Seniors say Pelini is their captain

Bo Pelini (Stewart Photography)

Nebraska linebacker Will Compton wanted to set the record straight on a few things regarding his head coach Bo Pelini on Tuesday.

LINCOLN, Neb. - It's very rare for a Nebraska football player to talk to reporters both Monday and Tuesday. It's even usually rarer to see a guy volunteer for the duty, but senior Will Compton didn't have a problem with it Tuesday night after Nebraska's practice in preparation for Minnesota. The linebacker wanted to set the record straight on a few things regarding his head coach Bo Pelini.

"It baffled me when I was reading a couple things. Stuff like players are losing respect for him and how he needs to be out," said Compton. "People don't understand or know what's being said (on the sidelines). Yeah, it might look bad. But people have to realize we're out there, bullets are flying, comments are going to be made, but at the end of the day he's our leader."

Compton was referring an incident on Saturday, when ABC television cameras saw senior safety Daimion Stafford and Pelini in an heated discussion on the sidelines right after a Penn State touchdown. Yesterday both Pelini and Stafford told the Associated Press it wasn't a story and attention brought to it was not needed, both citing respect for each other.

But on Tuesday the story wouldn't go away.

"At the end of the day, he's our leader. We look to him. This program is coach Bo," said Compton. "We wouldn't be where we are today without him. I don't want people thinking the wrong thing about him.

"I just wanted to clarify that. I don't want people getting the wrong idea. He's our leader and captain."

Compton also heard last week's caller on Bo Pelini's radio show, who told the head coach he wouldn't want his son playing for him.

"There's no better guy to play for, and there's no better guy to have in your life, as far as leadership and a father figure. He's got our back 100 percent and it's both ways," said Compton. "When you get in situations and you are frustrated, we all want to win and compete. It's just the competitors in us. That's what happens out there.

"He's a player in a coach's body. He wants to be out there as bad as we do."

Senior tight end Ben Cotton, one of Pelini's first recruits at Nebraska, echoed his fellow senior's thoughts.

"We have his back 100 percent. Especially since last January. He came in the (meeting) room and said we're going after a championship and that's the end of the story," Cotton told the Lincoln Journal Star on Tuesday. "He's not going to give us the easy way out. And we expect him to not give us the easy way out. We want to compete. He wants to compete. And we want to do it together as a family."

Also speaking on the matter Tuesday were safeties Daimion Stafford and P.J. Smith.

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & Scout.com since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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