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Nebraska Spring Football: Bo Pelini's Public Stance On Defense A Necessity

Tom Pennington

Bo Pelini wasn't about to mince words following Nebraska's first week of spring practice. Last week, he cut loose during a team-wide Harlem Shake. This week, he shredded his defensive players into something resembling fine mozzarella during a post-practice press conference.

Rough stuff, and many will disagree with his approach. A number of fans will point to past instances where he's either blown up at officials or looked the fool in their own eyes.

What he said carried the weight of a wrecking ball, but if true, now's not the time to be massaging egos, especially ones on the defensive side of the ball.

If a Husker fan finds themselves in a debate with one of another team, whether in the right or not, the performance of Pelini's defense in the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game often gets thrown in their face.

One game has become his legacy for the time being.

There's potential for such atrocities to happen again if the ship isn't righted quickly.

Nebraska's depth on the line's interior is poor for the second year in a row, it'll be relying on very talented, but inexperienced youth in the front seven and the secondary's production will remain a true unknown until the fall.

If the Huskers' head man is going to find out who's willing to step up after getting knocked down, spring practice is the time to do it. Better to weed out those not committed to the product he wants to put on the field now.

Pelini saw "A bad football team. Especially on the defensive side of the football." You go, coach.

There's no reason for pumpkin stickers at this stage of the implementation process. If Nebraska fans are hearing this in April, that could be cause for concern. In August, it would be downright frightening.

His candor's actually rather refreshing at this point.

However, if he can't transform his defensive unit into a competent one come kickoff versus Wyoming, he said it himself. It comes down to poor performance by those paid to teach his scheme, including the guy in the mirror.

Seeing how the Huskers respond to the verbal challenge laid out by their head coach should be very telling. Not only about where they are as a team right now, but where a good chunk of them are headed mentally toward fall 2013, before the rest of the new blood arrives.

"You could have put a grade-school offense out there against our defense and they would have done well," Pelini said.

Husker fans don't have the constitutions to see a defense that isn't ready for a collegiate one.