Welcome to Fan Day, Now Be Quiet

By at July 30, 2012 | 9:33 AM | Print

Welcome to Fan Day, Now Be Quiet

As you woke up on a Sunday hotter than the sun and watched the U.S. men’s basketball team coast to an easy victory in the Olympics, a piece by Tom Shatel shot across the bow of North Stadium.

Shortly thereafter, a similar article was put out by Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star (maybe word spread?) who took a similar approach, but used a lighter touch.

Let’s get this out of the way.

I’m not saying I know how to run an FBS football program, but one of the best things any coach can do is to embrace the fans and keep them involved. To say that your fans care too much, that’s never a good thing to go public, much less during the last week of July while conference media days are going on.

Ya know, when you want your fan base to start getting excited.

Again, shooting straight, I like Bo as a coach. His defensive principles and the amount of “red ass” in him make him a great coach. That being said, I want to like him a lot more than I do as of today. Bemoaning the 24/7/365 way of life that is a Nebraska fan’s obsession with Cornhusker football chips away at their good will.

A majority of the fans Bo loathes donate, buy tickets and fill up large stadium that’s about to get even larger every game. Just as rabid fans living the high life cut checks for top notch practice facilities and a Duncan Aviation account out of the Lincoln Airport so the Cornhuskers’ staff can recruit nationally.

Bo wants an even keel. Stop and let that sink in. Bo Pelini…asking the waves to calm and for fans to stay level-headed…

This isn’t the first time Bo has come close to chastising the fan base for their support, and he even admits the pressure is greater at LSU and Oklahoma.

I don’t think Nick Saban would ever say his fans care too much. Yes, we’re going back to that well again. Ever listen to Paul Finebaum Show when Alabama doesn’t cover? They may as well have just lost by 21.

At the end of Christopherson’s piece, Bo mentions that he is proud of the Huskers for not causing negative headlines.

Two thoughts on this: First, I have never heard a single person say they would give back any of the three titles won during the 1990’s if they knew about the crap Nebraska would endure thanks to various players – with the grand prize going to LP – beforehand.

Second, Mike Caputo and Alfonzo Dennard. ‘Nuff said.

Admittedly, expectations can get too high given the climate in Lincoln and maybe they are right now. Being angry that Nebraska mailed it in against Northwestern isn’t without merit, though. The Wildcats had lost five of the previous six before beating the Huskers in their own house and the two teams looked evenly matched.

That’s the type of game that has happened too often during Bo’s career in Lincoln.

It’s officially time to get amped with fall camp around the corner. As a coach, you build the buzz by telling fans you’re going to go after a B1G title, not reminding them that there will be good and bad times.

Will Compton was asked about the legacy of the Huskers’ senior class during Big Ten media days. Winning football games and conference titles makes a legacy, not having 16 or17 losses during your career and Mr. Compton knows this. Harsh? Yes, but when you want to use the word “legacy” in Lincoln, you have to back up your talk or refrain from using it.

Was Shatel harsh? Maybe, but his words aren’t out of line for Year Five of the Pelini Era. Fans want a conference crown, that BCS bowl bid, but more importantly, they want Nebraska back on top.

To suggest – or even let it be implied – that they shouldn’t expect any of that is bad, pure and simple.

If the head coach of Nebraska is irked by fan participation so close to the season (and Fan Day, for crying out loud), maybe we aren’t the ones who could benefit from the suggestion of an even keel.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
Follow Husker Locker on Twitter: @huskerlocker

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