The notion of “I can neither confirm nor deny it” is essentially like a “non-denial-denial.”
There is nothing publically official from the University of Nebraska or Florida Atlantic but all signs point toward Husker defensive coordinator Carl Pelini (brother of Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini) heading to become Florida Atlantic’s head coach to replace the retiring Howard Schnellenberger.
The Owls went 1-10 this past season which could be good or bad. The former because expectations would not through the roof and Florida is a very fertile recruiting area. Therefore winning four games next year would be considered a great success.
The next question becomes who replaces Carl Pelini? Current Husker assistant John Papuchis? He has been a vital member of Bo Pelini's staff since coming to Lincoln four years ago. He currently wears many hats for the program, including defensive line coach, special-teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator.
Mike Stoops? The recently deposed Arizona head coach would be a splashy hire plus, the Pelini and Stoops families are lifelong friends from Youngstown, Ohio. Plus, it has been rumored that newly appointed Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer might make a play for Stoops in which case Nebraska hiring him would be a defense mechanism as much as anything.
Another subplot, remember in 2003 when Frank Solich was fired and then Husker defensive coordinator Bo Pelini was named interim head coach for the Huskers’ Alamo Bowl win? Most people then were clamoring for him to be the head coach. Then athletic director Steve Pederson hired Bill Callahan, who then chose not to retain Bo Pelini. Not long after that, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops (Mike Stoops’ brother) hired Bo Pelini as the Sooners defensive coordinator. Would Bo Pelini do the same with Mike Stoops? I think it’s a definite maybe or better.
Perhaps Indiana defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler? Probably the least likely scenario. Ekeler was Pelini’s linebackers coach from 2008-2010 before leaving Nebraska to become the Hoosier defensive coordinator. That was a capacity Ekeler wanted but knew was unlikely to get at Nebraska as long as Carl Pelini was there. The Hoosiers, however, rank at or near the bottom in many national defensive categories. To be fair, it’s not as if Indiana is ever loaded with high end football players. Plus, would Bo Pelini bring him back one year after having left?
Mike Stoops would definitely be a great catch assuming Carl Pelini leaves. The question is, would Mike Stoops stay long term or would he desire to be a head coach again someday?
Stability is something every program desires but Bo Pelini is a young coach (43) and there will be a few changes here and there until it sorts itself out. It’s not about changing to change or keeping to be consistent. Every situation is a little different but if you get the right guys that get things done and work well together at the right place and time with the right attitude and mentality you keep them. There are ways to do that. Right now they need to find and keep the right guys. If your team doesn’t play well, has letdowns or the process isn’t working you have to look at ways to get from Point A to Point B. That’s what this is about. There’s more to it than football and that’s another part of what it’s about. Culture and mentality. There’s a lot to address and this is a good move. This is a team with talent, it's a matter of culture and getting them to respond and reach their potential.
Of course, there is the whole matter of Nebraska has yet to approach Mike Stoops because there is still nothing concrete about Carl Pelini moving onward. However, Stoops would be a great catch.