Erin Sorensen from Hail Varsity reached out to H&R to get a few questions answered over our match-up this Saturday. You can see her post here: https://hailvarsity.com/s/260/smart-solid-run-game-key-to-nebraska-success. I really think Erin wanted to ensure all the Cornhusker fans that they need to R-E-L-A-X as they really have nothing to worry about with us. But, of course, I had some questions of my own. Mainly circulating around our boy Bo Pelini, who we know from Juan’s post earlier this week has genuine interest in come to West Lafayette for some reason. Here is our Q & A, enjoy!
1. What are you expecting Saturday in Lincoln?
I expect to see Tommy Armstrong Jr. play this year. That is a major improvement over this matchup in 2015, where a new staff was forced to start Ryker Fyfe who had very little experience. It was rough. As for 2016, Nebraska's offensive line is pretty beat up with injuries so that could be an area for Purdue to target. But I do think Nebraska has the overall advantage. I expect to see a more solid defensive performance from the Blackshirts (led by #LockdownU) and a fired up Armstrong. It won't be perfect for Nebraska (it never is) but the Huskers will get the win this time, advancing to 7-0 on the season.
2. Do you believe this Nebraska team is a top 10 team, or is it the lack of an early test in the first half of the season?
I believe the Huskers are a top 10 team because the polls say so (and the legitimacy/importance of the non-playoff polls is an entirely different discussion). It could be argued that Nebraska hasn't played any tough tests, but that will be put to rest come Wisconsin and Ohio State. We'll know exactly where the Huskers should be in the rankings by the end of those two weeks. For now, Nebraska fans can enjoy being undefeated and the top 10 ranking that has come with it.
3. What is your opinion on your old ball coach, Bo Pelini?
I never personally had a problem with Pelini. In fact, I have two life-size cutouts of the coach courtesy of the BWW Citrus Bowl (I'm not joking). As for him as a coach, he just wasn't the right fit at Nebraska. Husker fans want a very specific coach and seeing as Tom Osborne is retired, they seek someone very similar. Pelini? Well, he just wasn't that guy. Plus, he wasn't a big recruiting fan which created plenty of issues. He also perpetuated this 'us against the world' mentality which didn't sit well with the fans who just want to be included.
Overall, I wish Pelini the best. He's not a terrible person. He just wasn't mean to be Nebraska's head coach.
4. Do you think he could be a fit in West Lafayette?
Maybe? I've seen plenty of arguments for and against that situation to play out. I think recruiting could once again prove challenging for him in West Lafayette. And I think Purdue fans (and the athletic department) would need to have very clear expectations from him. Set the bar high, but maybe not too high. It just depends on what Purdue wants in its next head coach. Is it winning the Big Ten title every year? He might not be your guy then.
5. Pelini gets a bad wrap for his recruiting but do you think that was because he didn't consistently put Nebraska into the national conversation like they wanted to be?
Yes, but he also just doesn't love to recruit. It's not his favorite thing in the world, which is fine. However, if you're not going to be the big recruiting guy, you better find people around you who can be. I think Pelini's downfalls at Nebraska were a combination of things. It was recruiting, personality and lack of championships. Over time, it just wasn't what Nebraska wanted anymore and that's how the cookie crumbles.
Thanks again, Erin!