Monday, December 5, 2011

Husker coaching staff has one less Pelini

To no surprise, the Nebraska football coaching staff will have one less Pelini entering its Jan. 2 Capital Bowl matchup against South Carolina.
Florida Atlantic’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the hiring of Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini (brother of Husker head coach Bo Pelini) as the Owls next head coach on Monday morning. The 46-year old Pelini was formally introduced at a press conference.
Pelini will be the second football coach in FAU history, taking over for Howard Schnellenberger, who coached the final game of his career on Saturday.
According to, Pelini will receive a five-year contract with a base salary of $450,000 with the possibility to make more with incentives, such as: Winning the Sun Belt championship and receiving a BCS bowl game invitation: $50,000.00. Winning the conference championship and receiving a non-BCS bowl game invitation: $20,000.00. Receiving an at-large bowl game invitation: $10,000.00. Earning a Top 10 final college coaches’ poll national ranking $25,000.00 and winning the National Coach of the Year Award: $25,000.00.
The question, of course, becomes who replaces Carl Pelini and how soon? The main candidates that are being publicly bandied about are John Papuchis (current Husker defensive line coach/special teams coordinator/recruiting coordinator) along with recently deposed Arizona head coach and long-time Pelini family friend Mike Stoops.
It’s not a given that Bo Pelini will hire either but let’s say for the sake of discussion, do you hire a proven commodity or someone you feel like is a prospect who can grow into the job?
Stoops, who is the brother of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, comes with a resume having held assistant coaching positions at Iowa, Kansas State and Oklahoma. He went 41-50 in his time as the Wildcats head coach before being fired after a 1-5 start in 2011.
Hiring Stoops would also be a defense mechanism from newly hired Ohio State coach Urban Meyer from hiring Stoops.
Bo Pelini openly backed Stoops after he was fired. Would Bo bring Mike aboard like Bob brought Bo aboard at OU after former Nebraska AD Steve Pederson hired Bill Callahan over Pelini? The Stoops/Pelini family friendship is well-documented but being a good friend does not always equal being a good co-worker. Plus, Stoops is not likely to come cheap and it’s athletic director Tom Osborne (not Bo Pelini) controlling the purse-string. And would Stoops view Nebraska as a weigh station job to eventually become a head coach again?

Papuchis has been a valuable member of Pelini’s staff since 2008 and could potentially grow into the job but the days of coaching staffs staying together for 20 plus years are a thing of the past.
The inexperience aspect would not necessarily be an issue since Papuchis has worn many different hats for Pelini. Plus, Osborne wasn’t born with three national championship rings. Everybody is an up-and-comer at some point in their career.
I think there is a lot of young talent that rises through the coaching ranks. Every big name coach out there was a no name coach at one point. Remember, Kevin Cosgrove was a “proven” defensive coordinator. Bo Pelini when hired by Frank Solich was an “up-and-comer”.
There are no guarantees with any potential hire.
Bo just needs to get the right guy…Anyone who would even get a look from Nebraska is going to be a proven quantity even if he isn’t a media headliner. The big question is do you get a guy who is more recruiter than coach or coach than recruiter?
That’s not an either/or answer. Both are true.

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