Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said Thursday night he’s not focused on personally discovering the identity of the person who took recorded audio — which was later leaked to Deadspin — of Pelini’s private-but-profane rant against two World-Herald journalists and Husker fans after the 2011 Ohio State game.
In a syndicated radio show interview Wednesday, Pelini said he had “an idea” of who it could be. Thursday, he said he’d let others — presumably within the athletic department or the Husker Sports Network — investigate.
“I have an idea of where it came from,” Pelini said. “It was one room. There’s only certain people involved, but that’s not something I’m focused on. I’m focused on our football team. That’s for other people to do their due diligence on that.”
Pelini said he appreciated a joint statement of support released Wednesday from Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst and Chancellor Harvey Perlman in the wake of the audio’s release. He also had no problem with Eichorst and Perlman taking nearly two days after the tape leaked to publicly support him.
“Anytime you go through a situation like this, it’s a difficult time,” Pelini said. “I accepted responsibility and my part in it. That’s how I’ve always operated.
“I can say this: I have never gotten anything but full support from Shawn Eichorst and our administration. But, at the end of the day, their job isn’t to take care of Bo Pelini, it’s to take care of the football program and do what they feel is in the best interest of the program. In a situation like this, I know people want them to make a statement right off the bat and there’s an investigation that has to go on there, I’s that need to be dotted and T’s that needed to be crossed. I think they always operate like that. I understand that’s how things have to work.”
Pelini said he’s “fortunate to be the head coach every single day,” and fortunate to have had former NU coach and Athletic Director Tom Osborne as a mentor. It was Osborne who came in possession of the audio in 2012 — roughly one year after it was recorded — and subsequently discussed it with Pelini.
The conversation with Osborne was “fairly short,” Pelini said.
Did Osborne take any disciplinary action last year?
“We talked about it,” Pelini said.
Pelini did not know the contents of the audiotape until Deadspin released it this week.
“Until the other day I didn’t know what the tape was all about — what was on it or anything else,” Pelini said. “I don’t even remember when it even came to my attention. I guess I didn’t quite expect it to be what it was.”
Evans will be top corner when NU uses 4-3 defense
Senior Ciante Evans will move from nickel to No. 1 cornerback when Nebraska plays its base 4-3 defense this Saturday.
Pelini said Evans bounced back with a good week of practice after a poor second half against UCLA.
“He was upset on how he played,” Pelini said. “He did some good things in the game. But missing tackles, that’s pretty uncharacteristic for Ciante. He’s played a lot of good football around here and I think he’ll continue to do so.”
In a 4-3 base, senior Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Josh Mitchell will rotate at the other corner. The top 4-3 base linebackers, for now, are freshman Josh Banderas (Mike), freshman Nathan Gerry (Buck) and junior Zaire Anderson (Will). Their backups: sophomore David Santos, redshirt freshman Michael Rose and redshirt freshman Jared Afalava (Buck). Santos and Rose can play the Will or Mike positions. Afalava, who has missed games with a pinched nerve, is healthy enough to play, Pelini said.
“This is the best week of practice Jared’s had in a month, which is good to see, because he’s a guy who can bring something to the table for us,” Pelini said.