Last Friday Steve Sipple published an article stating that Bo Pelini had eliminated media access to his assistant coaches and was thinking of doing it on a permanent basis.
As Nebraska prepares for Wednesday's Gator Bowl, Pelini is denying media access to his assistant coaches, coordinators included. He's considering making it a standing policy - no interviews with assistants.
"I just want one voice," Pelini told me after Friday's practice at the University of North Florida. "I just think that's important. I've thought about it for a while and think that's the way to go right now."
Sipple was against the concept. It certainly will make the media's job more difficult, and it may lead to more rampant speculation about what's happening inside the football program.
Some Husker fans see it as Pelini becoming more paranoid, circling the wagons and such, but I believe the head coach might be making the right move.
Coaching Nebraska's football team carries enough weight as it is. You have several assistants whose job it is to teach several young men and they're somehow expected to do that job while at the same time not say anything "wrong" in a media session. "Wrong" is italicized there because anything they say might be considered wrong. Every word that comes out of the athletic department regarding the football program is heavily scrutinized. Consider the release regarding Shawn Eichorst's support of Pelini. Even though Eichorst stated clear support, the term "lead our program in the future" was dissected - "HOW LONG IS THE FUTURE? COULD BE NEXT WEEK, THE FUTURE" - to the point of rampant dead horse beating.
With regards to Pelini's paranoia, limiting access to media assistants is standard practice at many programs. If you want two names, consider Nick Saban and Bill Belichick. Both are top coaches at the college and NFL levels, and both, frankly, are considered complete jerks, yet no one cares that they behave like jerks because they win.
With regards to rampant speculation - it exists whether there is media access or not. Let's not forget that the biggest rumor of the season - "Bo has resigned after the Iowa game" - was started by someone no one knows on Facebook.
In a purist world, Bo Pelni's job is to raise good young men who go into the world to perform successful contributions to society. Pelini has done this - he graduates his players and the vast majority have stayed out of trouble. Throw in the highest GPA ever as an extra.
Unfortunately, all of those things count for nothing.
The only thing that matters is winning football games. By eliminating media access to his assistants, Pelini will allow his coaches to focus only on coaching.
Pelini is a pretty lousy media spokesman but in the end it doesn't matter, i.e. Saban, Belichick. In the end he'll only be judged by wins and losses because those are what fans want. If he thinks this is a way to get more wins, then he should do it.