine
some things and he's gotta continue to work on
that because it's the little things that allow you to
have success.

(Courtesy: Big Ten Media Relations)

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