A tweet earlier today from none other than Matt Davison alluded to the fact that for the first time in the Bo Pelini era, team captains have been selected for the season as Taylor Martinez, Quincy Enunwa, Spencer Long and Ciante Evans have earned that honor:
For 1st time in the Bo Pelini Era at NU the #Huskers have team captains for the season. Congrats to Martinez, S Long, Enunwa, and C Evans.— Matt Davison (@Matt_Davison) June 7, 2013
In previous seasons, "team captains" played a ceremonial role of trotting out to performance the coin toss and having their names announced as such before each game. This lead to fans, media, and radio talk show hosts to second-guess Pelini's strategy, believing it lead to a lack of leadership and continuity for the team.
Note that by designating them at this time of year that the newly appointed captains will be in charge of summer conditioning.
Will the new titles make much difference?
My initial thought is, no, not as much as people tend to believe.
Leaders on the team are going to be leaders regardless of whether they have the designation of "captain". Having an assigned title doesn't make a person who's taken on the role of leadership any better, and if there are leadership and/or chemistry problems on the team, they won't go away through the magic of making four players captains.
Taking on the title of captain means that those four players have taken on a great amount of responsibility although I'm doubtful that designation means as much to the players as it does to the aforementioned fans, media, and radio talk show hosts.
It could be argued that the fans, media and radio talk show hosts will hold those four accountable for the performance of the team this season (as if we wouldn't do that anyway), and in doing so will make it clear that they're responsible for the performance of the players under them thereby giving them added incentive to perform better rather than embrace Husker fans' ire.
Fans might perceive that as holding the newly designated Husker captains to a higher standard, but again, if they didn't have a high standard without the title how will adding the title change anything other than fans knowing who to blame week to week?
Perhaps those four have been determined to have reached a higher standard than the rest of the players and that by designating them as leaders with an official title, Bo Pelini has made it clear to the other players that theirs is the example he expects everyone to follow.
Again, how is this much different than it was in previous seasons? Just the title, the designation? Is that all it takes?