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Ex-Huskers talk about the program's direction

Ex-Huskers talk about the program's direction

Nebraska vs. Iowa, 11.28.14

Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini (right) watches third quarter action against Iowa with assistant coach Rick Kaczenski on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, at Kinnick Stadium.

Eric Warfield said he was perplexed by Sunday’s firing of Husker football coach Bo Pelini.

Warfield was one of the top players on Nebraska’s 1997 national championship team. He played eight years with the Kansas City Chiefs and even worked as a graduate assistant under Pelini in 2010 and 2011.

“I love Bo Pelini and I think of all he did for the university, all the talent he brought in and how he had to learn on the go,” Warfield said. “But coaching is hard and the embarrassing losses, the last four weeks around here, with the losses at Wisconsin and here against Minnesota, were hard to take.

“You can’t point fingers at the players, so you point fingers at the coaches.”

Former Husker Adam Carriker played one season (2003) for Pelini at Nebraska. In a lengthy Facebook post Sunday, he described his feelings as "conflicted," but questioned the drive within the program to climb past the nine-win plateau.

"The expectations of the current players are what they are because that's the tone set by the coaching staff," Carriker wrote.

Another former player for Pelini, Will Compton tweeted his thoughts following Washington's NFL game Sunday.

"Looking back on the games we blew ... I feel at fault, as I'm sure other players do, as to why it came to this."

Former Husker Scott Shanle, who played in the NFL nine years, said he was surprised how and when the decision to fire Pelini was made.

“I honestly thought everything was set up for him to be fired last year with the way the season finished,” Shanle said from his home in Dallas. “Bo took over here when things were in a sad state after (Bill) Callahan and he helped the program climb back. But maybe the program reached a plateau again. The people expect some championships and didn’t see them come.”

Mitch Krenk, a former Husker tight end, said the fact Nebraska was not in the national championship conversation for so long may be the reason Pelini was let go. Krenk has been a leader of the N Club for letterwinners.

“I think at this level of football, at least you should be in the conversation for a top-10 spot or more every seven years or so, and that just wasn’t happening,” Krenk said. “To never be in the conversation hurts a lot of pride for those who believe we can contend for the top again.

“But we’re in the middle of the West Division of the Big Ten, the weaker side of the Big Ten, and the Big Ten is near the bottom of the Power 5 conferences, and that’s big.”

Barron Miles, a former Husker and longtime standout with the British Columbia Lions, now coaches for Saskatchewan in the CFL.

“I am surprised, but I am always aware that all coaches face this kind of decision," Miles said. "I think Bo did a good job, and I know what Nebraska fans expect is more than they were getting. It may not be realistic, because Bo deserves a lot of credit for taking the program over after Callahan."

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Ken grew up in Chicago and is a Doane College grad. His Mr. Sportsknowitall column appears Sundays, and he covers a variety of beats.

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